Table of Contents
SYDNEY BUSHWALKER is a monthly bulletin of matters of interest to The Sydney Bush Walkers Inc, Box 4476 GPO Sydney 2001. To advertise in this magazine, please contact the Business Manager.
|Patrick James 5/2 Hardie Street Neutral Bay 2089 Telephone 9953 8384
|George Mawer. 42 Lincoln Road Georges Hall Telephone 9707 1343
|Kenn Clacher, Tom Wenman, Barrie Murdoch, Margaret Niven & Les Powell
THE SYDNEY BUSH WALKERS INCORPORATED was founded in 1927. Club meetings are held every Wednesday evening at 8 pm at Kirribilli Neighbourhood Centre: 16 Fitzroy Street, Kirribilli (near Milsons Point Railway Station). Visitors and prospective members are welcome any Wednesday.
|New Members Secretary
|Suzanne Garland & Don Wills
|Delegates to Confederation
|Jim Callaway & Ken Smith
In This Issue, No. 759:
|Viva La Difference by Peter Rossel
|My Twin and Me, by Frank Rigby
|House to Let
|Rogaine “98: Early Notice
|Social Night 18 February
|Search & Rescue Training Weekend
|Now Where did I leave that car? by Ray Hookway
|Latest News from up North by John Hogan
|Walking by Errol Sheedy
|The Philosophy of Bushwalking by Frank Davis
|General Meeting by Barry Wallace
P 5 Willis's Walkabouts
P 8 Eastwood Camping Centre
P 13 Alpsports
Back cover Paddy Pallin
Vive La Difference - A Walk In The Pyrenees
by Peter Rossel
My walking companion Roy and myself had arranged to meet in Bayonne on the 9th Sept 1997. I arrived by train from Toulouse, booked in the hotel Paris-Madrid-recommended by the Lonely Planet As Roy would not arrive till later in the evening I had plenty of time for some sight seeing in the old ,picturesque Basque town and sample some of their food and drinks. The weather was fine and sunny.
Roy arrived and we soon sat down for dinner to discus our forthcoming trip into the Pyrenees, where neither of us had been before. My only experience had been a 10 day walk in the Dordogne and a crash course at the Alliance Francaise. However we had maps and a Topo-guide for our planned route along a section of the GR-10-from Hendaye to St.Jean-Pied de Port. which we planned to achieve in 5 - 6 days.
The GR-10 is a walking track which crosses the Pyrenees from the Atlantic coast to the Mediterranean roughly following the French-Spanish border. GR stands for: Sentiers de Grande Randonnee or ..Long distance footpaths. These tracks cross western Europe in numerous directions and can be recognised by their White-Red markings providing you can find them. Often they are missing or invisible as I had experienced the previous year.
Our packs contained the usual variety of all weather gear, sleeping bags/mats etc. Each carried 1-L water, some basic food but no cooking gear. We would rely on local supplies and o-nite shelter in huts or auberges along the route. Roy carried no tent but I had the outer section of a Microlite.
The following morning we took the train to Hendaye and soon found the starting off point for the GR-10. Weather was fine and warm in the high 20's. Our first objective was the village of Biriatou where we arrived at noon after a pleasant walk through farmland and some forest.Having enjoyed. a nice lunch in the “local” we returned to the track heading for our next stop the village of Ohlette, some 4 hours away.
The track started to climb and gradually became rougher, the white-red markers had disappeared all together. After a steep climb we reached Col d'Osin followed by Col de Poitiers(approx 500m). It was warm and our water supply disappeared quickly. However we were rewarded with magnificent views and the Atlantic was clearly visible in the far distance.
It must have been just before Col d'Ibardin that we took the wrong track, or what appeared to be a track, that took us south rather then east. The weather in the meantime changed from sunny to a steady drizzle. When we stopped to consult the map, a steady trickle of water was noticed coming from under some rocks. Water bottles were quicly refilled and the place named “Lourdes No2”. The drizzle by now increased to a steady rain. Realising we would not make Ohlette that day it was decided to camp near our magic spring .
The campsite was a narrow rocky, slightly sloping track. Apart from the magic water supply the only attraction was the promise of great views once the fog lifted and the rain stopped. This was unlikely to happen soon. Two poncho’s were tied together to form an outer-sleeping-sack for Roy. He wriggled inside this contraption with his sleeping bag etc. and soon snored away happily. I put up my tent as well as was possible and listened for a while to the water gushing down the track ,hoping things would be better tomorrow. Soon weariness also overtook me and I fell in a deep sleep.
