The Navshield is a rogaine-type event organized by the Bushwalkers Wilderness Rescue Service (BWRS) as a training event for all of the different rescue organizations around the place. Teams from various Police, Army, SES headquarters, bushwalking clubs etc take part, and slug it out for the Navigation Shield. A small contingent of rogainers also take part and aren't eligible for the shield, but can compete anyway. Why only a *small* contingent? Well, some regular rogainers are already incorporated into many of the other teams. Also, the event is a bit more hard-core in several ways than a normal rogaine: no hashhouse (well, no *free* hashhouse - you can buy dinner etc), controls are generally further apart and you have to mark the checkpoint locations on your own maps using grid references provided by the organizers. It is also 29 h rather than 24 h, with an 11 h option. Oh, and the terrain is usually a bit gnarlier... Last year was particularly gnarly (albeit very handy to Sydney - in Glenbrook), as Andrew and I found out.

This year was reported to be less gnarly, so Jacqui and I thought we would treat it as a bit of a "weekend away" - a relaxed outing where we went easy (rather than hard) and have a pleasant day out, come back to base for a sleep, and then go out the next day for a few more checkpoints. The event was again pretty handy, in Dharug National Park just north of the Hawkesbury. We soon found out that there was more scrub than advertised, and there was a lot of up and down, so going was fairly slow. Fortunately, there were great views from many of the checkpoints, which were situated at the tops of cliffs - also fortunate that many of the cliffs were negotiable... It was great to have a walk around this area, as we had been mooting it for a 24-h rogaine. We concluded that it might be a bit scrubby for a normal rogaine, although we heard that the western part of the course was less dense, so that might be worth another look at some point...

We had a pleasant day, with perfect weather, morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea stops, and pretty accurate navigation, but decided that we could do without continuous scrub on a "weekend away", so came back with the one-day people and had a leisurely sleep, then headed off on Sun morning before the dirt (mud) track into the base camp became a skating rink for little two-wheel drives like ours! Overall, great to have seen a bit of Dharug and we will keep it in mind for a future NSWRA outing...

[Click on the thumbnails to get a caption and a larger image]
Now, *that's* a laptop... (36kb) Misty morning at base. (35kb) Base camp on Saturday morning. (25kb)
View of base from the first checkpoint we visited (70). (81kb) CP70. (84kb) Fungus. (114kb)
Eucalypt. (51kb) Gymea lily. (85kb) Jacqui heads down a lightly forested slope (not so many of these). (84kb)
Looking up. (106kb) Very elegant... (98kb) Looking out. (82kb)
Fingery regrowth. (114kb) Local flora. (62kb) Sandstone mouth. (113kb)
Natural selection in the banksia world... (106kb) Great rock platform on the way to checkpoint bravo. (66kb) Hmm - which way now? (91kb)
Precariously balanced rock. (67kb)