Ferny Gair Conservation Area, Marlborough – December 2022
Black Birch Biv occupies an elevated knoll between the Blairich and Black Birch Ranges in southern Marlborough. It’s reached on a track from near Black Birch Station, in the Awatere Valley, west of Seddon. In 2015, the bivvy was relcoated here from another site, in a joint project between the Marlborough Branch of the New Zealand Deerstalkers’ Association, DOC, and the Backcountry Trust. As well as moving the bivvy, the team also adding an extension (visible in above picture).
In December 2022, NZDA member Simon Wayatt led a small team in to do some more work on the bivvy, as part of a wider project doing up huts in the Ferny Gair Conservation Area (see Penk Hut and Lake Alexander Hut blogs).
When Marlborough Helicopters flew a water-tank into Lake Alexander Hut, Simon and his team had loaded a Brayco bench unit into a box, also packed with power tools and food, and during the flight this was dropped on site at Black Birch Biv. Efficiency plus!
On 12 December, Simon, his son Josh Wayatt, and John Welch walked in to Black Birch Biv. First they cleaned out the hut interior, ready for work. Then John assembled the bench unit while Simon cut the holes through the inner wall and exterior walls for the vents.
Other task included cleaning the gutters, checking the water tanks and giving the bivvy a good clean. A fire pit too close to the biv was removed, as the exposed and windy location surrounded by mānuka made it dangerous for open fires anyway.
After a day hunting goats, the team departed on the track. En route, they added 30-odd track markers as required and also cut back encroaching vegetation from the upper section.
Simon thanks his fellow NZDA team members, as well as Ray Bennett and the team at DOC Renwick. The stainless Brayco bench was donated by a NZDA member.
Simon rates the bivvy highly, and says there are plenty of goats for hunting. “It’s in the most amazing location, with a fantastic view. It’s the only hut in the Ferny Gair Conservation Area with 100% open public access, so it is a well used hut.”
Thanks from the BCT to Simon, John and Josh for an efficient, cost-effective job well done.