Brasenose, Flag Peak, Berard

30 March 2014

Fog slowed our drive to the Birdlings Flat turn-off to collect two trampers, then there was a hitch. Kerry had left his headlights on for just a few minutes and now the car battery was flat. Geoff dashed home to get jumper leads and did “mouth to mouth resuscitation” to get us mobile again. On to Akaroa, we collected Julie, then our three cars drove up the steep Lighthouse Road and parked where it meets Flea Bay Road. Our team of eleven made its way up the scrubby spur and had a break on 785m Brasenose. I found a drizabone hat pinned under a stone and took it along, finding it useful to mask barbed wire when fence crossing and fending off gorse as we make our way around a pine plantation. A vehicle track seemed to lead to 809m Flag Peak but when it started to descend we diverted up through more gorse for a lunch stop alongside an array of communications equipment. I put the hat down to sit on and a light-bulb went on in Dan’s head. He’d left the hat on Brasenose two years ago and now recognised the brand—a happy reunion. Back on a proper track we headed towards Stony Bay Peak. Five of the group braved yet more gorse and a craggy climb to 709m Berard. From Stony Bay Road we diverted via farm tracks into Aylmers Valley. We passed walnut trees and gathered a few nuts then Liz bagged a good cluster of mushrooms. I found one and took it home only to reject it as too buggy. A five minute diversion led to an impressive waterfall, Newton Falls, where the club hydrophiliac, Liz had a quick shower. Further down we saw that Aylmers Stream feeds the Akaroa water supply but I don’t think the town will notice the slightly elevated salt content. Soon we were on Akaroa streets where Julie’s car was waiting to take drivers back to collect their cars. Thanks go to Bruce for leading, his excellent local knowledge and arranging for us to cross farmland. We were: Bruce Cameron, Dan Pryce, Sophie Toutain, Jill Fenner, Julie Wagner, Julie Davis, Liz Stephenson, Geoff Spearpoint, Henk Boer, Peter Umbers, and Kerry Moore. (KM)