(By Greigor Scott).

With my ageing knees clearly telling me that my running days are over, when Bert van Netten asked me if I would like to go for a leisurely stroll in the Paddy Pallin rogaine with him I gladly took the opportunity. And with his experience going back to the earliest days of rogaining in Victoria and having also set many, I was sure there were a few tips I could pick up along the way.

Bert van Netten a legend in our sport.
Bert van Netten a legend in our sport.

After a wet drive down from Maitland and a freezing night, it was a joy to be blessed with a sunny but cool Sunday. Perfect weather for rogaining, and an ideal venue with mostly friendly terrain. The Rydal showground had all the facilities and space the Hash House needed. As Tim Pallin noted, Paddy would have been delighted to see such a great turnout once again for the event he helped inaugurate. And that rogainers continue to be a diverse and interesting bunch, from the novice competitors to the many there who have been and/or still are champions in this challenging sport.

Once again,  the  course setters did an amazing job, with controls well placed to ensure you would be rewarded for careful navigation, but also readily accessible. They allowed for a wide variety of route choices, ensuring this was an important factor in how the day panned out.

Bert and I soon had a plan of what we thought was our basic route would be,  with options to adjust according to how leisurely our stroll would be…. Of course with two people who are competitive by nature it was never going to be a leisurely stroll, and we thought we should make an effort to provide a mild challenge to the “Too old dudes “ – perennial winners in the ultravets category – and the couple of other MUV teams whose presence ensured there was meaningful competition within the category.

Some hardy souls dressed with little regard for the chilly morning, but for cold wimps like me there was a lot of pondering over what was the best combination of layers. That lovely sun though meant that it wasn’t cold for long.

With everyone heading north from the start we expected a crowd at our first control, 21, but that didn’t eventuate. Were we too slow, was it a poor choice? Probably just that the runners were long gone and the walkers were spreading out. It took a little time to adjust to the 1:20 000 scale as opposed to the usual 1:25 000 topos but it was very easy to work with. We decided to work our way up the middle of the course and return down the western side. I soon saw that Bert was astutely observant of the topography and able to relate this to even the most minor of wiggles in the contours and changes in direction of the creeks and gullies.  He was even confident that there was enough relief that we wouldn’t need to use the compass! However I did nonetheless, and on a few occasions it did prove useful. Both navigating always seems a good idea to me and can avoid some potentially embarrassing errors.

Greigor and Bert's route
Greigor and Bert’s route.

There was also plenty of decision-making between controls: go more directly up and down or contour around; go slower through the bush or further but faster along tracks?

Ultimately our plan paid off with a few adjustments along the way and acceptance of not being able to get as far as we would have liked, including leaving out a couple of 60s on the way back. In several previous rogaines, towards the end of the course when my team has been stretched to the limit and with anxiety about coming in late, we have pushed to get that last control, even if only a 10-pointer, and it has been critical in determining our ultimate placing. This time we were tempted to skip 52 but made the effort and it paid off – that was the margin between us and the next team and we made it back with a couple of minutes to spare!

Happy with our route choices and navigation, lovely country to be exploring on a beautiful day, good company, cheery interactions with other teams along the way, a pleasing result, good food –  it was all you could ask of a rogaine. Huge thanks to all those volunteers who made that possible.

Greigor Scott

One Response

  1. Thanks for the walk Greig, might have been a stroll for you, took me 3 days to recover! Great teamwork

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