Scotts Pudding LoopIntermediate
Submitted by Fiona Stechmann
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Front country - easily accessible
Undulating, some big hills
Native bushPlantation/exotic forestRiversideOpen ridges/tops
The route from Pudding Hill Stream up to Scotts Saddle is a bit overgrown and has some windfall.
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Park near the toilets and then follow the Alder track, this has a pleasant flat warm-up and then slowly climbs up to the ridgeline.
At the ridgeline follow the sign that says Pudding Stream route down into the valley on the other side. From here the trail is not really marked but pretty much just follows the stream upstream. You will need to cross the stream multiple times, pretty much just looking for the path of least resistance. If any of the stream crossings early on are deeper than around mid-calf then the crossings further up may be too deep to negotiate.
Continue following the stream. There are a number of small animal and human tracks on either side of the river, some of these are good to follow and some not so much. If in doubt stay close to the river. The stream passes through a couple of small gorges which are fairly easy to negotiate in the water.
At around 6.7km into the run is the turn off up to Scotts saddle - his could be quite easy to miss. You are looking for a large rock on the true left (climbers right) of the river with a cairn on top of it. Just next to this there is a small orange triangle and then another orange triangle in the bush. Around 20m further in the bush you will see a sign to Scotts Saddle. This track is indistinct but easy enough to follow, there are markers in any spots that it is unclear. It climbs, steeply at times, until you meet the Mt Hutt skifield road.
From here turn right and head down the road till you come to the Scotts Saddle trail. This starts as a 4WD tack and then splits. Follow the orange triangle for the walking track rather than the blue Scotts Saddle Express MTB trail. Continue following the Scotts Saddle track all the way back down through some fun technical downhill until it reaches the Awa Awa Rata reserve again.
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Make Up of Run
Untracked / Route only: 40%
Technical Single Track: 25%
Moderate Single Track: 35%
From Arundal Rakaia Gorge road turn onto Mclennans Bush road which is also the start of the access road for Mt Hutt. When you reach the turn to Mt Hutt continue straight instead onto the gravel road and follow this to the end and into the Awa Awa Rata Reserve.
There is lots of parking including picnic tables, toilets and shelters in the reserve. It appears to be pretty safe. There is no public transport.
The turn up to Scotts Saddle from in Pudding Hill Stream can be easy to miss. Look for a large rock with a cairn on top (see photo) and an orange triangle on the bush edge. If unsure the NZ topo map app is really handy to confirm where you are.
Thermal leggings, Lightweight fleece top, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival bag, Cellphone, Map.
Water is available all the time you are in Pudding Hill Stream and you cross one stream on the way up to Scotts Saddle, but there is no more after that.
Pudding Hill Stream could easily flood in heavy rain and would be impassable. Check the depth before continuing upstream.
Snow is likely on the tops in winter and Scotts Saddle can be quite exposed to strong Nor-west winds.
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