BULWER MOUNTAIN DAY HIKE - SUN 11 JUNE 2016 - Leader Brian Henwood (with some assistance from Philip Grant)

Report and photos by Keith Ashton

[CLICK ON PHOTOS TO VIEW FULLSIZE - or view pics in accompanying SIMPLEVIEWER Presentation]

It was a cold windy & partly wet Sunday morning, which was probably the reason why people who had put their names down with Brian cancelled or just did not turn up. However 6 hardy members, Brian Henwood (Leader), Sandy Henwood, Philip Grant, Chris Dobson & Margaret & Keith Ashton met at the Mountain Park Hotel in Bulwer at 08h30 & by then the rain had stopped.

We had a bit of a delay, shivering, as the hotel could not find the key to the gate where the hike starts, however we made a plan & detoured through or around various fences to get to our first climb up to the cave with Bushmans paintings. The track was a bit overgrown in places & none too stable as we reached the cave to admire the paintings again, even though some morons had added their graffiti.(Chris had opted not to include this detour & headed slowly up the main track). Margaret, Philip & eventually Sandy headed back to the main track while Brian & Keith decided to go straight up off the beaten track until we got ourselves into a precarious position & had to do some delicate manoeuvring to find a bit easier route. The others by now were making good progress up the steep slopes - the moral to this is "Do not take these LONG shortcuts".

It took us a while to catch up with the others, but we were able to do this by the time we reached the top of the first long climb, still in very cold conditions which certainly helped us not to overheat. This was time for a snack to boost our energy. Then we made our ascent to the very top in strong windy & cold conditions over rough terrain, eventually reaching the mast one by one to shelter behind the mast enclosure & admire the spectacular views. After another short distance we were all at the top beacon where the views were even better, but the wind was howling so after a group photo we dropped a bit on the other side to seek shelter from the wind ready for our lunch. We found a good lunch spot with nice rocks to sit on but there was a sheer drop just below us, so a bit of caution was necessary.

1. Skirting the fences before our climb
2. A few of the Bushmans paintings in the cave for stage one of the climb
3. Philip & Brian just outside the cave
4. Sandy, Margaret & Brian inspecting the paintings
5. A bit of colour just outside the cave
6. Sandy & Brian cold but still cheerful
7. Our next climb after the cave
8. Brian & Sandy making their way up the steep slope
9. Sandy thinking its still a long way up
10. Now even higher
11. The mast & beacon beyond
12.A cold Philip making his way to shelter from the strong wind
13. Margaret nearing shelter behind the mast enclosure

After lunch & admiring the views, Philip (being a virtual local & frequenter of the mountain), recommended a different route down & as we progressed downwards I started to remember this route although it had been a few years since I had used this route previously. Its always good to find these circular routes. The downhill route was very pleasant & uneventful except of course we continued to marvel at the scenery. Soon we were approaching the hotel & we had not seen any other people on or anywhere near the mountain - great to be just alone with our group of friends.

14. On top of the world in very cold conditions
15. A sheltered lunch spot perch
16. Happy lunch spot but Margaret not so sure
17. Philip leads us down a different route back
18. This section not as steep as earlier
19. Philip pointing out the old track to Brian
20. Another steepish downhill
21. Still going down
22. We can see our destination below
23. Philip, Chris & Margaret still making their way down

Back at the hotel, still cold in the afternoon, but not quite as cold as the morning, we made our way down into the inviting old bar with a welcoming roaring fire. Soon we were sipping our drinks, warm & comfortable around the fire, still just by ourselves - a great way to end the hike. Thanks to Brian for leading the very enjoyable hike & Philip for his suggestions (great to be hiking again with you Philip) & thanks to the rest of our small group for your company & friendship - Keith

24. Lovely way to finish our hike around the fire in the bar
25. Now we are warming up
26. What a lovely welcoming fire