|17 July 2007
|Map: Tuggeranong 8727-3S 1:25000, Tidbinbilla 8627-2S 1:25000, Corin Dam 8626-1N 1:25000
This walk was organised and led by me as a CBC Tuesday walk:
(Tuesday 17 July: Blytheburn Cottage from Corin Dam Road- M/M,X. From the Corin Dam Road, head east via Punchbowl Creek and White Horse Flats down 400m to Blytheburn Cottage on the Booroomba property. Permission has been obtained from the landowner. Return via the hills to the south. Around 14km and 500m total climb. Map: Corin Dam 1:25000. Limit of 8. Leader: John Evans – email@example.com, (h) 6288 7235; contact me by 6pm the previous Sunday. Transport: ~$8. Further details at www.pcug.org.au/~jevans.).
6 of us drove in 2 cars to the Miowera Forest/Stock Route gate on the Tidbinbilla Road.
I rang JH, the owner of 'Booroomba' and he ok-ed coming on his land. I faxed him insurance and other details closer to the walk.
I've been told that Wednesday's cold front and snow is coming on Tuesday, so Plan B is to come in from the NE off Tidbinbilla Road, leaving the car at 700m, rather than off the Corin Dam Road at 1200m! We'll wander in over Booroomba Trig which, at 1012m, should give us enough white stuff to cool our ears. Fax to the land holder at 10pm on Monday night.
FBI's definition of X for eXploratory is 'Route not fully known to the leader. May be physically demanding, with delays and diversions from the intended route' and we experienced that today - particularly the 'diversions from the intended route'. Due to the ABC misinterpreting the weather forecast I hastily put Plan B together and we set out on that. However, Romans 8:28 and, in the end, we achieved every goal except a leisurely lunch.
At 7.30am we skipped across the Tidbinbilla Road and climbed the fence (we found the nearby gate on our return). Precise navigation on an exact compass bearing for this first leg to cross the Booroomba Road was regarded with distain by my companions - as it was obvious that we were following the 132kV power lines. A crisp and foggy morning to start, with the sun trying to break through. Forecast max 10°C for Canberra over the nearby ridge behind us and the breeze was chilly around our ears and hands. 35mins for this 2.1km leg.
With Castle Hill nearby to the E, we had a lovely clear conical hill in front of us, so decided to disregard my intended route of skirting it and went to the top for a view. Plenty of rabbits amongst the cattle and sheep. The cloud and mist rolled in and out as we made the top, with the frost still crisp on the ground (3km and 1hr 5mins to here). Wonderful views all round - Castle Hill behind with jet steams over; Mt Tennent to the SE in clear sight above the fog; a march of hills from it round to the S and W, including parts of Booroomba Rocks and Blue Gum Hill; ahead, with a good drop then climb, was Booroomba Trig (see pic 1).
My halo shone (actually a rainbow in the fog at the line between shade and sunlight) as we descended into the mist, a slippery-slidy drop down the grassed slope before the sun hit it. Some downs and ups, then a 200m climb up to Booroomba Trig (5km and 2hrs to here). Excellent views as from the previous hill, this time including to the Booroomba Homestead, the 4 hills beside the Corin Dam Road, The Pyramid through a gap and the Tidbinbilla skyline at the back with snow at Snowy Corner, Tidbinbilla Peak and to the N.
We could see Blythburn Cottage in the deciduous trees down below. For those who were missing a bit of scrub I carefully chose a descent through the thickest thorn bush and tea-tree (a view back up from the bottom revealed clear areas to both left and right). Some discussion about the swampy Blue Gum Creek separating us from our objective, but Bob in his Crocodile gaiters fearlessly led us straight across. The flowing creek was icy at its edges. Arrived at Blythburn Cottage (see pic 2) at 10.05am (6.5km and 2hr 35mins to here). A substantial structure - 3 rooms with 3 fireplaces, a separate kitchen with fine flagstone floor at the rear. Jim had researched it and it was the dwelling of Elizabeth McKeahnie. Google it for more info. Morning tea for 25mins.
From Booroomba Trig we'd seen a track winding up behind the Cottage in the direction of White Horse Flat and, as we were in good time, we decided to head up it for a while. Easy walking as long as we could maintain our footing on the slippery and icy track. A fox loped at a distance and eagles soared. The sun disappeared and the front appeared imminent, but luckily held its distance. Talk from legends in the group turned to a pre-2003 fire footpad which came down Punch Bowl Creek from the fire trails near Smokers Trail. We headed through White Horse Flat and crossed into Namadgi National Park, climbing steadily but easily all the time (10.4km and 4hr 5mins to here).
The rough vehicle track became not a footpad, but a well benched and cleared trail equivalent to, say, the AAWT from Cotter Road to Cotter Gap. It converged to the S side of Punch Bowl Creek and began to climb in earnest. I thought it might be wise to stop for lunch and about turn at midday and we found a short side track leading down to iced falls on Punch Bowl Creek at GR762686 (MGA94). However, reassessing our position and keen to reach the Smokers Trail area fire trail (our originally planned drop down point and the start of the footpad), 5 of us pressed on passed another icy falls (see pic 3) to the top of the track. GR756684 (MGA94) on the Corin Dam 8626-1N 1:25000 map. 11.8km and 4hr 40mins to this furtherest extent of our wander.
Back to our companion, a 15 minute lunch and so back to the car. We neglected to again climb Booroomba Trig and the unnamed conical hill on our return leg, instead sidling to their N between them and Paddys River. A lyrebird dashed away near White Horse Flat and eagles again circled over the high hills. The Booroomba property valley is indeed quite idyllic, green and well watered at the moment and surrounded by the most magnificent hills. Back to the cars by 3.05pm.
Thanks, Bob, Jim, Max, Philip and Terence. Everyone seemed to enjoy this ramble style walk through open country and on tracks, easy walking but long and with some great open views and interesting goals. I certainly did and we seemed to achieve 2 walks in one day.
I rang JH the owner of 'Booroomba' on return. He walks all over his property and it is obvious from his comments that he loves the land and the surrounding hills. He was most generous with his comments towards us, welcoming our enjoyment of the place. I think this is the ideal interaction between land holders and we walkers - ask permission, respect the land and gates and fences and we'll be allowed back. I got the contact by asking at the Tharwa store.
Distance: 23.3km Climb: 750m. Time: 7.30am - 3.05pm (call it 7.5hrs) with 40mins of stops.
KMZ file for Google Earth/Maps: Blythburn Cottage
|Click on a thumbnail below to see the full sized picture
|1 Booroomba Trig
|2 Blythburn Cottage
|3 Iced waterfall on Punch Bowl Creek