Weirdly enough, this was my first climb to the Castle Hill Peak, probably the most popular high peak for Christchurchians. We started off at the Porters Pass car park, a neat carpark right on the top of the pass.
I had had this tramp in mind for a while so I was quite excited when the day finally came to try out this epic day adventure in Black Range. 4 brave CTC souls, the ideal number for a car load, started off at Bealey Spur Hut car park at around 8.30 am.
The Spurs in Birdwood Range are a couple of nearly 2000m high peaks (1964m and 1985m) overlooking Wilberforce Flat by Lake Coleridge. To climb The Spurs, you do need permission from a local station.
The plan was to do the Ben More circuit but the weather forced us to look for a less exposed location as far from the Main Divide as possible. Akaroa seemed to be far enough.
The Port Hills are the closest hills to Christchurch and I’d been thinking about traversing them since I first moved to the city. One day in July I asked Emma if she’d be keen to co-lead this trip as we would need 2 cars, and I knew that Emma was used to running trips like this before breakfast. She enthusiastically agreed – though at the time we had no idea that 30 trampers would sign up for the trip!
We started off at Craigieburn Campsite Shelter. Chris was leading us at an easy-going pace while Alan was covering the back. At Helicopter Hill Saddle, a few of us went to check out Helicopter Hill and the rest of the group continued along Craigieburn Edge Track. We had a quick lunch below Camp Saddle.
The third Tramping Monday had similar attendance to the first one – only 1 person. Jacqui and I drove to Windy Point which is not too far from Engineers Camp.
Kirwans Hut is probably one of the fanciest huts on the West Coast. It’s located in an area that has been extensively mined. Even the track to the hut was originally built for mining purposes! 6 CTC trampers started off with the intention to reach the hut and hope to not get rained on too much. After having some photography fun at Topffer Creek bridge, we followed Topffer Creek on a very obvious and wide track. We soon split into 2 parties – one was fast, the other one was extra fast.
This was a last minute trip, as I realized a few days before the weekend that there wasn’t a day trip planned for the weekend. There were seven of us including 2 prospective members and Rodney who met us at the Wooden Gully carpark. Wooden Gully Track was closed so we chose the Ridge Track as a suitable replacement. It was the quickest way to get to the tops anyway.
On my first CTC trip about 1.5 years ago there were around 12 trampers and I was quite shocked to find such a big group! I hadn’t tramped in groups of more than 3 people before. Well, in a year and half of being a member of the club I’ve grown to appreciate these bigger groups. So far the biggest group I’ve experienced was on this trip to Bealey Spur Hut where 28 people came to enjoy a beautiful day on the edge of Arthur’s Pass National Park.