The following morning was misty but at least the rain had stopped. Muesli,diluted with milk powder, was gulped down with great gusto. The inside of my tent was saturated with condensation but surprisingly Roy had remained dry and snug inside the poncho sack. We broke up camp, retraced yesterday’s route till we found the right track and numbered border markings which had escaped us yesterday in the fog and rain. The track lead through misty forest towards Col d’Ibardin which was reached in good time.
Things became confusing once more. Several unmarked tracks crossed ours and the increasing fog was no help either. Two walkers appeared out of the mist and directed us to the border village of Venta d’Inzola. With some apprehension we followed the track when the second miracle occurred, the fog suddenly lifted revealing the outlines of a roof not far below, we had reached Venta d’Inzola, just across the Spanish border. The roof we had noticed was that of a small cafe, a very welcome sight indeed. In no time we were inside consuming coffee and baguettes. Life seemed good again.
After a chat with some locals and a visit to the mini supermarket, we continued our way to Othelle. The trail was steep and slippery as rain pelted down. At about 4 pm. we reached the gite d'etappe (hut) tucked away in the woods in the outskirts of Othelle. The ‘gite’ was large and comfortable with hot showers. The place was totally deserted and soon our wet gear was strung out to dry. It had stopped raining by now and we were in the right mood to “do”, the town. This proved a bit of a disappointment. All we could find was a roadside bar which did not serve food. The lady behind the bar could not be persuaded to make us a meal no matter how we tried. As it had started to rain again-we decided to invest in some red wine and retreat to our hut rather then proceed to Othelle which was some distance away. I don’t know if it was the wine, fatigue or both but we slept like logs that night.
We woke at 8am to the sound of pouring rain , packed up and were soon on our way to the next objective, the village of Sare. According to the topo-guide this place promised all the things wet and hungry walkers could wish for. All we had to do was to climb Col des Trois Fontaines, (570m) slide down the other side et voila. The good book said it was only a 3hr walk - what a peach!
The track was again slippery and wet. Occasionally we had a glimpse of what could have been a great view had only the weather been in our favour. Never mind-you can’t have it all your way. By now I had two very painful big toes which made “down hill” a most uncomfortable exercise not to mention kicking or tripping over rocks. The rain gave way to sunshine and the walk across the alpine meadows was a real pleasure. Bells around the necks of grazing goats formed a pleasant back ground music.
At about 1 PM we reached Sare; a typical Basque village. Everything was closed but in the main street was great activity. Young men with red scarfs around their necks were erecting outdoor bars in the main street, tasting the good oil as they went. No one could tell us what the festival was about except that it took place each year. The purpose may have been lost over the ages but the attraction remained. We were given wine and a Basque sandwich which is 6 inch diameter bread roll filled with a kind of tomato & onion goulash and tasty sausage. One is sufficient to satisfy any hungry walker.
The hotel was a bit above our budget, but some locals directed us to a hotel tres bon marchee a couple of kilometres down the road. In the meantime we had discovered that the hunting season would start tomorrow: maybe the festival had something to do with that pleasurable event. On the way to our hotel we were nearly bowled over by a group of excited hunters with their equally excited dogs in pursuit of some invisible game. Perhaps it was just a test run .
Our hotel appeared at first sight a tiny ,rather grubby bar, but the people were friendly and could put us up at a reasonable price-meals included We gladly accepted. We were warned that we probably would not get much sleep that night as a party was about to commence that would last till the early hours. We enjoyed a lovely dinner, shrugged our shoulders and said it did not matter,we would manage.
The following morning we were welcomed by a bleary eyed cook who was still very much in a party mood and introduced us proudly to his companions gathered around the kitchen table. Lots of laughter followed but a surprisingly good breakfast was quickly prepared pour les Australiens. To be continued.
Helpers at Coolana Although much has been achieved at Coolana, we still need helpers at our maintenance weekends. The work does not have to be hard, we have a variety of helpful occupations. Pleas join us! Contact Joan Rigby (02) 6247 2035.
The Coolana maintenance dates are 14/15 Feb. and 28 Feb./1 Mar. Gardening tools are still need at Coolana and we would be happy with your cast offs: rakes, spades, shovels, clippers, secateurs, wheel barrow, lawn mower, whipper-snipper, D6, D8 or D10 dozer.
