Nobel Nyctophilia

Nobel Nyctophilia – 6 July 2019

So swiftly the sun sets in the sky
You rise up and say goodbye to no one
Fools rush in where angels fear to tread
Dance to the nightingale tune
Bird fly high by the light of the moon

Sometimes my burden is more than I can bear
It’s not dark yet but it’s gettin there
Not dark yet

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
The answer, my friend is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin in the wind
Blowin’ in the wind

Shadows are falling and I have been here all day
It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there
Well my sense of humanity is going down the drain
Behind every beautiful thing, there’s been some kind of pain

Let the wind blow low, let the wind blow high
Under the red sky full

I know it looks like I’m movin’ but I’m standin’ still
Every nerve in my body is so naked and dumb
Not dark yet

Went into the land of the midnight sun
Searchin high, searchin low
Searchin everywhere I know
Chilly wind sharp as a razor blade
So many roads, so much at stake
So many dead ends, I’m at the edge of the lake
Sometimes I wonder what it’s gonna take
To find dignity

It’s getting dark too dark to see
Hello darkness my old friend
Darkness at the break of noon

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone
Like a rolling stone

Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, where have you been, my darling young one?
I’ve stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains
I’ve walked and I’ve crawled on six crooked highways
I’ve stepped in the middle of seven sad forests
I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
I’ve been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

”Twas in another lifetime
One of toil and blood
When blackness was a virtue
The road was full of mud
I came in from the wilderness
A creature void of form
Come in she said I’ll give ya
Shelter from the storm
Shelter from the storm

Midnight awaits the 24 Hour rogainer

The bridge at midnight trembles
The wind howls like a hammer
The night blows cold and rainy
Love minus zero, no limit

I’m searching for phrases
To sing your praises
I need to tell someone
It’s soon after midnight
And my day has just begun

Bob Dylan
Nobel prize for literature

Colo Quiz

What was the original name of the Colo River (as named by white settlers)?

Correct! Wrong!

A second expedition up the Hawkesbury River was commenced on 28th June, 1789 by Governor Phillip. Captains Hunter, Collins and George Johnston and Surgeon White accompanied him. During this expedition the Colo River was explored and named 'Second Branch", the first branch on the Hawkesbury River being the Macdonald River.

Approximately how long is the Colo River?

Malcolm Gray
Correct! Wrong!

The first 35kms have properties either side, the next 60 kms are rarely visited. There are many steep cliffs on the Colo further upstream and access to the river is difficult. There is a book that describes Colo River Passes by Brian Corliss and a sketch map by Bob Buck.

From were does the name Colo originate?

Ian Almond
Correct! Wrong!

In what year did white settlement take place on the Colo (approximately)?

Correct! Wrong!

What year did the Upper Colo Bridge open?

Correct! Wrong!

See the following link from SMH 4th march 1936:

The bridge spanning the Colo near its mouth is known by locals as what?

Correct! Wrong!

The Bridge to Nowhere was officially opened by the Minister for Public Works, NSW, Mr Davis Hughes, on 2 August 1969. This bridge is located just upstream from the mouth of the Colo River at Lower Portland. An article prior to the bridge opening reported that the long range plans envisaged the bridge forming part of an alternative route to the north (Hunter Valley). Local residents stated that the bridge would not benefit them as they lived on the opposite bank of the river. Despite this, the building of the bridge commenced. Papers reported that 'Work has begun on a $225,000 "bridge to nowhere" over the Colo River at Lower Portland.' This bridge led to Una Voce, the guesthouse of the South Sydney Leagues Club and its members and a couple of other properties.

The first 16 kms of the Colo is tidal . What is the approximate tide time difference to Port Dension at the Putty Road bridge?

Correct! Wrong!

Lower Portand Ferry is 3:05 behind Fort Denison.

The Colo River begins at the confluence of two rivers / creeks. Which ones?

Chris Stevenson
Correct! Wrong!

You can check it on the geographical names board web site here:

The Colo River is well known to fishers for catching what?

Correct! Wrong!

Australian Bass (Macquaria novemaculeata). Bass can be caught from the mouth of the Colo all the way up to the junction with Bob Turner's track and beyond. Turtles and carp are also common.

The Colo River floods. There is a river gauge near the Upper Colo Reserve. What level in metres is considered a "moderate" flood?

Chris Stevenson
Correct! Wrong!

The ambient level of the Colo at the gauging station is about 0.76m. The highest it has been in the last 10 years is 12 metres. This photo of the Putty Bridge was taken when the river was at 10m.

