Up and down again to support pool

Walkers recover from their stiff walk at the Saddle Hill summit yesterday. Photos: Stephen Jaquiery.
Walkers recover from their stiff walk at the Saddle Hill summit yesterday. Photos: Stephen Jaquiery.
Hundreds of people took the opportunity to  tackle a prominent Dunedin landmark yesterday, raising thousands for the planned Taieri Aquatic Centre in the process.

About 700 people, some clad in Lycra, others wearing baby carriers, climbed to the summit of the 473m  Saddle Hill during a rare open day of the privately owned access land.

Event organiser Colin Mackintosh said there had been a "fantastic response" to the open day. Those on the summit ranged from a 4-month-old baby to a couple in their 90s.

"There was a wonderful community feel.

Siblings Eleanor (12) and Charlie (10) Baldi, of Dunedin, were the first up and down Saddle Hill...
Siblings Eleanor (12) and Charlie (10) Baldi, of Dunedin, were the first up and down Saddle Hill during a public open day yesterday.
"People were stunned by the view, and a lot of people said ‘I’ve always wanted to climb it but I didn’t know how to access it’."

Mr Mackintosh praised the farmers and land owners for opening their properties to the public.

A final count of funds raised was yet to be done but he believed about $6000 would go towards the Taieri Community Facilities Trust, the board pushing for the development of an aquatic centre.

Siblings Eleanor (12) and Charlie (10) Baldi, of Dunedin, were  all smiles as they descended  the hill, having been first to reach the summit.

Eleanor said she was ‘‘a little bit surprised’’ to be the first to reach the top.

"It was hard in some places, and it was kind of rocky, but it was fun."

A period of rain at noon did not deter walkers and only one person was treated by St John staff, for a sprained ankle, Mr Mackintosh said.

A QEII covenant had been put on the track land by former owner Richard Skinner and Mr Mackintosh hoped to work with the land owners to make the open day an annual event.

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