3 survive their first Adventure with M

WATAGANS NP – 27 August 2020
I did not have high expectations for this day walk, and when describing the walk to the proposed participants  I didn’t want to oversell so probably made it sound awful, but they were undeterred, despite the 300m descent and ascent.  But best of all, I had three people who hadn’t walked with me before, and I may even see them again despite the walk being a bit harder than expected.

Years ago, I came across a paragraph in the book Watagans Walking Trails,  written by Barry Collier, possibly in the 1990s.  Barry made note of   “an historical logging track which descends through hairpin bends, caves, cuttings, ferny glens and rocky outcrops to the end of Becks Road”. It didn’t sound like a long walk, but it sounded interesting.

I drove out there one day to check out the starting point to see if the track was still there.  It was indeed there, but it looked as though trail bike riders had  over-used the track in recent years.  In the 100m of it that I walked, there were a lot of ruts from trails bikes.  Nevertheless, I determined to follow it down to Becks Road one day to see if anything remained of the ferny glens.

So, with a Thursday free, I put it on the BWOC calendar and Brad M and Trish M joined me along with Tom A, Jo N and Jan M (three people who hadn’t walked with me before) – a little disconcerting for me, I have been known to turn people of bushwalking (for life).  I thought that it wouldn’t be particularly challenging so agreed that they could come along.

We started out from Heaton’s Lookout and walked up the fire trail, turning in at the first track only to discover that it was the wrong one so continued up the hill, eventually coming to the right vehicle track – and found the bullock track right where it was supposed to be.  When last I was here, the track was quite muddy, it had dried out by now and wasn’t too bad.

After a few “road bumps” put there to eliminate erosion, the track flattened out for a while, and was pleasant walking, not too much evidence of the trail bike riders.

We’re coming along a spur here with drops either side, and great views out to the ocean.  Brad and Trish checking out some potential abseils.

Trish checking out the cliff-line further along.  We actually lunched at a spot just below this outcrop that you can see in the photo.  Some of the cliffs looked to be around 40 – 60m.

Back tracking a little to pick up one of the switch backs that we’d missed (trail bike tracks confused the actual “road” at this point).

And then we dropped down to the bottom of the cliff-line, again, very nice track, and rainforest off to the right.

Great examples of wind erosion.

Brad and Trish social distancing.  You could climb up into the cave but it was quite slippery getting up (and down).

The track continuing down the spur.  After this section, it descended very quickly and was badly eroded, whether from being washed away or from trail bike riders I’m not sure – walking down this section of the track was a little challenging for those not used to rock scrambling. We were soon at the bottom and the fire trail that would lead us to Becks Road, so we turned back and headed up.

The trail is very steep.

And as you can see, washed away.

We stopped at the cliff-line for lunch and Brad and Trish scouted around at the bottom of the cliff, sussing out the potential abseils.

It was a bit nasty coming down from the lunch spot, so I set up my tape (which I’d carried all morning – may as well use it for safety).

From there it was a quick trip back to the cars, a short walk and probably never to be repeated, but I got to cross another trip off the Wish List.  So, was this little walk blog worthy?  Probably not other than that Brad & Trish found another abseil spot so it was worth it, and I’ve finally put a beginners walk on the calendar that didn’t scare people off!

Thank you everyone for joining me, and a big thanks to Jo, Jan and Tom, you handled everything that the track threw at you!

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