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Paddy Pallin 6 hour - 15th June 2003

Andy Mein Reports ...

In 1964 Paddy Pallin, the man, first conceived the idea of an organised navigational event as a way of improving the skills of bushwalkers in map and compass navigation. That same year he held the first 'Paddy Pallin' navigational event. Held at Euroka that event perhaps involved no more than a couple of dozen participates. Now in 2003 at this yearís 40th annual event, 650 participants and 20 volunteer staff enjoyed perfect weather in and around Popran National Park.

Popran NP was a Park I was unaware of up until the event course-setter, Ross Duker, took myself and Belinda and Andrew Pope (the event administrators) for an initial visit in January of this year. (See Ross' article later in  Newsletter 98.) The ease of access from Sydney in comparison to the last few years of Paddy Pallin events was certainly the initial appeal. Early discussions with the owners of Glenworth Valley, the original proposed Hash House site, clearly ruled out the use of the valley. They run a successful horse-riding business within the valley, something that would not coexist with 650 rogainers. The owners of Glenworth Valley kindly offered us an alternative valley on the western side of Mount Olive. This became the events Hash House site. And from this site we began our months of work creating the 40th Annual Paddy Pallin 6hr Winter Rogaine event.

Once consents had been negotiated and finalised with the numerous concerned parties, Ross Duker (setter) and Eric Smith (vetter) busied themselves creating a course worthy of a 'Paddy Pallin' event. The Park contained numerous significant aboriginal sites, pristine waterways, and a number of rare and threatened plant species. We worked with the NPWS and the managers of the adjacent Crown Land to ensure our impact was minimal, particularly to those sensitive areas. Our thanks to Richard Colbourne (Ranger for Popran NP), and Rowan Berecry (Secretary for the Mangrove Mountain Flora Reserve Trust) for their assistance throughout the process. As you are now all well aware, the thick scratchy scrub on the course was at times extremely challenging. The geographical features were however well defined making for easier navigation, something that perhaps excuses the thickness of the scrub. Although from my visits to the course, I admit that there were times I had trouble finding the creek lines through the scrub! The 4WD and walking tracks on the plateau south of Mount Olive, would have provided some relief from the scrub for many of you. While the course area looked small on the map, we were certain that no team would be able to clear the points in the 6 hours. This was the case, although the top teams did travel further than we anticipated. For those of you who enjoyed the event as an opportunity to discover new places and environments, I am sure you were not disappointed, although were somewhat relieved to emerge into the open valley of Ironbark Creek at the end of the event.

Ironbark Creek was a superb location for an event Hash House. Surrounded by pristine bush land with reasonably straightforward road access. With the exclusion of the numerous cow paddies, the grassed valley floor was an ideal campsite come car park. The king tide that accompanied the full moon on Saturday night was the only unpleasant aspect of the site, particularly for those that established their campsites on the banks of the creek and were woken by the over-running waters. Last years stomach turning discovery of two missing participants at the conclusion of the event at Newnes, was something not to be repeated. At 3.30pm Sunday, half an hour after this years finish, 23 teams had not returned. All these teams thankfully were eventually accounted for by way of the safety measures we had perfected since last years event. Most of the teams were radioed in by the course marshals as being on route to the Hash House, or had elected to make use of the emergency mobile number by sending an SMS message informing us they were OK and were also on-route to the Hash House. Our thanks go to the following course marshals who volunteered their time and energies to ensuring the safety of all the participants:

  • CP66 - Tanya Chivers, Kristy Bond, Rob de Jong

  • CP64 - Chris Mein, Anthony Hutchings

  • CP62 - Neil Prosser, Hisako Shiraishi

  • CP104 - Alan Scott

Managing the administration of such large numbers of participants, from processing the initial entries to preparing the final results, is a big task. This year we once again have Belinda and Andrew Pope to thank. There are and were many challenges to this role and they took them all in their stride, while juggling their two young boys (figuratively speaking!). Thank you to you both. Every rogaine event would not be possible without the assistance of the volunteers. This year we have all the following to thank for their roles in making the event a success:

Andrew Introna
Dianne Saunders
Julian Dryden
David Coysh
Carol Chivers
Jim Mein
Gill Mein
Lee Lowe
Rodney Davies
Catherine Watts
Jan Smith
Merle Goyen
Marcelle Gannon (& friends)
And anyone I may have forgotten.

1st Waitara Scouts didnít disappoint once again with this years catering. We are very fortunate that they happily take on this mammoth task feeding so many. And for those carnivores that were present on Saturday night the smell of roast lamb filling the valley was a definite mouth waterer.

A final note of thanks to the events sponsors. Paddy Pallin Outdoor Equipment has supported this event throughout the many years, among other things covering the cost of the event brochure, and most importantly, ensuring the event has adequate insurance cover. They also provided via the events co-sponsors, Ultimate and Black Diamond, a superb array of quality prizes. I know you all enjoyed the approach we took to awarding those excellent products. Thank you to Paddy Pallin, Ultimate, and Black Diamond.

A testament to the enjoyment of all who participated is visible on the Event Photo Gallery .  There are smiles on every face.