Winching in the Brindies

Published: October 26th 2011EDIT THIS ENTRY

The weather, in Canberra is just getting better and better, the weather forecast for this weekend, was 27 and warm and we were off to Tumut where our friends have got 240 acre’s and a little week end hide away.

We were leaving straight from work, the swag was in the truck, along with our cooking stuff and our dinner for Friday evening, we would only be away for one night, as we had a dinner appointment in Kingston on Saturday and needed to be home.

As soon as we could we bolted from the office, loads of us where meeting on the edge of the Brindabella mountains as John and Cheryl lived “ in the middle of nowhere,( I kid you not), and they said it would be better to follow them in as they do not have any phone reception in the valley and the chances of getting lost was quite high.

We managed to arrive at the rendezvous place in good time, about 10 trucks where already there, I changed in to Shorts and t shirt, from the truck and Caroline did the same, a few more 4x4’s turned up pulling trailers and
The SwagThe SwagThe Swag

Our bed for the night
the like and soon we were all pulling out to cross the mountain range
It had been about 27 degree’s today and we had to leave about
½ k distance between each vehicle as it was so dusty.

It took about and hour and three quarters to get to their house and the last 20 minutes was some very steep and rock, climbs and descent’s finally arriving at their home and being told we could park where ever we liked.

We could park down by the river where it was nice and cool, but I said to Caroline as we were in the swag you would not be able to see the stars under the canopy of trees so we picked a nice flat spot where we could set up.

Soon the camp fire was lit, and we had our dinner on, cooking our Chilli, in the truck.

Mack the blue Heeler dog, was on his rounds, we had been warned about Mack, as he only wanted to scrounge for food or kiss you, he loved to kiss people and was a lovely dog.

Soon our dinner was completed, it was dark, well pitch
Poking the FirePoking the FirePoking the Fire

Richard and Chris
black; we dished our dinner up and went and sat by the camp fire to eat our tucker.

We fed someone who was in need of a hot meal, not really but we did feed him, and in return plied us with some nicely chilled beer, what a great swap.

Mack came past, but we did not succumb to his begging and soon he wandered off to another unsuspecting punter.

Once dinner was done, we had to make our bed up for the night, we pulled the awning out and unrolled the swag and placed our sleeping bags inside, and it was going to be a warm night.

We went and sat with our friends chatting around the camp fire, looking at the stars and just generally having a nice time; it was nice to be out again, sleeping under the stars.

When it was time for bed, we were definatly ready, we slipped in to the swag, th evening was cooling off and we were tired.

I didn’t wake until Caroline was out of bed, that is unheard of, I slept so soundly in the swag, it was gorgeous, the night was cool
Camping spotsCamping spotsCamping spots

Having 250 acres you can park where you want.
and the morning was dewy and wet but we were lovely and toasty in our bed.

The day was well and truly up when I emerged from the swag, I put the kettle on and soon we had a hot mug of tea to drink, the fire was still burning, and most people where starting to mill about.

We took the frying pan out of the truck and started to cook the bacon and eggs we had taken with us.

The briefing was at 09.15, we were here for serious business, “Winch Training” yes you read that correctly, learning how to use our winches, in a safe and proper manner.
Nearly everyone trucks have a winch, its possibly the most essential piece of kit and the biggest insurance policy you can have when out, on the tracks.

As we were all sitting in a semi circle listening to John speak, Mack the dog ran through the centre of us all at full speed, ran up to his water bowl and started splashing around, we think he wanted to be centre of attention.

Where’s the danger with a winch, well we have a (Warn) 9500Ilb winch
Early morning teaEarly morning teaEarly morning tea

Caroline stands around the fire
on the front of the cruiser, that has the pulling capacity of about 5 tonnes, a fully tensioned steel cable, if it breaks, would easily cut a person in half and only this year, this happened to a woman who got in the way, when her hubby was winching, in far Northern Queensland I think.

Our 4 wheel drive club, believe in good education, and things are safe if they are done correctly, like me, Caroline needs to know how to use this equipment safely as she may be the one having to do the winching, it I am not there for what ever reason.

The first element to the course was the science behind winching, loads, angles, pulley systems etc. which was quite interesting, then basics like how to look after you winch and running currents etc.

Tea break came and we went and put our kettle on, by the time we reconvened we had to walk to the next paddock with our tea, as they had set of someone’s cruiser with a manual winch line and everyone had to take a turn winching with a hand winch called a tirfor, and boy, it was hard

The Blue Heeler
graft as it only winched and inch at a time.

The next example which we all had to participate in was doing the same as the Tirfor but using a high lift jack. Which was quite successful, but if that is all you had then you could get yourself out of a sticky situation.

