Table of Contents
THE SYDNEY BUSHWALKER
A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to The Sydney. Bushwalkers, 14 Atchison Street, St. Leonards.
POSTAL ADDRESS Box 4476, G.P.O., SYDNEY, N.S.W., 2001.
Editor: Jim Brown, 103 Gipps Street, Drummoyne. Tel. 81-2675. Typist: Kath Brown
Duplication: Jim Vatiliotis.
Business Manager: Ramon U’Brien, 7/25 Dartbrook Road, Auburn.
Tel. 888-6444 (Business)
|IN THIS ISSUE||Page|
|From the Editor||2|
|At the January General Meeting||3|
|Land of Atjira Dot Butler||5|
|Shoalhaven Gorge trip data Jim Brown||10|
|The Lyke Wake Walk Paddy Pallin||13|
|Mountain Equipment Advertisement||16|
|Coming Walks Pat Harrison||15|
|Federation Report Ray Hookway||18|
|Membership Notes Geoff Mattingley||19|
Enquiries regarding Club Marcia Shappert, Tel. 30-2 028
From the Editor
The Management Tree
Amongst the various games one can play bushwalking must be almost unique, in that everyone involved is, or has been; a participant. There are no spectators that is, so far as the actual ‘sport is concerned.
The same does not apply when it comes to the business of running a walking club. There is usually a small coterie of diligent toilers who occupy one office or another year after year, and a large body of people doing very little or nothing at all.
Of course, it would be ideal if walks programmes and social calendars grew on trees, and if correspondence, reports and financial statements could be plucked from the air although it must be conceded that, if this state of affairs ever came to pass, the more ardent conservationists amongst us would probably protest against such exotic growths and the pollution of the atmosphere. Since there isn’t a management tree, we have to put up with those simple humans who do what they can, and sometimes utter such pitiful appeals for help or co-operation that it is quite a strain to withhold one’s support.
These thoughts are inspired by the approach of the Club’s annual election of officers. By the-time this is published, announcements at the February General Meeting will probably have made known which of the present office bearers will not be seeking reelection. In some cases potential successors will have been canvassed, which is not a bad thing, because it means the new incumbent is likely to have given some consideration to the nature and extent of the job he is taking on. At the same time, past experience shows that it is not a good thing if management resides too long with one Particular group or clique; however efficient and devoted its members may be.
The Committee includes a number of working bullocks, who have to do a good deal of homework on their jobs s for these posts some background of Club affairs is useful. There are also a few billets which require nothing more than appearance at Committee Meetings, but if that is the limit of the occupant’s activity, he may as well not be there.
At all events, it is a good time of the year for members to look around and see if their garden has a bush that produces ready made social programmes. Even if there isn’t, they might consider if there is some other avenue in which they can contribute to the work of running the Club.
The January General Meeting
The first general meeting of the calendar year is usually a poorly-attended one, so the January roll-up of over 40 must be accounted quite good, especially as there was little likelihood that anything of great pith or moment would be discussed. There wasn’t.
Two new members, Pauline Brown and Peter Miller made their debut, the December minutes were confirmed and in matters arising it was said- that the selected manufacturer of the proposed cloth badge wore closed for annual holidays but badges could be expected shortly. Correspondence contained a request for re-instatement as a member by Peter Harrington, a circular from the Smokewalkers with an application form (reprinted in this issue of the magazine); advice that the State Planning Authority disapproved of sand mining in certain areas at Myall Lakes; and notification of a change of address by Mountain Equipment, the camping gear suppliers.
The Treasurer put it to us that we had 036 in our trading account at the close of 1971, and Pat Harrison said he would later outline a plan to expend some of this money.
This brought us to the account of December walks, starting with Alan Hedstrom’s trip to Myall Lakes with a party of 5. Camp was made at Mungo Brush and Alan voiced the opinion that it is an area best visited in dry weather conditions. Lack of starters caused Ray Hookway to cancel his proposed Kowmung River trip, but no less than 19 people went on the abseiling instructional taken by Roger Gowing and Alan Pike, and another 18 (10 prospectives) tackled Bill Hall’s day walk over Scouters Mountain, where fairly dense scrub was encountered along the western rim. There was no report as to whether David Cotton’s day trip in Darke’s Forest had gone.
Pat Harrison had the Friday nighter on the second weekend, when a team of 13 went to Barrington, Prowled around the southern part of the Tops, caught fish and returned along the Allyn River. Saturday saw Nancy Alderson’s group of four at Woods Creek, the old Reunion site, where it was found another group had cut dawn green timber. There were 12 along for Kath Brown’s day walk to Burning Palms - they wore described as a docile group which didn’t outwalk the leader.
