Clare Camp, October 2020

Lavender Federation Trail

The Clare LFT camp led by Chris and Robyn, was our first ARPA camp. About 50 people attended the ‘coming and going’ camp, with most people staying at the Clare Caravan Park. Each morning, we drove off in two groups ‘convoy style’ to the starting points, walking the route from opposite directions.  The afternoons were mostly free, with everyone coming together for ‘happy hour’ at 5 pm to organise the following day’s walks.  Thursday evening saw everyone enjoying dinner at the Clare Hotel (‘The Middle Pub’). 

The lavenders growing beside the trail in some parts would mislead many into how the trail was named – nothing to do with the nice flowers, but named after the late SA bushwalking pioneer, Terry Lavender (OAM).

The walks highlighted Clare and surrounds. The Sunday walk between Clare and Spring Gully offered nice views from Neagles Rock and Spring Gully. Monday included parts of the Riesling Trail, where we saw remnants of the old railway route to Adelaide, and historical sites associated with John Ainsworth Horrocks, the first European settler in the Clare area. Some of us were also lucky enough to have a B grade walk, when a missed turn off added another 4 km to the 13km walk! 

The Mount Horrocks Lookout Spur Loop on Tuesday was another memorable walk, with the terrain varying from cereal fields to hilly grassy slopes offering fantastic views – crossing several stiles (erected by Chris and volunteers) along the way. A welcome and unexpected refreshment was the mandarins supplied by the landowner, David, who entertained us with stories of cattle duffers using the highpoint to flash warning signals with mirrors to each other. Our knowledge of local history deepened with our walk past the ‘Wine Shanty’ (now in ruins), along the Copper Bullock route, which has ties to the infamous Kelly Gang. Victoria cannot claim all the links to the Kelly Gang!

After a lay day, Thursday consisted of a pleasant ramble along mainly roads, past the Slate Quarry and Martindale Hall. Happy hour saw Angela and Bev acknowledged for completing the 350 km Lavender Federation Trail.

Unfortunately, rain forced the cancellation of the Friday walk, between Martindale Hall and Mintaro.  Saturday was the last day, where muddy conditions made for challenging walking from Waterloo, along the Railway Service track to Manoora.

The Clare LFT camp was one of good walks, laughs and memories, as well as increased knowledge of local history.