Aug 16 2017

Lawsons Farm. From Homestead. Clockwise or Figure of Eight.

Published by under Trampers

Est. distance from carpark: 45 km.
15. 16/8/2017. Trampers. Lawsons Farm. M. Leaders: Neil and Margreet.

Nine trampers set out from the car park at 0900 on a stunningly clear but frosty morning. After an uneventful 45 minute drive we parked inside the main gate of Lawson’s Farm. Patiently, but DOGmatically the two male trampers ‘herded’ up the 7 lady trampers and set them going in the right direction …

…. Southwest down Steep Hill Road before entering a paddock with a sun-drenched knoll where we paused for morning tea.

Morning tea. (Helen pic and caption.)

Lo and behold two latecomers (Bruce & Bob) arrived to counter the gender imbalance. Arthur was heard to quietly breathe a sigh of relief!

We were doing a different walk today to avoid all the river crossings. It was however still very muddy underfoot. We soon descended to cross Mary’s Creek. Mary, apparently, lived with a small cadre of gold miners and used to sneak up into this bush-clad tributary to take a bath away from prying eyes. None of our ladies were keen for a dip today!

Further on we passed sluicings and building remnants from the gold mining days and then it was a stiff climb up from this, the South branch of the Waikouaiti River.

We sidled around the undulating terrain and found a lunch spot …

(Margreet pic)

… which had beautiful views over the hills and tussocks and Mount Watkin to the North; through Matanaka and Maori Point to the East.

After lunch we soon ‘topped out’ to find stunning views of the coast and untroubled sea …

(Margreet pic)

… as we descended …

(Margreet pic.)

… a long, ever steepening ridge. At the bottom we crossed a noisy creek and began an energy-sapping climb up the opposite ridge back to the cars. It was a bit like the reverse of the Grand Olde Duke of York; who marched his men to the top of the hill and marched them down again! Pointless really!

So; after a wonderful tramp on an exquisite day, it was a weary 11 who gratefully repaired to the café at Blue Skin Nursery for coffees and tea.

Total distance was around 13.5 km. and it was about 4 hours hiking time. – Neil and Margreet.

14. 8/6/2016. Trampers. Lawsons Farm. Upstream. M. Leader: Arthur.
A frost to begin the day. It was mighty raw as we gathered at the car-park in Mosgiel. Nine trampers travelled to Lawson’s Farm, Kilmog area, where we found very pleasant conditions awaiting us. Only the shady faces were white with frost.
Past the wool-shed, where the dogs barked their usual greetings to us, and up the first brief slope found our morning tea stop. The winter 9.30-starts necessitate a later morning tea, but better late than never!

Onto the 4WD track through the tussock we travelled

The track we followed. (Helen pic and caption.)

The track we followed. (Helen pic and caption.)

Farm building and long drop. (Helen pic and caption.)

Farm building and long drop. (Helen pic and caption.)

– down briefly, then up briefly, and then down, down, down – until we finally came to the south branch of the Waikouaiti River.

We turned upstream now, following a sheep track through the tussock and occasional scrub, until we had a stiffer climb up around a steep face above the river. We could then descend onto a lovely tussock flat, where we came to a 4WD track to follow.

Eventually the track let us to a ford over the river. The safest route was to cross at the ford also, so it was into the water which was a little cold.

Very cold river crossings and cold wet feet. (Helen pic and caption.)

Very cold river crossings and cold wet feet. (Helen pic and caption.)

More river crossings followed in the subsequent mile or so. After the sixth and final one, we stopped at a nice sunny spot to partake of our lunch. Mr Lawson tells me that gold mining had been carried out back in the 1870s or 1880s at our lunch spot. The tell-tale earthworks being very noticeable. The time was 12.20 p.m.

Lunch and view. (Helen pic and caption.)

Lunch and view. (Helen pic and caption.)

The river was still up a bit after the heavy rain a week previously. About a foot of water (that’s 30 cm for you metricified folk) was the deepest we had to wade through. All crossed without a mishap, and anyway, real trampers don’t mind getting their feet wet!
Two N.Z. falcons were observed while we were having our lunch. They appeared to be chasing one another, with loud squawks emitting. Perhaps one had caught its lunch but wouldn’t share?

After lunch, continuing on the 4WD track, we were soon in the shade of a narrow valley, almost a gorge. Uphill from now on, but the grade was steady and not unpleasant. The air was very cold in here,

Sooo cold and very white frost. (Helen pic and caption.)

Sooo cold and very white frost. (Helen pic and caption.)

and it was a great relief to find the sunshine again.