The third weekend started with Bob Younger’s test walk on Linden Creek and Grose River with seven people four strangers were mot heading strongly up Linden Creek who believed they were on the Grose: Spiro had his Instructional with a team of 19 (13 prospectives) on the Upper Cox in nice weather, while Sunday saw Don Finch’s lilo trip on the Wollangambe Creek change to a walk, as reported in the January magazine.
For the Christmas period the piece de resistance was Don Finch’s Kosciuszko tour, with 19 starters. Armed with “bush camping permits”, they managed a considerable amount of tripping around (mostly in mist and rain) before pulling out on the Monday and paying a call on the Tinderry Ranges on the way home.
A few items had come under notice at December’s Federation Meeting including a proposal by the authorities in Tasmania to check the equipment of walkers going into the Cradle Mountain Reserve and prohibiting those not properly furnished. The S. & R. group was pressing on with schemes to introduce some new procedures, and the Federation Reunion would be held at Sugee Bag Creek on the April 15-16 weekend.
In General Business, the question of forming a Club detachment of Smoke Walkers was considered, but it was agreed to leave it to personal application hence the form enclosed with this issue.
Some concern was expressed at the lack of an organiser for our 1972 Reunion, a task finally undertaken by Mike Short, with Alan Pike as assistant.
Pat Harrison now advanced his money-expending scheme, which was centred on the idea that one Club, such as ours, would probably be better able to produce a printed magazine for general sale than an organisation such as Federation. He suggested an outlay of about500 would enable about 1,500 copies to be published. Neville Page then moved that a sub-committee be set up to examine the feasibility of the scheme, and when this was carried, Wilf Hilder, Pat Harrison, Spiro Ketas, Neville Page, Bill Gillam and Dot Butler became the investigatory team Dot Butler reported the acquisition by Natural Areas’ Ltd. of eleven acres of bushland at Dee Why for C10,000 (value about : l20,000). The present owner reserved only the Tight to have such personal use of the area as she desires apparently one activity being a nudist colony meeting there from time to time, notwithstanding the growth of lantana near the creek bed.
Kath Brown put a proposition that the 7ednesday before Easter be always decreed a “free night” to avoid the clash of business meetings or good social events on the evening people were planning or packing for the long weekend motion carried.
Wilf Hilder had the last word of the evening - mentioned the Melbourne Club’s magazine “Walk” as now available (at 30c. a copy); and that a reprint of the Lands Department’s “Blue Labyrinth” map should be available soon.
We called it off at 9.52 p.m.
Journey Through the Land of Altjira – Part 1.
by Dot Butler
Note: Central Australia is called by the Aranda folk the Land of Altjira, which means the Land of Eternity, or the Eternal Land.
A fortnight’s Bushwalk in the MacDonnell Range of Central Australia, August, 1971.
Party: Frank and Joan Rigby, Henry Gold, Gerry Sinzig, Dot Butler.
At the Adelaide airport we waved goodbye to Bob and Roslyn Duncan who had come to see us off, then our plane headed north for Alice Springs, flying over 800 miles of the driest country in the world. Outstanding features we recognised were the Flinders Range (Bushwalking country of the South Australians), the vast salt lakes Torrens and Eyre, then the western borders of the Simpson Desert where Death first came into the world. This came about through sheer malice: a dark spell was chanted by the legendary Ntjikanta brothers, they of the snake totem, twin sons of the shell parrot. They put the curse of Death upon all mankind for ever.
Approaching our destination we eagerly studied the landscape below. There lay a lean hard land of worn-down rock ranges arranged in parallel lines in an interminable sea of red sand. And now in the rough stony expanse of desert we can pick out the MacDonnell Range, which is to be our goal. It contains the Heavitree Range - a row of bare low hills moving from east to west across the red desert like a string of camels tied nose to tail, and the Chewings Range, lying to the north and roughly parallel to the Heavitree. Its highest mountains rise to over 4,000 ft. and at intervals it is cut through by deep clefts. These we proposed to investigate in search of permanent water. On our right lay the incredible meteorite crater of Goss’s Bluff whore the Moon-men got their experience.
Appropriately the plane arrived late in this land of Lots-of-Time. We did a bit of buying before the shops shut, then got a taxi to the Green leaves campground. It didn’t take long to set up camp and we were soon asleep.
The first sound I heard on waking next morning was a bird calling four slow deliberate notes like pebbles being dropped one by one into a crystal pool. Tho notes were identical with the four notes that introduce the theme song in the film “Dr. Zhivago”. It was a thrilling, haunting sound that seemed to hold within it the image of that vast timeless land – the very utterance of the remote Centre and of untamed places. I have never identified the bird, and perhaps I don’t want to.
