31. Roxburgh Never Disappoints

Roxburgh never disappoints, and it was no different this time. A week after the mass murder in Christchurch I stopped baking for the 2 minutes of national silence, then went into the village to get more ingredients, a bit downcast. There, on the main street, outside the chemist shop, the chemist was playing his bagpipes. I stood and watched and talked with a couple who told me their grandchild was learning an instrument through the local school, so I told them about my young cousin doing the same thing. A young girl walked along the footpath and started a highland dance in front of the bagpiper. At the end of the piece, they bowed to one another. It seemed an appropriate tribute to the memorial, but afterwards my cousin told me the chemist plays every Friday afternoon for half an hour.

One day we took a drive out of Roxburgh and onto the Old Man Range (four-wheel drive only). There were deep ruts in places which was a little nerve-racking, though everything went fine. We had bikes on the back of the truck (which we hired from the bagpipe-playing chemist), so while Kevin drove the vehicle back down the same way we’d come up, my cousin and I biked along the tops until we were above the Roxburgh township, and dropped back down from there.

One of my young cousins took this shot of Roxburgh.
A sculpture on the main street.
The small but informative museum in Roxburgh, made of the trademark Central Otago schist. Roxburgh started as a goldmining town, but soon trees were planted and fruit growing became a lasting part of the local economy.
On the Old Man Range, a lovely sunny day in the tussocks.
I heard that local farmers are not impressed by poachers or by people who take their vehicles and motorbikes off the designated roads – damage as in the photo above causes the wetland areas that lie on sloping land to drain, drying out and destroying the plants that grow there.
Campbell Creek East
Campbell Creek West
A tiny hut sat on top with a few signatures on the wall and rafters inside, some from several decades ago.
We started out on our hired bikes. The road was rough and deeply rutted in places.
We passed through the Kopuwai Conservation Area, with latched gates at either end. In the far distance lie the Garvie Mountains with the Nevis Valley on the other side – we hope to drive through here in a few weeks.
The Kopuwai Conservation Area held dramatic rocky schist tors.
My cousin went ahead to navigate us through the local stock.
In the distance we could see the Clutha River and the Roxburgh Hydro Dam.
There’s Roxburgh, where we were headed. The large green patch opposite Roxburgh, on the other side of the Clutha River, is where Roxburgh sat in it’s earliest days – it was shifted to where it is now so the ground beneath the original township could be processed for its gold. There is a creek that runs across the large green patch, and when it floods it carries a lot of debris into the Clutha River, sometimes causing blockage and flooding.
Back in Roxburgh we washed and buffed our bikes ready to take back to the chemist shop (you don’t usually have to do that).
A barbecue and chatter – the end of yet another day in paradise.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s