Lidsdale and Lake Lyell – June 7th 2014

With the long weekend approaching, the brother in law and I decided to do what we actually bought our vehicles for and, go 4wding. This was BIL’s first proper time out so we decided on a trip to the Lake Lyell/Rydal region. This is where I’d done my 4×4 driver training course 15 months ago, therfore we knew most of it was suitable for beginners. I would rate most tracks as easy to moderate. Our plan was just to get out and start easy. We had a rough route planned using the LPI 1:25,000 Lithgow 8391-3S paper maps, and Memory Map on my iPhone. Both were more than enough for this trip We also had 4 kids aged 4-9 so lots of rest stops were planned.

After spending the night at the bro’s place in the lower Blue mountains, the kids were up early at 5:45. We had the aim of leaving at 8, but BIL is never early to leave anywhere, so the 8:30 start wasn’t too bad. A quick squirt up the highway and we were soon turning off at Lithgow towards Lake Lyell and the old Western Road.

The Two Amigos
The Two Amigos

First stop, was the quarry. Here we found John Cantrell of Australian 4×4 driver training leading another group around on their first time out. Being the first day of the Queens Birthday long weekend, there were several other groups driving around and playing here., so we headed round the back toward the lake, and then over the back of the quarry.

Climbing up the rear if the quarry, BIL took a different route up the ruts, and didn’t quite make it, on reversing down, he dropped his front wheel into the rut and lifted his back wheel into the air. Thankfully we managed to get it back without to much issue. But it scared the life out of his wife who, for the rest of the day, walked all the steep bits!

SIL walking one of the descents
SIL walking one of the descents

Heading down the front of the quarry, we turned right and headed towards the crossings on the Coxs River. Being the start of the long weekend the traffic was heavier than I thought it would be, and at a few tracks we had to wait, but not by much.

Climbing back out of the long ford
Climbing back out of the long ford

The first big climb was quite rutted and had BIL stall a few times. But the boy done good, though his wife wasn’t so happy, the steep climb freaking her out a bit. We took the long route down to give BIL some more ascent and decent practice on some fairly tame hills, until we eventually made it to the longest crossing. By this time SIL was getting out of the car and walking some of the descents. I could also smell burning from BIL’s truck. It turned out he was riding his clutch. A quick discussion and introduction to the mantra “In compression we trust” and we were sorted.

Descent to Coxs River
Descent to Coxs River

At the first crossing the water was lower than last time I was here, only coming up to the sills, and it was crossed with ease. Looking at the track seemed to head up to Mt Walker which having watched some YouTube vids, none of us were game to try. By this time the kids were restless so we stopped for lunch near the infamous Coxs River Floating Landcruiser crossing, which we didn’t attempt. Later that day we met a driver in a lifted Jeep Wrangler Rubicon who had tried it. He said the water came half way up his doors. “Butt clenching” and “Never again” were the words he used.

Lunch
Lunch

We turned round and headed over the next crossing and into some open country. We tried to loop back via the edge of the state forest/national park, but the descent was looking pretty cut up. Whilst we were game to give it a go, SIL looked like she was ready to have a heart attack, so we retreated to live for another day. The kids loved it as we got to go back through the water crossings.

Climbing out of the ford
Climbing out of the ford

We decided to head out via Rydall Pub which is a cute little pub. On the way the track threw up a couple of harder bits for a challenge. I’d been through here before and knew there was a little rocky patch on a descent that could trap the unwary, having seen a Pajero get caught out here before. Probably nothing much for more experienced drivers, but enough to make us stop and look. Discretion is the better part of valour! I even managed to cock the rear wheel a smidge on the descent. Kids thought it was great!

After a quick stop for a coke in Rydall, and to let the kids run free in the beer garden we were back on the highway heading home.

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