On a cloudy but very pleasant day for walking, 21 Regular Walker gathered at Hornsby station. They were greeted by leaders & long-time local residents, Claude & Margaret.
A short meander followed through the delightful murals (painted by French artist Hugues Sineux) of Dural Lane Hornsby to Quarry Road for the start of this wonderful section of the Great North Walk.
The walk descends down the amazing historical Heritage Steps, also known as the Depression Steps due to them being constructed in the 1930’s to ease unemployment during the Great Depression. Due to significant erosion over the years they were re-furbished between 2011-13 by Hornsby Council, to ensure long-term sustainability. Leader Claude noted that despite being a resident of the area for over 40 years he had never been aware of their existence until discovering them on the recent reccy!
Following the eastern arm of the Blue Gum Track everyone agreed that the walk was most enjoyable despite some quite challenging rock-climbs and dubious creek crossings which added to the fun. Leader Margaret demonstrated how NOT to cross one of them! The canopies of tall Sydney Peppermint & Sydney Red Gum Angophora trees as well as large Banksias and ferny hill-sides were a delight to the eyes.
At lunch there was a small prize for answers to a short quiz on the origins of the names Hornsby and Thornleigh, both being correctly named by Elizabeth P.
Coffee was enjoyed at the Monday Morning Café at Thornleigh.
Before the start, and against a back-drop of shops on Peats Ferry Road Hornsby, two first time visitors are de-briefed.
At the top of the Depression Steps, Claude and Margaret introduced the walk.
Don B volunteered to be tail-end Charlie.
Christine McA and Margaret P agreed to be First Aid offiicers ..... 'That makes me want to fall over.''- who else but John M?.
The Steps safely negotiated, at the bottom Leader Claude explains the route.
Animals,minerals,and amazing vegetation. Sydney Blue Gums Ecalyptus salingna tower over the rocks and walkers.
At the lookout above The Fishponds, everyone except Christine McA.
Q. When is a walk that is Plus standard enjoyed by Regulars? A. When Plus walkers are on hand to offer every assistance.
Thanks to John M, Lyndy, Claude, Guenter and one of the visiting walkers.
Extreme concentration and nobody was going to fall into Berowra Creek. After all that, flights of steps were a breeze.
Lunch was taken on a convenient large group of flat rocks. The quiz prizes were bars of chocolate.The sole winner shared this treat; but David C must have wondered if his portion would melt by the time the product placement ad was deemed satisfactory.
A group of Duke of Ed. walkers on their way to Cowan. One of the girls is aquainted with Wendy P - small world. Later chat was exchanged with a second group of young walkers, 'only' going as far as Berowra. Crosslands was probably humming on Friday night.
The leaders phoned ahead to the 'Monday Morning' cafe in Thornleigh, and apres walk coffee was served promptly to all on the walk.
One of her fellows asked Aileen if she would mind revealing her age.
'No. I'm 83.'
'But you're always in the leading group!''
'If I don't walk swiftly my hips ache.'
Margaret and Claude led, and trying to keep up with Aileen were Lyndy, Kas, Celia, Wendy P, Rosie, Elizabeth P, Helen L, John M, John and Ros, Guenter, David C, Helen A, Martin, Don B and Christine McA and two visitors.
Words by Margaret P.
Photos by Helen A ( 1, 3, 4, 9-13), Christine McA (2, 5-8).