David and Christa Brown of Nelson rang us to ask for a bespoke tour, a special assignment. David Brown is the great grandson of Francis and Jane Otterman. David has been studying his family history and has traced these ancestors to a very special high country farm. Gladstone Station, Awatere Valley, in the heart of Marlborough. You will not find a place more beautiful or hosts more welcoming than the current owners the Pitts family.
Will Parsons as guide shared with David and Christa a little of his own family background on the way to the station. Will and his family farmed at Mt Victoria in the Flaxbourne area for generations.
The first stop was at the home of Alan and Bev Pitts. They enjoyed sharing their stories of the early Otterson pioneers over tea and scones. Francis and Jane settled to farm merino sheep here in around 1852 and the farm was taken over by their son Henry in 1876. Tragically Francis was drowned crossing the Wairau River, near Manuka Island. His horse stumbled and his foot caught in the stirrup. So many drowned in river crossings in those days.
Mount Gladstone runs around 8000 merinos over 8,903 hectares producing high quality fine fibre which is highly sort after worldwide. Much of it is now sold to a company called Devold in Norway.
Mt Gladstone has a stately altitude of 2,570 metres.
Next stop was the home of Jeremy and Hayley Pitts. David and Christa went for a drive around in search of Mt Otterson Peak, they also crossed the Otterson River. David selected a large rock out of the river to take home as a memory.
David and Christa were a fun and informative couple and we loved helping them achieve their goal of returning to Mt Otterson to pay their tribute.