Te Araroa Trail: Ac­ci­dent prompts pos­si­ble route change

Walking New Zealand - - Contents -

An English tram­per, Andrew Wy­att from Corn­wall, who had walked the North Is­land part of Te Araroa in the 2012-2013 sum­mer, came back late last year to tackle the South Is­land, but was found dead near Lake Con­stance.

He had com­pleted the dif­fi­cult Richmond Range sec­tion of the trail and left Blue Lake hut early in the morn­ing of De­cem­ber 15 to head out to­wards Wa­iau Pass.

Go­ing over the high bluff over­look­ing Lake Con­stance he some­how fell from a point about 20 me­tres off the track. He was re­ported miss­ing when he didn’t pick up a food par­cel as ar­ranged, from Boyle Vil­lage.

Bad weather kept search teams out of the area for some time, and it wasn’t un­til De­cem­ber 27 that he was found. The LandSAR team de­scribed the fall from that height as un­sur­viv­able,

There was a ser­vice for Andrew in the Gar­den of Re­mem­brance, Hope, near Nel­son on Jan­uary 8.

Two people came who knew Andrew – English tram­per Ti­mothy Pitt who had spent time with him in St Ar­naud be­fore he set off into the hills, and Nick Hop­man from the Nel­son YHA, where Andrew had stayed for three nights, both this time and on his ear­lier trip, so he was like an old friend for Andrew. The LandSAR teams were there, and po­lice rep­re­sen­ta­tive Dave Cog­ger who had led the search. They told us that Andrew’s gear was metic­u­lously packed and, and that he had ev­ery­thing he would need.

This was good to hear, says Miriam Beat­son, for­mer se­cre­atry of the Te Ararao Trust, be­cause news­pa­per re­ports had hinted that as a “light­weight tram­per” he was bound to have trou­ble. There was also some sug­ges­tion in the pa­pers that Andrew had not filled in the hut books, but Ti­mothy had been back over the huts he vis­ited and con­firmed that Andrew had filled in all of them.

Andrew had been a real ad­ven­turer, hav­ing done long cy­cling trips around and across Aus­tralia. He worked in Eng­land as a ra­dio­g­ra­pher and had just learned that he had been awarded an M.Sc Honours de­gree.

The Te Araroa Trust has had con­tact from a for­mer Lands and Sur­vey man who knows of a route which would avoid the bluff above Lake Con­stance, and the trust is fol­low­ing up on this.

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