Beginners' Navigation Weekend

15-16 May 2010


All content copyright © Ashley Burke 2008. Not to be used for any purpose without permission.


Trip Report

TRIP: Beginners Navigation Weekend, 15-16 May 2010


Konstantin Seiler
Ricarda Roemer
Thi Nguyen
Abed Kasis
Georgina Snelling
Jeremy Platt
Amy Withnall
Mariano Covre
Ashley Burke


The weather couldn't have been better for this year's navigation weekend! We were a bit late arriving at Bell due to the usual faff getting out of Sydney but by 10am we were away. Before we left the beginners learned how to cite a grid reference and how to orientate the map.

After an hour or so of walking we reached the panoramic viewpoint of 994. Here we enjoyed 360 degree views of the surrounding countryside. Maps, compasses, pencils, the whole lot came out, and we went through the key skills of navigation: navigating from point to point using map and compass, identifying landscape features by taking bearings, and the converse of this which is working out your location by taking a bearing on a known point.

Fortunately navigation is 1% theory and 99% practise so it wasn't long before we made our way across the Wollangambe River to an excellent lunch spot atop rocks in the sun. Then came the bush bashing. The beginners took turns to lead the way up a ridge, taking and following bearings. The aim was to reach the junction of two fire trails. Reaching the road either side of the junction wouldn't count - success would be if we emerged from the bush right at the junction. And that we did, proving that the methods we had been learning really work!

But uphill is easier than downhill and the next leg of the journey was navigating down a hill. Here the beginners learned another important navigation principle - if in doubt, follow your nose! Still, we reached our camp site, having decided that the weather was so nice we'd camp in the open instead in one of the nearby sandstone caves. Our campfire circle was on a spacious flat rock and an excellent evening of cooking, eating, drinking and talking followed.

Next morning was frosty and cold with ice in our water bottles but it soon warmed up into another perfect day. We crossed a swamp and climbed a different ridge, the beginners taking turns to lead the way. By these means we navigated ourselves to Gooches Crater, a unique swampy depression formed by a surrounding rim of sandstone pagodas. This was a really nice place to stop for a while and enjoy the scenery. From here we descended into a huge amphitheatre, crossed a river and then climbed up to some high ground where views back to 994 were seen. This meant we could use 994 to work out our exact position, an important technique in navigation. Once we'd worked out where we were we set our bearings for the Wollangambe River which promised water and a nice lunch spot. An excellent lunch of hot plump jaffles was had by those jaffling, and we lingered here as high cloud began to move in from the west. From here it was a 2 hour walk back to the cars.

A great weekend considering the rain that set in over the following few days, and all the new members had a great time.

Ashley Burke


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All content copyright © Ashley Burke 2011. Not to be used for any purpose without permission.