I parked at the western end of Tractor Beach, an occasionally visited stretch of sand with a small campsite, on the Westall Way in South Australia. Wasn’t sure where I was going to go from there, but I really wanted to get a glimpse of The Dreadnoughts, a significant rock formation off a place called, somewhat imaginatively, High Cliff. Never has there been a more appropriate nomenclature. After due consideration and, bearing in mind the almost perfect conditions, I decided to walk north-west and see how far I got. I ended up “gotting” all the way.
The dunes atop the headland occasionally sported growth. Roots of larger heath scrub had been exposed by the weather, while flora lower to the ground had flowers that were tiny, almost microscopic. I guess they had to be, to survive out here where rain is almost something you only hear about in fairy tales. It is a constant fight for them just to stay alive… as it is for everything else.
You couldn’t see them, but lizards, wallabies and a few birds were also exposed by their footprints. There was a dog as well, which someone had taken for a walk, and ripples in the sand. Life was on a knife edge out here, but it made for some interesting scenery – if only you kept your eyes open.
Mostly the walk was on reasonably firm ground but, from time to time, soft dunes had to be negotiated and a couple went alarmingly close to the edge, so I headed inland for a short distance. Right then, I wished I had a tractor.
Because of The Dreadnoughts, the beach below is protected and nice little waves roll in, quite benign compared to what else happens along this coast.
A lone fishing boat was obviously finding something just beyond the last island, because it stayed there the whole time I did the walk. A solitary osprey rose, maybe for the first time on his morning rounds, wings beating due to the lack of air currents; they would come later.
Getting nearer to High Cliff the scene changed significantly. No longer did the rocks look like ships strung out in line astern, now they were all heaped on top of one another and the sound of the sea rose with the soft breeze to cleanse the soul.
There were a few more solid sand patches out here and they looked like sculptures, but they were no more stable than where I walked, near the edge of the precipice. At that point there was crumbling apparent everywhere, the treacherous sides flaunting their fragility as layer after layer flaked away.
Caution was the order of the day as the point narrowed alarmingly, and I took my last shots before heading back. It was probably about six-kilometre return, but as I left my phone back in the motorhome I’ll be told by the monitor later on that I actually did nothing.