Furniture. There is a wooden table and three old school benches in the hut which we would love to turn into firewood. If you don't know what to do with that red 1960s Laminex table or that outdoor furniture now that you in a Unit, we can use them at Coolana.
Rubbish Removal. Please take home or away the glass and plastic bottles and glossy paper magazines you bring to Coolana. If you wish to leave small items there for future use then label them and store them in the rafters of the hut.
Barbecue. The barbecue needs to be redesigned and rebuilt. A design with movable and removable fire bars and grid is favoured. Contact either Joan or Patrick James in the first instance, in the second instance the committee needs to give its blessing.
Found. Having misplaced his car in Europe, Ray Hookway has managed to find a good quality black Tee shirt at Coolana. If you went home topless, then Ray can help you.
My Twin and Me
by Frank Rigby
We are such funny twins,
The SBW and me,
For we were not ordained to meet
'Til we were twenty-three.
Both born in 'twenty-seven,
We were mere months apart,
And although I was the older,
I gave my twin my heart.
We both so loved our twenties,
We got along so fine,
And I began to realise
That at last my twin was mine.
In best traditions of the past,
My twin gave me a wife.
But I could not reciprocate,
It led a different sort of life.
For three score years and ten,
We've thrived for all to see,
We are still great mates, you know,
My twin and me.
But one thing now puzzles me,
It seems I'm growing old.
But my ever-youthful twin
Stays young and strong and bold.
This piece of doggerel was presented by Frank at the 70th Reunion campfire at Coolana last year. Not really doggerel Frank, because doggerel should be comic or burlesque, and usually loose or irregular in measure. Editor
House to Let
Beautiful Bushland location at Pennant Hills. Quiet street, Great North Walk at your doorstop. 3 bedrooms, ensuite, extra downstairs lounge, built-ins, walk to shops and station. Available: 22 March 1998, $250 per week Phone 9484 0321
ROGAINE '98 EARLY NOTICE
27/28 June 1998 at “Secretvale”
The time for this great navigation practice weekend is fast approaching. There is a ONE DAY event with many easier checkpoints set cloase to the base site to assist beginners. The TWO DAY event can be as challenging as your keenness and fitness permit. Watch for the ENTRY FORM that should be posted to SBW around April-May.
SOCIAL NIGHT: 18 FEB. 1998
Three round trips made by car in 1997 in Ireland, the south of England and New England, USA will feature in a slide presentation by Elwyn Morris and George Carter on Wednesday 18 February. The emphasis will be on scenic coasts and mountains where you could walk, hostel and/or camp. The few buildings shown will be mostly Irish ruins dating from about 4000 BC to 1500 AD, some English villages, and a couple of American lighthouses that enhance rather than spoil the landscape.
SEARCH & RESCUE TRAINING WEEKEND: 28/29 MARCH 1998.
Location Cataract Scout Park, map Appin, 1:25,000, start 8.30 AM
Training #1 Wilderness Self Rescue for beginner to general bushwalkers
Training #2 Rescue Worker: more demanding for experienced bushwalkers, training for our first response bushwalkers, can graduate to Rock Rescue Squad trainees
Access From Sydney: via Campbelltown to Appin road, take the Appin to Bulli road, watch for turnoff on right (south) to Scout Camp and cataract Dam.
Access From Wollongong: via either Mt. Ousley or Bulli Pass, take the Appin Road, and watch for Scout Camp signs to the left.
Gear Bring overning gear so as to have realistic gear for improvisations. Camping will be close to cars. Walkers planning to attend the Rescue Worker sessions should bring personal abseil gear. Don't forget your compass as some sessions will be at remote parts of the Scout Camp
Questions & Contacts, Keith Maxwell (02) 9622 0049 (home), and David Sheppard (02) 4526 6565 (home)
Now Where Did I Leave That Car ?
By Ray Hookway
A friendly discussion with Elwyn and George Carter as to the merits of using cars against public transport as a means of touring Britain and the Continent, led me to reflect on incidents during my travels and in particular on events during my recent 8 month sojourn O/S, where a car would have been a handicap. George was adamant that a car is the only way to see the countryside but I contend that one must be flexible and choose the best method for the area and for the time available. Sometimes a push bike is the only mechanical way to travel particularly when following the extensive British and continental canal system. Ask Tom Wenman. At times a car can be a definite liability.
