Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Early morning flight with Jim - along the Shoalhaven Valley

Last night Jim rang me, and suggested that if the weather was suitable, this morning, we could go flying. And so it happened. The surprise was that when I arrived at his place, he told me we were going to fly to Yass, via Wollongong Airport (at Albion Park) to refuel the plane.
Shortly after sunrise, we flew east, over Knight's Hill, and dropped over the escarpment to Albion Park.
That meant that when we had topped up the plane, we were able to fly back along the face of the Escarpment, at Knight's Hill, past the Illawarra Fly, about which I had written yesterday. The early morning light was crystal clear. You can see the Illawarra Fly sitting just above the escarpment cliffline.
Full length of the Illawarra Fly.

Tower and eastern end cantilevered section of Illawarra Fly
(click to enlarge, to get a good view)
We then progressed south-west, but the entire Shoalhaven Valley and Southern Highlands and the area down to Goulburn was shrouded in a low fog. Consequently we could see nothing of the interesting country over which we were flying.
As we passed Goulburn, the fog petered out, and the dry Southern Tablelands country from there to Yass was visible before us, shrouded in a light smoke haze.
By the time we returned past Goulburn (on the way home), the fog had dispersed, and we could see that many of the local dams were quite full, which is good to see. The Goulburn/Mulwaree Shire Website shows dams were at about 65% capacity in January 2008, which is a great improvement over last year's all-time low. We did not see Pejar Dam, but we saw the local Sooley Dam, just north-west of Goulburn.
On the way back home, I persuaded Jim to fly past the huge Limestone Quarry at Bungonia. I was shocked to see how close the quarry has gone to the side of the famed Bungonia Gorge. Unfortunately I missed getting a shot of the narrow gorge itself, but it splits what appears to be a plain grey wall of limestone rock, just beyond the quarry (this side of the red patch of rock). You can read full details of this famous State Conservation Area.Continuing on north and east, towards Carrington Falls, we followed the edge of the mighty Shoalhaven Valley, past Tallong, Penrose, Bundanoon.

We then then crossed the Bundanoon Creek valley and Meryla area, to Fitzroy Falls. At this point Jim did a brief circuit around my favourite haunt of Manning's Lookout, so we got a good view of the "little three sisters" which I have photographed from the adjacent cliff lines at Manning's Lookout.We returned safely to Jim's property at Carrington Falls, after a lovely flight. The return journey, in particular was very interesting, following the deeply eroded edges of the might Shoalhaven Valley, and the Upper Kangaroo Valley.

Thanks to Jim for a most interesting flight.

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