Saturday, 2 May 2015

Molesworth Station... The Acheron Road... Part 2...

Onward... Leaving this view of Mt  Severn (2021m) behind, I
continued down the saddle and through Isolated Flat to the
junction of the Tarndale Track at...

Red Gate. Here the Severn River which has a significant catchment
starting on the Molesworth boundary, meets the Acheron River.
The smaller road to the left in this photo goes to the Red Gate Hut
and the Alma River and from there to the upper Wairau and
Tarndale where cattle spend summer calving.

Not far along the road the next reason long vehicles don't
do well on this road... A very sharp turn onto this bridge 
over the Severn River...

Although none of the Molesworth bridges had sides they did
have rigid poles on both sides at each end. It was sometimes
a bit tricky maneuvering between these. One of them clipped
my off side rear end and took off a tall vent pipe - small
damage and I wasn't aware of it happening at the time!
And I can't remember which bridge it was...

Carefully... Over I go. the bridge is not much wider than the bus!

The road follows the Acheron River... Incredibly beautiful...

This is Pudding Hill (1284m)
There is another walkway to the top... To do another day!

Another small bridge with weight restrictions, over the Guide River.
To the left of this photo is the confluence of the Acheron and
Guide Rivers... Important for stock movement between the Awatere
and Acheron Valleys leading up to Barfell Pass.

The only bit I could interpret was the 10 km/h...
No trouble there, the bridge was so narrow.

Continuing along the Acheron... Mt Costello (1659m) is
one of the higher peaks...

Looking towards Bullock Gully in the distance.

The road winds round the side of the hills... Next stop...

Pig Trough Suspension Bridge... One of three built by the
NZ Electricity Department in the early 1880's to provide
access to towers where the high-voltage direct current line
crossed the river away from the road. The other two bridges have
been washed away in floods. The unusual name comes from the
wild pigs often seen around a wet soak area near the head of the
gully named Pig Trough Gully...
There are information panels, a shelter and a toilet...
It's another 12km to Acheron Accommodation House
and the next DoC camp and Molesworth Station boundary.

On this map you can see the various original stations
and runs. Eventually all except Rainbow were incorporated
into Molesworth as we know it today.

By 1938 after all the various private owners of Molesworth had
given up for various reasons... Years of low prices, poor land
management and a lack of control of the rabbit problem - all
exacerbated by the extremes of the high-country climate -
the result was a ruined  Molesworth landscape.
The Crown and in particular the Commissioner of
Crown Lands in Blenheim was faced with the challenge
of saving the devastated farm. In 1942 the legendary Bill Chisholm
was appointed manager.. Huge priority was given to rabbit control,
and among other strategies the change was made to only farming cattle.
A herd of 1500 Angus-Hereford was introduced and it wasn't long
before steers were sold in Blenheim for 16.10 pounds. As time went on
the basis of the herds were Hereford and Aberdeen Angus, because
of their ability to forage, climb and weather out blizzard conditions.

Because of unsafe timbers on the bridge it is closed but this is
the view looking north up the Acheron.

It wasn't much further along the road...

And through these flats...

To the Clarence River...

And my destination for the night... The Molesworth Southern Boundary.
This photo is probably looking south at Mt Maukuratawhai (1610m)

In 1960 with just  20 years of Chisholm's management, what had been
a rabbit infested high-country run was  a well performing farm. In 1968
it had accumulated a surplus of 500,000 pounds and more than
9000 cattle. This legendary high-country station has continued
to go from success to success with the hard work and strategies
of the various managers. Today about 10,000 Angus and Angus/Hereford
Cross cattle are run, there are about 80 horses and 45 working dogs.

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