Google+ The Norris Files: November 2010


2011 Tours and Trips

Next year is just around the corner so I need to give some more thought to the trips I hope to take next year. My holiday dates for the Outer Hebrides trip have been approved so all being well that will go ahead in May and the early part of June. I hope to get to New Zealand to walk the Gillespie Pass in late March or early April. Then, I want to fit in a ride on the Mawson Trail, probably around September for about nine days.

I had hoped to fit in two week tour of Kangaroo Island during the later part of next year but at the moment I can't see how I can fit that in. Also, I was thinking of a snowboarding trip and an outback camping trip at some point, however, time and allowable holiday leave is limited.

So at the moment the plan is as follows, but I have no doubt that it will change at some point,

1) New Zealand Gillespie Pass Hike - March/April 2011
2) Outer Hebrides Cycle Tour - 11th May - 5th June 2011
3) Mawson Trail 9 Day Ride - September/November 2011

Other Options

* Snowboarding Trip New Zealand - August 2011
* Blue Mountains Mt Solitary Hike - After April 2011

Outer Hebrides Prelim Planning

This trip is still 6 months away but as I tend to leave things to the last minute I should start planning this trip now. I have no doubt these plans will change somewhat but at least its a start.

Wednesday 11/5/11.

*Fly out of Brisbane 13:55pm
*Arrive London 05:40am
*Arrive Glasgow 08:30am
*Catch the train from Glasgow to Oban 12:21pm takes 3.5hrs (check 2011 timetable when available)
*Overnighting in Oban - accommodation to be arranged

Thursday 12/5/10.

*Ferry crossing from Oban to Castlebay departing 08:15 (A)sailing via Coll and Tiree arriving Castlebay at 15:00pm (check 2011 timetable when available)
*Overnighting in Castlebay or near abouts (probably camping)

Friday 13/5/2010 - Wednesday 01/06/11.
*Cycling Barra to the Butt then final night;
*Overnighting in Stornoway

Thursday 02/06/11.

*Ferry crossing from Stornoway to Ullapool depart 07:00am arrive 09:40am
*Catch the bus from Ullapool Pier to Glasgow Airport depart 09:50 arrive 17:10pm
*Overnighting in Glasgow airport region?

Friday 03/06/11.
*Fly out of Glasgow 16:10pm

Sunday 05/06/11.
*Arrive Brisbane Airport 06:50am

This itinerary allows a total of 20 days to cycle the Hebridean Islands which, I think should be enough and allow for some rest and sight seeing days. I may end up shortening the trip a little so that I get back earlier and allow more days to recover before I start back at work.

Rain, Rain,Rain

Showers, heavy rain and thunder storms across Brisbane and the Darling Downs over the next few days have put an end to my planned Darling Downs Tour ride. I will attempt the ride again weather permitting on my next days off between 29th November and the 4th December.

Camera Arrival

My new DMC-LX5 camera arrived in the mail today. I haven taken any pictures in anger yet so I can't judge the image quality but it feels very comfortable to hold, the menus seem relatively uncomplicated and it is as compact in size as I had hoped. I will post some images taken by the camera shortly.
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Outer Hebrides Tour Update

I mentioned in this post that I planned to ride the length of the Outer Hebrides from South to North in 2011. I have requested holiday leave from work and hope to get approval this week. The plan at the moment will be to fly out on the Wednesday 11th May and fly back home on the Friday 3rd June. More details to follow but in the mean time here is a video of a cycling trip on the Outer Hebrides

Mawson Trail Update

As I mentioned previously in this post, after my failed first effort to ride the Mawson Trail I now hope to complete the trail in sections as time allows. I thought I may have been able to ride the first section of the trail this month, but work and health have not permitted that to happen. Summer is approaching and between now and the end of April is the least favorable time to ride the trail due to the heat. So, this ride will have to wait until the cooler months of next year, probably after August sometime.

