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Navshield 2012 - Colo River (7th/8th July 2012)

Map:-

Colo Heights 1:25000

Party:-

Anita, Bert, Neil, Dug

Anita and Bert at CP 72

Anita cp 72, where to next?

Friday night

We all drove up on Friday, Neil and I separately to arrive in daylight to set up camp. It was raining when I left but was clear just past Maitland driving the New England Highway, with patchy sunshine from then on. We both went up via the Putty Road despite what "Whereis" tries to say, this is the shortest quickest way. You would be mad to go down the Freeway then through Weismann's Ferry as it tries to take you. A pleasant enough drive, through some spectacular landscape, and being Friday the speed hoons aren't out yet, testing their skills on the twisty road.

My first navigational challenge was trying to find the turn off to the Base/Camping site. I spent the last 10km peering about to locate the entry. In the end they only had one small sign and I over shot and needed to backup. Neil, who was already there, had a similar experience but we both made it ok. As we drove in a friendly local directed us to the camp site, it would have been nice if the BWRS had someone to meet and greet :-) The Base Site was obvious but signs to the parking a bit sparse. To camp we had the choice of two slashed paddocks on the top of a ridge, a little rough in places, so we picked the closest to base to save some walking. Our spot was level enough and good out look to the bush to our north. An altogether good looking area for rogaining, with forested ridges and deep looking valleys.

I soon had the Barbie tent up and ready to cook tea and sleep, Neil had chosen to sleep in his vehicle. I'm too long to do that with maximum comfort :-) I dropped Thais maps off at the BWRS Base and chatted for a while before returning to cook tea, a teriyaki marinated stew. A pleasant if cool night with clear view of the stars and the nearly full moon, when it rose.

We registered and picked up the maps about 7:30 and set to marking up the check points on the map, while waiting for the other two to arrive. At one stage I noticed Neil look up at me swearing under breath, I don't swear often nowadays. The course setter has set dummy flags and that doesn't seem a very sensible thing to do with the standard LPI map they use with 20m contours, the map just isn't accurate enough. Oh well, good on them for trying something different, hope it works out. In my experience dummy flags can (sort of) work on a precise orienteering map in open country, but here we have a standard (imprecise) map and extremely scrubby country.

Anita and Bert arrived just as we finished the mark up, and soon had their camping trailer set up ready to go. Neil and I got into comparing maps and making the odd small correction, I will check my map again in the morning.

Saturday

Bert the Dutch Leprechaun, amongst the ferns

Bert the Dutch Leprechaun amongst the ferns. On the way to CP 70.

Saturday morning, no great rush, the event doesn't start till 9am. A leisurely breakfast and chat while Nita and Bert mark up their maps. Over to the course setters briefing pity the PA is so poor, cos not many could hear and certainly not a deaf old bloke like me. Then the Mass start with team members grabbing their control marking cards from the "clothes line".

We strolled back through camp to pick up those taking a toilet break, then set of as a team cross country for: - cp 51 "the spur". Easy enough to map read from or chosen attack point a bend in a track at the top of the spur. Pleasant open walking country. Our next rout was to sidle around creek banks and spur to: - cp 70 "the gully" "decoy flags nearby". Pleasant enough walking through open scrub not too steep. One feature of this walk was Bert the Dutch Leprechaun peering back up at us from the head high fern patch. At the gulley we could see two flags from the bank only about 60m apart, the lowest one about 40m from a watercourse junction. We concluded that the control flag further up the gully was the correct one because we all had the control about 80m from the junction. Wrong!

Speaking to the course setter later he said he was aiming for precise navigation with the dummy flags. I pointed out that the controls were supposed to be visible from a 40m circle distance and 60m was way too close. Particularly when they are on a line feature and not an identifiable "point". In my opinion 60m apart, on a LPI map on a line feature is the "same place". I looked at this control on the mater map using Oziexplorer and the control was marked 20m too far north, so he had an error too. Any way it's all part of the fun, you don't win them all!

Bert, Dug, Neil,  Navshield 2012. Pic by Anita

Bert, Dug, Neil, hey it doesn't look all that bad :-)

From here we to the nearby spur south east to the track, reasonably open walking and not too steep. Then along the road to a suitable jump off place for: - cp 42 "30m @ 315deg magnetic from the top of a 2.5m waterfall" Neil did a good job map reading the track and we soon found the place. A bit scrubby and steeper in places here though and more than one waterfall of course. Back to the track again via the same rout, a little mucking around to find the correct ridge out to: - cp 80 "the gully", "decoy flags nearby". Pleasant open walking and no problems finding the correct gully (with only one flag :-) ). We decided to sidle around to: - cp 71 "the gully" rather than chance the creek which looked thick to try, or walk back to the road and back.

An "interesting" way I would say, but not too bad a choice. Some steep banks to sidle, some scrambles to make, some easy walking to do. Neil was getting along nicely when "Hey I have lost my $700 pair of glasses". Neil, Anita, Bert hurried back while I conducted a "bwrs evidence search" back the way we had come, covering the ground as thoroughly as I could. A little later the advance team returned, Bert had found them at the last scramble. Beaudy, good one folks. No problem with the control, then south along the ridge top to the track. Reasonable open going, and not too steep.

