Tuesday 6 August 2019
Walk distance – 16.2 km
It was a cold and frosty start to the morning but the view of the Castle and Byangee Walls from our cottages was sensational. It is difficult to put into words just how stunning it was to wake up to such a beautiful view. This morning 13 bushwalkers braved the cold, starting the walk from the Bhundoo Bush Cottages. We made our way to Longfella Pass, located on the Pigeon House North Firetrail. It was a steady climb with some very steep pinches so it wasn’t long before the fingers thawed out and the layers peeled off. Once at the top of the pass, we had morning tea and enjoyed the stunning views back out to the Castle, marvelling at the fact that we had been standing on the top of Byangee Walls less than twenty four hours earlier.
After morning tea we continued along the fire trail onto the plateau, thankful for the nice flat track. Alas, this wasn’t to last for too long before camp leader Barry located our exit point into the dense bush. Time to glove and gaiter up! We commenced our bush bashing down to the edge of the escarpment where we explored some lovely sandstone ledges and overhangs. We had our lunch here and once again, there were some stunning views to enjoy whilst eating and relaxing. After lunch Barry’s excellent navigational skills guided us back onto the fire trail where 5 walkers returned to the cottages. The remaining 7 continued along the Pigeon House North Firetrail which was a good track. We followed this gently ascending track which afforded some spectacular views of the western side of Pigeon House.
We eventually reached the original, rarely used, National Park trail which was very steep, rising nearly 200 vertical metres in 650m. It took 30 minutes to scale, passing some beautiful boulders with rock orchids on top, thankfully out of the reach of hungry animals. This trail ended at the beginning of the myriad of ladders that wind their way up to the summit. After a short breather we prepared ourselves for the final ascent of the mini camp. We reached the top enjoying the use of recently installed ladders which felt much safer than those of the past.
Once at the top, we had a quick afternoon tea, admiring the views for which Pigeon House is famous for. It was a feeling of accomplishment looking back over the Castle and Byangee Walls, retracing our previous days steps. Whilst it was chilly, the conditions were perfect with a big blue sky. Many photos were taken but it was soon time to depart. So we headed off back down the ladders and onto the track leading to the car park where Jill and Tony were waiting to transport us back to the cottages where a hot shower, camp fire and nice hot coffee were waiting.
Everyone had a fantastic time on this mini camp. The cottages were excellent and the company was even better! A special thanks to Barry for organising this camp. We all appreciate the time and effort that you put into it to make it happen.
Report by Donna; Photos by Barry, Jill & Helen