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Picturesque Dunedin: or Dunedin and its neighbourhood in 1890

IV.—Mount Cargill

IV.—Mount Cargill.

Another pleasant mountain expedition, though not such a favourite with the people of Dunedin as the ascent of Flagstaff, is the climb to the top of Mount Cargill, which lies to the north of the town and rises to a slightly greater elevation than its page 263companion lull, it being 2292 feet high. Formerly, this hill, with its nearer buttress, known as Pine Hill were covered with dense, unbroken forest, composed chiefly of large pines intermingled with leafy trees of lowlier stature, beneath whose shade luxuriant ferns of all sizes and many species, from the lofty, wide-spreading tree fern to the tiniest of the filmy ferns, found a congenial habitation. But now, alas, fire and the axe have wrought havoc with sylvan beauty, and the slopes of Pine Hill and Mount Cargill now furnish sites for the home of many an industrious settler, which is doubtless some compensation for the loss of beauty they have sustained. Even the small patches and clumps of bush which remain have suffered much from the inroads of vagrant cattle, so that the side of the hill next to Dunedin at least, which was once the happy hunting ground of the fern collector, is now, in his eyes at least, a desecrated paradise. One mode of reaching the summit of Mount Oargill is by the road to Blueskin, from which, after a steep climb through the bush, the summit is gained; but the more generally adopted route is by way of Pine Hill. Taking the road leading up the hill which leaves the North-East Valley Road at the junction of that valley with that of the Water of Leith, and following it steadily upwards, the pedestrian eventually reaches a point where an old survey line, now a cattle track, diverges to the right along the face of the hill. After following this for some way a sharp turn to the left is taken, and a stiff climb through the now burnt bush brings the climber to the rocky summit. The prospect is in some respects similar to that from Flagstaff, though such features of the landscape as are visible from both localities are now seen from a different point of view. The main difference, however, is in the view northwards, which from Flagstaff was shut out by the intervening hills. From this point a view of the coast stretching away to the north is obtained, with the hills lying in the same direction, such as Puketapu, the conical Hill, which rises above Palmerston, and the more distant Horse Range, over which appear the peaks of the Kakanui Mountains. The foreground is very different from, anything seen from Flagstaff, as at the feet of the spectator lies a large tract of still comparatively unbroken forest which covers the slope of the mountain down to the head waters of the Leith page 264and Waitati streams. The pedestrian in returning may clamber down to the Blueskin Road, or, if more adventurous still, find his way into the Valley of the Leith; but the more prudent course would be to return by the way he came, enjoying as he does so the prospect of the fair city of Dunedin from the many favourable points of view passed in the descent.