Super Ringer Spy Glaurung shared with us his adventures in the South Island looking for Middle-earth. Read on!
Journey To The Crossroads
Then before us (well, on the right actually) appeared the still waters of Lake Camp (now known as the Bywater). The road follows the edge of the lake and descends upon the small community of Clearwater. As we drove in we werent exactly ready for anything. The early start and bumpy gravel road were not a good combination. As we entered the township we drove smack-bang into an assembling convoy! The main road continues up the valley with the village on the right (and Lake Camp on the left); a gate (open thankfully) straddles the road level with the boathouse at the western end of the lake. Before us a wagon train (if you will) was forming. 4WD vehicles and utes churning up the dust and heading through the gate towards the movie set
Flight To The Ford
So what to do? Well, what any other sane Ringer fan worth his salt at half past six in the morning would do! After a few seconds of heated debate (and the odd change of gear) boot was planted and we joined right in! The Mighty Sauron was stuck between a mighty Holden HQ ute and a fairly large Pajero 4WD. As we drove along at rather a fast whack (wishing Sauron had bigger wheels and just a touch more suspension and ground clearance), we debated how good an idea this was and whether the personalised registration plate at each end of the vehicle would aid us, or count against us
The Passing Of The Grey Company
Onward we travelled, ever wincing at approaching vehicles and wondering just when someone would notice the Dark Lord in their midst. I had driven this road before but not at such a speed and never in convoy with the very subject of our covert mission. And I didnt remember the road being this long!!! Finally down the hill we spiralled, and out onto the plain that was the domain of the new-age Rohirrim
The first sign of civilization came upon our left: the horses and accompanying equipment dominating a large fenced pasture, opposite (on the other side of the road) were a myriad of tents and outbuildings housing Technical (if the signs were at all accurate). We slunk on past in our dusty convoy as the odd vehicle peeled off to no doubt deliver their occupants to another days hard work. The road soon climbs away on the right side of the valley and starts to wind again around hillocks and through the odd ford. All the while, Edoras looms large to our left looking very quiet and still (it is only half-past dawn after all). Suddenly through the dust brake lights are shining and we are soon upon the entrance to the set. More debate and indecision followed by a moment of clarity as we suddenly decide not to chance our arm too much! A higher gear is chosen and on past the gateway and up the valley we speed
The end of the road is the entrance to Erewhon station , a rather large high-country sheep farm way out at the back of beyond.
We bring the mighty Sauron to a stop and exit the vehicle to stretch our legs and soak in the rather freezing backwater air.
Farewell To Lorien
After much banter concerning our good fortune thus far, and a fair bit of marvelling at just how much dust your average Dark Lord can accumulate after 35 kilometres of dirt road, we started back towards the Seat Of The Mark. From this side of Edoras the road that has been built up the back of the hill is in plain site. It remains to be seen how well the landscape is returned to its original state once the movie people have left. From the scale of the vehicles travelling up that hill road it would seem to be quite the permanent structure. But this is the least of our worries as we ride along the ridge road, the sun in our eyes and surely reflecting our presence back for the whole world to see (alas, silver is not the best colour for a vehicle in bright sunlight trying to travel in seclusion). We approach the turn-off to the set (now on our right) and find all is quiet with much haste we leave Edoras in our wake and make a hasty retreat