Tutira Walkway

7 July 2021

The pundits were not expecting this trip to go ahead given the weather forecast but, after an early morning check with the Tutira Arboretum, the leader’s decision to proceed was vindicated. The weather was great with early morning mist rising and little wind. The truck, driven by Pete, took us up Ridgemount Road to the shelter area and, after a smoko break, boots were finally donned. We started off by following the poled route along the
walkway but, unfortunately, many cattle had had the same idea over the last few days and in places the track was overlaid with very viscous mud. Gaiters were a blessing if not a necessity. Most took off up to the top of Table Mountain (494 metres) while others continued along the lower Peras Track, side-stepping the muck where possible and startling a few cattle beasts trying to feed. A lunchette was duly held at our favourite sunny spot with views to the lake, the church and the arboretum. An interesting discssion ensued about Herbert Guthrie-Smith, the far-sighted farmer of Tutira Station. His ideas about overstocking, soil erosion and depletion of native forests were not mainstream a hundred years ago but he is now acclaimed as a pioneer in farming practices that are accepted today as beneficial especially in the face of climate change.

Time to head downhill to the lake. Rodger decided that his knees weren’t up to it so he plodded back the way he had come. Christine decided to go up to 494 where there was a strong wind but a 360º view of Hawke’s Bay. Then she continued north-east along the ridgeline until it ran out. No more animal tracks and steep limestone bluffs at the far end! Descent required a bit of very ungraceful negotiating – her very muddy backside was testimony to the last muddy slide!

Eventually, back at the truck and its last trip for HTC. Christine drove it down to the lake campsite to join the others and then on to Napier before Peter took it back to base. Our beloved truck [well, beloved by some] has given us years of service and taken us to many parts of NZ. It was finally sold a few days ago, after a series of fairly tortuous negotiations, and packed off to Deakin Motors. It has been replaced with a modern Ford van with many state-of-the-art electronic features.

Party: Janice L, Anthea C, Susan L, Margaret G, Lynn W, Christine H, Anne C, Joan R, Graeme H, Peter H, Garry S, Rodger B