Old Beechy Rail Trail – adventure #2

I knew I needed to do a long run on the weekend and didn’t relish the thought of running over familiar ground. So husband and I headed off to Barongarook to explore another segment of the Old Beechy Rail Trail.

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I had opted to start from Barongarook as the previous section was on the road and not particularly fun for running. Husband dropped me at a dirt road just past Barongarook Hall and off I went, feeling a little bit nervous as I always do when I’m not 100% sure where I’m going. Regardless, the scenery was pretty, the weather was perfect and I was surrounded only by cows – what more could you ask for?

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After about a kilometre, I turned onto the trail and was treated to a stunning trail experience – lush Otways forest; a soft, gravel trail underfoot and sounds of birds and wildlife all around. Blissful. My only companions on the trail were 2 cyclists who passed me – other than that, it was me and the birds. Every now and then I’d hear some cars, tractors or motorbikes but very distantly and I felt like I was far away from everything.

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Travelling on this section, the trail goes steadily downhill although you don’t particularly notice when you’re running on it. Coming off this section of trail and passing Birnam, there is a very sharp but short incline as you head into another level of forest. Not particularly painful and the descent on the other side makes up for it – I seriously felt like I was flying down the hill and it was only the thought of injuring myself and having no one to help me that slowed me down.

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At Kawarren, I felt like I’d returned to civilisation as the rest of the trail runs within sight of the road (not to mention the fact that there are toilets there – luxury!). Just after this, I also ran into my husband who had parked at Gellibrand so we stuck together and headed back towards the car. 16km done – a great way to spend a Sunday.

So, the verdict? I’ve decided I’m well and truly hooked on trail running and madly in love with the Otways 🙂

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Trail running in the Otways

 

I haven’t done much trail running and, as much as I love being out in the bush, I still get a bit nervous about my capabilities out there. On Saturday, I took myself off for a little, tame adventure – part of the Old Beechy Rail Trail from Beech Forest to Ferguson.

I headed first for Colac then south through Gellibrand – a gorgeous little town nestled in the forest. The winding road to get to Beech Forest is dramatic and stunning, taking you deep into the heart of the Otways. Beech Forest itself is a very small hamlet, gaining some popularity years ago as the home of shuffling marathoner Cliff Young.

20160326_125722.jpgIn fact, the trail starts near the Beech Forest rest stop and crosses over the road to the Cliff Young Memorial Park with a gumboot as a fitting tribute to this character.

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From here, the trail weaves along beside the road but, for the most part, a million miles away as you run through fantasy movie worthy scenery. Trees and ferns provide cover and a green corridor to run through with a wonderful soft trail underfoot. Simply magical.

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After running through this corridor, you run up a short incline and are among farmland with open, dramatic views across the rolling hills with the ocean just tantalisingly out of sight beyond the final hill.

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At this point, the road is alongside but you don’t at all feel encroached on and I didn’t see anyone else on the trail, either cyclists, walkers or runners.

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The scenery is constantly varied and always beautiful – one minute having open views, the next being accompanied by tall and imposing trees in a plantation. With a kilometre to go, you cross the main road and run down and then back up the only real hill on this part of the trail (and nothing like those you’ll encounter on the rest of it!) then you’re in Ferguson. Here, you can stop for a drink and some food at the cafe – I turned around and headed back towards Beech Forest but it certainly seemed popular.

20160326_133708.jpgOn the way back, the rain started to roll in and I was lucky enough to get a sprinkling just when I needed it, helping me cool down from my run.

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An absolutely beautiful trail in an stunning part of the world. I feel so lucky that it’s a mere couple of hours drive from my house and I will definitely be back.