Email exchange with JK, a Christchurch engineer, about permissions from local farmers for walkers to cross their private land up Mt Oxford.
I have recently read your Woza Wanderer blog post of the Mt Oxford summit via Big Ben Saddle from 2010. [See Mt Oxford Summit via Big Ben Saddle and Ashley Saddle].
Thanks for putting in the effort for such a detailed write up.
I was wondering if you could point me in the right direction for gaining access to these areas?
You mentioned getting permission to pass through private properties that this route used. Do you know who these landowners are and / or their contact details?
I can't seem to find any information about who owns the land and the only other option I can think of is to drive there and do some investigating in person.
Any help is much appreciated.
My email reply:
Your instinct to drive there & check out things yourself is best. If I do a mountain walk / climb in potentially dangerous, isolated places, I first recce the walk / climb with maps, binoculars & scout the area first to prep my walk in favourable weather. I watch TV weather forecasts like a hawk, before I do the walk / climb, ensuring I go in good weather.
I used general road maps to drive to Mt Oxford, quite easy from Christchurch, or Oxford village. Topo50 maps can be bought from various shops, especially in tourist areas, which give detailed topography of a specific area. Topo50 maps cost about $8-10 each, depending on where you buy. Going up Mt Oxford is OK from Coopers Creek carpark, no permission needed, if you stick to the marked / pole route, but if you go off track it is advisable to find the farmer who owns the land & ask. Easier said than done.
I don't know the farmers in the Oxford area, so I just did the walk you asked about & tried my luck. Once, I got through to Big Ben Saddle & Ashley Saddle, no problem. The next time I went, I was stopped by a forestry worker, but he let me continue after I explained what I was up to. If you're nervous about farmers / land owners, ask at town Info offices, who could give you advice about farmers' permissions. Info boards in town centres also give good advice about available walks. DOC parks are good too, with permanent map boards & poled walks.
A locator beacon can be bought / hired from a reputable dealer, in case you have an accident, or have crap weather & need rescuing. I don't have a locator beacon, as they are costly to buy & hire. I let family know where I am going, with my intended walk / climb drawn or marked on a map given to my family before I leave. [Just in case.] I try to text family en route on my walk / climb. Valleys usually have lousy cell / text coverage. Mt tops or ridges, cell / text coverage is better, but not guaranteed, depending on how remote your position is.
Find out about hunting season months, like now in winter, you don't want to be accidentally shot! Best walking months are warm, summer months (after hunting season closes) Nov-Mar incl. Farmers usually don't like walkers on their properties while hunters are there - too much chance of a shooting accident!
Good luck. Go well & stay safe.
Mark JS Esslemont.
Not mentioned in my email reply: Farmers don't want walkers (or dogs) on their property disturbing sheep during lambing season, nor during mustering, like autumn mustering.
Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.