We’ve been coming to the relative cool highlands of Blackheath in the Blue Mountains for many a year, particularly transfixed by the breathtaking views at Govetts Leap, a vast and spectacular look-out across this World Heritage wilderness just 2 hours out of Sydney.
I’ve previously posted on the remarkable ongoing regeneration since the devastating fires of 2019/2020 – the transformation of burnt-out bleakness to promising renewal. So, it’s thrilling to return after a long winter COVID lockdown and see such encouraging development. The bush has vigorously regrown, the birds and insects have returned and the views to the horizon just as spectacular as ever before. Even the burnt scars of distant and not so distant mountain tops have lusciously rejuvenated.
I’m drawn to the vast chasm of Govetts Leap like a passenger who inexplicably thinks of leaping over the rails of a ship, so naturally I’m intrigued by the folklore legend of the escaped convict, turned bushranger, named Govett. Pursued by troopers, he found himself trapped at the edge of a 300-metre cliff. Preferring death to capture, he wheeled his horse around and together they leapt over the edge.
There’s a small plaque nearby that says this place was named after William Govett, the first European settler who set foot here in 1831, thus dispelling this legend. Apparently, a ‘leap’ is a Scottish word for a small cataract or waterfall, therefore Govetts Leap refers not to the look-out legend, but to the falls of Govetts Leap Brook, AKA Bridal Veil Falls, at 180 metres, the single tallest waterfall drop in the Blue Mountains.
The illustration is of the earliest representation of the discovery of this look out.
Just imagine what they saw!
The Sydney Mail, 25 December 1813.