Ben Lomond

16 June 2024

Ben Lomond is the highest point on the ridge separating the Maerewhenua and Otekaieke valleys.
After a week of fluctuating weather forecasts, the day dawned fine and nine trampers left Oamaru
at 8 o‘clock, picking up a tenth at Duntroon, and turned down Special School Road to park just
before the farm track dropped down off the terrace. After a preliminary discussion it was decided
that six would head for the top while four would aim for a shorter walk. Among the latter was the
supposed trip leader who had left his boots at home.
All set off just before 9 o’clock dropping down off the terrace to the valley floor and crossing the
Otekaieke River by a stock bridge. It was then through a couple of gates to start up the steep climb
to the Ben Lomond ridge. The main group took a direct route up while the shorter walkers followed
the zig-zag track.
The group who were attempting a longer distance headed towards Lower Ben Lomond (994 metres)
where they stopped for lunch at about noon. A discussion was held whether they try and make it to
Ben Lomond itself, but with what looked like a change in the weather coming and shorter amount of
daylight available it was decided to turn back after lunch following the high path for the views rather
than descending into the river valley.
The other four stopped at a fenceline about half-way along the top ridge (about 830 metres) and
lunched on a sheltered knob with fine views of the mountains in the St Mary Range. Two returned
down the fenceline while the last two (including the bootless leader) returned by the track.
All ten met up before the bridge and returned to the cars at 2.30pm. The Duntroon Hotel debrief
concluded that it had been a very good day with fine weather, great views and a good workout. So
said Roz, Lorena, David, Robbie, Julian, Neville, Rex, Neil, Jane and John.