On Monday 10th June, 2013, I activated Mount Middleback North, VK5/ SW-011. This was my 2nd summit on my Eyre Peninsula trip. The summit is 425 metres above sea level, and is worth 1 point.
Mount Middleback North is located on private property, a large sheep station called ‘Cooyerdoo’, about 20 kms from Iron Knob, and about 380 kms north of Adelaide. The property belongs to some very good friends of ours, Matt and Jane, and is 173,000 acres in size.
I left Whyalla early in the morning, before sunrise and headed out towards Iron Knob on the Iron Knob-Whyalla Road. A journey of about 60 km. It was a slow drive out to the station because this is real serious kangaroo country through here. And the big ones too, the Red Kangaroo, which is the largest of all the kangaroos. Hit one of these and they will do serious damage to your car !
I had to drive through the town of Iron Knob prior to reaching the station. The town is a shadow of its former self. Iron ore was originally mined here for use as flux in the copper smelting industry. The iron ore was of such high quality that it started an iron smelting industry as well. It is referred to as the birthplace of the steel industry in Australia. Iron Knob gets its name for the fact that it has a large amount of iron ore and was a major contributor to Australia’s iron industry. Quarrying for iron at the town ended in 1998.
I then travelled west along the Eyre Highway and then down 6kms of dirt road leading to the homestead from the Eyre Highway.
Matt and his young lad, Lachie and I jumped into the 4wd ute and started the 45 minute journey across the station to the base of the summit. Plenty of wildlife seen on the journey including feral goats, Red Kangaroos, and emus.
Once we reached the base of the hill, we started the hour long walk to the top. There is no path, so it was bushbashing through the scrub and over the rocky ground.
But the journey to the top was worth every bit of sweat. There were spectacular views in all directions, but particularly to the east and to the west. To the east we could see Whyalla and across the Spencer Gulf to Port Pirie. To the west, you could see as far as the eye would allow you to. This pretty rugged country out here. In recent years, a man went missing not far from here and his body was never recovered. It is not surprising when you stand on the top of Mt Midleback North and look out across the outback.
As Matt pointed out to me, this is not a summit to do during the summer. This is real snake country ! And some of the most dangerous snakes in the world, including the Death Adder, Western Brown snake, Tiger snake, and the Taipan (which is about 50 times more toxic than the Asian Cobra). There plenty of big goannas out here as well.
The 3 of us really enjoyed the morning. The climb was quite good, the views were amazing, and the weather was sensational.
Lachie has even borrowed my Foundation manual, so who knows. We may have a young amateur on air soon.
I ended up with a total of 21 QSO’s including 2 summit to summit contacts with Brian VK3MCD who was on top of VK3/ VC-001, and Mark VK3PI was on top of Pretty Sally, VK3/ VC-034.
The following stations were worked:- Steve VK5SE; Peter VK3PF; John VK2YW; Allen VK3HRA; David VK5KC; Marshall VK3MRG/p; Ed VK2JI/p; Rod VK2LAX/p; Peter VK3ZPF/p; Brian VK5FMID; Duncan VK3XBC; Ernie VK3DET; Fred VK3JM; VK1XP; Trevor VK5ATW; Rick VK5FIVE; VK5KBJ/p; John VK5FTCT; Col VK5HCF; Brian VK3MCD/p (SOTA); and Mark VK3PI/p (SOTA).
More information can be found on PeakClimbs at…..
Below is a video of the activation, which I have placed on You Tube.