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Trip report, Furbers Steps to Ruined Castle, 29th April 2012.

Walkers: Lilian, Ben P, Christopher Ferita, Barry Ching, Ashleigh, Zoe, Bruce (leader).

Four of us set out in Ben’s care for a trip up to Katoomba, where we

met up with Zoe and Ashleigh, and then collected Lilian off the train.

Then a short drive to the Victoria Lookout kiosk where we parked cars

and headed off to Furbers Steps and down into the Jamieson Valley.

There are great views en route (see photos).

Although the day started off perferctly clear, as soon as we got to

the walk start, the “mountain cloud” moved in and stayed there for the

rest of the day.

At the bottom of Furbers Steps (with photostops en route to view the

Three Sisters and Katoomba Falls), we made our way through the

touristy section at the Scenic Railway terminus, making sure we didn’t

miss the not-very-obvious turnout to the Landsline and the track to

Ruined Castle.

The Landslide section was a rather rough crossing as usual, and we

reached the flat section which is the old tramway formation to Ruined

Castle. At the Mt Rennie tunnel we spoke briefly to some walkers (or should

that be “waders” who had just been through the tunnel, dressed

appropriately in wetsuits. We had gone only a few hundred more metres

when we noticed that Lilian, Barry and Christopher had fallen behind.

Then Christopher appeared to announce that Barry had sprained his

ankle and was coming along behind with Lilian.

We arrived at the junction of the track up to Ruined Castle, but found that Barry was not able to negotiate this steep track because of his

ankle. Lilian and Christopher stayed beind, and Ben, Zoe, Ashleigh and

myself went up the track (marked “experienced walkers only” by NPWS)

towards the “Castle”. Ben got ahead and went past the massive rock

which is the “castle” because he was looking for a real castle in ruins!

Anyway, we four clambered up the rock and had lunch. We admired the

view of the distant Kowmung peaks, and noted the low cloud descending

on Narrow Neck.

After lunch we retraced our steps down to the other three, and

returned back along the Federal Pass to the junction with Golden Stairs.

We decided that going up Golden Stairs was out of the question with

Barry’s sprained ankle (Golden Stairs is undergoing rehabilitation but

is still quite rough in places), so the decision was made to get him

to the Scenic Railway and get him out of the Valley that way. Even so,

it took Lilian and Barry an hour to traverse the 1 km Landslide

section of the track which is quite uneven. We made it to the Scenic

Railway at 4.20pm, just half an hour before the last train went. Barry

and I travelled up on the railway to the top and a Scenic World staff

mamber gave him some first aid in the form of a bandage to bind and

hold his ankle (which fortunately wasn’t swollen).

Meanwhile Zoe and Ashleigh had to go on ahead as they had a long drive back to the Central Coast. Ben, Christopher and Lilian walked back up

Furbers Steps.

Eventually we all get back together at the Scenic World bus terminus

and got in Ben’s car for the trip home. We stopped off at Blaxland

Macca’s for some dinner.

At Strathfield we went our separate ways, with advice to Barry to get

those ankles stabilised before he comes on any more bushwalks.

This was a rather eventful day, and would have been even more eventful if we hadn’t had access to the Scenic Railway to get Barry out.

Otherwise we would have had to call emergency services to airlift him

out! Not a good look.