There are some good things to be said about a walk on the Big Ben Range.
One is that there's an 800 metre climb to get onto it, and once up there the ridges are long so you need to walk briskly to complete any circuit. You're guaranteed to get some exercise.
Also there are good views from the top of the range. The views are all of things a long way off and you'll need a telephoto lens and probably a tripod to impress people back home. But when you're up there, there's a sense of wide openness that's hard to fit in a camera.
Another is that when the higher mountains are stormy with nor'westerlies, the Ben More Range is usually clear. It might be windy, even windy enough to fling stones at you but probably not rain on you too.
But none of these were part of our decision to go there.
Honora wanted to do a day trip with the Peninsula Tramping Club. And as it is with clubs, their calendar said they would run a trip to the Ben More Range today. So that's where we went.
Three carloads of us headed off, over Porters Pass, and turned off onto a gravel road to the south. We travelled past Lake Lyndon and parked by a dis-used airstrip, marked on the map.
This was a handy place for our circuit. Our route was up onto the end of one spur, along to the main range, over the Ben More formal summit, then back along another spur and down to the cars again.
It was a congenial group. People could wander along in their own thoughts, without intrusion. And that suited me today. Previously I'd only done trips on this side of the range with the CTC. I remembered the style of those trips, and I enjoyed being with a group without the unpleasant competitiveness and point-scoring that the Christchurch Tramping Club is notorious for.