G'day Rogainers,

NSW Rogaining eNewsletter, 10th Jun 2021

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Compiled by Tristan White

In Brief

Aussie Rogaine Champions Named!

21 rogainers from the First State went to SA for the Aus Champs in which three of the top six teams were our own. You can view the full results and map on the SARA website, and reviews by NSW competitors have been published on the NSWRA Blog.

Update on Gear from Equipment Officer Mark von Huben:

The association is replacing the current large catering trailer with a smaller one. The catering trailer is rusting and it has become hard to find volunteers with a sufficiently large car to tow it. At future rogaines, where volunteers are doing the catering, the association plans to rent the equipment we need.

Do you have thoughts on our catering gear? You can also read Richard Sage’s catering puzzle here.

How can rogaining improve?

Webmaster Chris Stevenson has started an article series on the Forum about how we can deliver the most enjoyable and smooth events possible. You can check out and contribute to his first piece using the link above.

VRA’s Rogaining Analysis Webinar

Melbourne’s day to day routines may be on hold at present, but it is unlikely to stop Victorian Greg Robinson’s Zoom meeting on rogaine analysis, planning and skills.

Save the Wolgan Valley

Centennial has lodged an Amendment Report to their Development Application (SSD 5602) for the extension of operations at Angus Place colliery. The plan is to mine coal until 2053 and take out all coal from the mining lease underneath the Newnes Plateau, home of the upcoming Paddy Pallin rogaine. If you care about saving this special area, can you please take the time to read this petition and sign it.

Paddlegaine on Broken Bay, 21-22 August

For those rogainers who like to paddle – and we know from our 2019 Paddlegaine that there’s a bunch of you – you may be interested in a 2-day Paddlegaine to be run by Ocean Crusaders at Patonga. More info here.

We need vetters for the NSW Champs!

The much-awaited NSW Champs near Bourke will be at the end of August. Approximately a third has been vetted, but Michael Watts would love volunteers to help with this in the next couple of months. You can contact him at michaeljwatts@optusnet.com.au

Do you have any missing maps?

Long-time rogainer Julian Ledger is trying to update our archives on the website for events that have spanned over four decades. If you have been doing rogaines pre-2005, you may have some maps and other stuff not currently available and we would love to have it sent. Next eNews will have a full listing of the outstanding maps.

" S poilt for Choice" Autumngaine Wrap

A massive thanks to Rick, Tassia and Mike for their efforts in pulling together the much anticipated 12 and 6hr rogaine in Belanglo State Forest. The results are here.

Congratulations to David Williams and Ronnie Taib, who celebrated their second consecutive win over well-known ACT dynamo duo David Baldwin and Julie Quinn in the 12hr event. Paul Olsen, Dave Ellis and Malcolm Brown dominated the 6hr, with their score of 1,590 points being higher than all but six of the 12hr teams. See the top four 12hr team routes below.

You can read some great blog posts from Nicole Mealing, who placed 4th in the 12hr event with her team mate Andrew Brown, and Chris Stevenson who capture the experience brilliantly. You can also view many photos and the map here.

58th Paddy Pallin 6hr, Sunday 20th June, Newnes State Forest

The next event on the NSW Rogaining calendar is the ever popular Paddy Pallin 6hr rogaine, to be set on Newnes Plateau, east of Lithgow. The event will be a staggered start between 08:30 and 09:30, with camping available on both Friday and Saturday nights. The organising team has been ably lead by John Havranek and Salomé Hussein, who share more about the event and their rogaining experience below:

When did you do your first rogaine and what makes you keep coming back?

John: My first rogaine was way back with a group from the Monash University Bushwalking club in Victoria in April 1987 - I still have the map! After a few years away overseas, I started a bit more regularly again at a leisurely pace with my wife and boys as we enjoyed combining a weekend away, exploring new areas and the fun of finding a way around courses.

Salomé: My first rogaine was with UTS Outdoor Adventure Club, at the Spring Balance Rogaine you organised in 2018, mere months after I first came to Australia. Rogaining makes me feel like a video game character. There's a map full of interesting things to find, and you're managing your capabilities, companions, and resources while you "clear the fog of war," eventually revealing in real life what you've imagined from what's on the map. I've not yet been rogaining long enough to revisit familiar courses, so each time it's been someplace new and they're often places I'd not explore in this much detail. It's also something I can anticipate doing well into later life. The veteran teams are very inspiring in that regard.

What do you do with yourself when you are not rogaining?

John: I work in IT during the week, but my weekends are usually spent doing something outdoors from trail running and mountain biking to backcountry skiing in the winter. I’ve recently bought a packraft that I’m planning to use a bit more for some hike/paddle combinations.