I too have been trapped trying to get out of the Arc de Triomphe traffic circus, have cowered in fear in a VW Beetle pursued by speeding Semi trailer Behemoths at high speed down Spanish highways, too scared to attempt to turn off. I too have been booked for parking on a Sunday afternoon in Oxford when I was inadvertently delayed on a day walk, had gear stolen from a car in Italy,and once when tired have inadvertently gravitated to the left hand side of the road in Guam and wondered why all the oncoming drivers were furiously flashing their headlights at me, (making right hand turns is where it happens!!) I have negotiated icy roads over precipitous Swiss mountain passes too nervous to admire the magnificent scenery and have experienced the soul destroying traffic snarls in the English lake district.
I thought of the endless miles of English country lanes bordered by impenetrable Hedgerows and thought of the same lanes traversed with panoramic views from the top deck of a double decker bus whilst comfortably consulting a local guide book. I then remembered the friendly local bus drivers and passengers ready to impart their local knowledge to strangers and in particular of the Scottish driver on a bus from Inverness to Ullapool who carried a bag of carrots to feed friendly Highland cattle, so friendly that one big bull affectionately stroked him with his massive horns and broke his arm. We treated that bull with respect.
Of the driver of the ancient Irish tourist bus who gave us a Peat cutting demonstration and discussed his childhood when collecting and burning peat was part of his life. Of the Norwegian man who discussed local wartime history on the long train journey from Trondheim to Boda above the Arctic circle. A car can prove to be most isolating. I thought of a walk we did along the lovely Wales Pembrokeshire coast. Fazeley who had been visiting friends and relatives in the south of England started walking north at Broad Haven I was up north walking along Hadrian's Wall and was to meet her near St David's half way along our planned walk. What would we have done with the car?
The bus trip from Carlisle to Haverford West in Wales was restful and passed quickly in conversation with a Welsh lady who in her lilting Welsh voice bitterly discussed her life in Swansea, a place she thought was the end of the earth. (I wasn't impressed with the place either.) It was almost as good as a Dylan Thomas story. I would not have encountered her driving a car.
I met Fazeley as planned and we checked into the St Davids hostel, a converted stone farm house set on a slope with a glorious panoramic view. Women slept in the Cow Shed (naturally) and men in the Stable. Each night we dined Al Fresco in front of the hostel overlooking the coast and Whitesands bay from which St Patrick, who was born locally, is reputed to have left for Ireland to convert it's population to christianity. St David's is a delightful tiny Welsh city village, the smallest city in Britain (population 1500), with a magnificient large 12th century Cathedral built to honour the Patron saint of Wales, who was also born locally. The cathedral was built in a small valley, on the site of an earlier 7th century church, to hide it from passing marauding Norse raiders. The plan was not successful, the cathedral was sacked at least seven times! The cathedral also has another unusual feature. An earthquake in 1248 resulted in the columns of the nave leaning noticeably outward and the paved floor sloping an uneven 3 feet.
The walk from St Davids north follows the cliff edge about 18 miles to Fishguard and as it was seal pupping time most of the rocky bays and inlets were occupied by seals and their delightful still-white pups frolicking in the water or just lolling on the beach or rocks. The track passes through several small fishing villages and there are the remains of stone age forts and burial mounds. On one headland there is a monument to the last invasion of Britain in 1797. Legend has it that the local women dressed in their colourful traditional Welsh costume and with their brooms over their shoulders, marched round and round in circles until the invaders, thinking they were facing a gigantic army surrended to a much inferior defending force.
At Pwll Deri in a delightful hostel perched almost on the cliff edge and looking up and down the scenic Pembroke coast, we spent an hour at midnight lying on a high cliff edge listening to the plaintiff cries of the seal colonies in the inaccessible coves below.
Arriving at Fishguard, the port chosen for the Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor film version of Dylan Thomas' play, Under Milkwood, the ferry to Eire was ready to depart so, why not? But what would we have done if we had left the car back in St Davids?
I thought of the walk from Minehead through Exford across Exmoor and through Lorna Doone country and down the Lyn river to the port village of Lynmouth devasted by floods in 1952 and on down the South west coast track to Barnstaple and on down the beach from Westward-Ho to Clovelly. Now what did we do with that car?
The solution is ,be flexible, have a plan. Do your homework well. Decide where a car would be a help and where public transport would be best. With the privatisation of transport, local transport is sometimes non existent or very inconvenient. Check thoroughly. Book your car from Sydney. It is much cheaper and you can be sure you will be able to get the one you want. I had difficulty at several places when I wanted a car and they were just not available or not available at a price I was prepared to pay!
