Walkers: Bruce (leading), Martin, Elly, Jason, Christian, Conrad, Natalia, Siva, Louise, Isabelle. (And only one no-show).
Date: 4/8/2013

We all met up at Cowan Station just before 10am, after some concerns about trains being late due to an accident at Redfern (as it turned out only my train originating from Newcastle was late). So we lined up on the rail sidings for a group photo, and – disaster! I found that after just one photo my camera was out of juice! It appears that connecting it to the computer to download the photos of the Blackheath and Mt Vic walks had drained it. So no photos for this walk (from me anyway).

So in fine weather we set off on the first leg of this walk to Jerusalem Bay. On the way we passed numerous walkers, many with walking poles, practicing for the Oxfam Walk on 23-25 August (so, avoid the Great North Walk on these dates!!). Noted that they were all going in the opposite direction to us. On reaching Jerusalem Bay we had a short break, and watched as a Cormorant gave a display of its fishing skills right in front of us. The tide was going out but still covered the sand flats so we didn’t get to see any Soldier Crabs.

From Jerusalem Bay we then tackled the main steep climb up to the ridge top. Elly was on her very first bushwalk anywhere and she found it hard going, but in the spirit of SUBW she didn’t give up and made it to the top.

From then on the walk undulates before another easier climb up to the railway access road which doubles as the path to Brooklyn. There’s a couple of points along this climb where it is surprisingly easy to take a wrong turn as the track crosses rock ledges and is not always obvious.

Once on the access road we continued on, stopping to admire the view of the ocean in the distance, and then had lunch at a spot overlooking the Hawkesbury and Long Island. During lunch, it was noted that August 4 was the 99th anniversary of the start of WW1 and had a discussion about the link between Brooklyn and the Red Baron (German WWI pilot Manfred von Richtofen). (Warning: history content: the Australian soldier who shot down the Red Baron, Robert Buie, an oyster farmer from Brooklyn, is buried in Brooklyn Cemetery).

Anyway, after lunch we set off along the rest of the walk to Brooklyn, and took a short cut down the hill to avoid having to traverse all the meandering road to Brooklyn Dam (the shortcut is more exiting anyway). We crossed Brooklyn Dam (warning – drink it if desperate), and the final 2 km until we reached the sport where the original track up from Brooklyn meets the path now preferred by NPWS. The NPWS road ends up at a new road built by Railcorp which is concreted but quite steep. Therefore I decided to access Brooklyn via the old path. So on we went via a much less used trail until suddenly, it stopped! Evidently I had missed the start of the old bush track down the hill to the Station – must be getting overgrown. So a bush bash was called for, and we could see that it was possible to follow a creek down between two houses, which we figured must have street access, and so it proved. Not only that, but we came out just a block away from the pub!

So, off to the pub it was and we enjoyed welcome drinks while waiting for the next train in half an hour. My train came first and I said goodbye to the other walkers.

It was an enjoyable day in fine but not too warm weather – nth for walking.

Bruce Stafford