Mt Solitary Walk

May is a nice time of the year to head out to Mt Solitary. Its an easy mountain to get to and once on top, there are plenty of things to see and the most amazing views. I had put a walk on the SUBW program and had three others make up the party. They were Chris, Iris and Craig.

We set out on Saturday morning from the Golden Stairs carpark on Narrow Neck. On the way down the stairs, we were met by many runners coming in the opposite direction – running up the stairs (well to be truthful, few were actually running). They were on a 100 km fun run. We were to see them again later on the walk.

The Ruined Castle and Castle Head

Once down on the main track to the Ruined Castle, we left the runners behind. Quiet was regained. But only temporarily, there began a chorus of bird calls. Craig, a keen bird spotter pulled out his binoculars to see as well as hear.

It didn’t take long to reach the Ruined Castle turn-off and we headed up a short hill and then along a ridge to the Castle itself – a large rocky outcrop. We met a few other parties of walkers on top, and unfortunately one of the walker’s cigarette smoke – which we all later remarked upon – and not favourably!

Iris climbing up onto Mt Solitary

The Castle gave us a good view of Mt Solitary and the greater Jamison Valley. One of the other walkers, was a former teaching colleague, George, and we said hello and had a chat before moving off. From the Castle, we kept traversing and climbed down to regain the track on its way to Mt Solitary. Then across a saddle and up the rocky ridge to the top of the mountain. This is a nice ridge indeed.

The track involves some easy scrambling up through small cliffs. Nothing hard, but certainly enjoyable. And the bonus is – as you ascend the views get better and better and better. As it was a calm, clear sunny day what more could you ask for? It was so pleasant that we wanted to extend this part a bit – so we stopped for lunch on a nice ledge.

Continuing on, it was not far to the top and the nice casuarina forest section, then a short descent to the head of Chinaman Gully. Here, we dropped packs and walked a short way out to a lookout giving extensive views to the south. We could see – Lake Burragorang, the Blue Breaks, The Kowmung Valley with Mt Colong grandstanding in the far distance and then the Gangerang Range (both Low and High sections) and Kanangra Walls. An awesome view that you can not see from Katoomba or Leura.

As we walked, it was disturbing to find pink coloured paint recently daubed over rocks and trees. An attempt at marking the track? I hope not! The path is already very clear and easy to follow. Perhaps it was done by a walker with a very poor sense of navigation and worried by the Jamie Neale story, and left a set of markers so they could follow them back and not get lost? A real shame. Vandalism.

We then continued with out traverse, and soon arrived at our campsite at Singa Jingawell Ck. We set up tents and tarps, collected some firewood and once again enjoyed the views. The advantage of our campsite was that it has water in a very convenient creek – only a few metres away (and it was flowing water too!), and plenty of sheltered sites and all this only a few metres away from the cliffs and the amazing view of the Jamison Valley to the north.

A pleasant evening was had, sitting in front of a fire. While we cooked, we could watch a procession of little lights, signs of lots of people, hundreds of people, making their way below the cliffs on the north side of the valley. They were the headlamps of the fun runners, with a few more kilometres to go before their run was over. From our vantage point they looked like a trail made by ants. We hoped they were enjoying themselves as much as we were as we sat back and finished our food and wine.

Chris gave us a tour of the clear night sky – pointing out some planets and globular clusters which were easily visible with Craig’s binoculars.

I was hoping the next morning would herald a mist filled Jamison Valley. Unfortunately we were greeted at dawn with a leaden sky. There was only a tiny bit of mist, and rain looked possible. But during breakfast a few sunbeams came down and lit up the Valley of the Waters – a loverly section of the Jamison Valley near Wentworth Falls.

Then it was pack up and stash the packs in a cave, and head out to the Col -a lookout on the eastern edge of the plateau. It was not far – and it also gave us the opportunity to sign the logbook.

Back to the packs, and back towards the Golden Stairs. It was the same path as we had followed the day before, but going in the opposite direction – things look different. So it was not boring – but rather another delightful walk.

Thanks to Chris, Iris and Craig for good company on the walk.

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5 Responses to Mt Solitary Walk

  1. Toothbrush says:

    Hi David,

    I’ve been reading your blog for a few months now, and I draw a lot of inspiration from your capacity to return time and time again to the same area, but always on a new adventure, a slightly different path, a new twist. Love the photos too, although I’m not sure whether they help me cope with my nostalgia of Australia or just make it worse!

    I do have one question – it suddenly struck me that you don’t seem to post (m)any photos of wildlife. Do you encounter a fair few critters on your walks that are just too quick for the camera, or is the bush very quiet down there? Or are you just more of a landscape photographer?

    • Dave Noble says:

      More of a landscape photographer. Trees and rocks don’t move! Also – long telephoto lenses are heavy to carry – too heavy for bushwalking.

  2. Col Gibson says:

    Bobbydazzling, Dave. I particularly like that group shot around the fireplace that is on your website, although it looks a bit like the girl has caught on fire she seems unconcerned enough.

  3. Steele Sutton says:

    Hello David, thank you for taking the time to invest in a blog. I am
    Heading to the Blue Mountains for the first time with mates in October. We are after a 3-4 night hike. Could you recommend a good hike for our first in the area. We have done 5-7 night hikes in Tassie so ok with challenging tracks. Thanks again for the blog and the pictures are inspirational!


    • Dave Noble says:

      Huge number of walks you can do – but what is best at the time depends on local conditions (weather, drought etc). During October – a good walk would be from Kanangra Walls to the Kowmung River, along the river for a day or two and back out. Mostly on tracks (not sign posted however). Avoid Mt Solitary for the time being – it was badly burnt out in a controlled burn recently. The Grose Valley can be good – a walk from Mt Victoria to Blue Gum Forest and out to Blackheath – 2 or more days. Lots of fantastic walking in the Northern Blue Mts – but these are mostly off track and require some scrambling. Some “historic” walks like the Six Foot Track from Katoomba to Jenolan Caves can be hot in October and have a lot of fire trail walking.

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