Thursday, May 28, 2009

2009. Heathcote Quarry Park to John Britten Reserve, Port Hills


2009. Hammerton Lane view of Heathcote Valley, Castle Rock & Horotane Valley, Christchurch


2009. Hammerton Lane view of Heathcote Valley, Horotane Valley & Avoca Valley, Christchurch


2009. Hammerton Lane view of Lower Heathcote Valley & Ferrymead, Christchurch

I parked my car in Bridle Path Road, Heathcote Valley, and started up steep wooden steps towards HEATHCOTE QUARRY PARK. Wooden signs stated:

HEATHCOTE QUARRY PARK
OLD QUARRY SITE 10 MINS
MAJOR HORNBROOK ROAD 30 MINS

SCOTT VALLEY TRACK TO BRIDLE PATH
STARTS AT OLD QUARRY SITE 10 MINS


2009. Bridle Path Road entrance to Heathcote Quarry Park, Christchurch

The guesstimator of those times must've been an Olympic athlete, as I'd never achieved any Port Hills walks in times stated on direction signs. Native plantings disguised houses and smallholdings beside the steep, uphill zigzagging track. I climbed a series of wooden steps, with sheep in a young olive grove on my right. Where steps were small, I ascended two at a time.


2009. Heahcote Quarry Park view of Heathcote Valley & Horotane Valley, Christchurch


2009. Smallholding Olives & Sheep, Heathcote Quarry Park. Heathcote Valley & Horotane Valley backdrop, Christchurch


2009. Heathcote Quarry Park Track, Heathcote Valley, Christchurch


2009. Smallholding Sheep & Olives. Lower Heathcote Valley, Ferrymead, Woolston backdrop, Christchurch

At the MAJOR HORNBROOK ROAD TRACK / OLD QUARRY SITE junction I turned right down the muddy track to the Old Quarry Site. Ten days of rain and gloomy mist had mired tracks. At the Old Quarry I sat on a wooden FERRYMEAD bench and admired Ferrymead in Heathcote Valley below, and beyond to Christchurch hazy CBD, and snowy Southern Alps.


2009. Heathcote Quarry view of Lower Heathcote Valley, Ferrymead & Southern Alps. Heathcote Estuary right, Christchurch

By the Old Quarry I turned back at a sign which stated:

MORGANS VALLEY TRACK TO
BRIDLE PATH 40 MINS

I rejoined MAJOR HORNBROOK ROAD TRACK, as I wanted to climb Heathcote Valley bluffs sandwiched between Saint Andrews Hill housing on top, with Bridle Path Road housing below. I zigzagged up Major Hornbrook Road Track which was dangerously muddy. I passed lots of NZ broom and some exotic gorse beside the track.


2009. Major Hornbrook Road Track view of Heathcote Valley & Horotane Valley, Christchurch


2009. Major Hornbrook Road Track view of Lower Heathcote Valley, Horotane Valley & Avoca Valley, Christchurch

I stopped at a rickety wooden picnic bench, anchored by rocks, and took my first sip of Schweppes Sparkling Duet, while admiring grand views over Heathcote Valley, Heathcote Estuary, Christchurch CBD, and the Alps.


2009. Major Hornbrook Road Track view of Lower Heathcote Valley, Ferrymead & Heathcote Estuary, Christchurch


2009. Major Hornbrook Road Track view of Lower Heathcote Valley, Ferrymead & Woolston, Christchurch

I continued climbing Major Hornbrook Road Track below bluffs up the valley. Water trickled down the track, while I left my jandal prints amongst boot prints and dog paw prints in the mud.


2009. Major Hornbrook Road Track: Steps view of Lower Heathcote Valley, misty Canterbury Plains & Southern Alps

I climbed 60 wooden steps up the side of a bluff, and came upon another junction with Major Hornbrook Road Track going up more wooden steps to the left. On my right, I passed through a small gate to Kenton Track, a wooden sign stating:

KENTON TRACK TO
SUMMIT ROAD 40 MINS


2009. Kenton Track view of Lower Heathcote Valley, misty Canterbury Plains & Southern Alps

Above the bluffs, Kenton Track was drier than Major Hornbrook Road Track below. I sidled below housing boundary fences on Mount Pleasant. In paddocks, iron fence standards with orange plastic caps marked the way up, with magnificent views towards John Britten Reserve on top, and Castle Rock, The Tors, Heathcote Valley and Avoca Valley on my right.