Panasonic Lumix LX5

As I mentioned in this post "" my camera was damaged when I fell while out hiking. Since then it has continued to operate okay but with the automatic lens protector broken it has become difficult to keep the lens clean. The camera took some great pictures in South Australia but towards the end of the trip some black spots appeared on the lens and in the images and they can't be removed by cleaning the lens. Together with the need to clean the lens before every shot I am a bit over it and have lost patience with the camera so it is time to purchase a new one.

Initially I was interested in the new four thirds style camera in particular the Panasonic GF2 the successor to the popular GF1 which has a large fan base. In essence these cameras are a compact version of a DSLR with some of it capabilities but in a 'compact' body. They take a great photo judging by the images on online blogs. However, the cost, complexity and being less compact than I desired made the decision not to purchase this camera easier.

My attention turned to the Panasonic Lumix LX5 which is also a successor this time to the the hugely popular LX3. The camera can be described as a top of the line point and shot camera and carries the high quality Leica lens. It is compact, shoots well in low light, has increased functionality outside of auto mode and appears from the images I have viewed to posses higher image quality across a range of conditions when compared to my previous camera. These attributes cover everything I was looking for in a camera the only downside being the price which is just under the $800 mark from TEDS's.

Out of curiosity I checked an online camera dealer and found the price to be around $300 less expensive than TED's including delivery. Plus the online dealer came with a recommendation from people who had purchased cameras from them previously without issue. So it looks like I will place an order in the next day or two, in the mean time here is a few photos of the camera until the real thing arrives.

Darling Downs Tour Update

Roughly six weeks have passed since I arrived back from South Australia and I have done nothing of interest or note during that time. Not even a single solitary bike ride. A throat infection, a flare up of what I hope is torn rib cartilage, a mysterious muscular left upper arm soreness/deadness, general lethargy after night shifts and bad weather have taken there toll. What I think is torn rib cartilage seems to be slowly improving, the left arm problem remains an issue and will nessicate a visit to the local GP. Regardless, its time to pull my finger out and get a few trips organised for when my next rostered days off come around again.

With that being said, its time to drag out my DLT Tour plans mentioned in a previous post here I have reworked the route a little since then and have organised so it will incoporate 3 days of riding with a total distance of around 230km's. Overnight stays will be in Clifton, Gordon County Goomburra, and Killarney. The final itinerary should be something something close to the following;

Day 1: Killarney to Clifton 73 kms. After overnighting at Killarney I plan on an early start heading east to Warick for a lateish breakfast at The Bramble Patch Cafe before turning roughly north and heading to Allora following the Sunflower Route. Now Allora apparently has no camping/caravan park although on a previous visit I distinctly remember there being one and my GPS maps indicate a caravan park but an internet search comes up without a result. So I will probably continue on another 12kms to Clifton and camp there.

Day 2: Clifton to Gordon Country Goomburra 89 kms. The next moring I will head north east to the tiny village of Nobby for no other reason than I like the name of the place. Then turning east before slowly making my way south I will continue onto Goomburra and ride toward the Goomburra National Park which forms part of the Main Range National Park. This is a dead end road, partially unsealed, that leads up to the Forestry Reserve Road which brings you to a camping area that is the departure point for the parks lookouts and walking tracks. This time I will avoid this last section as it is spectaculary steep when I check the GPS route profile. Instead I will camp a little short of the National Park entrance at Gordon Country camping grounds which look remote and beautiful and come highly recommended on the internet.

Day 3: Gordon Country Goomburra return to Killarney 68 kms. The last day will see me cycling south through the towns of Freestone, Yangan, Emu Creek and Tannymorel before arriving back at Killarney.

This route through the Darling Dowms is mostly on back or secondary roads that are either sealed or unsealed and carry light traffic. The great thing about this area is that if you find that the road you are on is a bit heavy with traffic there will almost aways be another secondary road with lighter traffic that will still get you to your destination. More than likely it will not be the most direct route but if you are like me and hate traffic they are the perfect road to cycle on.

Looking at the calendar I am rostered off work for six days between November 15th and November 20th so the plan is to schedule this ride in between those dates.