Salomé (pictured below): I model natural catastrophes at a risk analysis company. It's force-feeding climate data into machine learning packages mostly, and sometimes field trips to disaster struck areas. It's very interesting work - right at that interplay between science, society, and our designated muddy space rock. Australia's really delivered since I've arrived in terms of hail, bushfires, and floods. I must be a good luck charm. I also play flute in the Barker North Shore Wind Symphony, and I practically live at Climbfit St. Leonard's. My partner and I started volunteering with a nearby Scout group early this year, and that's opening up some training opportunities for more adventure sports (whitewater kayaking hopefully!)

What made you want to set/organise a rogaine, and what you have learned and come to appreciate through the process?

John: I was keen to organise an event and learn from the experience. Although I have set some orienteering events this is my first rogaine. It was fun out in the field exploring beautiful country and finding good places for checkpoints. Trying to set an interesting course and adjusting the base map after visits out to the area is almost as much fun, as it’s a challenge to create something appealing to novices and experienced rogainers trying to clear the course, and deepens your appreciation of the effort it requires.

Salomé: I've been chronically injured, so it allows me to still be involved, absorb the good vibes, and see the same lovely people. John must've made like five trips after I first headed out with him. He knows that area like the back of his hand. As to the logistics required… as my mother used to plan receptions, I have respect for all the moving pieces. Thankfully experienced people have been close at hand to let me know where the pieces go.

Why did you choose Newnes as the course area?

After looking at a couple of areas, we landed on Newnes as it seemed to tick all the boxes for a six hour event - it’s not too far to drive from Sydney, has interesting terrain - steep canyons, old pine plantations and enough tracks to help those who are less experienced or confident navigators. It is also currently nice to see how well the bush is recovering as a lot of it was affected by the bushfires and is just growing back now. The last event in the area was held about seven years ago and it was a 24 hour event so quite different in terms of control placement.

Who is involved on the organising team?

Salomé is doing all the hard work in organising and logistics including catering which is great to be able to do again, as John does the bulk of the setting. Hamish Mackie has created the base map and also helping me learn the basics to adjust map corrections, set controls using QGIS. We have several assistants setting and vetting including John Carroll, Marnie Holmes, Mat Collin and John’s son Jack along with the occasional partner as well.

There's a representative from Paddy Pallin, Emma Jessop, providing door prizes for some lucky teams. Catering was up in the air for a little while with Covid issues, and the group leader from 1st North, Stuart Warren, happily stepped in for that.

John (R) and Hamish course setting

What can you tell us about the map design, and any special features about the course?

The map has been created using Lidar data for the contours as well as to generate cliffs as there are many complex cliffs in some of the creek systems. The area we’ve chosen has a wide variety of terrain and you will be able to choose a route that could include easier tracks and gentler slopes through to climbing steep rocky pagodas and cliffs and even some more open areas in the old pine plantations. There's a climbing crag in one of the corners, and if you manage to get there, there's a huge pagoda column that's quite apparent in the new LIDAR features. And wow, that area just screams Jurassic Park. You half expect a Brontosaurus to cheekily peer around a corner. We were originally going to include Lost City, which has similarly majestic features, but appropriately seems more like a cityscape than a canyon. I think those controls got the axe - worth checking it out if you're playing nearby the day before.

What are you looking forward to about the event day?

John: Hopefully a spectacular sunny morning and the buzz of seeing everyone trying to plan their way around for the day and then enjoy a snack at the end after seeing some beautiful country.

Salomé: UTSOAC [which Salomé has headed for the past couple of years – check out her account of those experiences here] and Scouts are both competing, and I'm stoking a rivalry. Also looking forward to warming up by our fire drums, and just camping there in general because I've been too busy to play lately.

Thank you John, Salomé and team!

BTW, if John’s face looks familiar, you may have seen him here.

Navshield Sat-Sun 26th-27th June, Tarlo River

Do you think that a 24hr rogaine is the epitome of an epic adventure? Just days after you’ve recovered from the Paddy Pallin, try a 27-hour event where you are competing against our police, paramedics and firefighters! Following a hiatus in 2020 the annual Navshield, organised by Bush Search and Rescue (BSAR), will be back. Although predominantly a training exercise for emergency services, this 1 or 2 day event is open for any members of rogaining associations to compete under standard rules. I have spoken to coordinator Glenn Horrocks and setter Jim Collier, both well-known faces amongst the rogaining community, who share what is so special about this weekend away.