The two green bundles beside me on the iron-hard ground were Henry and Gerry, sleeping like babes. Judging by their peaceful expressions they could have been cushioned on softest eiderdown instead of on 12 square feet of the hardest gibber country on the earth’s surface. In the little tent nearby were Frank and Joan Rigby, our leaders. You would never think little pint-sized Digby would be a match for this land’s girth; you would more likely imagine our leader to be some 6 ft. Arthur Groom striding leagues over the desert by moonlight. But appearances can be deceptive; like a little boarded Old Man of the Mountains, Digby has taken on this country, at times single-handed, at times with Joan and one or two others, but he has always brought his party out alive.
It is experience which makes the good leader. Bushwalking in Central Australia is not for the inexperienced. Nature there is a harsh mother; no mistakes go unpunished. Do you walk carelessly down the hillsides, old man spinifex will prick your ankles painfully with his hundred spines, many of which remain embedded and, to my sorrow, had to be picked out with a blunt safety-pin as I had no other implement. Do you sit down thoughtlessly without first brushing the red earth, you will get up hurriedly with a thousand bindi-eyes in the seat of your pants and the endless job of trying to pick them out. “It would have to be my sleeping pants,” ruefully complained our first victim, Henty. If you leave the campfire at night for a brief sojourn into the outer darkness and omit to put your shoes on for the short journey you will soon be hopping about removing vicious goats-head burrs from the soles of your feet or the inch long spines of deadly nightshade from between your toes.
The wise party is up with the dawn and makes an early getaway before the heat of the day starts the dehydration process. 2 p.m. is the hottest hour. In the early afternoon one rests, if possible, in the shade till the heat goes out of the day. We didn’t always do this… you know, “Mad dogs and Bushwalkers go out in the midday sun!”
At the campground we had sorted and packed the food, taking half and leaving half for the second week of the trip. Then we went by taxi to Standley Chasm. Here was the usual milling crowd of tourists photographing the rusty oxidised walls which gleam vivid red when the sun hits them around midday. Standley Chasm abuts on the Jay Creek Aboriginal Reserve. A white couple have set up the Jay Creek Progress Association. They have organised trail riding with an aboriginal ranger to accompany the horses on day excursions and they conduct a refreshment kiosk with little shy brown girls serving the food, ice-creams and drinks. There are woodcarvings and paintings for sale, also small seedling ghost-gums and river-gums which “will grow anywhere”. When we left this animated scene we would be going out into the unknown; this was the last we would see of people for a week.
We shouldered our packs, weighed down with a week’s food plus a filled half-gallon plastic waterbottle. “Hateful lump,“ said Digby, “but you must accept it as one of the unpleasant facts of life. There well might be no water whore we are going. We took the horse trail over a pass and down a zig-zag track skirting a pound wall and camped for the night when we found a permanent waterhole deep in a cleft between our gully and the pound gully.
Next day we followed the horse trail for a while but soon left it, cutting over a low hillock to the base of Mt. Conway. The natives call this Iloata. Legend has it that Iloata, a termite ancestress, looked far across the plain with love and saw another termite ancestress. They wished to join each other but could not and their tears fell and made the watercourses. For very sadness Iloata sank to the ground and became part of Mt. Conway. The other rose into the sky and became the evening star.
We climbed Conway and Gerry and I did a bit of rockclimbing. Henry took a photo of Gerry standing on the head of the termite ancestress. He with his photographs and Frank with his writing are preparing an illustrated book on the MacDonnolls. It is well on the way to publication.
We left Iloata and continued on, to camp in a side valley near Brinkley Bluff, with Paisley Bluff nearby. The only flat land was covered with dove-grey Plants of deadly nightshade, its enticingly soft leaves protected by deadly spines. After a few encounters with these we find Digby referring to them with venom in his tones as “Bloody Marys”. The name stuck.
In sandy hollows under the river-gums heaps of dead leaves had accumulated. I collected piles of these for a soft bed. There was never a night when I was not able to find sufficient leaves for a comfortable mattress. Sand can be very hard.
Our evening meal was prepared around the campfire with the wind whispering in the callitris like the lazy lapping of the sea on a tropical shore, and soon the night sky was spangled with myriads of bright stars. We were watching Joan at her nightly task, intent on learning the secret of perfect damper-making. When next we looked at the sky two giant black clutching hands were creeping over the sky towards - the rain ancestor approaching with stealthy steps. On such a night as this the Iliaka njemba are abroad - legendary grim emu-shaped phantoms that stalk over the sandhill wastes at night and devour straying children. We couldn’t believe the 2.5 years drought would break just because we happened to be in Central Australia, so we bedded down in the open. During the night we did actually get a short shower of slow well-spaced drops, but hardly enough to make us seek shelter.
