Posted by: EPIC | December 1, 2010

Cocktails on the Castle 2010

Lauren Bartsch
Photos are copyright of Anthony Mann and David Barmaz

After Huey denied us annual our Cocktails on the Castle trip in October by flooding the Budawangs, nine revellers decided to brave the forecast for scattered showers and ascended the mighty Castle on November 20, 2010.

Following the creed ‘Leaders don’t need to be right, they just need to be sure’ I led the group through Yadboro Creek and up Kaliana Ridge which was drenched in sunshine. Due to the recent rains, water was pouring off the cliffs in many places making for some pleasant mist to walk through along the way. An impromptu decision saw us pass our packs through the slot cave and chancing upon two walkers on their way back from the castle. Seeing our group come through, they kindly let us pass. They questioned our large packs, and made a joke about us having enough gear for a party…the look on their faces as Ant passed his suit bag through was priceless.

Having wound our way to the base of the Castle, we were faced with the infamous scramble. Up ahead, I scrambled up to place the handlines…quickly followed by Dave P. Upon reaching the top scramble Dave inspected the existing nylon handline which fell apart in his hands (something to be said about carrying your own!).

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Once at the top, Adam the bushman (Akubra and all) bushskipped his way across the rocky ground to find the site of our cocktail party…and what a site it was! We had bedroom views of Pigeon House mountain and Byangee Walls, all next to running water.

We quickly (well, some us- I took a little while) dressed in our fancy clothes while Stephan prepared the cocktails- Cuba Libres no less! A quick toast, and then it was time to get the photos before the light faded too much. As usual, Adam took the limelight, appearing in almost every shot, whilst David B, Stephan and Kerstin all posed for stunning pics to send back to the folks at home.

Cocktail food was prepared (Ant made sushi rolls from scratch!) and drinks were spilled. Fortunately the top of the Castle is mostly rock, so drinks were caught in little puddles, which were just as good as glasses to drink out of! A short stroll to the edge allowed the budding photographers to capture the sunset and the moon rise.

The party continued well into the night, with Japanese drinking games and cocktails were quickly followed by white wine, port and butterscotch schnapps.

One by one the party goers found their beds and slept under clear skies. The sun woke us early in the morning, so we packed up and made our way across the Castle to descend before the sun rose too high in the sky. Once again, Adam the bushman led the charge, only to be stopped by a 2 metre python sunning himself. Considering the number of tadpoles we saw, he was one happy python.

Our six hour journey to the top of the Castle was quickly retraced in just over 3 hours where we once again found ourselves at Yadboro creek. The boys braved the freezing waters for a swim and we were back at the cars by 12pm. A short picnic in Braidwood finished off a magnificent weekend.

Thanks to Adam, Ant, Stephan, Kerstin, David B, David P, Leif and Hannah for a brillant trip.



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