The Colo River is a great place to kayak and there is a published kayak trail. How long is the Colo Kayak trail?

Chris Stevenson
Correct! Wrong!

You can easily kayak the 30 kms from the Upper Colo Reserve to the mouth of the Colo River. Once upstream from the Upper Colo Reserve the river is very shallow in sections and more suited to liloing than kayaking. (Or wait for a flood).

Which of these Creeks /Rivers does NOT flow into the Colo?

Correct! Wrong!

What is a good reason for NOT competing in the Paddy Pallin Rogaine on Sun 16 Jun 2019?

Correct! Wrong!

This next rogaine includes absolutely beautiful country and is only 90 minutes from Sydney CBD. The rogaine will also take in a lot of private land, which you will never see if you don't join in.

How well do you know the Colo River?
Not a great result :> Was your map upside down?
You need to compete in our next rogaine and learn more about the Colo
Pretty good!
Compete in our next rogaine and get to see more of the Colo
Great job you really know your stuff.
You cheated!
I reckon you cheated. It is hardly a trivia quiz if you look up the answers. If you really did get this score without assistance then Respect!

Share your Results:

Unsporting Conduct

It has been brought to my attention that several teams, including some good ones, crossed out of bounds on the weekend. If this was deliberate then this is very unsporting conduct. If this was unwitting, then I am sure they feel guilty and will be a little more careful next time.

As a rule, I try not to cheat on rogaines but let me give you a few scenarios that involve me cheating and nearly cheating from the weekend:

  1. I actually went out of bounds on the weekend. I visited control 30. I didn’t realise that at the last minute this control was made out of bounds. (That will teach me for socialising and not listening to the course setter briefing). I got to where control 30 should have been and was cranky because there was no flag. I even stopped and took a photo to prove I had been there. It wasn’t until the event finished that I realised that the control had been made out of bounds and I could have (should have?) been disqualified then and there.
  2. Just before the event started I was also planning to break the rules. My starting course was planned to be 46-32-24-74. This would have meant crossing the out of bounds area. I hadn’t realised the road had an out of bounds corridor next to it. By chance I was talking to Ted Woodley before the event and he pointed out the fact that my planned course was breaking the rules, so I changed my course to make it legal.
  3. I wore a GPS watch. Rule 7 states: “The possession of other navigational aids, including pedometers, altimeters and GPS receivers on the course is prohibited except when event organisers provide a means by which information on the devices cannot be accessed whilst on the course.” I do not wear my GPS watch to cheat and for most of us there is no on course benefit to having a GPS watch during a day time event (night time is a different matter where distance is more difficult to judge). I love wearing a GPS watch so I can review my track afterwards. In a championship events we make provision for bagging GPS devices, but we do not provide sealable bags for non championship events, mainly due to the admin overhead.

I have competed in over 80 rogaining events and I too cheated on the weekend and intended to cheat more, but in two of the cases, inadvertently. I suspect the other teams that cheated also failed to notice the out of bounds. Is not noticing a good excuse? Not really, but in the absence of a team lodging a formal protest the results will stand. If the offending teams crossed the out of bounds knowingly then that is very unsporting.

My message:

  1. Take careful note of out of bounds areas
  2. Listen to the pre-event briefing
  3. Don’t cheat deliberately and try not to do it accidentally.
The planned course of an unwitting cheat.

better contours with ‘nswtopo’ software

Just a quick note for any NSW setters who have used my ‘nswtopo’ software to make their maps.

I have just put out a tentative v2.0 of this software. The headline addition is a new feature for contours and spot heights. There is now really good, publicly available elevation for all of NSW, so I added a facility to make contours from this data very easily.

Obviously this is significant because contours are our bread and butter. We are used to contours from the NSW database, which are mostly manually created contours dating back decades. 5-metre contours from this new elevation data (derived from lidar) give a far more accurate depiction of terrain. (Also, they look fantastic. I suggest adding shaded relief for the full experience.)

OK, hope this is useful,
— Matthew

Tenth Mingaine Coming Up

Tenth Minigaine coming up

It’s that time of the year when injured toenails from past rogaines are growing out, February is nearly half gone, Mardi Gras is coming up and its Minigaine time.

