Jul 31 2019

Schoolhouse, Tunnels, McRaes circuit.

Published by under Both Hikers & Trampers

Whare Flat School and Surrounds History
9. 31/7/2019. Trampers. Schoolhouse, Tunnels, Racemans.

Route map, courtesy Phil K.

Tunnel and Racemans tracks 31/7/19

The threatening weather report did not deter 16 keen trampers’ from turning up ready for a walk. The trip to Mt Watkins was postponed because of some of the track’s lack of shelter to the elements. It was decided to walk the tunnel and raceman’s tracks because they are in the shelter of native bush.

We parked and left from the school house area on Whare flat road. The tracks were in very good condition but a bit wet and muddy in places.

G.3rd -- That was a tricky bitc

That was a tricky bit. (Gordon pic and caption.)

G.5th photo -- Careful Don’t slipc

Careful Don’t slip. (Gordon pic and caption.)

It was pleasant walking along the track adjacent to the old water race. Morning tea was appropriately had along from one of the tunnels.

G.2nd -- Putting the world right over morn. Teac

Putting the world right over morn. Tea. (Gordon pic and caption.)

The Silverstream water race was built between  1877 and 1881 and consisted of nearly 30km of open races, sluices, tunnels and weirs. In 1920 a pump was installed. Later pipes were partially in stalled with little success. It was abandoned in the 1960s.

We continued on walking briskly to ensure that we all kept warm. The native bush with all its array of greens was a pleasant sight. Lunch was had just before a creek crossing that could have been more challenging to cross!

G.4th -- A perfect lunch spotc

A perfect lunch spot. (Gordon pic and caption.)

We headed back using a detour to avoid a loop on racemans. The bird song was pleasant on some parts of the tracks. The sun even briefly shone through the trees at times.

G.6th -- Still smilling.Heading to coffee stopc

Still smilling. Heading to coffee stop. (Gordon pic and caption.)

On reaching our cars, after a few creek crossings,

G.8th -- 1st @ last obstaclec

1st & last obstacle. (Gordon pic and caption.)

we had completed 15.8 km. A good walk with plenty of cool fresh air! The temperature was 5 degrees when we returned to Mosgiel.

H.3.Coffee at Blendc

Coffee at Blend. (Helen pic and caption.)

It was a pleasure to share Helen’s birthday with coffee and cakes at Blend. – Dave

8. 23/9/2015. Trampers. Schoolhouse, Tunnels, Racemans.
 As the destination for the designated tramp [Swampy via Morrisons & poleline track] was covered in wet cloud, we decided at the carpark to just walk the Tunnels/Racemans tracks instead. This turned out to be a good choice, as the weather was fine all day in the valley.
Of the eight trampers that came along, two had never been in this area before, so it was a good opportunity for them to see the work that was done on this impressive old water race.
We had morning tea at the top in the pines, & then walked along to almost the junction with Little Coal track, where we stopped for an early lunch.
Lunch (Ken pic)

The pic is of our lunch stop (Ken pic and caption)

As I was recovering from two weeks off with a very sore back, [damaged while gardening — be aware, it’s not good for your health !!] I decided that I was going to turn back here, so I informed the others of my intentions, & they all said they would be happy to go back with me. [7km at this point]. So we retraced our steps back to the cars at the old school house, clearing some storm damaged vegetation as we went along.

The track was in mostly dry condition with only the odd muddy patch to contend with, & the creek crossings were very shallow.
walked 14km
3h 15mins moving.
climbed 147m. – Ken.

15/4/2015. Trampers. Pumphouse, Tunnels, McRaes
Walked 9.6km
2 1/2hrs moving time
climbed 275m
6 hardy trampers turned up to do the walk into the Tunnels & Silverstream tracks, which was, due to the weather conditions, chosen as an alternative to the Leith Saddle tramp scheduled for today.
We parked by the school house, & made our way up to the start of the Tunnels Track, but on arriving at the creek crossing, we found it to be far too deep & swift to attempt a crossing without getting wet feet. So we made the decision to go in from the pump house at the Whare Flat car park. We drove back down the road & restarted the tramp along the fence beside the Silverstream, & up & over the short but quite steep climb, to the grass are at the upstream end of the swing bridge. We turned up the first track just past here, & made our way up onto the Tunnels Track, then back towards the school house, to the start where we couldn’t cross the stream earlier. Then we retraced our steps, & walked all the way along to the creek crossing just past the Racemans Hut that has the tree down across it. This is the creek crossing with the ropes on the other side to help with the climb up the bank. here the water was also too deep, & swift to attempt a crossing, so we had a look at the Tunnels weir, then walked back out, & down an unmarked track leading down to the picnic table on the grass area beside the Silverstream. We had lunch here, then walked back out to the cars.
Conditions in the bush were sheltered, not very wet under foot, & very few muddy patches, so everybody enjoyed the walk. – Ken
7. 24/7/2013 Trampers. Trampers. Schoolhouse, Tunnels, McRaes Weir, return.
On a cool but what turned out to be a very nice winters day, 5 trampers took to the Tunnels /Racemans Tracks. However, we didn’t get very far before we struck the first of many snow damaged trees across the track. This made for very slow going, & we didn’t even manage to get to the favourite morning tea spot in the pines before it was time to stop for a cuppa.  We met up with some guys who were supposed to be track clearing, from the DCC, but from what we could see, they weren’t doing much good. There are some VERY LARGE trees down across the track, which require some careful negotiation to get past.
Some of the fallen trees across the track. There is a large Rimu in there somewhere

Some of the fallen trees across the track. There is a large Rimu in there somewhere. (Ken pic and caption)

Also, looking very sad is the old Racemans shed.


