Orton Bradley Park—Eye of the Needle--Mt Bradley

Sunday 3 July 2022

Too much snow and predicted strong winds prevented a Mt Enys climb so Di Mellish offered an alternative through PTC communicator. Alas the email offering a trip in the Akaroa area went into my spam folder so, oblivious, I sent an email suggesting the climb to Mt Bradley, resulting in a team of five needle threaders. Orton Bradley Park was very shaded and cold but soon we were up in sunshine in a light, warm breeze. By the time we stopped for a drink, lots of clothing layers had been shed.

Climbing the steep section along a fence and through wiry scrub to the rocks, we were wearing summer attire. The eye is hidden until you get right up to it, so we were delighted to arrive and pass through. Clambering onto a big rock to go higher has never been easy but Eileen did it expertly, so we could then use a rope to assist the rest of us. There was still another awkward bit, then we were happily standing near point 799 on the flat-topped 855m Mt Bradley. For no good reason I fell backwards into a patch of gorse and needed Kyung Sang to haul me out. No, the photo won’t be shown in this newsletter.

From the top, on paths cut through gorse by Merv Meredith, we could have got onto Te Ara Pataka track and back to the Orton Bradley Valley but we chose to go the longer way along the ridge to Packhorse Hut. Two bluffs forced us into gullies on the Kaituna Valley side where we saw severe pig rooting damage. We must have reached the hut at 2:20 and set off again at 2:40, knowing that we should be out of OBP by 5:30 when the gates closed. Three hundred metres from the hut two of us lost the track and went too low, two went too high. It took us ten minutes to regroup. The rest of Falkner Track is well marked, and the forest gully is no longer muddy. We got back to the car in a very chilly OBP with forty minutes to spare. Driving home we crested the Sign of the Kiwi to see a broad golden sunset over the mountains on a perfectly clear evening, capping off a great day out.

We were: Wendy McCaughan, Mary McKeown, Eileen Mackie. Kyung Sang Lee and Kerry Moore. [KM]

Through the eye, looking towards the harbour

Above the eye