Mt Cass

11 March 2021

Despite Kerry's dogged endeavours, the planned Three Deans walk was not going to be. After many fruitless attempts to telephone the land owners, when contact was finally made, permission was denied. Neither was permission forthcoming for an alternative coastal walk starting at Glenafric. At the eleventh hour, we defaulted to relatively nearby Mt Cass which, although not exactly a challenge, does have the advantage of a walkway to the top - sans permission required.

All Canterbury trampers will be aware of the name Cass that features throughout the Province. A doughty Yorkshireman, Thomas Cass became chief surveyor for the Canterbury Association in the 1850s - 60s and no doubt because of his position, or maybe self-aggrandisement), was eponymised with at least eight geographical features: three hills, two rivers, a settlement, a saddle (and hut) and a bay. Our Mt Cass was one of them. And for those into trivial pursuit; “what was the former pakeha name for Cave Rock in Sumner?” Yes, you all knew, it was Cass Rock - until the mid 1860s!

Starting not far from the Kate Valley landfill, it was a warm nor-west day as we steadily climbed through bone-dry countryside, the track of which the Waipara Valley Promotion Association and Transwaste had co-operatively developed. With many “kiss gates” to avoid straddling fences, it wended through limestone cliffs and boulder country to the 525m summit, taking only about an hour and a half. By then the wind had picked up considerably, so an early, lazy (and sheltered) lunch was had in the lee of large rocks below the top, and it was still only about midday!

The panoramic view from Mt Cass is impressive with the crescentic curve of Pegasus Bay's white surf sweeping away to Banks Peninsula, Mts Alarm, Tapuae-O-Uenuku and Manukau identifiable to the north east, to the west threatening clouds rolled in from the Divide, stopping just short of parched brown foothills, including the Three Deans, and in the foreground, Waipara's picturesque vineyards were turning an autumnal yellow.

We were back at our cars an hour or so later, then a coffee at Pukeko Crossing and back to Christchurch by 1500, when unfortunately, I still had ample time to mow the lawn.

A pleasant, non-strenuous day out with excellent views, in the good company of: Kerry Moore, Joy Schroeder, John Robinson, Wendy McCaughan, Dan Pryce, Ainslie Talbot, Helen Harkness, Sandra White, Gemma White and Graeme Paltridge (leader). (GP)

Holding our hats as we climb windswept Mount Cass

On the way back alongside Cass Ridge. Looking towards Kate Valley, Pegasus Bay and Banks Peninsula