Riverside Ridge – the Castle Hill of Douglas!
“Oh my lordy, I think my legs are about ready to fall off…. and I wasn’t even out of the carpark yet…”
This week I went for a (not-so) leisurely stroll up Riverside Ridge over in Douglas…. and survived to tell the tale!
My partner told me about the short walk up to the water tanks a while ago and I’ve been putting it off ever since! As someone who has taken an extended lazy break from exercise, I noticed myself getting short of breath while walking up the front stairs and knew if I didn’t get off my arse soon I was only going to get worse. I used to live near The Strand and knew all the steps of the Goat Track by heart, but that was a while ago. Now I’m over in the ‘burbs and like a typical Townsvillian, anything over a 5min drive is simply tooooooo far away!
So I caved in and thought FINE! I’ll check out Riverside Ridge and see if it can be considered the little cousin of Castle Hill . I dropped the big kids off at school and headed over to Douglas, where I chose to start from the Riverview Tavern carpark. A quick check of the watch confirmed that it was still too early to abandon the walk in favour of a wine in the air conditioned pub, so I dragged the pram out of the car, loaded up the baby, summoned a positive “This is going to be fun” attitude and off we went.
With the baby as my personal cheer squad we hooked a right onto Riverside Bvld and headed towards the overpass that crosses the ring road. I passed two fellow walkers with a cheery “Good Morning” and I was feeling great.
Then we go over to the other side of the ring road and saw the sign…
Instead of Riverside Ridge it should have said “Wrong Way, Turn Back”
There isn’t really much of a warm up once you reach the start of Windarra Avenue, the incline kicks in straight after the roundabout and it may not look very threatening in the photos but my legs were definitely threatened….and hurting…. positive attitude draining…..baby still cheering….mum slowly dying…
I stopped a lot on my way up. A lot more than I’d like to admit to but I kept telling myself it was to take
I stopped in front of these real estate signs for a while. Not just to dream but because this is the top of the first section of hill and it felt like my lungs would probably give out if I didn’t stop right then and there…
There was a short section of downhill after the signs and I was once again lulled into a sense “Hey this isn’t too bad”…
Then the road turned to the right and I almost turned around then and there! Once again it’s hard to show the incline in a photo but this time I thought for sure I was going to die. My legs were on fire, the pram weighed a tonne, and breathing was definitely a lot harder.
At the top of this stretch there are new houses being built…. so were the tradies hot & worth a sneaky perve? I couldn’t tell you because I had my head down watching my feet step one after the other and hoping I didn’t look completely hideous, while also hoping I didn’t trip over and make a complete ass of myself.
To the Townsville Stone guy who greeted me with a cheery “Good Morning!”, I’m sorry I only managed a puffed “Hi” but you are lucky you got that and not a punch in the face because at this point I was swinging between a Homicidal-dont-look-at-me Crazy Person and Omg-I’m-gonna-die-so-please-just-kill-me-now crazy person. Your cheery tone was salt in my exhausted wounds buddy…
But then we made it!….. To the top of that bit anyway. What! There’s freakin MORE?! Argggghhhh!
There is was – the final water tank! But first I had to walk up the worst part of the entire road. I was so wrecked that I could only managed three or four steps before stopping to take a breath. The pram weighed three tonnes…. baby was still smiling…. I was most definitely going to die….my calf muscles were burning like they have never burned before (well at least not for a long time!
But I made it! I had resisted the urge to turn around and now stood looking out at a pretty amazing view of town.
So is it a good substitute for Castle Hill? I think for a free outdoor exercise that has a good intensity level, Riverside Ridge is definitely a great option. As much as I whine and carry on like I was dying I actually enjoyed it! For someone like me who isn’t the fittest person in the world it provided a great challenge. Windarra Ave isn’t as long as the road on Castle Hill and would have taken me far less time had I not been stopping for photos and real estate dream buying. It’s also much easier on the knees than the Goat Track steps are.
Would I do it again? ABSOLUTELY! In fact I’ll be back there again next week if you’d like to join in my suffering 😉