Last weekend, we traveled up to Stockton Beach, north of Newcastle, for our annual Blue Mountains 4Weel Drive Club trip up there. Tony and the girls made a long weekend of it, leaving Thursday night. I had to work, so I got a lift up Friday night with friends. A night of quiet and alone time Thursday was a rare treat (not that I don't love them dearly, but I never get the house to myself).
On Saturday morning we went on an adventure down Stockton Beach. Every year we stop at some old huts that were built years ago in the dunes by fishermen. As it is now State Forest you can't build any more but the existing huts can stay as long as they don't get swamped by the shifting dunes. This hut belongs to a friend of the trip leader's and we stop here ever year to take photos. It always looks different, depending on the weather and the amount of sand surrounding it. Last year you needed a gang plank to get to the front door because the sand had eroded away under the verandah that much. This year the sand had returned.
There are a few places where you can still see the tank traps that were laid during WWII to protect the air force base further inland. This row goes for a couple of kilometres and the concrete blocks stand about as tall as me (about 5'2"). There used to be a row of them in the dunes too, but they have been covered in sand over the years. Every time we travel up here we see new things that have been exposed because of the shifting dunes, but some things also disappear. We saw barbed-wire fences and some petrified forest this year that we hadn't before.
The Sygna, off Stockton Beach, is slowly breaking up. It was really miserable when we stopped there - very grey and gloomy and the wreck looked rustier than it's ever been.
This is an old firing range for shells used during WWII, located at the end of Stockton Beach. The sign is up the top of the embankment. Looks like it's seen a lot of target practice.
There are a number of old bunkers at Stockton at the back of the dunes where the scrub takes over. There are practice ranges and bunkers above and below ground. The one that we know of underground was full of water, thanks to the rain up there.
The way out at the end of the day. We were glad to get off the beach, even though it was fun, as it was so windy and we knew that we had to go back to camp and see what havoc the wind had wrought on our camp. The awning on our camper trailer had blown down and it took four adults to get it back up again in the wind.
Dinner was a sociable affair. We ordered fourty-odd pizzas. The poor pizza delivery guy's car was chock-a-block full. The windows had even fogged up :-) We all tucked in to a yummy dinner and raised money for the kids Christmas party.
The next day was a very windy and wet affair. Most people packed up in the morning and went home. A few people were staying Sunday night too, so a few of us headed into Nelson Bay for a drive and a delicious lunch at the RSL Club. When we got back to camp, I bid farewell to my family , as they were staying the extra night and I got a lift home with the friends that had brought me up. Off home to a quiet night at home, alone. Not something that I get to do often, and it's really enjoyable.