Article by: Julie Quinn.
Julie Quinn and David Baldwin were the winners of the Ross Rummage Tasmanian State Champs
We decided to come to the Ross Rummage Rogaine because David had been to the 2003 Australian Championships here many years ago and enjoyed the area. We were joined by the ACT Rogaining mascot, Barkley the Koala, who is by now a very experienced rogainer and photo bomber. We managed to get cheap flights to Launceston and were kindly put up by Christine and Paul for Friday and Sunday nights and also driven to and from the event. Fantastic hosts!
Our first impression of the map was that, even with the low grass making for good running, it was a very, very big course. The other impression was it has to be the most colourful map we have rogained on! We decided that it wasn’t a course to join all the controls together on so we planned a course that left out the SW corner and a few low point controls, and had lots of options for the end in the SE part of the map.
We started off to the south with a big group of people to control 34 but after this we really only met one or two teams at a time. Gary was right in the need to cross a fence or two. I’m a definite fan of the ones where you can push the top strand down enough to step over and hate climbing those that have rabbit mesh on the bottom and barb on the top. Even with years of practice, I’m not that flash at climbing fences. It took three or four controls to get into the 1:40,000 scale and work out what we were looking at on the ground, by which time we had got a few controls near the HH and were heading north.
Our route took us through sheep paddocks with some skinny sheep trying to find something to graze as well as through some interesting geology with narrow bands of different rock types. Being fairly open helped a lot with the navigation and during the daylight we often spotted the control from some distance.
In the afternoon we moved fairly efficiently over open farmland and through some nice bush. We saw the first of many deer near control 50 in the far NW and managed to follow or pick up a number of unmarked tracks or animal pads to help us move quickly. We got to the water drop with the boot cleaning station at control 22 about 8 pm so paused here to have a bite to eat. We were a bit ahead of schedule so picked up a few extra fast low point controls in the farmland.
The view from the hilltop at 103 on dusk was splendid as was the view from another hilltop at 91 later on moon-rise, where there was also a swarm of wallabies. We hit the bracken around 71 just after dark and did a bit of thrashing in places where it reached head height. 71 was a challenging control in the dark. On our way from 71 to 61 we bumped into Owen and Isaac who only had one weak torch with flat batteries between them and lent them our spare light and battery so they would have a fighting chance of getting a few controls in the dark.
The joy for us at night was the many possums, wallabies, pademelons and other small hoppy creatures. It was such as treat and as David commented “this is the reason why foxes should never be allowed to establish in Tasmania”. The NE corner of the map was a great patch of bush and was definitely much slower going than the rest of the area. It took us most of the night to travel around all the controls, although this did include needing a second approach to 59 because we were just a bit too low on the spur on our first approach.
For amusement we like to “follow” teams on the intention boards which are a bit of a rarity these days. This event we were chasing team #13 around the eastern part of the map, getting closer at times then losing time when we went a different route to some extra controls. We had a good laugh afterwards when we found it was Christine and her partner, Karen, who we had been chasing!
We got to 42 on dawn and realised we were about to hit the faster country again so would need one of our longer plans to finish. A bit more route planning and speed calculation at the water drop at #24 saw us getting most in the SE corner before heading back between the crops to the HH. We had slowed a lot but were able to still jog on the flats and downhills so made good time, getting back about 45 minutes early.
We were well satisfied with our rogaine having covered about 117 km and seeing a lot of what was on offer. There was a great variety of vegetation with some wonderful open bushland, and number of hunters huts and old buildings, some interesting irrigation channels and dams, and lots of wildlife! All the controls were well placed, the map was excellent, lots of friendly teams out on the course and plentiful water drops. Many thanks to everyone who organised this event and we will be back for more Tasmanian rogaines.