Thursday, 30 December 2010

Mount Wellington

My grandfather would often tell this story: It was a dark and stormy night, a band of robbers sat round the fire place and the leader said, “Rupert, tell us a story”, so Rupert began. “It was a was a dark and stormy night, a band of robbers sat round the fire place and the leader said, “Rupert, tell us a story”, so Rupert began, “It was a dark and stormy night …

Mount Wellington rises 1270 meters above Hobart, its towering presence creating a wonderful natural back drop to all the action in the city.

It was a beautiful day, I had been to the south of Tassie, had had dinner and the sun was still shining with all its strength and I thought, “I know, I’ll drive up that mountain there.”

I should have checked what the internet said about Mount Wellington first. Discover Tasmania says: “Test out the windiest spot in Hobart” and “The interpretation centre at the top protects you from the blustering winds.”

Well, it was a little bit windy when I was driving up. I saw a look out hopped out of the car and enjoyed the view. And then continued up.

And the wind picked up. I started thinking that this might not be a quite such a good idea, but about two k’s from the top I pulled over in a car park and the wind died down, so I took some photos and once again continued up.

And the wind picked up again, I started wondering if my car could be blown over on it’s side. There is only so much The Beast can handle. I parked at the top of the mountain, and when I opened my door the wind blew it open with a bang. I jumped, thankfully it didn’t blow off, I hopped out of the car and slammed the door shut. And the wind became stronger.

Standing up became a struggle, and I thought “Andrew, you silly bugger, lets go home.” And the wind blew past my face, blowing off my glasses in a huge gust.

I saw them land on a bush a good five meters away, glint in the sun, and disappear. I ran to the bush and dived upon it, searching the branches and the roots for my glasses or a glint of sun, anything. But I couldn’t see a thing. A rash from the bush and insect bites painfully spreading over my arms, windburn lashing across my face. I searched desperately, how could I get off the mountain if I couldn’t see? And somehow I heard a couple of people running to their car.

I dashed to them and entreated a young lady to help me find my glasses, but unfortunately she couldn’t understand me, and neither could the other three Swedish tourists in the car. Thankfully an Australian was showing them around, and I begged him for help, and they all came and helped me search.

But it was fruitless, the bloke asked if I was from Hobart – subtlety hinting that he could give me a lift, “No, Melbourne” and realisation dawned on him my deeper trouble. How would I get the car back to Melbourne… And the search was renewed.

Fifteen minutes later they found them. A pair of glasses, the clip-on-sunnies had fallen off somewhere, but this meant that I could see. I grasped them in my hand, thanked my rescuers again and again and they were off. I wish I had something to give them. I got in my car, prised my fingers off my glasses and put them on my nose. Relief.

Note to self: put an old pair of glasses in the car.

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