Te Araroa Trail: Accident prompts possible route change
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.