There is something irresistible about huge granite tors. Solid, majestic, ancient. Disappearing down a black hole to creep and climb between them brings out the little kid in all of us. And then the thrill of standing on top, with all the northern tablelands spread below you – I’m the King of the Castle!
Hardly surprising that the bushranger Captain Thunderbolt would have liked hideout. Fred Ward, aka Thunderbolt, was convicted of receiving stolen horses. He escaped Cockatoo Island in 1863 and was on the run for more than six years, robbing mail coaches, stations and stores across a wide area of Northern NSW. In 1870, after celebrating a robbery with a few drinks too many, he was chased and killed by Constable Walker.
After Thunderbolt Lou Meyrich, a naturalist, had a hut and nursery at what is now Nomads picnic area, where this walk starts. The area also has a mining history, including arsenic at the Ottery Mine. Fossickers hunt for topaz, beryl, emerald and quartz.
Torrington SCA is Ngarrabul country, an haven among the cleared pastures of the northern tablelands for wildlife and wildflowers, with over 750 species of plants recorded. The park was scorched in the 2019 fires, but recovering strongly from the summer rain when we visited early 2021.
But oh, that tactile granite with its subtle shades and sparkly big crystals, cool, quiet, enduring.