Clent Eastward in “Barrosa”Intermediate - Experienced
Submitted by Mike Steel
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Front country - easily accessible
Point to Point (one way)
RiversideLakesideOpen tussock/grasslandsOpen ridges/tops
Intermediate - Experienced
A short feature-length western set in the Haketere country, along the Clent Hills, and back Eastward then south, to near the start on a well-worn wagon trail. Tie up the horse (or bike) at the Stour river and mosey on a few miles up the road to coral the wagons at the marked Mt Barrosa carpark. Gallop up the well-marked track which passes around some rocky tors (watch for bandits) and on to the summit (1364m, about 50 mins from the wagons).
Great views in all directions, and it only gets better as you continue along the Clent Hills (follow the old fence-line, a relic of the old timers who used to farm these parts). An increasing number of ups and down will likely leave you a bit ‘saddle sore’, but eventually you top out with uninterrupted views north at 1331m (a good place to rest up, with some beef jerky and son-of-a-gun stew). Follow the ol’ fenceline as it drops down then forks right to steeply descent the valley floor, with a wagon track on the right of the fence half-way down. Follow this to near where the valley hits a small rise and pick up the Stour River track (look for red-topped markers).
Gallop your way south-east for several miles, passing the turn-off to Manuka hut, then further down-valley pick up the obvious horse trail that winds up over a saddle (near where the track meets a stream). From there it’s a cruisy trot through meandering and occasionally gorged ‘ambush country’ back to the horse/bike. Keen cowboys/girls could extend this trip further by visiting Manuka hut en route (with the option of returning along the top of the Manuka Range).
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Features of interest
Outstanding views of the Arrowsmith mountains, Mt D'Archiac, the Taylor Range, Lake Heron and other lakes, and the southern Alps off in the distance.
Make Up of Run
Untracked / Route only: 30%
Moderate Single Track: 25%
Farm Road / 4WD Track: 45%
From Mt Somers town drive west on Ashburton Gorge Road past the Jig Road turn-off to Woolshed Creekand and continue to the new Stour River layby (drop a bike here; there's also a toilet and shelter) then continue on 5-6km on the main road to the marked carpark for Mt Barrosa on the right (just before the bridge at "Blowing Point"). Road is sealed all the way (1.5 hours drive from Christchurch)
Spacious carpark; safe.
Although you are following the old fenceline along the Clent Hills, this forks in several places, and while it is clear which way to go in clear visibility it might not be if cloud came in, so take a topomap.
Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival blanket, Cellphone, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries.
No water on the tops - but plenty in the valley (Stour River and side-streams).
Snow will slow down progress along the Clent Hills. Also don't attempt in a nor'wester - note that there is no bush cover (or en-route huts) on this trip so you are exposed to the elements the whole way. Manuka Hut is a possible side-trip.
Post run indulgence
wonderful food and the best caramel milkshakes before Darfield
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