Fair Weather Trampers
In the New Zealand bush with the Cock & Bull Tramping Club
Almost True Tramping Tales by NZ writer Julia Millen
One summer morning a group of drinking mates set out for a short walk. Twelve hours later, exhausted and footsore, they straggle on to Makara Beach. So begins the story of the Cock & Bull Tramping Club. Inspired by The Compleat Tramper – advocate of ancient equipment, oilskin parkas, woollen long-johns – the Cock & Bull trampers embark on a series of adventures, and disasters, bush-bashing, struggling over the tops, battling leatherwood and sleet.
Illustrator Barbara O’Reilly was enticed into the Cock & Bull Tramping Club and after a brief initiation into its unique philosophy, began to enjoy – even relish – the highs and lows of tramping with this diverse group who managed always to triumph over nature and themselves. Barbara’s sketches evoke memories of exhaustion and fellowship, skinny-dipping and places of significance to the Cock & Bulls.
"I’ve just finished reading this excellent little book of yours. I grew up in Lower Hutt in the 1960s and attended HVHS where I got heavily involved with the Duke of Edinburgh award and tramping. The end result is that, like you and your friends, my friends and I over the years and now into our 60s have done more than just a few of the tramps you write about and now can barely walk in comfort from increasing arthritis!! Congratulations on your book and good luck to you and your friends for further adventures in the hills!" – Duncan Gelston, Whanganui
"I loved Fair Weather Trampers! I laughed out loud at the exploits of the intrepid characters as they floundered their way through the mountains. As a Canadian hiker I could relate to some of the challenges, as Julia's niece I could relate to some of the characters (my Dad) but really, these stories stand on their own as hilarious adventures. The fact that I was not familiar with the trails or terrain did not detract from my enjoyment of the cleverly portrayed characters and their travels." – Jane Millen, Canada