GLOUCESTER TOPS – 7-9 April 2023
Yes, I’ve not posted for quite some time, too many other distractions. But now that all those other distractions are out of the way, Easter was fast approaching and I felt the need to get out and do something new and adventurous. But, what to do?
A couple of weeks ago, Jim C floated the idea to go to the Barrington’s for Easter and do some creeks there, but he was easily persuaded to change the venue to Gloucester. He hadn’t done the multi pitch creeks that I suggested, so it was a s no-brainer. Add to that the incentive that Brad & Sue M had offered 5 start accommodation in their house at Gloucester and we were all sold. Trish M, and Cheryl W would be joining us.
It’s been a long time between trips, so initially I was really keen, but closer to the date, my enthusiasm started to wain – but I figured, what the heck, if I start not going on trips, next thing you know I’d be sitting home playing bridge every weekend (not that there’s anything wrong with that LOL).
We drove up on Friday morning and headed up to Gloucester Tops to do Emperor Falls. Trish and I had done The falls back in January and we figured we’d be able to find it (famous last words), Trish’s memory was better than mind, I’d be still walking down the creek if it had been up to me! There are three abseils down the falls, an easy walk in and out.
Once we’d maneuvered our way through the branches we had to make our way to the side of the creek and climb up to the next level. Trish and I had difficulty finding the cross over point (which would take us to the exit route), mainly because the water was so high, we couldn’t recognise any features. Eventually though, we made a decision and “went for it”.
The walk out was relatively painless, once we found our way out of the creek, it was straight forward and we were back at the cars by around 5.30pm. We then started the process of de-leeching – most of us had one (if not more) leeches on us despite covering our feet in Vicks Vapor Rub (my deterrent of choice). All in all a great day out.
We drove down to Gloucester to Brad & Sue’s lovely house and enjoyed a bbq dinner (courtesy of Jim) and lazed in Sue’s spa – luxury. As a bonus, two BWOC members, Christine & Nick, were staying the night at Brad & Sue’s too, so it was great to catch up with them.
I’d like to say we were up bright and early but sadly, we got away later than planned, which meant that we got back to Brad’s later than we would have liked too. Nevertheless, we piled into the cars and followed Brad up to Copeland Tops Conservation Area. A short walk down a fire train and we were at the first pitch of what is apparently a 13 pitch abseil down the creek! I have to say, I couldn’t keep track of the abseils and missed photographing some of them, but am pretty sure there were 13 of them! The main challenge was avoiding the Stinging Trees!
After the last abseil, there was 200m or so of walking down the creek to the exit point which was quite easy to pin point. Then it was 200m in scrub and stinging trees to a good track back up to where we’d parked the cars. The walk out was long, but very easy and we were back at the cars by 5.30.
We tried to leap frog the abseils (someone always going ahead to rig the next abseil and the pull down rope being moved to the front of the group). With 4 ropes between the five of us, theoretically this should have worked well, but with the uncertainty of the length of the pitches, often we wouldn’t have the right length of rope for the job. However, by abseil 9, we were in a bit of a grove and we were much more efficient and moved more quickly through the creek. It just goes to show how important team work is and we were really working as a team by the end.
We headed down to Brad & Sue’s after de-leeching and Sue’d cooked us a fabulous spag bol dinner, so nice not to have to organise dinner after a long day.
Whilst we’d planned to do the upper Gloucester River abseils on Sunday, I decided that it was too cold to do four swims in the deep pools, and the water was higher than the last time and with only the 3 of us (Trish and Brad had other plans), it was too iffy.
So, Jim, Cheryl and I headed off on Sunday morning for me to show them the delights of some of the Catherine Hill bay abseils.
Even just with the two creeks, it turned out to be a GREAT weekend, with a combination of unpleasant experiences … rain, and mist (no views), leeches galore, stinging trees (these are terrible), stinging nettles, very slippery rocks, high water, wetter waterfalls than expected, and more lawyer vine than you could poke a stick at. At one point, on the first day with the rain starting I contemplated turning around and going back to the car!
Thanks so much to Jim for suggesting an Easter Trip in the first place, and thanks to Trish, Brad and Cheryl for joining us. And last but not least, BIG thanks to Sue and Brad for their hospitality.
So, what’s coming up next? A Road Trip to the Nullabour for some caving, yaaaa!