Oh and by the way. ULP petrol is currently at least 72 Pence per litre in Britain so get a small car and be aware that the “Pay and Display” parking meters have invaded the most remote areas of Britain and the continent and are spreading like a plague.
BIRD WATCHING: A preliminary, initial survey of birds at Coolana will be held on the last weekend in March (see walks program) as input to a later more complete survey. You will need a note book, pen or pencil and ideally binoculars. Experience is not necessary, we will show you how. Other equipment could include field guides on birds, thermos flask, chair, blind, camera with telephoto lens, umbrella. Watchers in groups of two, will go out to different areas at Coolana in the morning and afternoon to spot the birds. Later the bird lists will be collated, the birds named and their habitat specified. This will be a valuable survey of our property. We do need a few people with bird watching skills and experience to assist. Experts may think that this is the wrong tie of year to do this survey, they could be right. This is however a preliminary survey. Think how good the final survey will be.
If your interest is in fauna, or geology or geomorphlogy, or soils or archaeology, come along and your skills and expertise will be pt to good use in getting to know Coolana.
Congratulations to Fran Holland on the birth of granddaughter Gemma in Brisbane, Queensland. Now don't you worry about that Fran!
Latest News from Up North
by John Hogan
I have just completed another very eventful year in “tropical north Queensland” (they no longer refer to it as F.N.Q.) and I decided it was timely to write a short note to ensure that you don't forget me altogether! Just for the benefit of anyone who may not already know I am working as a tour guide from Cairns, concentrating mainly on adventure tours such as trekking, cycling and outback 4-wheel drive safaris. Last year I bought a share in Bartle Frere Wilderness Walks and have been deeply involved in that side of things whilst still retaining a fair share of the outback trips.
Mt Bartle Frere is Queensland's highest peak at 1622 metres and is famous for two things: its pristine rainforest adequately punctuated with rugged, crystal clear creeks and rivers and giant waterfalls and for its ability to gobble up unwary adventurers. So most folk, even the locals, find it makes a lot of sense to go with a guide, and of course we agree wholeheartedly! There are only a small number of permits issued for Bellenden Ker National Park and we hold 3 of these. We approach from the western side (The Atherton Tablelands) and this saves a fair deal of climbing on foot. Once there the area is truly magnificent with giant buttressed trees, wonderful fungi including some which are luminous and at times light the forest floor under our hammocks (yes we do sleep in those incredible devices).
In stark contrast I take visitors out to an area known as Quinkin Country near the tiny town of Laura getting into the Cape country to view some fascinating Aboriginal rock art. The area was extensively explored for its art by a fantastic character by the name of Percy Trezise and his Aboriginal mate Dick Roughsy (who unfortunately died some years ago) and together they discovered, interpreted and recorded a vast number of art sites. Percy received the Order of Australia Medal for his contribution and I am proud to have learnt a great deal from him and others over the past couple of years and I am now qualified to take visitors to this area. We have a rather comfortable campsite out at “Jowalbinna” with such luxuries as flushing toilets and hot showers (but no power), but if you are feeling adventurous there is also some great opportunity for walking over some of the escarpments and along the rivers and creeks in an area which can only be described as “outback”. This trip normally takes in The Daintree Wilderness (World Heritage Area) and The Bloomfield Track as well as Cooktown (a fascinating place to be seen whilst it still is!) and the historic Palmer River gold rush area.
I have my own very comfortable 8 seater 4 wheel drive van and I anticipate this year to do a lot more of my own tours. The beauty of what I have in mind is that visitors will not be tied down to a rigid itinerary. Instead they will have the benefits of hiring a 4 wheel drive combined with the luxury of a highly qualified, very friendly driver/guide/cook/etc.! (me!). The business is to be known as “U RELAX 4 WE'LL DRIVE” (all right you think of a better one!) and you are all welcome to come up and sample our product. Although I can't promise to do it free of charge you will certainly be well looked after (it also helps me to overcome my S.B.W. withdrawal symptoms)
I am hoping to show slides and discuss holiday opportunities in this area on Wednesday 1st April at a venue yet to be decided, so if you are interested please ring me on my mobile 015 066 870 so I know how many bottles of wine to bring!
