Turtons Saddle – Point 1810 Circuit

24 November 2021

This was another trip when the flexibility of the post-employment stage of life allows many of our club members to choose their weather and avert another nor-west weekend cancellation. It started with the re-run of the three-day Nina-Boscawen-Rough Creek trip I had scheduled to start on Saturday 27th. A southerly was due, so I postponed Boscawen to a three-day window, hopefully not too far ahead in our programme. So, was a one-day substitute possible? Obviously not on the wet weekend but the forecast suggested a one-day window on Wednesday 24th before the nor-west started again. I was due to lead Turton Saddle – Point 1805 on Sunday 5th Dec. So, I moved that trip, fired out an email and at 7am Wed met at the usual week-day spot on Yaldhurst Rd, past the Russley Rd lights. We were four, in Bill’s vehicle.

The weather transpired as forecast—mostly blue skies and nothing more than a light to moderate nor-wester on exposed ridges. Calm as, coming back down-valley. Turtons Saddle is on the Te Araroa route, up Glenrock Stream from the south bank of the Rakaia. From the saddle a broad face ascends west up a spur to point 1805m on a ridge, running south for our trip, but originating in the Godley Peak, Mother Miller Spring area. Actually, there are two other 1805m points close by, plus an 1810m and 1809m. Try picking those by sight. To the west of our ridge, Petticoat Lane descends from Godley Peak into lacy channels in the valley far below. Our route from 1805m was south, along the ridge. We had first followed this route in October 2009, travelling along the easy ridge to the last of the high points at 1691m and descending north-east from there into Turtons Stream.

With a 7am start, we were tramping up Glenrock Stream by 8.50am, in fine weather. The stream was sheltered and very green with spring growth. The poled route picks up the farm track and continues up the zig-zag to Turtons Saddle where John was content to stay and not go higher. After a steady slog up the spur we three reached Point 1805 at 12.20pm. The view west of the snow-covered south-face of the ridge connecting us to Godley and Moorhouse was impressive.

After lunch, we continued south, on mostly easy terrain, along the snow-free ridge to point 1762m, deciding to drop from there to stay with the south-east spur, down into Turtons Stream. From the stream it was only a short walk up-stream to the turn off, up Comyns Stream to the A-frame Hut, arriving, 3pm. We had anticipated John would have waited for us there but no sign. So, after a break, we continued on the steady plod up Turtons to return to the saddle and reunite with John at 4pm. It was then a pleasure to return down the zigzag and trundle steadily downhill in our green river valley and calm late afternoon conditions to arrive at the road. Even at 5.30 the car thermometer read 20ºC. We’d had a great day out and it was good to do this circuit again, particularly the top ridge travel.

We were: Merv Meredith, (leader), John Robinson, Bill Templeton and Peter Umbers. (MM)

The A-frame hut