A Journey In The Dark Part 3

On we speed from the movie set back towards civilization. Well, to Clearwater anyway. The time is getting on to near 8:00 am now and the sun is climbing into the sky. Pretty soon the still air will be disturbed as the legendary winds begin their journey from the head of the valley. We power out past the horse stabling areas and on past the FX sheds. All are quiet as everyone has either headed out to the set or they are resting up, their early morning preparation shifts over. Speaking of shifts, we chuck the dark lord into 5th and leave a huge plume of dust in our wake…

As we wind towards the bridge we look back, casting our gaze nor-west for perhaps (very likely in fact) our last view of Edoras, The Seat Of the Mark. I still cannot impress on the reader enough, the magnificence of the setting. Whilst the actual set itself, perched high upon Mount Sunday, is a marvel of engineering and film-making magic it is the setting for all of this that boggles the mind. The river valley is absolutely vast, bordered on all sides by tussock and scree-covered hills/mountains. The river is but a shade of it’s former self, resulting in a wide gravel and tussock plain. It is like another world – Middle Earth in fact. Tis a pity the mighty Sauron is not blessed with chunky tires and 4WD ability – look out – it’s Minas Tirith!

Over the bridge and up the hill, along the long gravel road until Lake Clearwater. It certainly looks like it was made by Hobbits. Through the gate and all is quiet. We decide to head down to lakeside and quaff a few provisions. It has after all been quite a morning’s adventure. Our meager travel rations expended we decide on a wee jaunt through the town. Leaving Sauron to rest outside a pokey villa, we ramble through the dusty narrow streets. We find signs of recent activity but all is now deserted. Here and there schedules are taped to doors and clothes are drying on verandahs but not even a mouse stirs. Atop the main hill of the town is a large portable shower complex that sticks out like a sore thumb (apologies – kiwi colloquialism). It is not nearly as rustic as it’s surrounds and screams money!

Walking back downhill to find our mighty steed we come across a new edition to the ring family. RING 4. Narya, Nenya, Vilya and now Toyota!

With not much else happening in Clearwater we decide to be on our way. Our journey now leads us to the plains town of Methven, a gateway to Mt Hutt Ski Field and home base for the bigwigs and supply lines of the Lord Of The Rings production. We hope to mingle this evening with the stars, if indeed they are out on the town letting their hair down. Back through Mt Somers we speed; it is unlikely that even Shadowfax (let alone the local highway patrol) could keep up with Gauthaur and his passengers.