2019 is the tenth annual Minigaine to be included in the NSW Rogaining Association annual program in and around Sydney. I remember the first one at Manly Dam. It was a bit controversial. Such a short event and with the option of going with a team or on your own. Would anyone come? It was the time of the first iPhone – everything was getting smaller and faster. In retrospect the NSWRA timing was pretty good. The popularity of the event took off – it was accessible, good for first timers and didn’t take over the whole weekend. At the competitive end it was suited to sharp navigators with a strong spring in their step. When the result came out sole combatants had done pretty well. Maybe two or more heads wasn’t an advantage after all. No oxygen wasted on discussing route choice, no conversations affecting concentration and causing navigational lapses. No one to blame. Any mistakes mine and mine alone.

This year the event is at Western Sydney Parklands. An expansive area. Given recent rains should be quite green. The 9.00am start will avoid some of the warmth of the day. I’m hoping for some bush as these days I like the navigational challenge as am not quick on the open spaces.

Last year the Hawkesbury Skygaine Mingaine was also west of Sydney and it was great. David Williams and crew did a good job first of all in finding yet another new area in Scheyville National Park. Can’t say there were ocean beaches like 2017 at Cronulla or harbour views like when we went to Mosman or the river views of when we went to Cooks River one year and Lane Cove River another. But what the Skygaine did have was a nice mix of open ground and forest, plenty of tracks but also opportunities for the odd short cut. There was also abundant route choice and a few traps for the unwary. The map itself was a fine piece of work at 1:15000 scale and 6 metre contours. There were chunks of out of bound but controls were judiciously set around them with no temptation to encroach. The whole map was surrounded by private land small holdings in a gentle mustard colour.

What can expect at the Parklands? The organisers say a mix of parkland and urban area with features of grassy fields, woodlands and lookouts. Sounds good to me.

Now, Rogaining started as a 24 hour event. Not by orienteers as many assume. It was bushwalkers down in Melbourne, Australia who invented the now worldwide sport of rogaining. It always had a strong social element and not to mention that the taking part was more important than the winning. Food provided during the event was a key. Some time later 12 hour events were introduced, then 8 hour and 6 hour. None of them ‘real’ 24 hour rogaines but hard to argue with what the people wanted through proof numbers entered. I would recommend the longer events to all. They take a different approach, no need to rush, take your time and enjoy the scenery. Come back to the Hash House for a meal, a rest or a sleep. The tortoise often does better than the hare.

However, at the short and speedy end of things and as its Minigaine time on February 24th, I forecast it is only a matter of time before the Committee comes up with the Microgaine – 90 minutes! Such an event would complete the virtuous circle right down to the Orienteering 45 minute ‘score’ event. Made hugely popular in Sydney through the Sydney Summer Series developed by Ross Barr and now in its 20 something year. In the event of the Microgaine (you read it here first) I would request that the Series Points Score introduced in 2018 have some kind of handicap or reduced score for the short event – we don’t want any gaming of the system!

Don’t forget to enter the Minigaine by deadline

Julian Ledger

First timers

Howdy all… my 11yo son and I were thinking of doing our first ever rogaine for a bit of fun and were wondering what the general process is.

I was thinking that the 3hr Minigaine at the end of Feb 2019 would be a good place to start… would you advise that we try and find someone to team up with, or could we just give it a crack by ourselves on the day? We’re both pretty fit, so I’m not super worried about the physical side of things… I’m more just thinking about stuff like logistics and knowing the rules, and so on. Are there “practice” courses that we could do in the meantime so we can get a bit better at navigation? Any advice would be great. Thanks heaps.


NSW 2018 Champs, Abercrombie River NP – report from a middle-of-the-pack team (team 28)

Colleen Mock

While the rest of Australia was focussed on a football final of one code or another last weekend, I was hosing off the Abercrombie dust from our vehicle (a rainy day in Katoomba helped) and mentally composing my wrap-up of our NSW champs experience.  I very much enjoy reading other teams’ reports but so often they are the top teams and it occurs to me that some people may relate more to the experience of a middle-of-the-pack team.  On the off-chance, and at the risk of exposing the enormity of our rogaining ineptitude, here goes.

Having missed so many good rogaines this year for reasons beyond my control, I was determined to make the NSW champs despite the known intimidating topographic relief.  As to course planning, we were completely non-plussed to be unable to construct an efficient route comprising 2 loops with a break of up to 6 hours at HH in between, and without long track hikes in and out.  (Yes, I see from the results that some teams managed it).  Limited easy pickings around HH and/or just off the tracks.  What to do?!  The SE looked like it could easily swallow us in an unfriendly watercourse system so we eventually settled on a single anti-clockwise loop of 24 controls across the N half of the map that avoided the ‘problematic’ river crossing around 27 and 28, made the most of the cluster NE of HH, finishing…? whenever…?  The big unknown was vegetation density, which proved mercifully light!