Racemans Shed (Ken pic and caption)

It has a tree which has fallen right across the top of it, & the roof has completely gone.


Roof gone. (Ken pic)

We only got as far as the creek crossing with the rope on it, when we gave up the struggle, as the creek was choked with fallen trees, & we could hardly see the other side where you climb out of the creek with the help of the rope. We backtracked to an unmarked side track down to the Silverstream, where we found a picnic table to have lunch at.

Lunch at the picnic table.

Lunch at the picnic table.

It was then a short walk out to the pumphouse at Whare Flat, & then back up the road to the cars at the old School house. Distance 8.2km, ave 4km/hr. – Ken.

6. 14/11/2012. Hikers. Schoolhouse, Tunnels, McRaes Weir, Racemans, Pumphouse, return by road. Leaders: Fred, Elaine.
22 of us made a large group. Great. We had our morning cuppa at the top of the Tunnels track.

Morning Tea in the pines at the top of the Tunnels Track.

We made our way back on down to join with the McRaes Track and along to the weir. At this point, Dorothy, recovering from a hip injury wisely declined the steep rope-assisted climb up the further back of the stream and accompanied by three others, returned back the way we had come and down from there by a link track to meet us later at the Pumphouse.

The rest of us carried on around the McRaes track to lunch at the point where it links with the Racemans.

About to set off after lunch.

Down the Racemans and on to the swing bridge. Some elected to cross it and risk the depth of the water at the Pumphouse ford but most went by more hilly track along the Silverstream true left.

Up to that point, we were well led by Fred and Elaine, but from here on it was ‘Brown’s Cows’ back up the r0ad to the cars. We were all back home in time for afternoon tea.

Twenty-two. Whew! An impressive turn-out. – Ian.

5. 29/2/2012. Trampers. Schoolhouse, Tunnels, McRaes Weir, Racemans, return by Tunnels.

GPS of route, courtesy Ken.

Taieri Scenic reserve was unavailable, due to bulldozers working on a road. We chose a short Tunnels tramp instead, as heavy rain was forecast for the afternoon.

We stopped along Racemans for the morning tea break.

We continued on. At the short water-race pipe point, we dared some of the newer members to crouch their way through it. Amazingly, three took up the dare. Bravo. Then it was on past McRaes weir. The vertical climb out from the stream bed gets no easier for the writer, feeling his arthritic age.
Reaching the end of the McRaes side gully (to the Silverstream proper), we turned back down onto the first part of the Raceman’s track where it climbs up to reach the water-race. Had a look at the Pump-house’s intake weir. Climbed back up to the Raceman’s by the track near the swing-bridge, turning right at the top to climb back up the Tunnels’ hill.

Lunch back at the top of Tunnels track.

Lunch was slightly early, as we remained conscious of the forecast rain. We felt its first drops as we finished lunch. We heard the patter of rain on the leaves above us as we made our way back down the hill. We emerged onto the road by the alternative exit and walked back up to the cars with only the lightest of rain sprinkling us. A nice dry morning out, on a nice dry track in nice bush. – Ian.
4. 28/9/2011. Hikers. Pumphouse, road, Schoolhouse, Tunnels, McRaes Weir, Racemans, Pumphouse . Leaders: Peter and Wendy.
3. 6/10/2010. Both. Schoolhouse, Tunnels, McRaes Weir, Racemans, Pumphouse, return road. Leaders: Ian, Ken.

GPS of trip route, courtesy Ken. (Click to see full pic)

21 of us started the Tunnels track just up from the old Schoolhouse and down the track a little were soon admiring a railed bridge over a ditch and a new track complete with steps around the top of a large slip, put in by Neil and his group of track repairers. The track gently climbed to its top point over the race tunnel where we stopped for an early morning tea under pines, resting on their bed of thick pine needles.

Tea break, top of tunnels hill. (Ken pic)

Tea break 2

The track had been beautifully cleared of trunks and debris brought down by a recent storm and we quietly ambled along the long stretch that eventually took us past the old Racemans Hut to the broken-down McRaes Weir. Across the stream we were confronted with a washed out vertical bank with only a knotted rope and some steep cut-out steps, but with the bottom one now missing. There ensued much pushing and pulling, and slipping and collapsing as we made our various ways up to the top of the bank.

Steep climb out of McRaes Stream

Then it was plain sailing (apt metaphor?) again out of the large McRae’s gully till we reached the junction with the Racemans where we stopped for an early lunch.

Lunch at junction McRaes and Racemans. (Ken pic)

From there we descended the Racemans to pass the old Silverstream weir and inspected the weir from which water is now piped to the pumphouse. We elected to return via the swing-bridge because there had been a tree-fall over the true-left track. Crossing the ford at the other end was not the happiest part of the walk for some. Then it was just 2 km back up the road to the cars parked at the old Schoolhouse. The day was perfectly calm with much of it sunny, if not hot. It had been a good day. – Ian
2. 7/11/2001. Combined. Tunnel – Racemans Tracks. Leaders: Bob H, Winifred, George.
1. 21/6/1989 Whare Flat Pottery. Pine walk. Peggy A, Helen W, Daphne

One response so far

One Response to “Schoolhouse, Tunnels, McRaes circuit.”

  1.   Angelaon 12 Oct 2010 at 6:58 pm

    Sounds like u had an interesting time.

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