Bluebird skies greeted five eager beavers as we assembled at 8.30am on Saturday and were chauffeured by Pat to our starting point at The Brook Sanctuary.

We followed the Sanctuary fence line for a bit, then onto the Dun mountain trail, stopping to admire the extensive repair job done on the track following slips in 2015/2018. We stopped at Third House for a break in the sun. The place was a-buzz with mountain bikers as we left to continue our jaunt along the wide trail, pulling in occasionally to make way for a biker or two. The aptly named Windy Point blew off any remaining cobwebs and on we trod to the Dun Saddle, where we stopped to drink in the sun-shiny view, as long as the chill wind would allow.

Rocks hut 2

We arrived at an empty Rocks hut at around 3pm, with Pat and Astrid loaded up with firewood which they had industriously collected on the way. Rocks is a grand 16 bunk hut, with a lovely view. We were soon joined at the hut by a steady stream of families, couples and one dog, ensuring a cosy night, with some folk making use of the benches and floor space at bedtime. The hut hummed with chat and laughter all evening, and our wee group settled in a corner to chew the fat. It was a very united hut that turned in for the night about 8.30pm and all were up again in unison in the 7am shadows, following an amazingly quiet night in the hut.

Setting off around 8.30am (after consulting Dave’s cute hand-drawn map to see what was ahead) we set off on the clearly-marked track (4.5 hrs) to Browning hut. It was a pleasant walk through the forest and along Totara Saddle, though it was rougher going than the previous day, with the undulating track criss-crossed in many parts with uprooted giants of the forest. The track got steeper and a bit muddier just before we arrived for a well-earned lunch break at (the decidedly green) Browning hut, just in time for a lunchtime rain shower, which didn’t amount to much.

Onwards then, for the final stretch to the Hackett car park. Opting for the watery route, we boulder hopped across the sedate river several times and varying degrees of wet feet ensued.

Not far to the car however, where we arrived around 4.30pm (roughly a 7hr day at a leisurely pace). There were murmurings of disapproval about the lack of beers or chips in the awaiting vehicle. Will try harder next time. 

Rocks hut1

Group: Clare (Leader and scribe), Astrid, Pat, Yvonne and John (visitor).

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