Incidently I have just sold my house in Sydney but I will not be returning to Cairns for a while, and I still have a lot of folk to catch up with before I go. My Cairns phone number: (07) 4054 3313 and my E-mail is: jlhogan @ ozemail.com.a
I look foward to catching up with you before I go but if not call and see me in F.N.Q.
by Errol Sheedy
The title of this piece may seem somewhat unimaginative; and normally I would have tried to do better. I chose it because it is the name of a book from my grandfather's library, and it is most relevant to that which is dear to our hearts: walking.
C. Lang Neil, in 1903, wrote the tome, the thick acid paper pages of which crumble as they are turned. Perhaps the publisher, C. Arthur Pearson Ltd., Henriette St., London, didn't expect the treatise to be referred to in 1998. Some of the following extracts doubtless refer to what we would describe as race or power walking.
“Walking is an essential part of everyday experience. It is at all times available. These remarks apply with force to either sex; for in these days of busy women-workers too many suffer from the lack of exercise, and the more leisured class would often do well to do a brisk walk, either in parks or in the pleasant lanes and fields of the country.”
According to Charles Westhall, walking is “the most useful of the athletic sports of Old England”. He was the first person to walk 21 miles (33.6 km) inside three hours.
Mr F.A.Cohen says, in “The House of Sport” (Gale & Plden, London), “Walking is the most universal, the most natural, and the most generally useful form of exercise.”
“Looked at as a sport, walking is the most healthy and least artificial. Nature has provided us with all we need, and when quite devoid of the fierce excitement which is found in those forms of sport into which personal emulation enters, there are few greater pleasures than walking at a fair pace on a good road and a fine day. There is no better way of attaining and preserving health and strength. The new interest in walking is not a craze or an affectation. It is surely a return to a distinguishing feature of the hardy, wholesome country life of our ancestors. Would we have the mens sana in corpore sano, then we cannot do better than learn to walk well.”
“Many forms of sport are abandoned as people reach middle life. But walking a person need not give up with advancing years. Even into late old age peple can keep up the daily constitutional. Thus it has been said that “It must surely be worth while to do well what we may hope to do for so long”.”
“Walking is an instance of great exertion, and it is this reason why it is such a valuable exercise in itself. Yet it is by no means the most fatiguing. Any kind of exercise is less fatiguing when it employs a wide muscle area. The muscles of our legs are not only the strongest in the body, but they also form 56% of our whole musculature structure. Thus, in walking, none of them is overtaxed, but can perform with moderate effort.”
“In quick walking there is more exertion than in slow, yet in fact the latter tires much more than the former. The reason is that the action of the lungs, and the muscular movement of both lungs and heart, are excited to greater activity by quick walking. When we stand still the veins of the legs become fuller and the circulation of the blood in them more sluggish. It the walking is slow the action of heart and lungs is not strong enough to overcome the downward tendency of the blood, and the legs remain surcharged with it and heavy. The circulation is furthered hindered because the waste products in the blood are not carried away a quickly, and this is why a slow walk brings on fatigue, which is not felt under the heart and lung quickening of a brisk one.”
“Walking should be broken into intervals by pauses; perhaps a few minutes rest each hour, but it is well to take them standing rather than sitting down. A pause should also be taken at the foot of a long steep hill.”
Finally consider the achievement of E. Knott who in 1897, walked from Westminster Bridge to Brighton a distance of 83 km in 9 hours, an average of almost 10 km/hour.
The Philosophy of Bushwalking
Frank Davis expounds on the art of being seen as a good walker.
To begin with, a few definitions:
Philosophy: A science which seeks to systematize and interpret knowledge through basic concepts of reality, validity and value.
Bush : Woodland, a stretch of forest, uncultivated country.
Walk : To advance by alternate steps, stroll, to go restlessly about.
Is it then reasonable to suggest that the basic concept of bushwalking is to proceed, step by step across the country? If it is as straight forward as that, why then are bushwalkers such a disparate lot? Walkers are as diverse as the variety of packs they carry, the footwear they espouse or the other impedimenta they tend to accrue. Let's explore some of the differences, and why not start at ground level?
Footwear ranges from Scarpa at $350.00 plus down to the ubiquitous Volleys at under $35.00. There are legions who insist that unless you wear Volleys you can never truly be a walker and that they provide the best grip apart from bare feet. With Volleys designed to slide on a loam surfaced tennis court I can only wonder at this claim; and I bet unprotected ankle bones tremble when transiting protruding rock surfaces.