Tell us about the roles that you currently hold within the State Emergency Services (SES)

Glenn: I’m Deputy Unit Commander for BSAR. So I help set the unit strategy and focus, and make sure we are providing the best search and rescue service we can for the people of NSW. A big part of this is leading the unit in how it fits in with the bigger NSW SES organisation. I look after the Sydney Metro BSAR members and sort out issues or problems they have in their SES work.

Glenn (R), with teammate Richard Mountstephens following their stunning win of last year’s Willoughby Paddy Pallin rogaine. Glenn’s name is plastered all over PP trophies over the past decade

Jim: I’m active in BSAR operations, both on searches and exercises such as Navshield.

Jim course setting

Tell us about what Navshield is, how long it has been running, the main purpose of it, and how it is similar and different to a conventional rogaine?

Navshield is a navigation training event for the emergency services. We run it as a rogaine, so we invite rogainers and others to join us and have a go as well. However, it is a bit different to a normal rogaine: at Navshield you will see all sorts of emergency services, including SES, Rural Fire Service, Police, Ambulance, VRA, military and others. We also have a few slightly different rules, the main one being you must visit a radio control point (our manned controls) once per day and your team is penalised if you fail to do this.

Who else is involved in this organising team to pull off this mammoth project?

We have a big team helping us to pull this event together, including Steve Rutten as Deputy Coordinator, Mick Barr and Meredith Lane looking after the base site, Richard Farr managing transport and Glenn Strkalj looking after event safety and communications. There are dozens of other BSAR members who are also helping, and the SES is supporting us in this event as well - some of the equipment we will be bringing to the event this year is amazing. Regular rogainers who have helped with Navshield are John & Mardi Barnes, Andrew Perry and Carley Finn.

The 2019 Navshield in Kanangra (also headed by Glenn and Jim) was remembered as being notoriously cold but a very welcome contrast to the heavy scrub that's been a feature at many Navshields in years past. What can we expect of the 2021 course in Tarlo River NP?

Tarlo River National Park is classic rogaining country. The ridges are dry, open woodland with little ground-level scrub which makes for fast rogaining. There is some scrub in the watercourses near the Tarlo River, but it is perfectly walkable.

A unique feature of Tarlo River National Park is that it is rarely visited because it has no public access. We have arranged access with the local landholders and National Parks. Navshield participants will have the opportunity to see country that few walkers or rogainers have seen in recent years. The last NSW rogaine was in 2016, and that was in the northern end of the park, where Navshield is based at the central-southern end with controls across the park.

How have you built upon your setting experience to make the 2021 Navshield even better than before?

Jim: The 2021 Navshield course has more route options than 2019, with competitors needing to make some intriguing choices. The Tarlo River bisects the course and provides a natural barrier which competitors will have to consider in their route planning. As far as possible, we’ve avoided out-and-back controls.

The site of the “Base” (Hash House) for this year’s Navshield

Why should rogaining regulars come down to Tarlo River in a couple of weeks?

There have been a few rogaines in Tarlo River National Park over the years, but they mainly visited the southern section of the park. Navshield will be in the central section of the park with more of the Tarlo River Gorge in it.

Thank you Jim and Glenn!

Night Rogaine 3/5hrs Saturday 3rd July, West Pennant Hills

Do you think that a rogaine on two consecutive weekends in a row is excessive? But wait, there’s more – you have the chance to spend 38 hours running around the bush with a map and a compass in a 14 day period… and in this case, with a headtorch!

Our newest Ultraveteran team, Martin Dearnley, and Graham Field, are working hard setting and coordinating the third running of the 5 and 3hr night rogaine, starting at 5 and 5:30pm, respectively. It will be held in the intricate maze of tracks and streets of Bidjigal and Hunts Creek Reserves in NW Sydney, with the Hash House at the West Pennant Hills Community Centre.

Maybe you have considered a 12 hour rogaine or a 24 hour rogaine but have held back because of concerns about navigating at night. If so, then our annual night rogaine is an ideal opportunity to purge the nychtophobia from your minds and to develop your night navigation skills in safe Sydney bushland where getting utterly lost is highly unlikely.

For the experienced rogainers this is an ideal opportunity to train for upcoming championship rogaines in a convenient location close to home. No tents or caffeine are required. And for the fully committed rogainers, we might even think that this is an ideal way to spend a Saturday night.

Martin (left) and Graham at the 2017 Australasian Champs in NZ

Don’t have a torch? Check out last year’s article on lights for some bright ideas!

Find us on Facebook and Strava here.

Tristan White
on behalf of the NSW Rogaining Committee