Before reaching the Steep Hill Road, we turned off to walk up an open bare paddock. At the gate we made the acquaintance  of two quiet and friendly horses.

Friendly horses and nice view. (Helen pic and caption.)

Friendly horses and nice view. (Helen pic and caption.)

Eventually we gained the road, with about one kilometre to go, and were back at the cars at 1.45 p.m.
Someone stated that it had been a very pleasant tramp – and all agreed with that. No measuring device with us today, but we must have tramped about 10 km.
Afterwards, the trampers had their weekly meeting at Waitati. Business included:-
1. Brief discussion as to our track-clearing intentions for the next season.
2. A considerable number of ideas regarding food, and recipes for the same, were put forward. Did you know that coleslaw makes an excellent filling for “Toasty Sandwiches”?
– Meeting adjourned till next week. – Arthur.
13. 13/4/2016. Trampers. Lawsons Farm. Downstream. Leader: –

We had 11 trampers out today, including a new member to our group, a really good number.

We parked up just inside the gate of Lawsons Farm, & proceeded to walk down past the farm house, where we were met by Jim & Willie Lawson. We had a very nice chat with them before setting off towards our morning tea spot out of the strong breeze that was blowing.
Then it was down to the river, where we turned right [downstream] & walked along the valley, where we had to negotiate the bluff that requires care getting down. Having safely got past this obstacle, we carried on to the “Lodge” where we had a leisurely lunch stop,

Lawson Lodge. (Margreet pic)

Lawson Lodge. (Margreet pic)

while some members who had not been there before examined the interior of the “Lodge” & the old vehicle chassis residing in the grass, still with chains on the tyres.
Then it was back the way we had come, until the slope we had to climb was upon us. All made it up here without to much drama, & we had a regroup at the fence corner, before making our way up to the ridge track, which leads back to the farm yard.
After arriving at the cars, it was decided that the ‘coffee club’ tradition would be continued with a stop at the Blueskin cafe., where we all enjoyed a chat over our favourite cuppa.
There were some appreciative comments made about the tramp, so a good day out for all.

Walked 12.5km
4km/hr
climbed 540mtrs. – Ken.

12. 19/11/2014 Trampers. Lawsons Farm. Upstream.
Lawsons Farm Upstream.

Lawsons Farm Upstream. GPS courtesy Ken. Walked 10.2km; 2hr 32min moving; 4km/h ave; climbed 600m. Some tricky bits, but OK.

Morning tea break. (Ken pic and caption)

Morning tea break. (Ken pic and caption)

View from morning tea stop of Mt. Watkin in the distance. (Ken pic and caption)

View from morning tea stop of Mt. Watkin in the distance. (Ken pic and caption)

Showing grass track down to the river below. (Ken pic and caption)

Showing grass track down to the river below. (Ken pic and caption)

Valley we walked along. (Ken pic and caption)

Valley we walked along. (Ken pic and caption)

Old hut. (Ken pic and caption)

Old hut.It’s virtually uninhabitable, as it’s very dirty inside. (Ken pic and caption)

Showing our route back up the hill. (Ken pic and caption)

Showing our route back up the hill. (Ken pic and caption)

We could make this walk even longer, by walking along the valley further & coming up the gully alongside Mountain Rd. Might try this next time. – Ken.

11. 5/6/2013. Trampers. Lawsons Farm.
GPS

GPS or route, courtesy Ken. We walked 12km; 3hrs 2min moving time; 3.9km/hr; climbed 461mtrs.

 
This was new country for 4 of the 6 that started out on this walk. We had quite a nice day except for a cool breeze along the exposed ridge tops.
We all enjoyed the walk along the Waikouaiti river banks, & the rocky obstacles that the writer remembered from last time. All enjoyed the lunch stop at the ‘Lodge’, where we made use of some plastic chairs, & the edge of the veranda. Doug even got out a plastic bin for a table.

Getting

Getting organised to have lunch at the ‘Lodge’

The comment was made that it had to be the most comfortable lunch stop we had ever had. However, all good things must end, …

Lunch at the ‘Lodge’

 

… so we decided to pack up & move on, as the sky was looking a little dark from where we were. However, once on the tops again, we could see that it had been unnecessary to hurry, as the weather looked much better from up there. An unhurried walk back to the cars finished off the day nicely, arriving back at the farm around 2:00pm for the drive home.
10. 27/4/2011. Trampers. Lawsons Farm. Figure of Eight.

