26 November, 2011

The Cowies Creek Caper

Yesterday's bike ride took me along the Barwon as far as Fyansford (with a quick stop for coffee at Barwon Edge on the way past), but from there I decided to head off and investigate a riding/walking trail I'd been meaning to get to for some time - namely Cowies Creek. As usual, I unsuccessfully attempted to ride up the "Cementies" hill and so, having failed in that objective, I stopped at the seat halfway up to snap a few more photos of the soon-to-change Moorabool Valley below - but more of that in another post perhaps. From here, I headed off round the linear trail which is still looking slightly bare without its tracks that have all been taken away to improve the line on the Bellarine Railway.
Overlooking the Geelong Ring Road and the Moorabool Valley
Then, rather than continue on the trail as I did a couple of weeks ago, I cut down Church Street and onto the start of the Ring Road track. I stopped again to snap a couple more photos of the Moorabool Valley - there was even a handy sign informing me of the valley's name in case I wasn't already aware of it - before pushing on towards my eventual goal.
Cowies Creek, North Geelong: pretty but weed-choked
That goal was the lower end of Cowies Creek and the track which runs alongside it. I've ridden out to this point previously, but not along the creek until now. The path itself is relatively new and in good condition  up to Anakie Road and the creek itself in reasonably good shape through the section past the Corio Leisuretime Centre and beyond, however by Thompson Road, things are not so great. The creek becomes very weed-infested and the path is quite bumpy and not in great condition. Another negative is the several road-crossings required along the way, however these are unavoidable and taken with care shouldn't pose any real problem.
Weir Deppeler Park, North Geelong
Things improve again in the short section immediately before the Melbourne Road where the creek opens out into a lake which has the usual array of aquatic plants and bird life surrounded by parkland known as the Weir Deppeler Park. The path is in good condition and there are bridges crossing the lake. Unfortunately however, it is at this point which the track comes to an inauspicious halt. There is no obvious way of reaching the bay trails which extend around the Geelong Waterfront, nor is there a connection to the top of the McKean Linear Trail which itself comes to a grinding halt only 100m away at Douro Street.
This would seem to be the perfect opportunity for council to make some improvements to the local recreational facilities by connecting these existing pathways with dedicated walking/riding paths.  They should not of course let the small matter of a national highway and an interstate rail link interfere with this endeavour!
Up to this point, I had visions of winding my way through the aforementioned traffic obstacles and onto the path round to the Waterfront, so with this in mind, I headed up Edols Road, crossed the train line and started up Douro Street, but by now, I was stopping regularly to pump a leaky tyre and not quite sure which was the best way to proceed so when the start of the linear trail suddenly appeared before me, I decided to cut my losses and head back along the trail to Fyansford, then home along the river.
This I managed to accomplish with only a couple of stops to inflate my tyre and a lunch break when I reached the point below Fyansford where the Moorabool meets the Barwon. There is a conveniently positioned chair nearby and it is proving to be an interesting place for bird spotting. It was here that we discovered the kingfishers a couple of weeks ago and yesterday, I found only the second Great Cormorant that I have seen on the Barwon (the other was below Baum's Weir over a year ago).
Great Cormorant near Fyansford
So, having eaten lunch and chatted to a passing friend, I snapped the mandatory photos and headed for home.
I should mention at this point, that I had considered constructing a potted history of Cowies Creek and Mr James Cowie after whom the creek is named, however it is somewhat outside the scope of my blog and I soon discovered that a local amateur naturalist whose blog I follow had already done the job for me in a series of five posts from April and May this year. For those interested in learning more, the posts can be found on the Bushranger Blog. Just check the archive for the months in question to find the posts.

No comments:

Post a Comment