Arwen: If you want him, come and claim him!
New Zealand April 2017 (16 photos)
This is Part 6 of my New Zealand series of posts.
So says Arwen as she turned to face the Witch King of Angmar and the other Nazgul having crossed the Ford of Bruinen, prepared to defend Frodo Baggins with her life. This scene from The Fellowship of the Ring was taken at the location shown in my photo above. Here’s a screenshot from the movie…
The location is the Shotover River, deep inside Skippers Canyon. It is actually impossible to ride a horse into that area and the descent to the Ford of Bruinen was shot in Arrowtown as I mentioned in my post Dragon tales of Middle Earth: Arrowtown.
As I stood there I thought I heard the echoes of an elvish chant:
“Nîn o Chithaeglir lasto beth dear. Rimmo nín Bruinen dan in Ulaer!”
And when I saw the water start to rise, I ran for my life.
The Shotover River in Skippers Canyon has a heritage as one of New Zealand’s richest gold-bearing rivers.
Skippers Canyon is a historic and scenic gorge, approximately 22 kilometres in length, several kilometres north of Queenstown.
At the beginning of the gold rush, no track or road was present in Skippers Canyon. With the gold rush, the demand for a proper road grew. Skippers Canyon Road was surveyed around 1883 with the goal to make Skippers Canyon more accessible.
Skippers Canyon Road is a narrow, winding, and treacherous pathway that twists and turns for much of the length of Skippers Canyon. It was carved and blasted directly out of the solid rock by labourers using only black gunpowder and hand drills. This was considered to be an engineering miracle as the road is literally carved out of solid schist rock and it doesn’t look much different today than when it was first created.
Original rock walls persist where the mountain was cut into.
The road is single vehicle access only in many areas and there are no guardrails. The local rock is so soft that it quickly turns into dust in dry weather and to greasy mud in wet.
The road is considered so dangerous that rental car insurance won’t be honoured if you drive on it.
Skippers Canyon Road is today one of New Zealand’s better known scenic roads and a tourist attraction in its own right.
The road affords beautiful views through twisty hair pin corners, high elevations and steep grades.
Apart from its goldmining history, Skippers Canyon was also the site where Hydro-electricity was first generated at a place called Dynamo in the left branch of Skippers creek.
Skippers Canyon Road is a heritage structure protected by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.