We decided to save 65 to the end, so started off with the crowd to 16 and 63, but while they mostly headed N from there we cunningly doubled back to 48 (delightful shallow spur), 76 (the first of many killer climbs) and 38 (making good use of the track). 

Colleen and Colin check in to 38, the spur

More trackwork to the pleasant spur to 47, no navigational problems to 56 and the non-flashing 15.  Decision time – whether to take the straight-up-the-spur route to 72, or include 35 and face a steeper climb to 72.  I favoured the latter and we duly set off but I drifted too close to the river and as usual it was Colin who saved us by realising that we were one watercourse junction too far down.  Easy river crossing and a zig-zag climb up to the spur line saw us safely to 72, where we faced a particularly daunting descent to the track and across to 23.

Could not have managed this descent in one piece without my trusty trekking pole, as we angled down hoping to locate ourselves on the track for an accurate attack to the potentially tricky 23.  Colin correctly identified which saddle we were on on the track and we took great care following a spur/watercourse sequence to the right gully.  We were acutely aware of the climb penalty for errors.  I was later astonished to see in the control visits that we were one of only 2 teams overall who visited 23, the other team being in the 8-hour event. 

On with the story.   5:30 pm now, time to be aware of fading daylight.  We were on schedule to get across the vast interior to 61 before dark, and had a satisfactory average of 2 controls per hour.  The plan was to follow the high ridge SE then NE to 37, but we were too optimistic about how far we had come across the ridge and I insisted that we were at the right attack spur when in fact we hadn’t even made the SE/NE turn!  So it was that we descended on a parallel spur several hundred metres too soon and hit a major watercourse in a huge washed-out sweeping bend that didn’t fit expectations, to say the least.  Dark now, headlights out, look around, try to relocate.  By matching watercourse bends with the map, we theorised as to our position, and tested the theory by following the watercourse SE.  Fortunately the watercourse was broad and easy to walk along and – dare I say – a pleasant, if unintentional, route choice.  Our confidence grew as we ticked off each matching tributary and bend.  By the time we had made the NE turn and come to a flattish spur we had no doubt we would find 37 there, as indeed we did! 

But a greater, inexcusable mistake was yet to come, as in our elation over 37 we overshot 29 by staying too high on the spur and looking in parallel watercourses too far to the E.  In fact, so far to the E that in re-climbing the spur to relocate we stumbled across the track!  The decision not to go back for 29 proved most regrettable because our final score fell just 10 points under the magic 1,000.

61 was a rare gift, followed by a long track climb to 10 – nice to meet a few teams on this stretch – and then around to 74 just after midnight.  We had options for 69, 68, 53, 26 or 36 (most of which weren’t on our original plan though), but were deterred from attempting any of them because we feared becoming drained by the energy-sapping climbs.  54 was doable though, then a lovely moonlit track trek around to 67, by which time we had formulated the plan to rest up till daybreak, to be sure of not erring on the subtle-looking 73.

Spent 10 minutes teasing apart our space blankets to wrap around us for a chilly and uncomfortable hour and  a half ‘rest’ – oh for an all-night café – before welcoming the lightening sky at 5:30 am and bagging 45 with sunlight-boosted energy and enthusiasm. 

The closing sequence 73-44-58-13-64-14 was navigationally straightforward (despite some confusion over the track position N of 73), and we had plenty of time in hand.  I was dreading the descent from 58 and the climb to 64 and both seemed never-ending; I was certainly struggling to get to 14.

Made it at last, on easy street to HH, and with enough time to race down to 65, but absolutely no energy to even contemplate it.

Overall, a worthy area and a worthy course for a championship.  Much as the climbs were strenuous, the openness of the vegetation was a huge bonus.

With 990 points, Colleen and Colin were 1st in Mixed Supervets and
Ultravets, and 19th Overall

Watagaine never again

The 2018 Watagans mountains rogaine was the third I’ve attended in this area, and definitely the last. The lack of route choices means everyone is doing the same course, with the only choice being which direction . No navigation was needed at all on this course. When nearing a checkpoint, one is inevitably greeted by someone else emerging from the bush and a well worn track directly to the checkpoint.
No real choice of route selection possible, no navigation necessary, and large queues at every control. This is not rogaining. Unfortunately, it has been the same every time in the Watagans. Please , please, change the area and the course setter!