Maintaining our tradition, the last walk for the year for the Cartophiles Bushwalking Club was the iconic Spit Bridge to Manly walk, following the Manly Scenic Walkway. This beautiful and varied 9km track is consistently rated as one of Australia’s top ten walks.
The weather was overcast but mild, almost perfect for a strenuous walk. Luckily, we weren’t feeling too strenuous. Ten Cartophiles met at Ellery’s Punt Reserve for the walk: Tige, Glenn, David, Janet, Paul, Annie, James, Tim, Sue and Kit.
The walk was, as always, beautiful. It starts at the north end of the Spit Bridge and follows the waters edge to Clontarf Reserve and beach before ascending steadily to the aboriginal rock carvings at Grotto Point. From there it climbs to the top of Dobroyd
Head, with great views over Port Jackson, The Heads and Manly, before dropping steeply down rocky steps to Reef and Forty Baskets beaches. It then follows the water around North Harbour and past Fairlight to Manly wharf.
Our time was spiced by two adventures. Firstly, we met two runners coming the other way who had found a set of car keys. Sue exchanged mobile phone numbers with Nick (!) and proceeded to ask every group we passed if they had lost some keys. One fretful-looking man said yes, and after a series of phone calls with Nick to establish a rendezvous (!) the man hugged Sue and hurried off with his two daughters.
Editor’s note: Careful readers may have identified a hint of jealous suspicion in the phrasing of the last paragraph. The writer has been carefully counselled with a broom handle and wishes to make it clear that any implication of impropriety is entirely accidental.
The second adventure was a bit more dramatic. As we crossed Forty Baskets Beach we noticed one of the boats at its mooring was down at the stern. While making light hearted comments about it we realised that is was getting even lower in the water! We rang 000 to let the police know that there was a boat sinking at its moorings. It took some time to establish with the operator that we were at
Forty Baskets Breach, not Number 40, Baskets Beach Rd, and by the time we left all that was visible above the waves was the blue tarpaulin canopy. We hope they were able to refloat her before New Years Eve.
Other than these tiny adventures we had no medical frights, no injuries, no annoying insects and very little need for long rest stops. We weren’t rained on, we suffered no heat stroke, no one was sunburnt, no items were lost and no equipment damaged. It was, in fact, a nearly perfect outing.
Of course, we didn’t walk hard. We had a short break while we ordered coffee at Clontarf Reserve, then a casual stroll up the beach. Although we were disappointed to find that Mr Whippy was missing from the car park at Dobroyd Head we did finish by walking up The Corso to our traditional debrief at the Hotel Steyne. It was a great end to another successful year for the Cartophiles, and we look forward to an even better 2015.