At the track a bit of confusion, I couldn't pick the right spur for: - cp 43 "the spur", "slight rocky clearing". Daenam has said often "between 3:30 and 4:30 you should stop for a feed to put oxygen back into your brain". Anyway, for whatever reason, I could not put map to ground at any stage here. Luckily for us all Bert was on the job and located the control. Pleasant open walking and a great looking creek system, nice area to be. A scenic bonus I do say. Back up the way we came in then along the road to the jump off point for: - cp 90 "the gully", "just before steep part(decoy flags nearby)".

No problems here along the spur to the knoll then a compass bearing to the gully. I noticed Bert aimed of a little to the left assuming that there would be scrubby in the gully, I suppose, and it looked as if he was right. No problem control flag where it should be. From here we sidled north and down to the creek, both a bit thick. Then straight up the spur on the other side directly to "radio checkpoint Charlie", "Grono North Trail". Scrub a bit thick lower down but better as be climbed. Late afternoon now and becoming shadowy. I was hanging out for a cuppa but couldn't scab a cup, darn :-).

Anita on the map.  Pic by dug

Anita on the map.

We walked west along the track to a junction where we changed into warmer clothes before heading east on the new track to the jump off for: - cp 53 "Small rocky outcrop", "below main cliff line". Pitch black by now (the moon will be another two hours). I didn't expect this control to be easy , just an indeterminate location in thick scrub on steep terrain in the middle of nowhere, you might say, with a quaver in your voice. We didn't locate is first go so searched about before dropping into the creek below to try and locate a side watercourse. We did locate a dampish side place but did not identify it as the side creek. About now several other teams appeared directly above our location and were searching about. One team came down to the creek too. We climbed up at what we divined as the right location, searching as we went but we didn't find the flag. At one spot one team went right and we went left. We eventually gave up and scrambled out and back to the track. At the junction where we had changed I picked up my wool tee shirt that another team had told us about. After the event we Bert was speaking with the team that went right and they said they found the flag hidden in the thick scrub 30m from where they left us. Oh well.

We were heading back to camp now hoping to get flags on the way. CP 52 "the gully" is shown as off a side track, we located it eventually very overgrown. We walked to the jump off place but decided that it wasn't worth spending the time as, in the scrub, in the dark, this attack point was too indeterminate, in the scrub and dark. We had been hearing a thumping noise off and on as we walked, now as we moved westward it became clear, very loud music from a group camped on the same property as the Navshield. We wandered back and down the track to: - cp 41 "the gully" our plan worked till we got into the creek system which was our hand rail, this was much steeper country than we were expecting from the map and getting steeper so we abandoned the attempt. I was running out of petrol by now and we still had 6km back to camp. The music from the party became very loud by the time we reached the Putty Road, wonder whether the neighbours enjoyed it too? I just had a long drink of water and went to bed, too late to eat (to sleep on a full stomach, not good, anyway). My phone showed 10:55 as I pulled up the sleeping bag. And the loud music didn't bother me one bit I just went to sleep.

SUBW team the winners of Navshield 2012.  Pic by Anita

Winners are Grinners as is oft said Sydney University Bushwalking Club Team Winners of Emergency Services Navigational Shield.
2012 Navshield

Sunday

Easy start this morning, breakfast any away to punch the radio checkpoint at base about 8:15. Neil was not feeling all that well this morning and decided to pull out and we logged the change in team. Walked back up the Putty Road to where we joined it from the track last night and dived off down the other side for: - cp 72 "the watercourse", "decoy flags nearby". Straightforward enough. We then headed back to the Putty Road onto the spur for: - cp 63 "the gully", "decoy flags nearby". The ridge top a bit scrubby but no problems.

Back to the Putty Road again to pickup: - cp 62 "the watercourse", very straightforward and we saw a decoy at a wrong junction on the way down, from the easy walking spur above. Then across the creek and up the spur for the ridge with: - cp 54 "the spur", "rocky outcrop". Not too bad walking a fairly straightforward. As we walked back to the road options were discussed. It was decided to take it easy and just go for: - cp 50 "the watercourse" in a creek just to the north of base.

Thank you, Anita, Neil, Bert, a great outing.  It is a pleasure to share this experience with you all. Till next time. Copyright Dug Floyd July 2012.

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Bert, Dug on the map.  Pic by Anita

Bert and Dug

It isn't all about flags, there is sightseeing too.  Pic by Dug

It isn't all flags and controls, there is some sightseeing too.

Dug and Bert amongst the ferns.  Pic by Anita.

Bert and Dug amongst the ferns. On the way to: - cp 70.

At the prizegiving.  Pic by Anita.

At the prize giving. We are leaning on the all terrain Vehicle used by the SCAT paramedics. The manufacturers call it the Bush Pig but Ambulance NSW frown on the name as politically incorrect :-) funny people in some places.

Dug on the map.  Pic by Anita

Smoko time, I guess we are somewhere, Dug.

Controle CP 54.  Pic by Dug

Cp 54 with Bert and Anita, we will go somewhere from here. Do you think?

Anita and Bert at CP 54.  Pic by Dug.

Bert and Anita: - cp 54.

Anita and Bert at CP 72.  Pic by Dug.

Anita and Bert: - cp 72.

Cp 63 the gully.  Pic by Dug.

CP 63 the gully.

Pose for the local member.  Pic by Anita.

The pose for the local member at the Prize giving.