BLACKHEATH – June 30, 2018
Despite gale force winds (we think the wind gusts were 40 – 60kph) and too much wine the night before, Marcia K took me on a walk to discover Porters Pass. I’d not done much walking in the Blackheath area, and it was definitely worth braving the cold winds and checking out the climbers.
We started from Marcia’s, a stunning house set amongst the bush and surrounded by amazing sculptures that she’s fashioned out of scrap metal and other bits and pieces that she finds.
My favourite sculpture of hers, this was made out of the end of a tool and a couple of glass buoys.
Our route would be Porters Pass, Colliers Causeway and Walls Ledge. Porters Pass starts just off a suburban street in Blackheath, according to one Internet search, it’s possible that this was a route used by aborigines in the early days.
A lookout at the start of the Porters Pass descent.
From the lookout we had a great view of a climber and his belay person. This part must have been quite tricky because he fell a couple of times before giving up and being lowered down, then his friend climbed up, later we heard him swearing because he too hadn’t been able to nail the difficult overhang.
Marcia descending down the pass.
This track was established many, many years ago and there’s a lot of old stonework that they would have done for the tourists back in the old days. Many steps up or down steep rock were hand carved into the stone.
Here’s a water trough that has been carved out of the stone so that the tourists in the old days (before plastic bottles) could pick up water beside the track.
The waterfall that feeds the water trough.
Another water trough, this time in a small creek. This one has been built with stones, you wouldn’t want to drink the water from this these days, too many houses up stream.
Nice slot that we had to pass through, the wind coming through the slot was enough to blow your beanie off.
Great views down into the valley.
And wonderful views of the cliff we were walking under.
Looking back at the cliffs where the rock climbers were climbing.
Native bee nests under the cliff.
Great views of the cliff face looking towards Walls Ledge
The end of Collier Pass before we headed into Centennial Glen.
A canyon section in Centennial Glen, Marcia and I had just climbed some steps set into the rockface down below beside a small waterfall. The force of the wind caused us to be drenched with spray from the waterfall.
Centenial Glen, there is a small canyon section upstream, in the distance of this grotto you can see some adventurers who have walked down the canyon section.
The start of the walk on Walls Ledge which will lead us to the rock climbing area.
A lot of work has been done on the track, there’s a memorial on a small chair, apparently the track regeneration and sandstone work was constructed by the friends of Nick Kaczorowski (a 25yr old climber who had died back in 2009), a group called Track Care and the Blue Mountains Council. The track is certainly in good condition now and there’s more sandstone sitting around waiting for more work to be done.
Looking back at the bottom of the cliffs that we’d walked along.
A pole with toe-holds on it which leans up against the cliff face so that the climbers don’t have to do the first couple of overhung metres.
Here’s Marcia with a couple of these poles (which were all the way along the track). Marcia is a climber and was able to explain a lot of the climbing stuff that was there.
Towards the end of the climbing area, and away from the wind we came across this climber on a photo-shoot, the photographer was just below the point of the arrow, hanging off a rope and the climber was repeating the same moves for the shot.
Here he is from my angle on the track, has his heal wedged onto a rock and then does this amazing move up, I could have watched him for hours.
We headed up onto the Upper Shipley Platea onto a track above the Walls Ledge track and we were now in the full wind. We were looking for a couple of caves that Marcia knew of, one that she had yet to find.
The notes we were going off indicated that we had to walk x number of metres down to a track leading off to the right and then x number of metres then turn towards a pagoda. This is the pagoda we think we were supposed to find, but by the time we got onto the rock, the wind was so strong that neither of us were willing to go anywhere near an exposed climb down to a cave. We’ll save that for another day.
We were able to spot Marcia’s house in the distance – she has great views.
I’ve not done many day walks in the Blue Mountains, but this has definitely wetted my appetite for the area, stunning views and interesting places to explore, thanks Marcia for taking me out, you are so fortunate to live in the Mountains. Next time we’ll find the cave!