We were up at piccaninni daylight. Ahead of us lay a long walk across miles and miles of desert, to Hughes Gorge. The rain ancestor had vanished and the fresh morning air was filled with the flute-like notes of a butcher-bird. We hastened to get on our way. Before long the sun soared over the horizon like a ball of fire, presaging a hot day.
Now, when I shut my eyes, I relive that day in my memory… I see millions of gibbers coming towards mo as on an endless conveyor belt - light red, bright red, brick red, blood red, purple, grey and orange, peach-coloured and olive green - they keep on coming, with occasional scatterings of white gleaming quartz chips to dazzle the eyes… mile after square mile of stones scattered at random over the heart of Australia… lightly embedded in red dust soft as talc… recently rain-washed and forever undisturbed except by the springing feet of the black-tailed wallabies or the pounding of the red and grey kangaroos. I am mechanically putting one foot in front of the other, for there is no reason to break the rhythm, and my four companions are doing likewise. I have my hat pulled low to shelter my eyes from the glare, but the hot Capricorn sun hammers on my back and provides a delicious inferno of heat for the myriad flies who are having a free ride on my rucksac.
We stop in the sparse shade of some mulgas for lunch and don our fly-veils, then the interminable walk continues, over the dry claypans, the resinous scent from clumps of spinifex pervading the shimmering hot air and accentuating the deep loneliness and dangerous waterlessness of the terrain. Our half gallons of water get us to Hughes Gorge, but will there be enough to get us back again if we find no water?
All through the long, hot day we trailed over the pebble strewn wasteland of claypans… ahead of us the ancient hills basking like sleeping dragons under the sun… no shade anywhere.
Hughes Gorge, when we at last reached it, was Heaven. There we found glorious permanent waterholes - six of them. Climbing up through the cool shade on smooth waterworn rocks was a delight to the bare feet. Sometimes we had to swim through pools in order to continue. The shock of cold water after the outside heat was exhilarating.
And always the night camps were of an unearthly beauty. After the heat of the day a now ethereal world opened up. Lying in our sleeping-bags on soft beds of dry leaves we would study the skyey star-charts. The dark spectral hills thrust upward into the night with Venus atop and a thousand stars tangled in the ironwood trees. In the magic stillness meteors shot their whispering course across the blue emptiness of interstellar space. It is on nights like these that one sees in a flash the inner springs that make the Bushwalker what he is. The secret of keeping one’s vision is always to be a nomad, never to remain long in one place… “All experience is an arch wherethru' gleams that untravelled world whose margin fades forever and forever as I move.”
We allowed ourselves three days to return to Standley Chasm. When we came back again to our Brinkley Bluff camp we found, miraculously, that the Bloody Marys were now in purple flower; the few drops of rain some days earlier had brought them out.
The next day we climbed the Hogsback. Gerry settled down on the summit with his sketch pad. When Henry arrived he said he had been startled by a dingo, which he described as looking like a large Alsatian with a bushy tail. What if it should attack us! High up on that bare rocky top one felt a sudden frisson of fear, returning in a moment to the dim red dawn of our race when man was not only hunter but hunted. We left it some of our lunch scraps as a peace offering.
We dropped off the Hogsback into a high valley which was particularly rich in flowers. The small amount of rain had worked its magic spell; in an area of less than 15 square foot I counted 15 different plants in flower. I made up a floral ring for Joan. There was a bright significance about it as she stood by Frank putting it on her finger “He has wed me with a ring, with a ring of bright flowers”. On the ends of its supple vines Tecoma displayed its bell-like flowers. The sweet perfume of cassia pervaded the air, combined with the smell of ants seeking honey inside its yellow flowers. Prickley wattle had individual flowers big enough to entirely cover a man’s thumbnail.
We camped for the night in the upper Standley Chasm beside a dry waterfall chute. Always, in such places, if we climbed up we would find water in deep rocky pools. There are said to be fish – bony bream which the aboriginals call ntapitnja - in the deep gorge holes in the MacDonnells that have defied the longest drought. We didn’t see any, but long-legged waterbirds which haunt the waterholes seemed to have a knowing look.
We returned next day to the lower Standley Chasm and the tourists. After lunch we were able to get aboard a small bus which was returning half empty to Alice and so we arrived back at the Greenleaves campground for very necessary hot showers and washing of our clothes.
(To be continued)
The Shoalhaven Gorge
by Jim Brown
At its junction with the Kangaroo River, the Shoalhaven is about 100 ft. above sea level. Sixteen miles upstream, at Badgery’s Crossing, its height is still less than 350 ft. This means that when the Junction Dam has been constructed in a few years’ time the retaining wall will not have to be very high to produce flooding of a considerable length of the Shoalhavon Gorge, and another attractive place to walk will be just a memory.