GPS, courtesy Ken. Left loop with tail at end is of the earlier Waikouaiti Stream tramp. (see GPS below) Right elongated loop is of this tramp, down left ridge and up the right.

Looking back at the Homestead from early on, on the left ridge.

The limestone rocks in the gully just up from the gorge.

A view from our lunch-stop of the gorge we stopped short of going into.

Just a view up the gully we had circumnavigated. Taken from the old coach road.

Frisky friendly horses who were content to muzzle us.

9. 18/8/2010. Trampers. Lawsons Farm. Clockwise via Waikouaiti River. Returned west ridge instead of Old Coach Road. Medium. Leaders: George, Hazel, Ria.

GPS tracking of Wednesday’s clockwise tramp. (Courtesy Ken’s GPS device)

We parked the cars just inside the entrance to “Moana” farm, walked through the dip past Lawsons’ homestead, up over the rise beyond it (where at its top we were to complete the circuit later on), to shelter from the brisk breeze for a tea-break in the tussock of the next dip. Then it was up over a next small steep rise to begin the long descent to the river.

Gully down to Waikouaiti River, South Branch.

As can be seen from the GPS tracking map, the Waikouaiti South Branch wound left and right as we made our way down its flats.

Wider part of the river valley

Finally, across a couple of wide clearings and through some bush and we were at the lodge for a late lunch. (It WAS a 9.30 a.m. start.)

Lunch at the ‘lodge’ (Ken pic and caption)

Abandoned 4WD transport. (Ken pic and caption)

Returning back upstream a bit, we faced the daunting (near-vertical for a start,) climb back up the ridge flanking the river’s true right.

The steep climb up from the river valley to a saddle of the west ridge

Reaching the top, we turned right and followed that ridge along its undulations to reach the point that lead us back down past the homestead and its yards and up to the cars again. – Ian.
8. 10/6/2009. Trampers. Lawsons Farm. Modified clockwise walk from homestead along ridge. (Figure of eight intended originally.) Medium. Leader: George.
We met at the farm gate and welcomed back Hazel who was out walking for the first time since her ankle break up Careys Creek in March. A remarkable recovery.
Looking

Looking north down gully between the two ridges walked. Mt Watkins on left.

George led the five of us down the farm ridge.
Along west ridge that lies between river (over on left) and Mountain Track Road (Old Coach Rd) (off to right). Sabina, Doug, Hazel, George.

Along ridge that lies between river (over on left) and Mountain Track Road (Old Coach Rd) (off to right). Sabina, Doug, Hazel, George.

Eventually we reached the track leading across the gully up to the Mountain Track Road, (the old Coach Road).
Shot taken from Mountain Track Road looking back across to other ridge and adjoining track sloping down nr plantation. Mt Watkins in distance.

Shot taken from Mountain Track Road looking back across to other ridge and adjoining track sloping down nr plantation. Mt Watkins in distance.

At that point we decided to forego the (longer) original figure-of-eight plan in view of the committee meeting to be held later that day and made our leisurely way back up the Mountain Track Road to the farm house. – Ian.
7. 24/1/2007 Trampers. Lawsons Farm. From Homestead. Downstream Waikouaiti River South Branch, Lodge, Paper Road, return Farm. Leader: Ian.
Parked nr gate. Walked down past house and yards.  Climbed hill ahead and followed track down to River. Then along bank until eventually turning up to the Lodge for lunch. Back a little up the track and then a steep climb to old Paper road which followed to metalled road and back up to the cars. – Ian
6. 22/2/2006. Trampers. Lawsons Farm. Leaders: Arthur H, George, Dorothy S
5. 13/4/2005 Lawsons Farm, Waikouaiti River South Branch, Lodge. Paper Road return. Leader:  Ian
Lodge on Lawsons Farm

Lodge on Lawsons Farm

4. 3/12/2003. Trampers. Lawsons Farm, Waikouaiti River South Branch, Lodge Old Coach Road return Leaders: George, Dot B, Hazel
Start at cars

Start at cars

Stepping Out

Stepping Out

Tea break. Sabina, Joyce, George, Irene Lesley Dot B

Tea break. Sabina, Joyce, George, Irene Lesley Dot B

3. 24/10/2001 Steep Hill Road, Waikouaiti River. Medium. Leaders: George, Ria L, Barbara McC
2. 11/10/1995. Horseshoe Bend, Steephill Road. Medium. Leaders: Shirley McN, Nancy, Molly, Betty B
1. 17/4/1991. Merton – Steep Hill Road. A nice hill country tramp. Medium+.Leaders: George, Bev, Bob.

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