Jan 11 2017

Rollinsons Rd Locked gate, Swinespur, Swampy Ridge, McQuilkans, Smithies

Published by under Trampers

Click Swampy ridge track for background information

4. 11/1/2017. McQuilkans/Swampy Circuit. M. Leader: Art.

High overcast and warm temperatures were ideal for our first tramp of 2017. The idea was to have an easy day’s tramp, so as to break everyone back in after the Christmas Break/indulgences.

Seven participated in the day’s adventures, which were just a little more demanding.

Leaving our cars on the side of the Flagstaff-Whare Flat Road we walked in the Jim Freeman and Possum Busters tracks before turning onto McQuilkans. We then found track clearing in progress – we had travelled on recently cleared tracks since leaving the cars. A very good job had been done, too.

It was time for morning tea, so we stopped here, after talking the workman into joining us.

McQuilkans track took us uphill until we can to the Swampy Ridge track. Turning right we followed it, and then down to the Ben Rudd Shelter

(Helen pic)

for our lunch stop.

On seat.. Arthur Janine Eleanor Margreet Neil Eric. (Helen pic and caption.)

It was very peaceful and quiet there in the bush, we noted. The facilities were excellent,

Lovely toilet. Ok for males but not for me.. (Helen pic and caption.)

with picnic tables for our use.

Lunch Ben Rudd shelter. (Helen pic and caption.)

We next travelled up the challenging track (not shown in Hamel’s book) from the Ben Rudd Shelter, past the Big Rock and emerging onto the Firebreak track. This unnamed track had many patches of large rocks to scramble over, needing extreme care as a broken leg was not wanted. The track had been cleared last summer, and showed signs of being well used, too.

On the Firebreak track we walked a short distance towards the Bullring before going down the Big Rock track. None of us had ever been on it before. It had also been cleared last summer, after a period of being completely overgrown.

The Big Rock provided a good viewing spot, but the track was also rather challenging. It soon resembled an obstacle course – lots of rocks and quite a steep descent. A very interesting track. After debate we decided that descending was perhaps better than ascending it?

Eventually we safely reached the road, and following it downhill found our cars.

We had travelled about 8 km, but because of the degree of difficulty, the energy expended was far more than this would suggest. Apparently all had enjoyed the day’s tramp, as I didn’t hear any complaints, which is a plus!

A recovery session was undertaken at Wals when we had returned to Mosgiel (the “Hairy Goat” was too far away!) – Art.

3. 28/8/2013. Trampers. Rollinson Road, Swine Spur, Swampy, McQuilkans, return Swampy, Rollinsons Road.

Swine Spur & aborted McQuilkins tramp

GPS of route, courtesy Ken. 13.9km; 3hrs40min; 3.8km/h; total time 5.5hrs; 730mtrs climbed.

GPS of route., courtesy Ken. 13.9km; 3hrs 40min; 3.8km/h; total time 5.5 hrs; 730mtrs climbed.

Unsure of the condition of McQuilkins track, 5 trampers set out to tackle Swine Spur, Swampy Ridge, & McQuilkins. Swine Spur had been cleared, & presented no problems, apart from the tall steps on parts of the track, & short legs on some of the trampers ! We had morning tea, in the normal place at the cross roads on the track, then up to the top road, where Ken made a mistake, & pointed everybody in the wrong direction. He quickly realised his mistake, so no harm done. We then went around to the top of the Leith Saddle track to have an early lunch …

Lunch at the top of Leith Saddle track

Lunch at the top of Leith Saddle track. (Ken pic and caption)

… & then back along Swampy Ridge to McQuilkins track, which didn’t look at all inviting from the top. However, we set off down the track, but it soon became obvious that there had been no clearing work done after the snow damage, & we quickly ran into problems in the bush.There was so much damage to the track, that it was almost impossible to see the ground trail through the fallen trees/scrub etc. We pressed on for about 300 mtrs. but decided that it was prudent to go back to the top, as the track was very hard to find, even with the help of the GPS, which Ken had pre-programmed with an earlier trip around the same circuit.  We then had a conference on which was the best/quickest way back to the car, as the weather was starting to look threatening. It was decided that we go all the way back to the top of Swampy Ridge, & down Rollinsons Rd. back to the car, which was left at the locked gate. We got as far as ‘the elbow’ on Rollinsons Rd. & then it started to rain, so a wet walk back to the car.
All agreed it was a good walk, but a pity McQuilkins was in such poor condition. I guess ‘the Green Hut track group’ will in time get around to clearing it, but it will be a massive job. – Ken.