Although it is scenically a very agreeable place, the Shoalhaven Gorge below Badgery’s is evidently not frequented by walkers. On a recent trip along this section of the river, almost all the indications of human passage pointed to canoe travellers rather than walkers. That is to say, the remains of fireplaces were all on sandy spits or small riverside flats - places where the boats could be beached - even though there were much more attractive camping sites elsewhere.
This information story is essentially for others who would like to cover the Shoalhaven Gorge between Badgery’s and the Kangaroo Junction on foot before it is largely lost to us.
Firstly, the river is best tackled in a long drought period. Because of the slow rate of fall, the stream has many long, deep reaches where fording would be difficult. To gain the easier going, numerous crossings are desirable, and these can be made fairly readily when the river is low. It may be practicable to cover the whole distance on one side, but this would certainly entail somo slow, hard patches, especially if one had to stay with the northern bank.
Those who are familiar with the Shoalhaven between the Block Up and Badgery’s will know that it resembles the middle part of Cox’s River, with steep wooded ridges dropping down to river flats. Most of these ridges are negotiable on foot. Below Badgery’s, however, the pattern changes and the rim of the Gorge has a fairly continuous sandstone cliff, the general effect being more like the Capertee below Glen Davis, except that the Shoalhaven valley is much wider and the river flow greater.
Provided one can cross at the shallows, the walking is quite easy as far as Canoe Flat (3 1/2 miles down from Badgery’s). The Gorge then narrows, and over the next 3 1/2 miles to Fossickers Flat the walking is fair, with patches of slower going over rocky ledges and through sera, interspersed with short stretches of grassy flat. Between Canoe Flat and Fossickers Flat the better walking is often (but not always) on the southern bank.
East of Fossickers Flat, and particularly after Wirritin Creek has been passed, there is a further deterioration, giving about 6 1/2 miles in which progress is likely to be little better than a mile an hour. It is still not entirely rough, as there are places where one bank is level and grassy and, if the water is low, beaches of sand or pebble are exposed in some spots. In between these easy stages, there is a good deal of rock scrambling and scrub pushing. At one place, about a mile below Wirritin Creek, a bluff on the south side drops straight into a deep pool, and could be passed on that bank only by gaining quite a deal of height. Around Grey’s Point the north bank is slow, with a sequence of rocky ribs going down to the water: it is negotiable, but best avoided. About Double Terrace Point the long grassy flats reappear and give easy going for the remaining miles to the Kangaroo.
It is always a chancy thing to quote precise times, because the strength of parties varies widely, and weather and river conditions can influence the rate of progress. As a guide, however, my solo times were:
Saturday: Badgery’s.Crossing 9:40 a.m., Canoe Flat 11:15 a.m., Fossickers Flat 2:15 p.m. (one hour for lunch en route), Wirritin Creek 3:00 p.m., Reference Caoura 224021 5:00 p.m. (with a 30 mins afternoon tea halt); Bullangalong Creek 6:00 p.m.; opposite Monarch Bluff (night camp) 7:00 p.m.
Sunday: Depart 6:30 a.m., Cumburmurra Creek 8:40 a.m., Kangaroo Junction 9:40 a.m.
Factor that would affect my speed of travel were
(a) First time along this section of river, and in a few places followed the harder bank in error.
(b) River was very low and easily crossed at about knee depth, in the shallow spots.
© A heavy rain storm Saturday night meant the first two miles on Sunday were through fairly dense waterladen scrub - very slow.
(d) With plenty of time up my sleeve I was not hurrying the trip.
For a moderately active party, the existence of a passable road along the northern cliff line from Tallong to Purnoo Lookout via Caoura (about 22 miles) puts the Shoalhaven Gorge within the scope of a normal weekend jaunt, provided a car can be placed near Purnoo Lookout before starting down Badgery’s. Actually this Caoura road continues down to the Kangaroo Junction, and an orthodox car could probably be driven most of the way, but the surface is steep and rough in places, and I would not recommend it beyond Purnoo Lookout except for 4-wheel drive vehicles. It is worth detouring to Paul’s Lookout, just past Purnoo Lookout, for a good view. The maps, Caoura and Burrier 2 in, to the mile, give good, accurate coverage.
The Lyke Wake Walk
by Paddy Pallin
It gives me great pleasure to report that my English nephew Peter Smithson is a keen walker and I arranged with him to walk the Cleveland Way, a hundred mile walk over the Yorkshire Moors in the North York Moors National Park. The walk more or less follows the edge of the escarpment around the western, northern and eastern perimeter of the park at an average altitude of ten to twelve hundred feet. We did not camp but put up a friendly farmhouses or bed and breakfast places nevertheless by the time I had allowed for a complete change of “respectable” clothing, plus wet weather and cold weather protection my pack weighed not much less than for a camping trip.
