Summer days part 2: The Putangirua Pinnacles

Saturday saw us traversing the Rimutaka Hill Road with a destination of the Putangirua Pinnacles on the Wairarapa south coast. We were not alone in our choice and as we sat at a picnic table for an early lunch there was a constant stream of vehicles arriving and departing the pinnacles campsite and carpark.

It was a hot day with little wind and it was refreshing to enter the forest as we took the track up towards the pinnacles lookout. Again we had Alayna counting steps and also introduced a game of hide a seek with various family members dispatched ahead to hide. Alayna enjoyed pretending not to notice people ineffectively hiding behind narrow trees and would be smiling when we walked past her hiding similarly.

Grandad "hides"

Grandad hides

Waiting to be found

Waiting to be found

Who is behind that tree?

Who is behind that tree?

You can't see me!

You can’t see me!

We reached a ridgeline and spent some time walking up, down and around the ridge mostly in the sun and it was a relief to finally reach the pinnacles lookout. We had a good sit down, rest and snack after taking in the view and after a brief discussion headed down the steeper track to the valley floor. It was a direct track and I’m glad we hadn’t walked up it (30 minutes up, 15 minutes down).

Looking out to sea

Looking out to sea

At the pinnacles lookout

At the pinnacles lookout

When we got to the rocky streambed that formed the valley floor I decided to head up to the base of the pinnacles while everyone else started back to the car. We’d been seeing (and passed by) lots of families and groups of tourists and the again there were lots of people around as I trudged upward. At the head of the valley there were two different groups playing around with their drones, filling the valley with a buzz like giant bees. I took a few photos and then took off to try and catch the rest of the family.

Heading down-valley

Heading down-valley

In amongst the pinnacles

In amongst the pinnacles

Up a narrow valley

Up a narrow valley

I caught up with everyone eventually and found Alayna happily throwing rocks into the stream bed. Picking our path alongside the stream we were not long to be back at the fork where we had headed up to the lookout and from there is was only 15 minutes back to the (stinking hot) cars. The road was quieter as we drove to Martinborough, perhaps most of the visitors already heading home.

Playing with rocks

Playing with rocks

The south coast road

The south coast road

Summer at the beach

Summer at the beach

Ice cream time

Ice cream time

The Wairarapa visit was completed with ice cream at the square and we sat on a picnic blanket in the shade feeling content. The ice cream was wonderful and made for a lovely footnote to our day.

Poppies

Weather wise it has been a lovely weekend. Both Saturday and today have been warm with blue skies and a light breeze blowing through making sure that walking isn’t as hot as it could be. Yesterday we went for a walk in the afternoon that took us through areas of Brentwood we hadn’t explored before. The journey took a few hours and saw us heading parallel with the train line west through a park and then some regenerating woodland. We looked over a farmers fields and walked over a dead mole and through brambles that were growing over the path. Having explored the trails we headed up the hill away from the train line and then turned to follow a path that continued west. We came across a group of travellers camping on the edge of the parkland and were seen on our way by a barking terrier tethered to a tree. We then came across the western end of Vaughan Williams Way as it exited the town and headed into the countryside.

Close up on a poppy.
Close up on a poppy

Early afternoon over the poppy field near Brentwood.
Early afternoon over the poppy field near Brentwood

We had decided to head towards the Nags Head pub on London Road so we turned North onto Mascalls Lane and walked along the verge, stopping every now and again to get out of the way of cars. We investigated the adjacent fields, looking East over Brentwood as the vegetation allowed and also walking through the field of poppies and windflowers to the west. It was getting hotter as we ran across the rail bridge that separated the town from the countryside (we had to run as there was no pedestrian path and we had to hurry while there was no traffic). Back in Brentwood it was an easy walk down to the Nags Head where we claimed a table outside and relaxed with pizza and cider. The Nags Head would be the perfect pub if only it wasn’t hemmed in on two sides by busy roads but still the food and service is very good.

Having eaten we finished our drinks and then walked back home, taking a stop to get ice-cream at the most disorganised corner shop I’ve ever visited. It looked like someone had decided to open a store a few years ago and then never found the time to tidy up over the years with boxes lying around and shelves looking like they had been stocked randomly. The ice-cream was cheap, cold and tasty so I guess I mustn’t complain. We got home and stopped briefly before heading to the station for the short train-ride down to Romford where we looked for boxes (none suitable) and then went and saw a movie (Spiderman 3, OK I suppose). And that was our day, a mostly relaxing affair with a bit of walking thrown in for variety.