Morgans Valley to Sumner / (via) Lyttelton 10 November 2021


  Leader Mentor Understudy Tail Ender
Standards Keith Dave R Lynne Jan M
Alternates Norma Liz Susan Lynley T

Today’s tramp over and around the Port Hills would be taking us over land and tracks named after Captain Morgan, John Britten, Major Hornbrook and Captain Thomas … who collectively sound rather like a dangerous bunch of pirates rather than some very influential men from our city’s history.

However, less fearsome sounding was our motley crew of 50 trampers, including Tony and two first-time visitors, Steve and Hetty, who all set out from Morgans Valley (once owned by Captain William Morgan and one of the first parts of Christchurch to be settled). The narrow track followed by our 25 stalwart Standards and 25 equally valiant Alternates was steepish and there weren’t many complaints when we had our morning tea early on. Walking on the Summit Road for a few minutes offered respite and the views down to Ferrymead and out further were a treat, as was the seeing much of the city still swathed in mist.

We reached the John Britten Reserve (named after the legendary motor cycle designer- certainly not a pirate) and then down Major Hornbrook track, which apparently looked very similar to the track by the same name which the Bishopdale Trampers had walked up a few weeks ago. (By the way, Major Alfred Hornbrook wasn’t actually a pirate either; he was a publican and run holder who formed the track which would bear his name.)

Our trusty leader Keith had no difficulty finding the unassuming (and unsignposted) track near Lyttelton which would take us uphill again through the Urumau Reserve (however the Alternates apparently did miss it and partook of some sightseeing in the vicinity of the local cemetery instead). The volcanic outcrops made the going on the tracks a bit tough, but there is something rather amazing about traipsing over the solidified lava of a real volcano, even if it is long extinct. The CCC website states that “The track is challenging, with some rocky sections that require some scrambling”. Another description might be: “A rugged, rocky spiral staircase winding sharply up and around crazy volcanic outcrops towards a craggy summit with excellent views and an ideal place for eating a packed lunch”.

While the Alternates were making their way to Lyttelton, the Standards wended our way down a track named after the non-piratical Captain Thomas, who has the honour of being the surveyor responsible for choosing the town sites for Lyttelton, Christchurch, and also Sumner, whence we were headed.  We made it safely down to Sumnervale and it was good to see the bus, and our Alternate buddies who had been picked up in Lyttelton.

So, me hearties, fair weather, no rambunctious pirates … and a great day out.  Txt Shirley B