Who would have imagined that I’d accumulate 15 years of participation in Australia’s leading navigational event for Emergency Services, but that’s what I did on the 2nd July 2011 at Mt Werong. My first event was way back in 1996 at the Blue Labyrinth (Blue Mts) and since then I have competed at events at Dunns Swamp, Patoney’s Crown, Nerriga and Euroka just to name a few.
Over those 15 years of participation I have been to some truly amazing locations, I’ve witnessed some breathtaking and harsh vistas, I’ve been a part of some really great team efforts over the years and on one occasion I had to withdraw due to ongoing SES operations.
Some highlights over the years include our 5 consecutive wins in the SES 2-day category, our 7th outright placing in the 2-day event and the 3rd outright placing in the 1-day event. Along the way though there have also been some equally impressive lowlights which shouldn’t go unmentioned. These include, finishing late, being geographically lost for short periods of the night, some massive blisters and scratches on my body and on one occasion I suffered badly from body fatigue.
Over the years, my fitness has been relatively good and I’ve been able to keep pace with some of the best. However as age catches up with us so does the ability to stay competitive and of recent years I have been resigned to competing at a more social level where I have hopefully educated others on some of the more finer points of map and compass navigation.
Every year throws up new and exciting challenges and it’s these unknown hurdles which keep drawing me back. Whether it’s the weather (rain, ice cold temperatures or even snow) or the vegetation (thick spikey heath, scratchy lantana or fallen eucalypt forests) or finally the terrain (swollen creeks, climbing steep knolls or strolling through open paddocks) Navshield is a unique event.
I look forward to continuing this annual pilgrimage to Navshield.