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The Castle - Morton National Park
2nd November 2002
A wet misty morning shrouded all views of the Castle and surrounding area as we began our walk up Kalianna Ridge from Long Gully camp ground. But the cool day was welcome as the going got steep.
The walk up Kalianna Ridge is fairly easy, and then you come to the first rock scramble complete with a fixed rope. There's a slightly less steep non roped alternative close by, but the roped climb is not as bad as it looks.
From the top of the climb the trail is fairly rugged and slow following the base of the cliff line. Then shortly before the track begins to head up to the Castle in earnest, it crosses a small creek next to the entrance of a really impressive deep cave, worth a stop to look inside.
From there it's a steep slog up to the northern point of the Castle, and the tunnel (a really tight squeeze) through to the eastern side.
The scramble up onto the Castle is challenging, but not too difficult, although the final scramble up to the summit requires a bit of climbing. I was glad we had a rope to make climbing back down here a bit easier.
On our climb up this final section the mist suddenly lifted and presented us with some really stunning views!
The summit is a mix of rock platforms and low scrub and the walk to the visitors book on the southern end of the summit is easy going. After signing the visitors book we had lunch on top of the cliff with stunning views out over Byangee Mountain to Pigeon House to the ocean beyond.
The return walk is just the reverse of the walk up. Having left Long Gully at about 9:30am, we got back to camp at about 7pm (to find the camp site full of school kids...).
We left Sydney on Friday night to camp at Long Gully and camped there again on Saturday night. We set a fairly casual pace, but still, it's a solid and challenging days bushwalking.
[Some of these notes are adapted from the Monolith Valley trip also found on this site.]
The Castle appears on the Corang 1:25,000 topo map, and there is also an excellent sketch map of the area, The Northern Budawang Range published by the Budawang Committee.
There is also a detailed description of this walk and many others in the area, published in Ron Doughton's book, Bushwalking in the Budawangs.
Text and photos by Chris Collier.
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