Leader: Nick Rutledge

Cowan: Taffy's Rock

Saturday 2 March 2019

An 80 leaders walk

Photos Nick Rutledge

Photo Nev Ellis


Nick Rutledge, Yumi Takahashi, Neville Ellis, Ruth Barratt, Jason McCall-Power

Walk description:

The walk to Taffy’s Rock will begin at Cowan Station and initially follow the Great North Walk down the gently sloping, forested gully to Jerusalem Bay, a lovely spot for a short rest. A sharp climb takes us to the point we leave the GNW and head east along an overgrown track that follows Govett Ridge for around 4km. The track becomes quite rough along the later part until we swing north to Taffy’s Rock. Some excellent views, an interesting tessellated dome and a rest on the large sandstone outcrop that is Taffy’s Rock will be our reward. We return the way we came to Cowan Station. Map: Cowan


It was a bright Saturday morning and donning sun hats, sun caps - and in Yumi’s case a very sensible sun veil - we set off. The descent from Cowan Station to Jerusalem Bay is little more than a hop, skip and a slip, and with a fit and fast group, and Jason’s cheerful banter in our ears, this section was completed in short time. Taking advantage of our momentum, we launched directly into the climb that follows, and in a fine display of stamina and determination reached the rock outcrop at the top, dripping and panting, in a further twenty minutes.

After a well-deserved rest, we threw ourselves into the undergrowth tunnel that is Taffy’s Track. As we pushed our way through the shrubs and saplings, Nick’s face was soon wrapped in a spider-web veil that rivalled Yumi’s in coverage, though not comfort.

With the many little cairns that have recently been set up (as well as the quick eyes of Ruth, honed to an impressive sharpness in the NZ mountains), the track was followed unerringly: trig point 1 ... interesting tessellated dome (of course we climb to the top - yes, it’s getting hot, but just because it’s there) ... trolls’ stone campsite ... trig point 2 ... ; soon Taffy’s Rock emerged through the scrub.

The enervating heat of sun on bare rock, the several short sections requiring energetic rock scrambling, the many dog-legs in the track and the effort of pushing though uncooperative undergrowth can all be draining, and we were not sorry to arrive at Taffy’s Rock and rest and refresh in a shady spot. Views across the Hawkesbury River to West Head and Lion Island called out to be photographed and we duly obliged, then followed that by attempting to solve the problem of how to capture images of ourselves and the awkwardly placed Taffy’s Plaque in the one photograph. Nonetheless, with Neville in charge, a strategy was devised and implemented: the results can be judged from the accompanying pictures.

Then it was back onto the track for the return leg, and a couple of uneventful hours later the walk was completed - but for a visit to the cafe near Cowan Station. We had contemplated consuming 80 ice creams, coffees and/or bottles of Gatorade in keeping with this year’s celebratory theme, but with trains to catch, time was insufficient for this tribute to be accomplished.

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