Trip Report – Farm Excursion – 8 Feb 2021
A large group of 20 turned up at the Pitney farm, at the base of the Tararua Range behind Carterton, for this loop farm walk. They included 6 from Masterton Tramping Club, 10 from South Wairarapa Tramping Club, 4 visitors belonging to MTC members, Kate as our enthusiastic and energetic trip leader and Ralph the dog.
It was a sunny, clear day that began with Kate explaining the history of the farm and her attachment to it. Then we set off along farm tracks through paddocks (with a brief stop to experience the farm’s rotating milking shed suspended on a bed of water) for the first part of the walk. Then we were into manuka cover (where we learnt about the hives and beekeeping which is managed by a contractor) and crossed a few shallow streams until we reached a couple of huts – one basic hut built a few decades ago and a more recent one with some home comforts, which family members use.
Then came the ascent into the Tararuas, towards the farm boundary and our 600m goal. Some of it was gradual, some a bit steeper and some seemed almost vertical! Ralph did a good job of being ‘tail-end Charlie’ and giving encouragement to those at the back. A few of the group eventually decided they could do without the hill training and happily returned to base, with lunch on the way down. The rest climbed to a sheltered spot in the trees for lunch and followed that with a bit more climbing to reach the windy tops, with superb 360 degree views into the Mangaterere Valley on one side and the Wairarapa plains on the other.
Then it was a gradual drop along the track which wended its way through open farm land, back to the farm house. There was a plan to head further north to return through an area of pine forest but that was cut short because of time constraints.
Thanks to Kate and Steve for giving us the opportunity of a tramp with a difference. Kate was a great tour guide and we all agreed we learnt a lot about farming and the history and geography of the land, on the way.
Total trip time with stops, lunch and diversions was 5 hours.