3hrs 40min
total time 5.5 hrs.
730mtrs climbed

Les Murcot's naming of region

Les Murcot’s amended naming of region

2. 14/3/2012. Trampers. Rollinson Road, Swine Spur, Swampy, McQuilkans, Smithies, (formerly called Possum Hunters).

GPS of route, courtesy Ken.

We went in at the Possum Busters entrance off Rollinson Road.
We stopped at the junction with the Swine Spur.

Morning tea stop. (Ken pic and caption)

We early lunched on the Swampy Track, where the Moon track goes off to the east and the McQuilkan to the west.

Lunch Stop. The start of the Nicols/Moon track on the left. (Ken pic and caption)

Ian and Hazel starting lunch. (Ken pic and caption)

Nestled among the tussock having lunch (Ken pic and caption)

The McQuilkan was not too bad until we exited the manuka lower down and began the push through the tussock, flax, broom and bush lawyer, – plus all the other stuff. Smithies was just as bad right down to near Lake Whare.

Mirror image on Lake Whare.

Heron in tree above Lake Whare. If you can find the bird!

We emerged out on the Rollinson Road lower down by the entrance proper to Lake Whare instead of coming out further up via Murcot’s Meander, (now sign-posted again), as we had done on the 2009 tramp.
Untrimmed growth was a real struggle to push through, as well as it quite concealing the track in places. A compensation was that the brush was dry. But the bush Lawyer! Almost all of the nine of us suffered bloody scratches from it.  A recompense for the wandering blackberry strands across the track was a few early ripening blackberries in a couple of places.
The streams were up a little , but the crossings were not too bad.  The tramp was about eight kms; total altitude climbed was half a km. – Ian.
1. 21/10/2009 Trampers. Swine Spur, Swampy Ridge, McQuilkans, out to Whare Flat Road Smithies. Leaders: Ria, Hazel.
We parked at the locked gate on Rollinsons Road. A couple of hundred yards up the road we entered the Possum Busters track. The two creek crossings, one especially with difficult steep banks had been greatly improved with magnificent steps. Thanks to those responsible! We stopped for a cuppa at the Swine Spur track junction.
Old signs

Old Les Murcott signs

Trks grp

Morning Tea near old signs junction. Keith, Ken, Hazel, Ria, Glenice.

Then it was up Swine Spur to the Swampy Ridge Track at a Civil Aviation building. Then south along Swampy Ridge and down McQuilkan to lunch at the (now) Smithie’s track junction. (Possum Hunters now officially dropped.)


Lunch. (Ken pic). Hazel, Glenice, Keith, Ria, Ian.

At this point Ria elected to take us out to the Whare Flat Road as she believed a clay bank on Smithie’s route to Lake Whare would have been too slippery after last night’s rain. At the foot of Rollinsons Road, we persuaded her to turn back from walking up the road and take the Smithie’s track adjacent to the turn off up through the bush to turned off at the Lake Whare sign and


Sign identifying Smithie’s (no longer Possum Hunters) Track.

Lake Whare

Lake Whare Track turn-off


eventually arriving at the “lake”.
Lake Whare

Lake Whare


From this point, Ria took us round to the stone remains of a old house. (Bob Heenan believes the Flax Mill in the area must have been down by the stream for the water power.)

Flaxmill remains? (Ken pic)


Then it was on a little bit, along Murcot’s Meander (sign now missing), across the old stone wall, and then left to cross the track-clearers’ lovingly-made sycamore bridge (the   more substantial 2nd one, the first broken by motor bikers).


Lovingly-made bridge. (Ken pic). Keith, Ria, Glenice.


and out to Rollinson Road and back up the the cars.

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