Caroline, jumped at the chance of having a go, slipped on her gloves and grabbed a hold of the handle and pulled, panted and pulled again, boy she was giving it what for trying to winch the truck up the hill.

I had a go and it was not that easy, as it made such little progress, but that’s all you might need as you may only need to move the vehicle a meter or two before it becomes free from its trappings.
We broke for lunch, which was good, and went and got our jaffle iron out of the truck, we are doing anything to practice with it and had some Chilli left, over from last nights dinner and as the camp fire was just glowing embers, Caroline said she could do some Chilli jaffles.

A young girl said she had
The Technical stuffThe Technical stuffThe Technical stuff

Listening to the technical stuff
seen a black snake go in to the bushes, but as hard as we looked we could no see it, Chris Fenton, put his gloves on and moved a plank of timber and underneath was a Brown Snake, which are very aggressive, but carefully laid the plank back down.

Some say you are never more than 1 meter away from a snake in Australia

I have to say they were good, the embers just nicely toasted the Jaffles and they were gorgeous, Mack came over, sniffing around hoping to have a tasty morsel but the poor old hound was out of luck.

Once lunch was over we walked back in to the paddock, as some of the guys were just getting the final winching example ready, basically, they told the group what we had to do then, we had to work it out what was needed.

On a single line pull, from a static object such as a tree, to the vehicle a winch can draw up to 400 amps, which is a huge load and the reason why you always winch with your engine running, on high idle.

Now if you consider, how the
Week end Hide awayWeek end Hide awayWeek end Hide away

This is John and Cheryl's week end hide away
Egyptians and Romans used pulley’s and levers to get things done, modern winching techniques uses the same principles, (God this is hard to make this interesting)

Well instead of having a single line pull as I have board you with above, we use a device which allows us to run a double line and half the total effort needed to pull the vehicle and if you have a three line pull it would be even easier.

The mathematics around this technique is quite easy to understand, thank goodness and it is quite interesting, well for us it was, not so much for you lot reading this drivel.

Whilst we were waiting for people to set the winching system up, Caroline notice a hole in the ground the size of a 50 cent coin, as we both peered inside, you could see the eyes and fangs of the thing I absolutely hate, “spiders”.

I picked up a very fine stick and rang its door bell, as we were trying to determine what it was, possibly a trap door or a wolf spider, or even a whistling spider, but no tune was emanating from its home.

Week end Hide awayWeek end Hide awayWeek end Hide away

This is John and Cheryl's week end hide away
I poked the stick in to its hole, it definatly wanted to fight, but it just would not emerge from its den.

We watched the final winch exercise and we were all done, it was mid afternoon and we needed to be back in Canberra tonight as we had a dinner date.

Some other people where leaving and decided to go down the river and that way home, but we decided to go the way we came as we needed to get home for a certain time, shower shave then out.

Leonie let us lot leaving, by the normal route, with Richard in the middle and Caroline and myself where at the rear, the sun was baking hot and about half an hour in to our journey, and I don’t think we had even left John and Cheryl’s property we saw a Black snake about 4-5ft long just basking on the side of the track, as we went past we stopped and had a look, the creature had no intention of moving as it was enjoying the sunshine.

We got back to Canberra, at about 5.30, whizzed in had a shower and a shave and whizzed out, to dinner in Kingston.

We had the most awesome adventure in the Brindabella’s.

Additional photos below
Photos: 17, Displayed: 17



Manually winching
Who's house is thisWho's house is this
Who's house is this

Look closely, you can see its legs and fangs. its either a Trap door spider, or possibly a wolf spider
Ringing its door bellRinging its door bell
Ringing its door bell

Trying to make the Spider come out.
Caroline Caroline

Enjoying the action

26th October 2011

Just Terrific
I have never looked at your blog until this morning. I love it!!! Your report on the winching is terrific. Mack now has his photo on the web, what a spoilt dog, he has a crazy personality. Chezzzzzzzz
28th February 2012

Your Blogs
Hi Andy and Caroline, Great to meet you both at Matthew and Renita's wedding on Sunday, and thanks for providing an interesting and entertaining chat. I've been getting an overview of your blogs - so much info, well written and great photos. The tourist trade would benefit - another career for you both? A book perhaps aimed at the UK market? Contributions to Lonely Planet? I'm sure you've thought of all these... Anyway, keep well and Denise and I hope to catch up with you, perhaps a barbecue at our place when Lee and Marilyn visit again? Cheers and best wishes, Barry McGloin
12th March 2012

Hi Both
So Sorry, I have just realised that we missed this message, our apologies. we are glad you like the blog and would love to catch up with you guys. Our best regards Andy & Caroline

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