With some walks providing terrain where smooth soles and slippery surfaces tax the concept of the coefficient of friction and centrifugal force, choosing footwear is of critical importance.
The selection of socks, gaiters, shorts and shirts depends on whether you are out to make a fashion statement or to prevent delicate parts of your anatomy from being impaled on protruding sharp sticks or abraded on rough rock faces. If you can find things that keep your anatomy intact and look cool as well then you are indeed blessed.
Zips, buckles, side pockets, mesh pockets; backpacks have all of these and more. If you can fit in everything you need (or want) to carry then who cares what colour it is. Unless of course it clashes with that beaut new shirt which washes easily, dries fast - but best of all is a fantastic purple. As well as a day pack you probably need a second slightly larger one for overnight walks or even a third for extended walks. What colour are they to be?
Count the different styles of hats you see on any walk. They vary from none, through beanies, baseball caps to wide brimmed Akubras. Do you bump your head more often when wearing a wide brimmed hat because you can't see past the brim?
Harking back to one of our definitions: to go restlessly about, brings us to location. Some walkers, usually leaders, exhibit an innate sense of location and direction, they rarely consult a map and always seem to arrive at the nominated destination unflurried. Others, with prolonged, intense study of map and compass also reach their goal but don't appear to be as relaxed.
Many are content to blindly follow these leaders with complete faith. I confess to being in this category, being content to gaze around and search for photographic subjects. Many, no doubt, would call this laziness, and maybe they are right.
There are some, fortunately only a few, who regard map and compass as some kind of lucky charm to be carried, more in hope than in expectation.
All right, that's the how - now the why. There are botanists, some of whom fail to see the bush while searching for a flower. To some the distance and destination are of more concern than what is encountered on the way. Some tie bits of plastic on trees to indicate the route, (to find their way next time - or back?) Others strip these markers and kick down rock cairns to 'preserve the wilderness'- even in RNP near cemented paths.
There are two metre walkers and there are three metre walkers. The first try to deflect intruding vegetation so that it returns to its normal position as they pass, these you walk two metres behind. Some seem to carry the offending branch as far as possible, then release it so that it returns like the plaited thong of a stock whip, these you walk … yeah! you've guessed it.
Which side of the coin makes for a good walker? Well neither….. and both really. All have an equal right to enjoy the bush. All have equal responsibility to respect and protect the bush. Just take it easy - bushwalking should be enjoyed, not endured. Disagree with some (or all) of the things I've said? Well then don't just sit there and grumble. Pick up a pen, or dip your thumbnail in tar, write to the editor and say so.
by Barry Wallace
The December 1997 meeting began at around 20.16 with around 22 members present and the president in the chair. There were no apologies so we moved on to welcome new members. Robert Chambers, Ian Hills, Peter Mitchell, David Song and Andrew Vilder were new this month, and most of them were there to come forward for welcome.
The minutes of the previous meeting were read and received. Items of note were the election of Jim Calloway as Confederation president, and Don Brooks as Confederation vice president.
Apart from a series of conservation related items there was no correspondence, and no matters arising.
The treasurer's report was back in its normal place this month, with treasurer what's more! We began the month with $4,622, spent $1,185, scraped together an income of $971 and ended the month with a balance of $4,400.
Walks reports were next. The weekend of 14, 15, 16 November led off with no report for Chris Miller's part exploratory walk out from Batch Camp. Wilf Hilder's, whichever section of the Great Illawarra Walk, went, but there were no details available to the meeting. Bill Holland had three on his St Ives to Lindfield walk on Saturday in warm conditions. Eddy Giacomel postponed his walk from Mountain Lagoon to the Sunday, when it went well, in warm and pleasant conditions. Nuri Chorvat's Sunday abseiling instructional walk went well, but there were no other details. Tony Crichton led a party of 26 out from Wentworth Falls on the Sunday on what was described as a good walk. Don Brooks had eight on his Sunday walk out to Mount Solitary. The trip was swift, apart from the bits involving trains, and comfortable, with the occasional blurred group of tourists around the Giant Staircase and Scenic Railway. Errol Sheedy led 14 on his walk in the Royal from Waterfall to Engadine the same day. Conditions were hot, mitigated to some extent by swims along the way in Bottlebrush ringed pools.
