Mount Direction Western Route

Tuesday 13 August 2019

It was quite obvious from looking at the country above us that it would be a steep walk. Initially we followed a vehicle track where we encountered a woman taking her dogs for a walk. She went past but one of the dogs refused to pass until we stood well back from the track to give it a wide berth.
Mount Direction from west

The first part of the climb was not too bad and the country very open, but soon it became steeper and even steeper towards the upper reaches of the ascent.  But once on the first of two plateaux, the rewards were obvious.  Here the land was attractive with eucalypts and grasses from which many wallabies rushed from and the views were good.   Made all the better by such lovely weather we were enjoying.
Woodland on first plateau

Eucalypts on lower plateau

After a lengthy tea break in the sun we then moved onto the upper plateau and then to the summit of Mount Direction, before going the eastern high point, a further 500 metres away, for lunch.
On the return we left the plateau at a more southerly location, but it proved to be steeper than the way used to ascend. The solution was to drop cross the slope and we got down without mishap.
Distance  8.2k  Walking time 4:00  Total time was 5:30 

Kunanyi  Mount Wellington

Extract from description by David Leaman, which he prepared for people of  a walk he took there in 1996, starting at the same spot we did on this current walk (thanks to Greg Bell for providing this).
Mt, Direction, however, is a distinctive pile of rock which was much  emphasized in colonial art even if the shape of the feature was rather stylised. Mt Direction was named by Captain John Hayes of the East India Conpany in 1793 during his exploration of the River Derwent. He thought that many of the features of the region were like those of his birth place, Derwent Water, in Cumberland. Mt, Direction really stepped into Hobart''s history in 1803 when the rather amateur Lieutenant Bowen decided on Risdon as the site for a settlement. What he either did not know, and certainly did not appreciate, was that this is a dry area with streams of strictly limited and ephemeral flow. Today, of course, there is a 1ot of water in its shadow; but then we pump it, there and sail model boats on it. None of the water which runs down Risdon Brook is stored in the dam; all of this rather saline and murky water (when the creek is actually flowing) is bypassed into the dam spillway.
Given that the early settlers gave up on the area very quickly we should ask does it have any saving graces? Well, first off, there are the views from Mt Direction. Simply spectacular. This is the only way to see the river and the northern suburbs close at hand, and with the Wellington massif in the background. And then there is the geology which includes a little of many things and one of the few twinned sheets of Jurassic dolerite. Not that many people notice as they struggle up any of the mountain's faces
Mount Direction is a dolerite mountain and consists of two large slabs of dolerite. Much of the lower body 1s concealed but is exposed around the shores of the Derwent near Otago Bay and as the great spine which runs in an arc around the eastern  face of Glasstree Hiill. The upper part of Mt Direction and the region which includes Madmans Hill, Gunners Quoin and the remainder of the range extending toward Brighton is the second sheet. These dolerite bodies were intruded into Triassic sandstones and mudstones (about 220-235 million years old) and slices of these rocks may be found at elevations of about 180-200 metres between the two intrusions. Some of the mudstones contain leaf and branch fragments and also display ripple marks. Coal measures are also exposed near the housing estate overlooking Cadburys. The important OId Beach fossil site, from which many reptile bones and skeletons were recovered, occurs opposite Cadbury Point.