Tuesday 1 September 2015
Wayne and I set out to explore some of Bruces Walk, north of Katoomba/Leura. We drove out Queens Road and eventually found our way along the correct road/track that brought us to the National Park gate near an old sandstone quarry.
From here we walked north for about 500m to the 66kv power line coming from the east and west. This line was constructed in 1931 by the Railways Dept to supply electricity from Lithgow to the Blue Mountains Shire Council at Lawson. The line was surveyed by Arthur A. Bruce, a railway surveyor. He came up with the idea of making a walking track from Lawson to Blackheath following the power line.
Originally the power line poles were all timber. Today pole number #804 is concrete. Along side it is a timber stump about 2m high and on this is painted BRUCES WALK and an arrow which is meant to point in both directions.
To the east we could see a deep valley and the ridge of Mount Hay Road. But we turned west and followed the power line for a short distance. It originally went directly west but has been altered to cross Katoomba Creek in the same area as the later 132kv line which is further north.
When the line turned north, we continued west down hill, passing another short power pole stump capped with a flat rock.
A little bit further the walking track is off to the left. Veering slightly right is what was probably cleared by fire brigades – do not take this.
Bruces Walk now zigzags down to Katoomba Creek. Steel pegs indicate where steps have been and there are few sections of galvanized handrail.
In 1931 the creek was crossed by a bridge but now the way over is via some rocks and a log. The creek would probably be impassable after heavy rain. There’s a lovely pool on the upstream side of the crossing.
The track now zigzags its way up the western side of the creek escarpment. More handrails can be seen and there were probably at least two short ladders. We had morning tea on a rocky outcrop. There’s a short boggy section going through a hanging swamp. Then we arrived on a firetrail. We found the two old dams marked in Jim Smith’s book but did not find Greens Lookout. We returned the same way having lunch on a rock above the creek on the eastern side. The return trip took about four hours.