After a Saturday sleep-in six of us met at the Richmond car park at 9 am and thence a short drive to the
top of Aniseed Valley. A feature of the day was to be several river crossings, and the rivers, although
clear and sparkling, were running with some enthusiasm: luckily no need to worry about keeping boots
dry as the first task on leaving the cars was to wade through the flooded ford.
We followed up the 4WD road beside the river, taking a short detour to view the Roding Dam (which was
completed in 1941, and still supplies Nelson with water via a 2.68 km pipeline through the hill to
Marsden Valley). Then onward, with further river crossings to the site of the Champion Smelter (slag
heap; tumbling stone walls, rusting ironmongery, all overlaid with nostalgia of a braver tougher past).
After morning tea, back to the river and onward to the site of the United Mine.
Then, with a steep couple
hundred meters climb, initially up a scree slope of mining debris and boulders, we came out on top where
we got tremendous views of the surrounding hills and ranges, and in the far distance the ridge above
Rocks Hut and the Dun Mountain. Here on a sheltered saddle we stopped for lunch. Then onwards and
downwards zigzagging through beech forest to the site of the Champion Mine. We inspected the North
Shaft that opened right on the edge of the track (all 46 meters filled to the brim with water which made it
less of a hazard). I found a bench to lie on, built from a piece of waste timber that was lying around. All
too soon I was woken for the final leg of the circuit, following the route of the old tram line through the
bush, then a steep downward short-cut, holding on from tree to tree back to the Roding River. After
another river crossing, and some of us availing ourselves from an abundant lush patch of watercress to
take home for dinner, we trudged back towards the carpark. A final boot soaking in the ford, a quick
debrief and much deserved thanks to our leader, we drove home through sudden heavy rain.
Trip Participants were: Astrid (Leader), Ben (Scribe), Tony, Kath, Veronica, Bernard.
- Trip Grade: Medium
- Trip Duration: Day Trip
- Trip Area: Nelson