The Trio of Lookouts - Pandemic Inspired Cycle Touring - CycleBlaze

April 15, 2020

The Trio of Lookouts

The Big Picture

Head for the Hills?
Today’s ‘tour’ was about heading for the city hills to get an overview of the region on a glorious, clear autumn day.

During any catastrophe I feel it’s important to keep an eye on the big picture, and to focus on the long term horizons. Getting bogged down in the nitty gritty and petty details aren’t productive. Today's ride was sort of a metaphor for this idea

Where better to ride on a clear day than to a local high hill to look to the horizon? How about riding to three different high points? That’s what today’s ride was. I rode from home to the summit of a nearby lookout, Mt Ainslie. From there I continued on a triangular circuit of two other local lookouts. To Black Mt first, then across the lake to Red Hill. From Red Hill I cycled back home.

Canberra has many lookouts. It’s surrounded by hills.  Today's ride involved about 500 metres of ascending, and about 40km of riding.

The captioned photos following might explain the route better than my words.

The morning view from Mt Ainslie. Looking south toward the Parliamentary Zone and beyond. This lookout is only three kilometres from our front gate, and it’s a 200 metre ascent to the summit from home.
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It’s 846 metre elevation and I started at about 640 metres. So it was approx 200 metre ascent. Keen observers will note that I’m not lugging the panniers today.
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Another view from Mt Ainslie. Looking west. See over there. The telecommunications tower. That’s where I rode to next. That tower is on Black Mountain lookout. It’s about 9 km from Mt Ainslie as the crow rides. The ascent is about 256 metres.
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Seen on the way to Black Mt. This is Canberra’s oldest and cutest church. St Johns Anglican Church built in the 1800s.
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I made it. To the top of Black Mt lookout. That’s that tower which was visible from Mt Ainslie. It’s closed temporarily because of COVID19 so there’s no photos from the platform lookouts on the tower. Black Mt elevation is 812 metre with 256 metre climb from the base to the summit with great views.
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A view part way down Black Mt. This is looking east over the lake which was the focus of yesterday’s ride.
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On the way to the third and final lookout I spotted this. Painting the flagpole. Who knew they painted flagpoles and this is how they did it? It’s a special flagpole. It was given by Canada to Australia as a gift.
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Alsoon the way from Black Mt lookout to Red Hill lookout. This is Australia’s National Parliament House. In normal times, this is a very popular tourist destination.
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There’s Black Mt tower as seen from Red Hill lookout.
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And there is Mt Ainslie (where today’s ride started) as seen from Parliament House forecourt.
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Red Hill lookout cafe. Closed due to COVID19.
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And of course. A blue Tardis. On Red Hill.
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Today's ride: 40 km (25 miles)
Total: 110 km (68 miles)

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John SaxbyNice safari through your neighbourhood, Graham. The hills are special, aren't they?

The siting of Canberra within a ring of hills reminds me of Pretoria. Kruger commissioned five forts to be built surrounding the city in the 1890s, anticipating the conflict that would soon come. A little more than a century later, we lived there for 3 years (2003-06) and I visited some of those forts, and rode my bike across and around those hills. I don't have anywhere near the number and quality of photos that you have, though :(

Ottawa, by comparison, lies on the flat-to-very-gently-rolling south shore of the Ottawa River. (The Ontario side of the Ottawa valley is generally less steep than the Qué side, hence has better farmland, especially east of the city, towards Montréal.) Our hills for day rides are lovely indeed, but are all on the Québec side of the river, currently off-limits unless the virus relents. There are splendid hills on the Ontario side, especially N and W of Ottawa, but they are a full day's ride away, hence better suited to overnights. We'll look at such trips when the social distancing regulations are relaxed -- mid-late summer, if we're lucky.

Enjoying your stories, Graham -- keep on keeping on, and stay safe.

J.
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