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2001 Nav Shield - ABERCROMBIE (near Oberon)

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One Shoalhaven Bushwalker team competed in the 1-day event in Class 2, finishing first. They would have finished equal 4th (out of 65 teams) if all three classes had been combined.

The team consisted of Sue Bosdyk, Brett Davis, Karen Davis, Rob Hitchcock and Alwyn Martyn.

No Shoalhaven Bushwalker teams competed in the 2-day event.

A report on the event appears below the following results tables.

1 Day - Class 1

Category

Points

1 Day - Class 2

 

 

SHOALHAVEN BUSHWALKERS

BUSHWALKERS

600

1 Day - Class 3 - Rogaine

 

 



Report - by Brett Davis

The Nav Shield is an event where teams of emergency services attempt to gain as many points as possible by finding their way, on foot only, through wilderness terrain to pre-marked checkpoints in an area of about 100 square kilometres. Teams can choose to enter either a one day event or an overnight event.

The event is organized by Bushwalkers Wilderness Rescue and is open to rescue teams from around Australia including the Defence Forces, Police, Rural Fire Services, State Emergency Services, Volunteer Rescue Association, Ambulance, Bushwalking NSW and Rogainers.

Shoalhaven Bushwalkers have been involved with the Nav Shield since the inaugural event in 1989 and have had some excellent results, including 5th in 1989, 3rd in 1990, 3rd and 4th in 1991, 2nd in 1992, and 5th and 8th in 1997. Most of the early teams were overnight teams, but latter teams have preferred the single day event.

The 2001 Nav Shield was held at Abercrombie National Park near Oberon. Two Shoalhaven Bushwalkers teams nominated for the event, but illness and injury saw total numbers reduced from eight to five. With a maximum of four members allowed for each team in Class 1, it was decided to enter Class 2 rather than ask someone to drop out. The five team members were Alwyn Martin, Rob Hitchcock, Sue Bosdyk, Karen Davis and me. Alwyn was competing in his fifth Nav Shield, and Karen in her second, but Rob, Sue and I were novices.

After a four hour drive, Karen, Sue and I arrived at the event after dark on Friday night. We had passed patches of snow beside the road, and battled cold, wind and rain as we struggled to put up a large tent that would become the team's main shelter. Karen almost passed out due to the cold, and Sue abandoned her tent to the elements so she could help Karen. In the meantime, Rob and Alwyn had taken a wrong turn and were touring the local farms and pine forests. It was not a very auspicious start!

Everything was eventually sorted out. The big tent was erected, Karen warmed up, Sue's tent was erected and towelled dry, Rob and Alwyn arrived and set up, dinner was eaten, the team was registered, and we all sat around a small table in the big tent to plot checkpoints onto the map and plan our route for the next day, not finishing until almost midnight.

We awoke in the morning to an overcast day with temperatures just above freezing, but the rain had cleared the wind had dropped. After final instructions from the officials, the event began at 8:45am. Over 400 people in 147 teams spread out over the countryside in all directions. The first few checkpoints were pretty crowded, but as the day progressed contact with other teams grew less and less.

The terrain was hilly, with a succession of ridges and spurs cut by dry gullies that led down to the Retreat River, but although the tree coverage was dense, there was almost no ground cover or scrub, so the going was pretty easy. Somewhat surprisingly, given our relative lack of experience, we followed our intended route almost exactly. One by one the checkpoints came and went, and our points tally slowly grew. Each checkpoint has a points value between 30 and 70, supposedly depending on the difficulty of its location, but sometimes it was hard to say why some checkpoints were valued more or less than others.

After a half hour lunch break we struggled along the river before climbing to checkpoint 68 - our furthest point from base camp. Just after 3pm, after more than six hours of cross-country walking, we reached our first actual track of the day - a fire-trail that would eventually take us all the way home. A diversion off the fire-trail down to a dry watercourse gave us another fifty points, and we followed the creek-bed for a kilometre down to checkpoint 69 at the aptly named Licking Hole Creek. Rob had a fall along this section and limped for the rest of the walk out.

A hard slog up a spur took us back to the fire-trail just as darkness fell. Three kilometres later we arrived at one of the compulsory radio checkpoints where our team had to produce a first aid kit, a whistle and a box of matches. Points would have been deducted if any of these items had been missing. Points would also be deducted if we were late getting back to base - 30 points for every 5 minutes after the 7:30pm cutoff time. We had an hour and a half to cover five kilometres, but the radio checkpoint was located at the lowest point on the course - an elevation of 640 metres.

The climb up to the ridge that led back to base was horrible. It was long, it was steep, and it was never-ending. Rob was moving along okay, using a stout stick for support. Alwyn was suffering on the uphills, but more than made up for it on the flat when we could not keep up with him. We were now walking by torchlight in total darkness, with the moon not due to rise until after we got back. To make matters worse, a light sleet began to fall. We put our maps away, put our heads down and slogged into the night. After an eternity the lights of the base camp came into view. We quickly headed for the registration tent to hand in our punch card. We had arrived at 7:17pm - with only thirteen minutes to spare!

An examination of our route showed that we had covered over 30 kilometres during the day, with about twenty kilometres of this being untracked, and with ascents and descents totalling 1200 metres. It was no wonder we were tired!

Our pre-paid dinner was a disappointment, with the organizers and caterers stuffing up the numbers, but at least the bit of stew we were given was hot, although rather chewy. At 8pm we wandered over to the presentation area to discover that we had won Class 2 - not too difficult considering there were only four teams in the event. However, our score of 600 points would have placed us equal third in the Class 1 event, and second in the Rogaine Class. Overall, out of the 65 teams in all three classes, we finished equal fourth. Rob was in the medical tent getting treatment for a thigh muscle injury when the other four of us were presented with our plaques. Alwyn also received a silver cup for having competed in five Nav Shields.



Alwyn Martin, Sue Bosdyk, Brett Davis and Karen Davis

We all went back to our respective tents feeling both surprised and pleased with our performance, though somewhat befuddled by the low scores of many of the other teams. We had expected that most teams would have scored something similar to us, and probably more. We went to bed happy that we had continued both the tradition and the success of Shoalhaven Bushwalkers in the Nav Shield.

1989  1990  1991  1992  1994  1995  1996  1997  1998  1999
2001  2002  2004  2005  2006  2007  2008  2009  2013  2014 
Club History Contents