Four of us set off from Helmsley, a charming rural town. The party consisted of Peter, his friend John, Rex Cox, a fellow Aussie, and myself. We had travelled by car from Birmingham, about 150 miles, and so we were glad to stop after about 6 miles at Cold Kirby, a small bleak village in the top of the moor. It started to rain and we huddled under trees on the village green and ate the sandwiches Peter’s wife had kindly prepared for us. Rex and I bemoaned the fact that we had not brought a billy to make a cuppa!
The weather steadily deteriorated and by the time we got to our destination for the night we were completely soaked. The name of the farm was appropriately named “Low Paradise” (a few hundred feet below another farm called “High Paradise”) and we soon forgot our woes as we tucked into steaks in front of a lovely open fire, while it teemed outside.
Next morning it still rained but the good farmer assured us it would go by midday, and sure enough, by the time 70 got to Osmotherloy, the sun was breaking through and we wore peeling off wet weather gear. Now Osmotherley holds special charms for ma because it is the scone of my first camps with Boy Scouts in 1915. It is a marvellous spot tucked away on the edge of the moor, comprising lovely quarried stone houses and it has not altered at all in the 55 years since I first saw it, except that the steep gravel road is now sealed. It was also the scene of my last camp in England. I aid a sentimental journey on push bike before I left England in 1926 and I camped alone on the moor at Sheep Wash Beck, in Scarth Nick. We lunched in the churchyard on fish and chips, fixed up a booking in the village inn, arranged a complicated transfer of our car from Helmsley to Osmotherley and then walked to the Sheep 1Jash Beck where we loafed in the hot sun.
That evening we attended an interesting function, a Wake, being the midsummer reunion of the Lyke Wake Club. It was broad daylight until 10 p m. so there was plenty of time to run a sports meeting which consisted of a beck jumping, a bog dodging championship, stone hammer throwing for the men, with broomstick race and best dressed witch competition for the girls. Many of the men were dressed in funereal garb with frock coats and top hats decorated with purple ribbons and the women were dressed as witches, with several very saucy modern versions showing more leg than broomstick! After the sports came a cold chicken dinner, after which we crowded into a converted barn.
I should explain that the membership of the Lyke Wake Club is open to those who have completed the Lyke Wake Walk, which is on a track across rough moorland from Osmotherley to Ravenscar, a distance of 40 miles. This trip must be completed inside 24 hours to qualify (with an extra 12 hours for those over 65!) It was started in 1955 by a dalesman farmer on whose farm the Wake was held. Crossings are now being recorded at the rate of 7,000 per year.
The name of the club refers to an ancient Yorkshire dirge which was sung at Wakes and the badge is appropriately enough a coffin. Three crossings entitle a member to be called a Master of Misery. Seven crossings (at least one in midwinter) are required to become a Doctor of Dolefulness, plus of course a thesis on the walk. A Past Master must have done 15 crossings, have contributed great services to the club and should be able to find his way across any moor by day or night, drunk or sober, without map or compass.
The indoor proceedings were in similar lighthearted vein and consisted of the reading of several witty theses submitted by candidates for doctorates, plus minutes of the previous meeting, songs, etc. Many of those present had been up since crack of dawn (and dawn cracks very early in June in Northern England) on a major Search and Rescue operation. The walk had become so popular that organisers for the United Nations Charity Fund decided to run a huge walkathon to raise funds. They got 800 starters, mostly young people in their early teens, divided them into groups under leaders with map and compass. Instead, however, of waiting till first light, they set them off at 10 p m. Leaders and led soon were separated; rain and wind came and a major disaster threatened.
Police and Moorland Rescue groups were called out, church halls and scout club rooms were opened up, hot food and blankets prepared, and after 12 worrying hours all walkers were accounted for with only minor injuries reported.
Next day we continued our walk on the Cleveland Tay. Vie had splendid views from the moor over the fertile farmlands of the Tees Valley. On the moor were birds of many kinds. Game birds specially bred for the shooting, such as partridges and pheasants abounded, plus shylarks with their merry airborne song mixed. with the plaintive call of the curlew. We had a fine day until about 4 p.m. and then down came the rain, and so we arrived drenched at our next farm house. The highlight for us Aussies on the next day was the monument erected in honour of Captain Cook on a high point in the moor within sight of his home at Great Ayton. Then we got the the monument, which is a tall stone obelisk I saw Rex read the wording on the bronze plaque with dissatisfaction written on his face. It recounted Cook’s exploits as a navigator and seaman, but made no mention of Australia. Theh we saw the date – 1827. At that time Australia had not even been named and Melbourne didn’t exist. When I pointed this out Rex was somewhat mollified and forgave the ignorant Pommie who had erected the plaque.
We found that the normal pub accommodation at Guisboro was closed for renovations and so we had to tramp another 6 miles to Saltburn, making 24 miles, which left me a bit footsore.
