Other bits and bobs – April 2012

21Fair Weather Trampers: in the NZ bush with the Cock & Bull Tramping Club
A book by Julia Millen with sketches by Barbara O’Reilly

Writes Hill Press

156pages; original sketches & maps

ISBN: 978-0-473-20009-1; $30

One summer morning a group of drinking mates set out from Owhiro Bay for a short walk. Twelve hours later, exhausted, hungry and footsore, they straggled on to Makara Beach. Undaunted, the self-styled Cock & Bull trampers embark on a series of light-hearted adventures – and disasters.

Inspiration comes from their guiding spirit The Compleat Tramper – indigenous species guru and tramper of the old school. He regards primuses as an invention of the devil and is disgusted by new-fangled tramping gear – especially synthetic fabrics. His battered billy has a handle of no. 8 wire and when bush camping, The Compleat Tramper spreads out his mildewed sleeping bag on top of some wet bracken and his hob-nailed boots.

Fair Weather Trampers relates the highs and lows of the Cock & Bull trips: jokes and laughter while struggling through supplejack and leatherwood in the Tararuas: a night out clinging to tree roots above the Waihone Gorge; battling a blizzard on Tongariro; being attacked by wasps and native falcons in the Nelson Lakes; slogging through the swamps of Stewart Island: skinny dipping in the Abel Tasman: sleeping under the stars in the Ruahines.

Writer JULIA MILLEN’s numerous works include the biography of NZ novelist Ronald Hugh Morrieson and the history of Kirkcaldie & Stains. Throughout her long writing career she has also tramped in the New Zealand hills, skied the Tasman Glacier, hiked in The Grand Canyon and in Patagonia (Chile). In Antarctica, one of the first women ‘on the ice’, she took part in the historic Longwire-Byrd traverse, 19km with the temperature 23º C below.

Book Orders: Lynn Peck, Writes Hill Press

P.O. Box 23032, Wellington 6140 ; www.writeshillpress.co.nz

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