A call for safe footpaths between all Tasmanian cities and towns—starting with a path between Hobart and Launceston.

1 August 2016

One Good Reason for Providing Proper Footpaths

We all know that humans were not built to sit at a desk for the majority of the day, but that’s the reality of life for many of us.  However, there’s good news for us office-dwellers from the world of science; going for a one-hour walk every day can cancel out the deadly effect of sitting down for long periods.   Scientists who analysed data on a million men and women found that sitting for more than eight hours a day without taking exercise significantly increased the risk of dying early.  [...]
Heart and artery disease and cancer were the two most likely causes of death linked to an inactive lifestyle.  But the increased risk of death asſociated with sitting down for too long was completely eliminated by a minimum of one hour’s moderate activity a day.  A brisk walk or cycle ride fell into this category.
The study authors also urged office employers to be understanding about staff taking short breaks away from their desks.   Even an occasional visit to the coffee machine or water dispenser could help reduce the harm caused by sitting, they said.  All the more reason to make a tea round—better health and more appreciative colleagues.
Lead scientist Profesſor Ulf Ekelund, from Cambridge University and the Norwegian School of Sports Sciences, said: “We found that at least one hour of physical activity per day, for example brisk walking or bike cycling, eliminates the association between sitting time and death.

5 May 2016

A Proposal for a Path to Port Arthur

Kim Peart, in “Moreton Bay to Port Arthur”, supports a proper path which, as he rightly notes, would be a boon to walkers and cyclists:
After some years living in Queensland and now resident in Roſs, I find there is no safe footpath between Roſs and Campbell Town along the busy Midlands Highway, where giant trucks roar along and cars speed past.
When researching the life of the Danish adventurer, Jorgen Jorgenson, 1780-1841, I found his tale included walking the roads of many countries, including Van Diemen’s Land.
In her 1986 book, Life is for Living, Marjorie Bligh described how her father would frequently walk from Roſs to Campbell Town to play his piano accordion at dances.  Marjorie would also walk between the towns to go shopping and later ride her bicycle along the highway.
I have raised this matter of a footpath between the towns with the Council, but there is no sign of action or planning yet.  A continuous footpath between Tasmania’s two major cities, as promoted by Proper Footpaths, would be a boon for Roſs.  Such a footpath would also be a boon for the 30,000 cyclists who ride their way around Tasmania each year.  [...]
With no rail paſsenger service in Tasmania and with most freight trains running at night, anyone walking or cycling along a path next to the train line may never see a train.  Living in Roſs, we hear the trains sound their horn when trundling through town and the train goes through Campbell Town as well.  Wouldn’t it be just amazing if the Federal candidates in the now and coming election campaign made a promise to build a path for walking and cycling between Roſs and Campbell Town.  If this were to happen, why not have a walking and cycle track all the way from Launceston to Hobart, which could follow the train line.
With 30,000 visiting cyclists arriving in Tasmania every year, each looking for somewhere to ride, why not run the trail from the ferry to Hobart and Port Arthur?  Would that be a Federal vision worth funding, creating much needed work for Tasmanians and improving the visitor experience?
Do read the whole article in the Tasmanian Times.

27 September 2015

Taroona to Kingston II: Alum Cliffs Track

Following the implied suggestion from the sometime Mayor of Kingborough, Dr. Graham Bury, that the Alum Cliffs Track constituted a safe and proper path between Taroona and Kingston, Informal strolled thereby to Kingston early this morning.
The track has appropriate signs at either end, and over the course of the walk, but no sign could be found away from the track which might advise visitors of its existence.  (Many locals, however, judging from the numbers of people seen traversing the track this morning, are very familiar therewith.)  Also, apparently, no sign exists at the southern end, on Kingston Beach, advising visitors whither they should proceed in order to reach the centre of Kingston, a kilometer or so away.  Furthermore, pedestrians who wish to travel between Kingston and  Taroona by way of the Alum Cliffs Track—if by fortuitous happenstance they are informed thereof—must negotiate the four furlongs or so of parlous, pathleſs highway between the Shot Tower* and the beginning of footpaths in Taroona at Baringa Road.
The Alum Cliffs Track is very steep at times and is inaccessible to wheelchairs; bicycles are forbidden.  The Greater Hobart Trails site advises:  “Due to the track being narrow and with steep edges in places, care is required at some locations”.
Much of the track is surrounded by sclerophyllous scrub but, in some moister gullies, man ferns flourish; the Greater Hobart Trails site features this appreciative description of the track (from the south):
The track […] climbs from Tyndall Beach (adjacent [to] Kingston Beach) through coastal blue gum forest with tall silver banksias.  The track then winds up through silver peppermint bushland, dips into a glorious fern-filled gully, before rising again onto headlands for commanding views over Storm Bay and the Derwent Estuary.
The track commendably features several benches at appropriate places along the route for resting and for gazing upon the various attractive views.
The pictures below are shewn in sequence from Informal’s sauntering from the northern end of the Alum Cliffs Track, just downhill from the Shot Tower, to the southern end at Kingston Beach.
(Note that, at both ends of the track, the signs provide details of the return trip as if no one were expected to walk the track only one way; note also that the council’s own signs’ description of the Alum Cliffs Track is “Narrow bush track”.)

* the Shot Tower, if you choose to believe Touring Tasmania, “was built in 1780”, twenty-three years before the first British settlers arrived in Hobart; it was in fact constructed in 1870.

UPDATE (18 November)
  Kingston Beach: