The Cataract Gorge in flood
My late husband, Bob McMahon, regarded Launceston's Cataract Gorge as one of this island state's most wonderful, accessible assets. Since 1972, when we were transferred to Launceston as young teachers, he used the cliffs of the Gorge as his own personal playground, and his name is on so many of the first ascents of the fabulous little climbs there. In later years Bob passed on his love of this unique little gem of a place, situated almost in the heart of Launceston, to countless school, corporate, girl guide and other groups, which he took climbing and abseiling there. He always infected them with his boundless sense of enthusiasm and joy and delight in a unique and special place. Bob also published guidebooks to the climbs and other delights of the Gorge so that others could share what had given him so many years of pleasure.
Bob had always wanted to showcase the Gorge much more, to help realize it's potential as an adventure tourist drawcard and to that end, he got together with cycling guru, Ian Ferrier and budding young entrepreneur Cade Smith over a year ago to make a drawcard event a reality. Thus the Launceston Cataract Challenge was born. In the middle of planning the event, Bob's life was suddenly cut short, but so important did the others regard the event, that they decided it really had to go ahead without Bob and to honour his memory.
So on Friday last week (under a warm, sunny sky after weeks of ceaseless rain), Ian, Cade and a few others organized a media event to give the public a small foretaste of what the Challenge would entail. They set up a zip-line above the flood-waters and also arranged to do a traverse of Kings Bridge. One or two brave media personnel even volunteered to have a go!
Launceston Cataract Challenge will be held on Sunday 27th October 2013 and will entail road bike, mountain bike, ropes, kayaking and running events for individual and team competitors over the age of 13. To find out more, go to http://www.launcestoncataractchallenge.com.au