Port Hills Walking Marathon: Lyttelton to Lyttelton

Last year I co-organised the Godley to Gebbies walk in the Port Hills which was 36 km long. This year I thought I might push it a bit further, so I came up with the idea of meeting at Lyttelton, taking a ferry across to Diamond Harbour and walking back to Lyttelton over Mt Herbert, Packhorse Hut and Gebbies Pass.

My map said that this would end up being somewhere around 42 km. It sounded great to me, however I have to admit that when I wrote the trip description with the headline “Lyttelton to Lyttelton”, it looked so dull and pointless that I started to doubt if anyone would be interested in spending their Sunday walking from point A back to point A. To my surprise, 31 people signed up for the trip, and they all arrived on time at Lyttelton Wharf on Sunday morning.

While queuing at the wharf, nobody talked much, which was appropriate behaviour considering the darkness and the harbour mist sitting on the water. Or maybe they were all contemplating the pain and suffering that they were about to put themselves through.

After we crossed to Diamond Harbour, we all started to walk up the road. It quickly became clear that if I was to let the fast people go ahead then, I’d never see them again. So I managed to stop them for a minute to update them on some non-important details and off they went.

Now, I can’t say much about what was happening for the group as a whole because I basically walked the whole time with Brenda and Sasha and didn’t see much of anyone else, though I assume they were walking too and not hitching sneaky lifts. Some folk were not keen on adjusting their pace to anybody else so there were many people who walked the whole thing by themselves. Others walked in small groups. Our small group was lucky enough to meet Kate Tylor at Coopers Knob where she’d walked from the Sign of Kiwi. Kate joined us and we all walked back to Sign of Kiwi together. When we got to the cafe, they were closing but we managed to squeeze a few more last orders out of them to get some much needed cake, ice cream and tea.

From the Sign of Kiwi it was getting darker and darker, however Andy, Sasha’s partner, joined us for the last leg and provided a good distraction from the fact that our legs were starting to protest against this nonsense. The sunset colours were gorgeous and it soon became completely dark. I always find it very liberating when I hike, the sun goes down, the darkness swallows my surroundings but I keep walking regardless. 

Going down the Bridle Path was a solid knee crusher as it’s a steep path and our knees had had enough by this point. In Lyttelton we went straight to the pub where we met Peter and Stephen, everybody else already left. Behind us there was only one more group of 4 people. We finished in 10 hours.

We were very lucky with the weather – it was fantastic all day, allowing me to walk in a T-shirt. I’m writing this report the day after and it’s hailing outside.

Rough stats:

  • 31 participants including 3 prospective members, Markus who walked in the opposite direction, Kate who walked from Sign of Kiwi to Coopers Knob and back.
  • The fastest person did it in 7.5h, the last group took 11h from start to finish which is still a phenomenal time.
  • ~6 people didn’t finish for various reasons.
  • Total distance was around 42 km, the total ascent was around 2000m.
  • For many, this was the longest walk they’d ever done.

Participants: Michal Klajban (leader, scribe), Chris McHarg, Norilie Lopez, Swaroop Gowda, Vanessa Smith, Miles Franklin, Mark Nicholls, Bill Johnson, Carmela Terrobias, Brenda O’Donoghue, Monika Bratownik, Caroline Garcon, Joanna Dangerfield, David Sutton, Emma Rogers, Markus Milne, Peter Marinelli, Kate Taylor, Penny Coffey, Liam Dangerfield, Carmen Jacobs, Shane Jacobs, John West, Saskia Wohlgemuth, Kelly Purdie, Julie Spruyt, Jeff Hall, Sasha Vohlidkova, Stephen Lukey, Jonathan Carr

Thanks everyone for coming. Well done all!

Map

Total distance: 51570 m
Max elevation: 936 m
Min elevation: -27 m
Total climbing: 12084 m
Total descent: -12131 m
Total time: 10:10:39
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About the Author

Michal
I lived pretty common life for a while. I did my studies, my second studies, my third studies, my first job, my second job and my third job. I wasn’t really sure what’s going on so in 2014, I left my home country to learn about the world. I’m still not sure what’s going on but I enjoy it much more.

2 Comments on "Port Hills Walking Marathon: Lyttelton to Lyttelton"

  1. Looks so easy from your description but 42km in a winter day!!! You have a bunch of insane people in the club. I want to do it too.

    • Michal | 9.7.2021 at 8:47 | Reply

      Yeah let’s do it together next time when you’re here – or I’ll plan another CTC trip especially for you 🙂

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