The Mysteries of Alston Lookout and a Spot of Unintended Night Hiking

Well I’ve only gone and joined a Fitbit challenge! The girls at work apparently needed some real competition… 🙂

So after a long day at the zoo I decided I needed to get my steps up and headed out on a walk. I had my eye on a track that links up to the Great North Walk and is a favourite of Berowra locals due to the astonishing views at the lookout along the way. I also found something a little extraordinary whilst I was out there.

As I needed to get my steps up I decided to walk to the trail rather than drive. In hindsight it is this distance that I didn’t factor in to my walking times. I walked from Berowra shops down turner road then left onto Alston Rd. The trail began with a short vertical clamber over rocks then became easy walking over a well walked trail. There were meant to be some engravings of possible aboriginal origin nearby but I couldn’t see them. My wife found them on a hike with her group. I question their origins though given what I found further along. After some short ups and downs over low rocks the trail opened up to become a large rocky cliff side and the views were amazing. I could see both up and down Berowra creek. The car ferry was shunting back and forth and a seaplane was taxiing out to takeoff!

The geocaching app told me of an interesting rock carving nearby so I set off to find it. I checked every cliff ledge until I found the prize! There was a circular, almost Celtic design carved into the rock floor! The app suggested that it was carved by George Collingridge, an artist and master woodcarver from Europe who took 88 acres of land on Berowra Creek. He had dreams of starting an artists colony. There were other carvings of initials that could have been family, and he is known to have traversed the area. Another suggestion, given to me by the local councillor during a brief Facebook exchange was that it was likely carve by a religious group in the 70’s called “The Berowra Spiritual Church” that performed ceremonies on the ledge. Would be interesting to find out for sure.

The mysterious rock carving

I had used up quite a lot of time on the ledge so decided to move on. I could have spent hours exploring those ledges. The trail followed the cliff edge for a time, revealing a second, equally spectacular lookout before joining the great north walk and descending into a deep gully. At the bottom was a small waterfall that trickled into a pool and was likely spectacular after rain. It was a very peaceful spot and I recalled that on my last pass through this gully that the pool was a vibrant blue. Now it was a dull grey, reflecting the character of the sky. Still I lingered a while, listening to the birds and the trickling of the water.

The light began to fade so I high-tailed it up the gully, but it was extremely steep, rugged and slow going. The trail went up and then up some more. I squeezed through narrow rock crevices and pulled myself up metal rungs.

The light was seriously fading but I reached the top and pulled out my headlamp. The sun finally set and I only had the remnants of dusk and my light to show me the trail. I passed a campsite and powered onward, shining my headlamp into the trees to try and see it there were eyes shining back but, no such luck.

Finally, I turned on to the Turner Rd Firetrail and was soon back on the road back to central Berowra.

This was a highly enjoyable walk and I am finding that there is so much of the history of Berowra to be found on the trails. I want to keep exploring!

Oh… I hit over 17000 steps for the day 🙂


6 thoughts on “The Mysteries of Alston Lookout and a Spot of Unintended Night Hiking

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