Buying that packet of ‘Shapes’ savory biscuits that was on sale was not a good idea! I had a funny stomach most of the night and had to visit the ‘porcelain bus’ a few times to empty the bowels. And inspite of the 40km ride yesterday, I didn’t sleep very well. So I started getting ready about 6am, planning to depart Yea at 7am. When I left there was a fairly thick fog, but once I got through the Cheviot tunnel, about 9km from Yea, the sky was clear. There was a threatening sky around Molesworth, with banks of cloud rolling through the valley, but about 30 minutes later the sky was clear blue and it styed that way until Bonnie Doon.
The ride from Yea to the Cheviot Tunnel was across the Yea River flats, and so there were a lot of bridges. And then the climb to the tunnel began, which wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be but it was hard enough. The Cheviot Tunnel is one of the key features of the Goulburn Valley rail trail. It was (is) the only tunnel on the line / trail and was made using handmade bricks made from local clay. The tunnel is 201 metres (660 feet) long and is the longest rail tunnel in Victoria, although whether you would still call it a ‘rail’ tunnel could be debated as no railway runs through it today, only the rail trail. It is estimated that there are approximately 657,000 bricks in the tunnel.
Cheviot Tunnel marked a major cycling milestone for me: 500km in a calendar month (so far). The scenery so far on this cycling holiday has really been ‘good for the soul’. Around Trawool is very beautiful, but east of Yea is also beautiful. Here are a few pictures of scenery between Cheviot Tunnel and Molesworth.
After the tunnel, there was a pleasant down grade for quite a way, and a bridge (or more, I can’t remember) across creeks. Harvey’s Gully is in this area and was the scene of a derailment in 1911, and the picture I saw of it showed part of the train on the bridge and part of the train in the gully and the locomotive looks like it is upsidedown. I don’t know whether the picture of the bridge below are the Harvey Gully bridge, as the approaches to the gully in the 1911 photo I saw of the bridge looks quite different to the photo below. Also in the near vicinity was a concrete milepost, and a wallaby.
Molesworth Station area is now a car park, and had one iddy biddy section of track, which I assume is on the original alignment as it points in what appears to be the right direction.
Just to the east of Molesworth, the trail crosses the Goulburn River flats on a number of bridges. The two longest ones had concrete supports when the railway line closed, and some of the others were timber trestle bridges.
Cathkin, like so many other places that had stations when the railway operated, was little more than a few mounds of dirt and the occasional ‘evidence’ of there being a railway in the area. This location was where the branch line to Alexandra diverged, and apparently was quite a busy place when trains where split – 1/2 the train going to Alexandra and the other 1/2 going to Mansfield. I did see evidence of a web designer there…
Yarck and Kanumbra came and went, then it was the hard climb to the highest point on the trail – the Merton Gap, at 397 metres above sea level. The climb was long, and most of it I was using the lower gears on the bike. And just when I thought is was about to end, it just kept on going. Man, it was tough! But I eventually got to the top, and then it was a rather pleasand down grade to Merton, where I stopped to buy a fruit juice (Banana and Mango). I wish I hadn’t purchased the drink as after I drank it my energy levels seemed lower than they were before. Or maybe it was just that the climb to Merton Gap had used a lot of my energy reserves. Whatever the reason I found it hard going for the next 15km to Bonnie Doon. The scenery approaching Bonnie Doon was, well, rather than use an adjective to describe it why I just show you the pictures…
That brought the day’s ride to 62km. I guess I have a certain right to not have much energy after a ride like that!
A great, if somewhat tiring, ride! I would do it again, but not in Spring (swooping magpies gets a bit on the nerves after a while) and would probably not do it while wearing a pack on my back as my shoulders were getting pretty sore by the end of the ride.
For GPS tracking of todays ride, see: