Saturday, 31 January 2009

Mt Owen photos

on the walk-in from Courthouse Flat
on the summit

karst (marble limestone) on the upper approachon the walk-in from Courthouse Flats

is this a hobbit? click on the photo to find out

Alex on the summit with Mt Bell and Hope Range in background

Granity Pass Hut

Friday, 30 January 2009

Mt Owen

YIC has just returned from an excellent 3 day tramp to Mt Owen.  He climbed the hill with Alex who he met on the Tableland walk.  The approach to the hill entails an overnight stay at Granity Pass Hut which is set in superb remote mountain scenery.  Mt Owen is the highest hill in the Kahurangi National Park at 1875 metres and so gives panoramic views in all directions: Nelson Lakes, Nelson, The North Island, and the Mt Arthur Range were all in view.  For those who are Lord of The Rings fans, Mt Owen was the setting for Dimrill Dale, the exit from the mines of Moria.  YIC is now back in Nelson for the weekend, before flying down to Wanaka on Monday for the next leg of his journey down under.

Friday, 23 January 2009


Congratulations to Joe Chillingworth and Anna who are engaged to be married. Joe proposed underwater at 7 metres. YIC isn't sure exactly how this worked, but clearly it did as Anna accepted. Here are the couple in full scuba gear. If you click on the image to enlarge it, you will note the shiny non-scuba item on Anna's finger.

some hill running

YIC has just returned from 3 excellent days in the Tableland area of Kahurangi National Park. It was a fairly easy tramping area, so YIC took the opportunity to run up a few hills. He ran up Mt Arthur (1795m - a popular day walk) and Mt Peel (1654m - a round trip around the cirque enclosing Lake Peel). The scenery was reminiscent of the Lake District, but much quieter. His planned lift back on a shuttle bus fell through, but luckily Peter & Sue from Dunedin had been mountain biking from the Flora Car Park where YIC was waiting for a lift. They kindly gave YIC a lift all the way back to Nelson YHA - thanks folks!

The approach to Mt Arthur

Lake Peel from the Mt Peel ridge
The Kahurangi stretches into the distance from Mt Peel

how we laughed

A snail gets mugged by 2 tortoises. When the police arrive, they ask the snail what happened. "I don't know", says the snail, "it all happened so fast!"

This joke was brought to you by the barber in Nelson.

And here's one from Diane Walker:
First man - have you seen my amphibian?
Second man - he's very small.
First man - yes, he's my newt.

ho ho!

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Nelson Lakes

YIC has just returned from an excellent 7 day tramp in the Nelson Lakes area. He tramped the Travers Sabine Circuit. This route took him along the Mt Roberts ridge to Lake Angelus Hut where he climbed Angelus Peak (at 2037 m this is YIC's highpoint to date). After dropping into the Sabine valley, he visited the beautiful Blue Lake, before climbing over the Travers Saddle and tramping back to the finish at St Arnaud. The weather was glorious apart from the last 24 hours when YIC got just a tad damp (to put it mildly). He is now back in Nelson where the sun is shining again. Tomorrow he is heading to the Tablelands area for 3 days walking and running.
Above Lake Angelus with Angelus Peak in the background
The Mt Roberts ridge
Travers Saddle with Mt Travers in the background
Lake Rotoiti at the end of the tramp

more keas

During his tramp at The Nelson Lakes, YIC stayed at Bushline Hut above Lake Rotoiti. 2 Department of Conservation (DOC) workers were there (Cory and Kirsty), sheltering from the evening rain. They were part of a team surveying the local kea population. Just as they arrived at 9 45 pm, lo and behold a kea showed up as well. They managed to lasso the kea, then weigh and measure it, before fitting a radio transmitter. Here they are at work, giving Barry Bushline (as YIC christened the kea) the treatment.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Tea Time

Who says YIC drinks beer the whole time? Here he is passing the time of day in The Stingray bar in Nelson with a cup of earl grey tea. And very pleasant it was too. Of course, once he'd drunk his tea, he could have something possibly a little stronger...
The forecast is good for the next few days, so YIC is off for a week's tramping in the Nelson Lakes - planning to visit Lake Angelus and The Blue Lake on an anti-clockwise circuit of the Travers Sabine route.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

The Stoke Keas

Keas are mountain parrots that are renowned for pinching trampers' food. YIC was followed by this kea for 400 yards on the Christopher ridge. He also met the female equivalent in the huts on St James Walkway. Here are "The Stoke Keas" - from the left Lauren, Lisa, and Leanne. Stoke Keas are particularly fond of toblerone - and YIC was happy to oblige with some of his Christmas present from Riz & Kiz Inglis.

St James Walkway

YIC has completed his first New Zealand tramp. This has nothing to do with the local vagrants, rather it is the NZ phrase for hiking. He tramped The St James Walkway - a scenic 5 day tramp in Canterbury near Lewis Pass. NZ is set up with an excellent hut system, and YIC enjoyed staying in the huts and meeting the people there. There was even time for some penny whistle tunes for which the local hut populace was deeply grateful. He managed to climb to 3 mini-tops. Unlike the UK, there are so many hills in NZ that only the main ones have names. So YIC had to be content with 1817 metres. Here is the view from the spot-height, with Mt Gloriana in the background.
The best climb was up the ridge above Christopher Hut. It was just like a Lakeland ridge - except that there was no-one else there. Here's a photo of it.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

New Zealand arrival

YIC has arrived in Christchurch New Zealand. The city is obviously keen on its Oxbridge links. There is a Cambridge Terrace and an Oxford Terrace flanking the river Avon, and an old college building with a couple of Quads that is now the Arts Centre. It doesn't have quite the ring of Oxford about it, though possibly the Poly in the Fens (Cambridge) might be closer to it. Stop press - a source close to YIC (Rev T) informs him that Cambridge has "Courts" rather than "Quads". So it isn't Cambridge either...

YIC is staying at a youth hostel (because of course he is still part of the youth of today) next to the Botanical Gardens and Park, which is very handy for his morning run. This allows him to burn off the beer from the night before (on the odd occasion that he has a half of shandy when the weather is very hot). So far he has discovered Monteith's beer, and can report that their Summer Ale is OK. But as ever, he remains unstinting in his quest for other ales - greater love hath no man etc.

Sunday - the quest goes on. Thanks to a tip from Chris Smith, YIC visited The Twisted Hop, a brewhouse that produces real ale - hurrah! The Goldings Bitter at 3.7% ABV is an excellent light hoppy beer. In fact, it's so good, that YIC might have to call there again, strictly to check that they are keeping the ale to a high quality.

YIC attended communion at the cathedral this morning. As it was Epiphany, he belted out good hymns such as "O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness" and "As with gladness men of old". The cathedral was very welcoming, with tea in the visitors centre afterwards.