The rest of the trip was fine and sunny and took us along the cliffs of the Yorkshire coast and into delightful fishery villages like Staithes and Runswick Bay. Maltby had reminders of Captain Cook in the form of a monument and a museum almost totally devoted to his exploits. We passed Ravenscar, the end of the Lyke Wake Walk, Scarborough, and finishod up at Filay, a little fishing village. It has no harbour so the fishing boats are hauled up by tractor on to the main street. It is odd to see those quite large fishing boats hauled up in front of the shops. About 200 yards up the main street from the shore is a notice; on one side it has “No cars past this point”; on the other it says “No boats past this point”.
So ended a rather different walk in one of England’s National Parks.
by Pat Harrison, Walks Sec.
|March 3,4,5||Ross Hughes’ Mbrong Deep trip on the last programme was diverted to another area because of the flooded Kowmung. As the rain has eased, the Upper Kowmung should be in good condition now. You must be able to swim and you must have a waterproof pack.|
|March 5||Sam Hind returns from a longish retirement to lead one of his old favorites in the Royal National Park. It’s good to see you in action again, Sammy.|
|March 10,11,12||Here are names to conjure with Cloudmaker (spiritual home of bushwaikers), Strongleg and Paralyser (no adjectives necessary). Right in the heart of the walking country, but too seldom visited. Here’s your chance to show whether you’re man or rabbit.|
|March 11,12||When Roger Gowing, our wandering son, returned from abroad, he ‘lost no time in doing something for the programme. ‘What better way to spend Saturday arvo and Sunday than by walking through Blue Gum Forest and the Grand Canyon?|
|March 12||Wilf Hilder returns to the fold with a great day walk which is all now to the programme. There’s a little of everything on this walk, and the jumping-off place is reached by an 80-90 mile drive each way via Appin and Mt. Keira road|
|March 18,19||Our Annual Reunion at McArthur’s Flat on the Nattai River near Hilltop. Please refer to other parts of the magazine for fuller details of this not-to-be-missed event.|
|March 24,25,26||Ross Hughes (Heaven bless him!) came to the rescue when the programme looked like foundering for lack of support. This trip is another great one in the Kowmung Country. Steepish descent down Cambage Spire with spectacular views of Christy’s Creek and the Kowmung. Average climb up the Bulga Range, a jog along the road on Scott’s lain Range to Butcher’s Creek, then a bit of unknown creek to Chiddy Obelisk (terrific panorama here), and good walking thereafter. This trip has been arranged in such a cunning way that anyone who flakes can do so without inconveniencing the rest of the party, and could even spend Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning fishing on the Koumung while waiting for the others to came back that-a-way.|
|March 26||Elaine Brown leads the Sunday walk from Cowan by good track around Jerusalem Bay to the little waterfall where you can refresh yourself before the moderate climb to the ridge-top. There are one or two fine Sydney Rod Gums on the ascent and the views of Cowan Creek from near Cole Trig are unsurpassed.|
|March 30,31 April 1,2,3 - Easter||There are two trips programmed for Easter. The first is a came-as-you-go one to the Warrumbungles National Park, which is situated in the Tooraweenah-Coonabarabran area about 350 miles from Sydney. The Warrumbungles offer spectacular scenery - in fact there’s nothing like it anywhere else in Australia - and there are graded tracks, with huts and water tanks on the Grand High Tops. Jim’s plans are very flexible - you can walk like a tiger or you can take it easy.|
The other trip is led. by that irrepressible pair, Don Finch and Doone Wyborn. Nobody knows where it is going, except that it will be a MIGHTY TRIP INTO THE UNKNOWN.
Federation Report – December 1971 / January 1972
by Ray Hookway
Search & Rescue Affairs
Search and Rescue has always been an important phase of Federation activities. Recently relations between the Federation S. & R. group and the Blue Mountains rescue squad had become slightly strained. Nin Melville and Heather White were invited to lecture at the police training school in November, and with two other S. & R. Committee members also attended a meeting at the CIB with representatives of the Police rescue squads to thrash out mutual problems.
Relations were most cordial and an assurance was given that we would be kept informed of all S. and R. incidents in the Blue Mountains area and that during searches etc. we would operate as a unit under our own organisers. Heather White reported on this improved relationship at the Federation meeting in December.
An opportunity to demonstrate OUT S. and R. potential arose on December 8th and 9th when a Sea Scout became overdue in the Sassafras Gully, Blaxland area. Sixty five walkers responded to the call out. The scout eventually walked out unassisted before the search was fully under way, after foolishly abandoning his pack in Glenbrook Creek. The finding of his pack had lea searchers to believe that he may have been injured.
