The first whiff of freedom!

It’s been six weeks since the lockdown, and some restrictions have been lifted, up to 10 people can get together to walk, as long as social distancing is practised. Apart from local fitness walks I haven’t done a full day walk so when the opportunity to go on a real walk came up I couldn’t help myself.   The bonus for me was that I’d always wanted to do the Spion Kop walk, and that was where Trish, Brad and Peter were going.

Spion Kop is a rocky outcrop that can be seen from the Woy Woy area.  It’s named after the hilltop of Spionenkop, the scene of the Battle of Spion Kop in South Africa which took place from 23 – 24 January 1900 – part of the Boer Wars.

I’ve known of this walk for about 20 years now, and whist it was a bit of a hidden gem back then, it’s received a lot of activity over the past few years, being widely publicised on the internet.  It’s a nice walk, with a well defined track, well worth doing.  Not sure how Jim M (who used to lead it regularly) approached it, have seen some photos of people using a fixed rope to climb a rock face, but we obviously didn’t go that way as we found no evidence of a rope assisted climb.

We started at the Koolewong end, a steep uphill walk initially, but short and sharp. We were very careful to maintain a good 1.5m between us.

Up the top of the hill now and a great view over Koolewong Bay.  Weather was looking ominous.

The track was well defined, no scrub walking at all, we dropped down from the top of the ridge to a fire trail.

Followed this fire trail to a junction, and by now I’m starting to think “this looks familiar”, we followed this less travelled fire trail down to a creek, and yep, had been here before.

It’s a lovely walk down this creek, I’d led the trip about 15 years ago (a few times), must have been part of another walk, and I’d approached from a different direction.

Social distancing reminder, it’s incredible how easily you forget, sounds easy but it isn’t.

There hasn’t been that much rain recently but the pools were full.

We could all have walked around this, but it was much more fun trying to keep our feet dry.

Eventually the creek flows over the cliff to a rocky section below, no easy way to descend without a rope.

In a small section, the water goes down a small hole, and burbles up in another pool, couldn’t get a photo of the burblling though.

From the creek we backtracked a few metres and then headed up a small slope to this slot, which leads to a small climb (just a few metres) and then we’re on another ridge.

A nice rocky outcrop with views (sort of).

beside the rocky outcrop was a nice slot.  I tried walking through but was just too tight, so I got down on my belly and did a belly crawl (wich I’d had elbow pads!).

Back on the track we came to a great rocky outcrop, went for about 50m, Trish and I took a good look around for any evidence of aboriginal art (in other areas of this NP, there’s a lot of rock engravings).  Sadly we didn’t find any on this outcrop.

And eventually we were at the outcrop known as Spion Kop, not as impressive as I’d imagined, and not out final destination for morning tea.  View was good into Waterfall Bay though.

We arrived at Serpent Rock (you can see the head of the serpent here), we had morning tea and then the threatened rain materialised, so we started our return trip.

There are a few small climbs along the way.

We had all brought along big packs and garbage bags to clean up an old campsite (just off the track).  Whoever had set up camp here, intended to stay for quite a while, lots of tinned food, cooking utensils.

An old tent.

Lots of water containers, and a “bong”.

An old sleeping bag, now wet, we left this under an overhang to dry out for the next clean up trip (also left behind a lot of the cooking utensils for next time.

The site is looking pretty good now with most of the small stuff carried out.

Once we’d done the cleaning, it was starting to become full on rain, so we made a beeline for our exit.  By the time I got back to the car, I was absolutely soaking wet, couldn’t wait to get in the car with the heater on!

It was a good fitness walk, a good four hours, with not much standing around, and I’m pleased that I’ve now been to Spion Kop, another walk off the wish list!  Thanks Trish, Brad and Peter for taking me.




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2 Responses to The first whiff of freedom!

  1. Christine says:
    Great minds think alike!
    Nick and I did something something similar from Woy Woy to Koolewong with a car shuffle on our wedding anniversary late April – very romantic!
    Went back week after to Waterfall Bay in the kayaks for the water view.
    Check out the video!
    Keen to do more so if you have any more hikes in mind would love to join you.

    • marilyn says:

      Yes Christine, saw your you-tube vid on line and that you’d done the walk. It’s a lovely 1/2 day walk to do, not sure whether I like the creek part of the walk or the cliff part – lol

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