Tony Holgate had nine on his stroll in the Blue Labyrinth over the weekend of 22, 23 November. John Poleson's Megalong Valley walk went that same weekend. The bit at the end of Breakfast Creek was somewhat subverted by Wilf Hilder who took the party of to look for an old copper mine somewhere in the area. Somewhat to John's surprise, they found it! The rest of the walk went well, with a Saturday night singsong decorated by the faerie lights of passing fireflies. Conditions on the Sunday were very hot, making Ironmonger Hill more of a challenge than usual. Bill Holland's Sunday day walk was rearranged to go from Pennant Hills to Westleigh based on previous experience. There were 14 on the walk and somewhat more at the lunch and barbecue that attended it. There was no report for Nuri Chorvat's Sunday navigational walk/instructional. Jim Calloway did meet the party somewhere and says there were about 10 of them. There was on other report of dubious veracity that they were seen staggering along peering out from underneath a mound of forms. Patrick James says there were seven on his Springwood to Blaxland via the bush walk the same day. The walk was delightful and the leader pretty good too. Carole Beales' walk from Newport to Manly had seven starters and six finishers on an easy walk punctuated by swims. Jim Calloway reported a party of eight enjoying the occasional swim on his walk from Engadine to Waterfall through a hot afternoon.
At about this time the bushfire problems around Sydney intensified and several walks were abandoned due to access to areas being closed by the relevant land management bodies. Kenn Clacher's abseiling trips in the Wollongambe over the weekend of 29, 30 November and Zol Bodlay's Wollomai gourmet walk were two of the victims. There was no report for Wilf Hilder's Saturday walk from Austinmer to Sublime Point, though Wilf had been heard musing over whether the weather wasn't getting too hot for this sort of walk. Bill Holland led seven on his Chatswood to Thornleigh trip in very hot conditions on the Sunday, so there may have been something in it. The same day, the 12 starters on Ron Watter's walk out from Robertson left Sydney in the clammy warmth of early morning, worrying about the threat of bush fires. They reached Robertson in light drizzle at a temperature of 12 degrees. The area was described as nice and everyone returned to the cars by 1500.
Shirley Dean's midweek walk on the Tuesday from Thornleigh to Turramurra station went, with a party of six, under the baton of Ian Rennard. The day was hot, though a shady gully provided some relief in the morning. The afternoon provided the full experience of heat with a nearby bushfire to add to the effect.
The weekend of December 6, 7 saw a profusion of day walks but only day walks. Frank Sander had seven on his Elouera Nature Reserve Saturday walk in hot conditions. Ken Smith's Woodford to Glenbrook rock hopping trip and Geoff McIntosh's Waterfall to Otford walk the same day both fell to park closures. Eddy Giacomel abandoned his Sunday navigation training in the city trip due to lack of starters. Nigel Weaver cancelled his Wollangambe canyon trip, Nuri Chorvat cancelled his Taronga Zoo to Manly walk, Geoff Dowsett cancelled his Wyrrabalong National Park walk and Bill Hope cancelled his trip to the Colo from Mountain Lagoon, all due to area closures due to fires or rumours of fires.
Wilf Hilder had four on his midweek walk from Waterfall to Heathcote on the Wednesday in pleasant conditions.
We then broke for coffee and conversation for around 20 minutes.
The conservation report included a review of NSW NPWS plans for their Tourism and Recreation Strategy out to year 2000. This includes the provision of new uniforms and badges, a commercially aware administration, Business Managers, Tourism Managers and most of the staff sitting at computer terminals producing evidence of the success of the program for use by the PR section, we must assume.
Confederation report indicated that the current NPWS annual report is available for $15.00 per copy. Maurice Smith is now the insurance officer. The training policy and document control procedure was passed. TOPS is now ORIC, the Outdoor Recreation Industry Council. Your elders may remember the body as NORLD, then ORCA. For some reason one's mind is drawn to FOBS and MIRV, can't quite think why. There must be a connection there somewhere.
The NPWS blanket approval for risk-taking activities in National Parks has extensive terms and conditions and curiously enough looks for all the world like a lawyer's picnic. There appears to be a need for a review. Our delegates are to request a deferral and further discussions to attempt to resolve the evident problems.
General Business saw passage of a motion that it is SBW policy that all our activities comply with NPWS directions. The announcements followed and the meeting closed at 2154.
by Patrick James
Happy New Year and welcome to the year of the Tiger. All Christmas walkers returned to the fold safe and sound of limb, hale and hearty. Not much more to report, I must have been asleep for the last few weeks. Do YOU have any printable news?