Entrants get ready for the Porcupine Gorge Challenge on Saturday.
Entrants get ready for the Porcupine Gorge Challenge on Saturday.

Well I’m going to get the t-shirt printed up “I survived the Porcupine Gorge Challenge”. 

As I said in my page 15 story it was one of the toughest things I’ve ever done. I don’t why I’m so surprised, the clue was in the word “challenge” but I underestimated just how hard run 8km on uneven surfaces including sand, rocks, pebbles and water would be. And then that hill at the end, ugh! 

But I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining. It was hard but a wonderful challenge and I’ll definitely be back to Porcupine Gorge. It is one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen in Queensland. 

Heck, I may even do the challenge again next year and see if I can do it a bit faster.

The Hughenden adventure was part of an action-packed few days traversing the Great North West.

I went down to Cloncurry on Thursday to welcome the arrival of the C150 steam train into town.

Each station the train stopped in on its way from Townsville attracted big crowds and Cloncurry was no different for the final stop.

The restored engine – which dates from 1958 and the last steam train to be commissioned in Queensland – looked immaculate and there is something very warm and nostalgic to hear the whistle blow as it approached the station.

It brought out the wondrous child in all present. I was also fortunate to get to ride the train on Friday on its return trip to Marimo siding 20km west of town. That hour and a half went far quicker than the train itself and it was a joy to soak up all the period details along with many happy local families.

Also on Friday I attended the Cloncurry Show ahead of my trip to Hughenden. The Porcupine Gorge Challenge meant unfortunately I missed the visit of the Governor-General which brought an extra-special flavour to the C150 birthday celebrations.

I also can’t let the weekend go without mentioning the Cloncurry Cattleman’s Dinner which packed out the Precinct on Thursday night.

The events are a rich celebration of Cloncurry’s pastoral heritage and power and shows a district on the rise with many strings to its bow. Derek Barry