Returned to Linville to ride the Rail Trail after being rained off last time.
The trail head is opposite the Linville Hotel and it is also a good place to camp for the night. Rail carriages stand here at the old station waiting for refurbishment. A big job yet to get underway.
click an image to enlarge
Its a steady climb through some spectacular country up the Blackbutt Range to the top of Australia's Great Divide. The country side changes as you climb from open farming to sub tropical tall timber with thick undergrowth. The rail line was used to carry thisBlackbutt Timber back to Brisbane before road transport took over.
The climb to Blackbutt is about 340m over the 22.6km journey. The track surface overall is good starting out as a two track in the lower sections with rough gravel and rocky sections that can be a bit rough at speed. In the upper section from Benarkin to Blackbutt it is more like a compacted gravel road and is easy riding. The first 18km, from Linville, is a steady and continuous climb. Near Benarkin, for about 2km, it appears to be level then the last km into town is a bit down hill.
There are cattle fences and gates at various places along the way but easy enough to open and get through. Overall there might be half a dozen creek or gully crossings where the old bridges have been removed. These crossings can be steep and your correspondent though it prudent to dismount. Pushing the bike up the other side on foot, after crossing the causeway, usually entailed feet slipping on the gravel and could be more of an issue if the surface was wet.
Setting off just after 9am the over trip took me just under 3 hours with an estimated stopping time of 45 minuets along the way for a snack, water stops and snapping photos. I had a leisurely lunch at the trail head at Blackbutt before turning around for the trip back. The trip back, with minimal stops, was just under two hours.
Before setting off I thought the ideal way to do this ride would be just one way from the top down. But after doing the return journey I now think the rider would be a bit dissatisfied with the ride just going down. Not near enough exercise involved.
The last time I was here I was rained off. The next day I drove up to Blackbutt and met a senior couple just about to do the return journey from top down and then back up. I asked if they were aware that there was a 350m incline involved. They dismissed that as a non issue. I don't know if they completed their trip. But I think it would play on your mind as you are descending. What if I run out of energy on the way back up? So maybe its best to ride up and cruise down?
My time on the trail was mostly quiet only passing a small group of horse riders, a four wheel drive and a motorbike. The latter two are not permitted on the trail according to the signs at each end and on every gate. Oh and some sort of lizard, lots of birds everywhere and cattle in the lower section. Up in the sub tropical tall timber there are heaps of Bellbirds calling all the time, nice.