Trampers launch escape venture


Two keen trampers have launched a foothills tourism venture, Rata Escape.
Rata spells rural adventure tours and accommodation.
The accommodation base is Rata Lodge at Staveley – a boutique ‘‘barnstay’’ in a secluded bush garden under Mount Somers.
Rata Escape offers custom day adventures exploring the Mid Canterbury backcountry. Activities include guided hiking, mountain biking, 4WD exploring, farm tours and creative workshops. There is the option of fully catered or self-contained stays.
For the two enthusiastic business partners, this venture is a step into new territory and ‘‘a way to keep our grey matter working’’.
Friends Judith Sommerville and Elspeth Jaine dreamt up the concept during their weekly jaunts with likeminded tramping buddies of the ‘‘Foothills Social Climbers’’.
Judith has spent many years teaching at Mount Hutt College. Now she co-ordinates the Boost Programme and supports the team of volunteers assisting with literacy in Ashburton primary schools.
Elspeth has stepped back from her career in physiotherapy where, until a few months ago, she was visiting older Mid Canterbury residents to encourage them with the falls prevention programme.
Both women have a creative streak and they are keen to involve local artists in their venture. They are offering workshops in watercolour painting, floral art, cheesemaking and limestone sculpting. Judith and Elspeth are excited to be gearing up for the coming season and to have the opportunity to share their love for nature and the outdoors with visitors. The partners have set up a website.
Photo: Judith Sommerville and Elspeth Jainebest Running shoes brandAir Max