With predicted rainfall for the day looking rather severe, we took to planning a secondary route. This was a real shame as our third day was likely to be one of the best. The area up and around Gloucester Tops will have to wait for us to return. Which we will.
Our revised route would instead go via Monkerai Road on the way towards The Bucketts Way and through to Gloucester.
Monkerai is a large rural area located in the hills between Dungog and Gloucester. Other than an historic bridge and hall, Monkerai is known for being the home of female bushranger & mother to the child of Captain Thunderbolt, Mary Ann Bugg. The 'Captains Lady' was one of only two female bushrangers in the mid-19th century, and is rumoured to have helped Thunderbolt escape from Cockatoo Island. You can read more about the good Captain in Part I.
The historic Monkerai Bridge over the Karuah River is one of many wooden truss designs built by the old Public Works Dept, completed in 1882. Seen as historically significant, the bridge is currently closed to motor traffic until it has been restored – apparently it has the ability to eat tyres.
Long days in the saddle mean it’s hard to say no to some free roadside padding, especially when it comes with its own waterlogged chamois cream.
The Bucketts Way
After enjoying the soggy gravel along Monkerai Road, and feeding a very random camel, we hit the final stretch home to Gloucester.
Bikes washed down, we hit the burger joint and wrapped things up with a couple of beers.
While it was unfortunate that we didn't get to follow our intended route, the section along Monkerai Road was good fun and The Bucketts Way was not particularly busy.
We will be back one day soon to get up into the Gloucester Tops area that we missed.
We rode Giant TCX cyclocross bikes. We kept things pretty close to factory spec, with the exception of some more ‘adventure-friendly’ gearing for those 20%-plus dirt gradients. Most of us ran 1X drivetrains with a 40t chainring up front and 11x40t cassette at the rear. There is no harm in having some decent 40mm rubber too - WTB Nano or Maxxis Ramblers will rarely let you down.
We weren‘t camping on this trip, but still needed to carry a fair bit of kit. Saddle & frame bags by Revelate Designs allowed us to carry plenty of food & water, clothes, spares & camera gear.
Food & Water:
Being such a short (and not overly challenging) section, we recommend a quick stop in at the IGA in Dungog for essentials before rolling out.
More from Barrington Tops
Choose from any of the three days we spent riding around the Barrington Tops National Park, or the Road Book, for all the maps & information you need to get out and explore the area yourself.
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