Upper Wairau River Area, Marlborough – December 2020
Built in the early 1960s as one of the early Nelson versions of the S70 NZFS hut designs, Begley Hut lies in one of the idyllic, rarely visited valleys off the Rainbow Road adjacent to Nelson Lakes National Park.
Begley Hut was part of a bundle of catch-up maintenance work identified by DOC St Arnaud for the Ultimate Descents’ Kaimahi for Nature team to tackle over the 2020–21 summer.
As for other huts from this era, the roof underlay was no longer functional and the four-strong team spent seven days re-roofing it. They demolished a woodshed that had been added to the side, thereby nicely restoring the hut to its original shape.
The team also built a new woodshed nearby, completed numerous internal repairs to the fireplace and ceiling, and repainted the entire hut.
Like the other early Nelson 6-bunk huts like Bob's Hut, Begley is 400 millimetres longer than the standard S70 design, and at some stage was converted to 8 bunks.
Begley Hut is a useful facility for numerous trips in the area, including a traverse over the saddle to the south of Mt Chittenden (2505 metres) and into Connors Creek, or up to the head of the Begley and over a pass into the Upper Travers Valley.