Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

When we saw that our Ambassador, Steph Devery, had taken her dad abseiling for his very first time, we knew we wanted to feature the story. It’s never too late (or too early!) to learn a new skill in the outdoors and when it comes to quality time with loved ones, adventure is where it’s at!

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My family has always been interested in my stories of multi-day hikes, kayak trips and canyoning escapades but I knew they didn’t quite fully understand what I actually do when I disappear for the day with a car loaded with ropes, harnesses, hardware and camping equipment. So when my dad, Dave, called and asked if I’d take him abseiling, I jumped at the chance to teach an old dog new tricks!

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We met at 8am on a chilly but sunny May morning at Katoomba to fuel up on bakery snacks before heading off.

I chose the beautiful Castle Head multi-pitch abseil for the day’s adventures because of its easy access and exit and the added opportunity to have lunch at Ruined Castle.

If I’m honest, when I saw Dad, at 62 years old, attached to the anchor of the first pitch for his first abseil ever, it felt good to see him looking a little nervous after constantly been thrown out of my comfort zone as a child... finally a little payback!

But he surprised me as he sailed down the first cliff face, no problems or worries! He picked it up pretty quickly and was soon cruising down the cliffs.

We stopped half-way down on a ledge for a spot of lunch and share some banana cake dad had baked the day before.

The rest of the day was full of fun as we made our way down the vertical cliff face, happy to be in such a gorgeous place on a beautiful day.

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As we hit the bottom, the sun was getting low, so we hid our gear and flashed up to Ruined Castle for a phenomenal panorama of the Jamison Valley and to look up at Castle Head,admiring our route of descent down the cliff face.

Then, we walked back to the car along the beautiful Federal Pass Track where we were lucky enough to spot a male Lyre bird on his mound, carrying out his courting dance and singing his repertoire.

We trudged out of the Golden Staircase at the end of the day, just in time to watch the sun set over the mountains and then jetted off to find a warm pub for a well earnt feed and a beer! We toasted to an unforgettable day, taking father/daughter bonding to new heights!

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STEPH DEVERY

Steph is a certified abseiling, kayaking and climbing guide and a qualified paramedic. When she’s not saving lives, you’ll find her skiing winters and hiking, canyoning, trail running and diving the rest of the year.

Follow Steph’s adventures on Instagram at @stephdevery