2009. Kenton Track view of Saint Andrews Hill, Heathcote Estuary, misty Canterbury Plains & Southern Alps


2009. Kenton Track northern view of Lower Heathcote Valley, Woolston, misty Canterbury Plains, Southern Alps


2009. Kenton Track Stone Wall view of Lower Heathcote Valley & misty Canterbury Plains

At the end of houses by pines, I came across an old concrete water trough and an old stone wall, with wintry views over Christchurch and beyond. I followed the stone wall to an old stile with no fencing, where Kenton Track petered out, becoming stock tracks.

The fence had been moved leftwards, and blocked another stile further left, with Kenton Track going uphill towards John Britten Reserve. Kenton Track needed more development, or walkers would die falling off misty crags.


2009. Kenton Track view of a Mount Pleasant cliff left & Mount Cavendish right, Christchurch


2009. Kenton Track view of Morgans Valley, Heathcote Valley, Horotane Valley, Christchurch


2009. Kenton Track view of Morgans Valley, Heathcote Valley, Horotane Valley, Avoca Valley, Christchurch

By pylons I continued right, as I wanted to see rock-climbers' crags above Heathcote Valley. I walked along the top of a Mount Pleasant cliff, which could easily be reached from Major Hornbrook Road housing development on my left. I passed a Vodafone radio transmitter on my left, fat white discs on a pole, with fencing and a warning sign.

In the distance I saw Britten Crags with rock-climbers, wearing bright gear, climbing and abseiling. As I would have to climb down a gully and up again to reach them, I turned uphill towards John Britten Reserve, crossed a fence, and found Kenton Track again, marked by wooden planks with blue and red tags, the red tags stating: NO BIKES.


2009. John Britten Reserve view of Lower Heathcote valley, misty Canterbury Plains, Southern Alps


2009. John Britten Reserve view of Morgans Valley, Heathcote Valley, Horotane Valley, Avoca Valley, Port Hills, Christchurch


2009. John Britten Reserve view of Mount Cavendish Gondola Station & Castle Rock, Port Hills, Christchurch


2009. John Britten Reserve westwards view of Lower Heathcote Valley, misty Canterbury Plains, Southern Alps


2009. John Britten Reserve view of Heathcote Valley, Horotane Valley, Avoca Valley, Port Hills, Christchurch


2009. John Britten Reserve view of Mount Cavendish Gondola Station & Castle Rock, with Horotane Valley behind, Port Hills, Christchurch


2009. John Britten Reserve northern view of misty Canterbury Plains & Southern Alps


2009. John Britten Reserve view of southern Crater Rim Peaks, Port Hills, Christchurch


2009. John Britten Reserve view of Heathcote Estuary, misty Canterbury Plains & Southern Alps

It took me 1 hour 50 mins from Bridle Path Road to reach the top of JOHN BRITTEN RESERVE by Summit Road. John Kenton Britten had been an innovative motorbike designer, who died on 05.09.1995.

I lingered at the top, drinking Schweppes, and enjoying views of the Gondola Station on Mount Cavendish (445 m) and Crater Rim peaks southwards, Port Hills valleys, misty Canterbury Plains and cloudy Alps westwards, and Pegasus Bay eastwards. By Summit Road a sign stated:

KENTON TRACK TO
HEATHCOTE QUARRY 30 MINS


2009. John Britten Reserve view of Avon-Heathcote Estuary, misty Canterbury Plains & Southern Alps


2009. John Britten Reserve view of Avon-Heathcote Estuary, Southshore Spit, misty Canterbury Plains, Pegasus Bay & Southern Alps

I descended straight down muddy Kenton Track towards housing development on Mount Pleasant, passed through a small gate by pylons again, crossed a stile near the old stone wall, and crossed a fence by a big rock to rejoin where I'd ascended Heathcote Valley. As I'd already slipped in John Britten Reserve, I used a discarded iron fence standard as a staff, stopping me slipping on my muddy descent.


2009. John Britten Reserve view of Avon-Heathcote Estuary, Southshore Spit, Pegasus Bay & Southern Alps


2009. John Britten Reserve view of Avon-Heathcote Estuary Mouth, Southshore Spit & Pegasus Bay

Sidling below houses again, I saw someone's powerful telescope in a room aiming at houses in Heathcote Valley below. My descent from John Britten Reserve back to Bridle Pass Road took me about 1 hour. As it was a wintry Thursday afternoon, I had the muddy tracks to myself.

Coda: During the 2010-2011 earthquakes, Christchurch, Heathcote Valley & Castle Rock were quake damaged. Referring to the 22.02.11 quake, Geonet reported: "The highest shaking was recorded at Heathcote Valley Primary School at 220%g..." as Heathcote Valley was above the epicentre 5 kms below. In 1995 I'd observed lessons at Heathcote Valley PS, but gave up the idea of NZ teaching, as I was too deaf.

Content & pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.


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