Almanac Life: Running up that Forktree Hill in Carrackalinga


Claire and I trudge through the soft sand of the beach and then nurse a coffee at the village green. How daggily cool when from the barista’s van bursts, ‘The Pina Colada Song?’ Of course, I’m not into yoga but may have half a brain.


We’re in Carrackalinga with old friends. It’s Saturday morning and our day reaches out with electric possibility.


Planned equally with science and enthusiasm, my run’s to the Forktree Brewery and back to our accommodation. It’s my daily four kilometres. But up a hill.


How tough can it be?


Round, emerald knolls watch over Carrackalinga and making my way up the road a herd of sheep encourages my ambling by bleating in charitable ways. Last night’s pizza is now unwelcome ballast.


On the outskirts of town, a council election poster urges participation in this democratic event. Texas-sized utes and rattling 4WDs pass and some swerve away from me in vehicular acknowledgement of my ascent. Or not wishing to bloody their gleaming bull bars.


There’s several twists and the road’s undulating. Accustomed to the flat esplanade of Glenelg North, my thighs protest this topographical change to their jogging routine.


Finally, the brown tourist sign I’ve been seeking for excruciating minutes:


Forktree Brewery.


Despite being presently incapable of having a beer I’ve never been so pleased to arrive at a brewery,


I’m soaked. My ears popped on the way up and my legs are so convinced of an alpine elevation that they expect a few twirling snowflakes.


A woman and her dog survey the beer garden. We exchange a few words. With her hound marching her tree-ward she asks, ‘Where have you run from?’


Still in the carpark and puffing I reply, ‘Our holiday house back down the hill.’


She replies, ‘Awesome! Great job!’ Her husband appears with two pints. She’s an American but they live on Kangaroo Island. They both take a sip.


‘How’s the beer?’


‘Pretty good,’ they nod.


‘Lovely,’ I say, ‘We’re heading to Myponga later. Might go to the Smiling Samoyed Brewery.’ They both offer a glowing critique.


The brewery’s 151 metres above sea level. This might seem numerically unimpressive but having extracted a personal toll each of those demanding centimetres now generates a handsome reward.


Hands on hips, I drink in the wide vista up and down the Fleurieu coast. Gentle, green ranges. Sprawling white homes hugging the shore. A seaweedy tan smears the shallows and then the gulf deepens into a marine blue.


Tumbling down the hill. It’s almost controlled falling. Again, the vehicles are generous, and the sheep are softly supportive. A couple rotund blokes nod at me from a front lawn.


The cotton wool clouds loom as if they’re daubed on a God-sized canvas and although it’s mid-winter these pledge imminent awakening. Spring could almost be ready to say, ‘Boo!’


Our double story digs swim into sight and wondering what’s happening inside with Claire, my friends, and the boys, their past thirty minutes is unveiled: toast, hairdryers, and teenagers still in bunks.


I crunch up the gravel driveway.



Read more from Mickey Randall Here.



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About Mickey Randall

Now whip it into shape/ Shape it up, get straight/ Go forward, move ahead/ Try to detect it, it's not too late/ To whip it, whip it good


  1. Roger Lowrey says


    Your ongoing dedication to running is quite admirable my friend. With apologies to Basil Fawlty, “running, running, running? Ah yes I remember that”.

    But on the way to Kangaroo Island last year, the Fleurieu Peninsular was just a stunner. Jill and I took a bus/ferry connection and hired a car on KI. Along the way, the bus driver delivered his usual informative patter about that lovely coastline however he slowed down after popular demand and paused from his routine drill after quite a few kangaroo sightings.

    He then told the yarn about some particularly loud previous American tourists he was none too fond of. Apparently they had asked if it was legal to keep a kangaroo as a pet.

    He advised them in a solemn monotone that it wasn’t but, just off the record, it was widely known around local spots down this way that the kids used to ride them to school. Really!!!

    Adelaide bus driver one – USA tourists nil, even if they didn’t know he was scoring.


  2. Thanks RDL.

    Teaching in what could be a pretty tough school north of London I recall one Friday afternoon telling a few (mostly true) kangaroo stories to the locals. It was that or press on with discussion of eighteenth century poetry.

    Heading back down the Fleurieu in a couple weeks and looking forward to it. You Cats fans might be busy getting excited then!

  3. You did very well to resist the temptation to partake in a brew.

  4. Smokie- Checked my diary and while I’ve been to a pub a few times and not had a beer the record shows that this was the first occasion I’d been to a brewery and not had a brew.

    Whew. Given that sentence I’m just going to lie down now.

  5. Well played Mickey good commitment and I admit I’m jealous my knees are well past it and that my biggest sporting regret is never running a marathon I used to run the suggested 100 k each week

  6. Thanks Rulebook. 100k a week and marathons are massive (I believe) and I generally get puffed driving that far!

  7. Peter Fuller says

    I’m an enthusiastic runner, but my present home sees me running almost exclusively on the flat. Where I formerly lived, hills were inescapable. It’s certainly affected my ability to tackle events where climbing is involved, so I’m sure that I have contested my last Great Ocean Road marathon (or half). My Garmin these days typically tells me that I have ascended perhaps thirty metres over a 10k run. Previously the thirty metre ascent occurred in the first 500.
    Congratulations on conquering the Carrackalinga Hill.

  8. Thanks Peter and well done on your GOR marathons. I’m heading down to Port Elliot (between Victor Harbor and Goolwa) in a couple weeks and look forward to mucking around on Google Maps to plan a path.

    I saw a (very fit) bloke running recently and he had on an Hawaiian Ironman triathlon shirt and I found this event also impossible to imagine. I’m sure there’s a book or two on this and what participants must go through before, during and after.

  9. Katrina Hunt says

    Sorry also just to tell you, it’s Forktree Hill, Not Carri hill. Might want to correct it. Take care

  10. My apologies.

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