Kangaroo Valley Twilight Run
06 January 2021 / Words by Bryan Shedden, Photos by Tonia Ciacchi, Dianne Tierney & Bryan Shedden
It has been a challenging time for organising runs in recent weeks, juggling the repercussions of the Avalon COVID outbreak and the incessant wet weather. The Kangaroo Valley Twilight Run with Illawarra Chapter on 2nd January was the first club run of the new year, and sudden changes to Health NSW restrictions necessitated plenty of phone calls and plan changes. With group sizes restricted to 30 people in "Greater Sydney" (including Wollongong LGA), I moved our starting point a few kilometres to the south and into the less restrictive Shellharbour LGA. No problem, except that we could not all escape the drizzly weather as we exceeded the quota to fit inside McDonald's Albion Park Rail. The rain eased for a quick driver briefing before we jumped in our MX-5s and headed off into the gloom at 4:30pm. Our party started with 33 members in 18 MX-5s, with another 5 members opting to make their own way to Kangaroo Valley. Some were better prepared for the rain than others!
After a quick regroup at Albion Park, the rolling green hills of Calderwood drew us towards Macquarie Pass. A cautious approach was essential in the slippery and drizzly conditions. Turning off onto the Tourist Road, roadworks signage meant a very slow trip to Glenquarry, where we picked up another couple who patiently waited for us. We then headed back towards Robertson via Kangaloon and enjoyed stunning views of Wingecaribee Reservoir through the mist. Turning off for Wildes Meadow, the drive past Fitzroy Falls Reservoir was beautifully atmospheric - by that I mean the gumtrees surrounding it were draped in fog. Our run down Barrengarry Mountain revealed glimpses of the valley below as the clouds lifted. Towards the bottom, the stench of hot brakes filled our nostrils and we caught up to the culprit - an old Corolla riding the brakes all the way with smoke billowing from the wheel arches. Use your gears, dammit!
Arriving at The Friendly Inn at about 6pm, most of our group heeded our CB warning and avoided the muddy carpark in preference for a spot on the main street. Our residence for the evening was an outdoor marquee that comfortably coped with our group which had now grown to 40 people. It was an unseasonably cool evening, but the space heaters made it very pleasant for sitting outside. The bistro meals and local beers were delicious and conversation warm. A great night!
Two presentations were made over the course of the evening. President Keith Monaghan congratulated Jan and Bill Short on becoming the New Member of the Year (NMOTY) recipients for the whole Club. Well done! Phil Reid presented a framed photo collage to Pam and Jeff Rowe showing the various events they had experienced during their two year tenure as Illawarra Convenors. Again, a job well done. A little moisture in Pam & Jeff's eyes suggested they were both deeply touched by Phil's wonderful gesture.
As the twilight faded, many began to head off for the drive home, either east over Berry Mountain, south over Cambewarra Mountain, or north up Barrengarry Mountain. Thank you to all who attended the event, and I hope that we're able to conduct more runs of this size in the months ahead. What a fantastic way to kick off 2021!