Walkers: Martin, Thusan, Sheila, Anqi, Yanping, Fang, Ling, Tammy, Nenghan, Bruce (leading).
Date: 17/5/2015

Most of the walkers got on various cars of the train at Central, with myself getting on at Strathfield for the long (2hours 20 Minutes) trip to Mount Victoria. On reaching Mt Victoria we set off for the unavoidable road bash to the NRMA service centre where we met up with Sheila who had driven up from Lithgow. Most of the time it was under overcast skies, and quite cool.

Then it was another 1km road bash along the Mt York Road to the track head of Lawson’s Long Alley. This was the second road built down the escarpment here, in 1823. The “road” is rather steep and it would have been “interesting”getting horse drawn wagons down it in those days. It passed through the area partly burnt in the big fires in late 2013, although in some places it appeared to be from back-burning as the tree crowns were untouched. At the bottom it encountered some farmland and thus the track made a deviation up and down a few small crests. At one point we spotted a kangaroo and a joey which excited our overseas students.

The track runs alongside Kerosene Creek (wrongly called “Reedy Creek” in some publications). Soon we came to the village of Hartley Vale with its historic buildings. There was once here a thriving industrial site distilling petrol from oil shale, but virtually no trace remains today. In fact, I tried to look at the point where we could access the Incline which went steeply up the escarpment to the Darling Causeway, (for a future bushwalk) which was negotiated on a past bushwalk some years ago. Unfortunately all the land appeared to be on private property without access, which puzzled me as the last time it was all on Crown Land (indeed the NPWS guide maps at the track heads showed this to be so). It turned out that, the next day after the walk, I found a trip report by the Mineralogical Society of NSW about this very site, and it appears that legal access is possible a couple of hundred metres further north.

Anyway we decided to continue south to the track head of Lockyer’s Pass and have lunch there. On the way we passed the Comet Inn which had a large Kangaroo in its yard. Why it was there was unclear, as it could easily have leaped over the fence if it wanted to, and didn’t seemed too worrie3d about the large dog also there. We had lunch at Lockyer’s trackhead, where a couple of the girls were very intrigued by the red sap of the gum trees there. By this time the clouds had mostly gone and it was quite sunny and warm.

Then it vwas off to Mt York, first via Lockyer’s track, then along Cox’s Rod, the first road built across the Mountains in 1815. At one point we crossed a stile which is common on tracks in England but quite unusual here. Also, there were logs for stepping stone if the track got flooded (see photos). After a fairly long flat section we suddenly started to rise up. Meanwhile the sole of one of my shoes got caught on a twig which separated it from the shoe upper. With tape and a rubber band donated from Martin and Thusan, running repairs were made and the shoe held up for the rest of the walk. The track rises quite steeply and it really makes you wonder how it was possible to get horses and carts and oxen up and down it safely. No wonder it was bypassed (by Lawson’s Long Alley) 8 years later. On the way there were obstacles of trees which had succumbed to the 2013 fires and fallen across the track.

Eventually we got to the top and rested and enjoyed the views. Martin, Sheila and Thusan climbed a pagoda to rest. Then it was off the Mt York proper, where there there were not a lot of tourists. More views, and then we returned to the Lawson’s track head via a track which more or less parallels the Mt York Road. Then it was back to the service station at the highway where we bid Sheila goodbye. Then back to the Mt Victoria Railway where we got a train which arrived in Sydney around 6.30pm.

This was a good trip in what turned out to be good walking weather.

There was only one “no show”(apart from a late pull-out who advised me).

Photo link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/brstafford/sets/72157652794617120