The death in November from exposure, of a boy in the Tasmanian Cradle Mountain Reserve has triggered requests for legislation to prevent ill equipped and inexperienced walkers entering the reserve. Federation is disturbed by these suggestions and will be watching the outcome carefully.
The 33rd Annual Federation Reunion is to be hold on April 15th and 16th at Sugee Bag Creek in the Mangrove Crook area of the Hawkesbury River. Full details will be posted later and a big S37 attendance is requested.
Owen Marks has programmed a one day walk in the area starting from the reunion site, so keep the weekend free. Offers of assistance with organising or with the entertainment would be gratefully received.
The Lands Department will issue a limited rerint of the Blue Labyrinth map with some minor amendments.
Federation meetings are hold in the small committee room, 4th Floor, Scots Church, Jamison Street, Sydney, on the third Tuesday of each month at 6.30 p m. Visitors arc cordially invited to attend.
Following on the January and February committee meetings, we have six new members to congratulate:
Pauline Brown, Bob Hodgson, Peter Miller, Bernard Rostron, Paul Harmata, Val Hannaford
This month we welcome no less than eleven new prospective members:
Paul Castle, Janice Greenlees, Ray Mitchell, Christian Sorenson, Henry Berk, Grant Evans, Beverley Anderson, Edward Tishart, Lilian IleIntosh, Margaret Richards, Kathleen Rucker
And now the usual warning to prospective members whose term is about to expire. The following people should ensure that they have completed their membership requirements by the end of March, ready to be interviewed by the committee at its April meeting:
George Catchpoolo, Christine Kirkby, Peter Hex Margaret, Long Frances Richards, Dudley Finlay, Joan Finlay, Rosemary Edmunds, Ken Stuckey
SOCIAL EVENTS TO NOTE
March 8th - The Lower Himalayas - talk by Grace Noble
March 22nd- Film and talk by the South African Tourist Bureau.
REUNION, 1972, AND THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
Of course, you’ll see it in the new Walks Programme, but you don’t, it should be noted that the Annual Gonerl Meeting an Wednesday, March 15; and the Reunion on the week-end of Mar at MacArthur’s Flat on the Nattai River. On page 20 of this diagram indicating how to get there - it’s been rendered from don’t consider it a precise survey just in case will be oh 18-19, issue is a memory, so don’t consider it a precise survey.
The Organiser for the Reunion is Mike Short (telephone 80-4294 – home) aided and abetted by Alan Pike.
WAY TO THE 1972 REUNION SITE MACARTHUR’S FLAT, NATTAI RIVER
1. Turn right off Hume Highway about one mile past the railway underpass at Picton. Roadsign indicates to Thirlmere and The Lakes. Follow road under railway, over hill, and along beside the Loop Railway Line to Thirlmere, whore the railway is crossed just before station. After crossing railway, take first turn to left (almost opposite hotel)
2. About 9 miles past Thirlmere road crosses loop railway at wooden bridge over deep cutting (short length of gravel road still hereabouts). Hill Top is about 1 miles on. Railway may be craossed,by rough track near station, or at brick overhead bridge 1mile south, then turnints back towards no Nap A below), Continue back beside railway until, road curves to the west.
3. As shown on map B below, about 7 miles from Hill Top
The January magazine contained a summary of the Objectives of the Smokewalkers – the fire fighting force of National Parks Association. At the January General Meeting it was agreed to distribute the enrolment form to all members. On this page is information as to the procedures and overleaf the application form.
National Parks Association Fire Fighting Force
APPLICATION FORM FOR VOLUNTEERS
The Smokewalkers form a pool of volunteers, whose main purpose is to protect natural bushland, particularly National Parks, State Parks and Nature Reserves, from fire. It is an established force, members having attended and fought many fires since its commencement in 1967.
LARGE NUMBERS OF VOLUNTEERS is the essence of this force. Will YOU help to boost our already considerable membership? (There is no Obligation to turn out when called). You may enrol for either the Fire Fighting Force (FFF) or the Support Force (SF). FFF members are physically fit enough to walk through bush to a fire, carrying certain equipment, and engage in the hard work of fire fighting. SF members back up the FFF by preparing food and drinks, providing first aid and transport, patrolling, and in communications. Some need to be fit enough to walk in to the fire front, with food, equipment, or messages.
In the event of a bush fire, key members will be notified by phone. These set in motion a contacting system by which large numbers can be phones quickly, and transport etc. arranged. Those living nearest a fire will usually be contacted first. Shifts may be necessary.
Operating expenses (phoning, food, petrol etc.) may be claimed through the Chief Contact, and recouped from the National Parks and Wildlift Service. Nobody need be out of pocket.
Circulars giving more information are available on request.
Please fill in application form (see over) and send it toe- Er. B. J. Packard,
80 Yanko Road, Pymble West. 2073. N.S.T.