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A Journey In The Dark…

December 25, 2000 at 5:21 pm by xoanon  - 

Ignore what you see above, it is Glaurung here with you now. I’d like to tell you a tale… and show you a little of New Zealand…

Nothing sounds better than the 5 o’clock whistle, especially when a weekend over the edge of the wild beckons! The horse was saddled and off we set into the unknown. Our hopes weren’t high; we assumed security would be tight surrounding the Edoras set. We figured we might get as close as Lake Clearwater before we came across some form of movie constabulary. We were under no illusions as to the fact that this weekend was the halfway mark in the filming at Erewhon and sightseers and Ringer spys would not be too welcome.

As we left Christchurch the sun was setting behind the snow-clad Southern Alps. The road to Rakaia is straight and boring, and beyond is more of the same. It looks nearly the same be it night or day. Halfway between Rakaia and Geraldine strange yellow and black signs appear on the roadside near intersections. They are shaped as an arrow and bear 4 letters: J A M B. We know the meaning and follow them inland…

At The Sign Of The Prancing Pony…

Nestled before the foothills lies the tiny hamlet of Mt Somers. Main features are a dodgy pub and a rather cool church on a hill overlooking the village. We made our way to the holiday park prepared for the meagre lodgings it doth provide. Whilst checking in at the office we noticed a newspaper on a nearby desk; it was indeed the Timaru Herald with a large picture of the Edoras set at top right. We took the office lady by surprise when we questioned her as to what it was. The amazement on our faces when told that a movie was being filmed nearby took her quite aback…

We unloaded our mighty steed and spruced ourselves up a bit before a short walk to the local watering hole. We needn’t have bothered. Yokels and sheepherders abound, we were slightly out of place but we found a quiet corner in which to swill our ale (and watch Auckland beat North Harbour at rugby – sweeet). Once the clock struck eleven we made our way back to our roof and four walls and fell asleep to prepare for our early start…

The Road To Isengard…

It is really hard to get up at six in the morning even when the view was this good. The rising sun painted the snow-covered hills a blood-red colour and the cold chill of dawn got us packed up and on the road real fast. We rode west from the town towards the Ashburton Gorge and Erewhon beyond. After 24 kilometres we reached a crossroads; the road onwards to Lake Clearwater was metalled and not the comforting asphalt which complements high speeds.

We paused for breath (and a photo of course) and then carried on. We faced 10 kilometres of gravel road before we would reach the community of Lake Clearwater. The landscape is suddenly very barren on either side of the road with many distant snowy peaks and roadside tarns. It can best be described as breathtaking but grim.

As we continued we were aware we were not alone. To our left, a few kilometres across the tussocky ground there appeared a beast in the sky. White in colour and with spinning blades it sped across the countryside. We guessed it carried some high-ranking official (maybe even PJ himself) and were heartened that our journey may not have been totally in vain.

Along the road at regular intervals are cattle-stops in to keep stock under control. Or at least there were. Now there is a section of fence missing through which you drive as the cattle stops are marked off. They appear to have been damaged somewhat, undoubtedly by a lot of “large” traffic. The Lord Of The Rings has left his mark on the land…

…more to come soon.

Posted in Old Glaurung News on December 25, 2000 by

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