Newcastle Club members were out in force in the Singleton area over the weekend 27-29 October as part of  ONSW’s club expansion Taster events. 3 map areas were identified and mapping was undertaken by Graham Fowler and Russell Rigby. As with these  promotional events, the maps were based in and around parks. At Singleton the areas were Rose Point Park which features the iconic Sundial, Alroy Park which took in playing fields and surrounding streets and finally Nowlan Park, known locally as Kangaroo Park, as there are several corten steel kangaroo sculptures. We should have had Baxter rate the playgrounds as each had a sizeable playground adjacent.

Friday afternoon was our first event. Russell had managed some media time and there had also been a small article in the Singleton Argus. In reality we had no idea of who would come, and how many. But while it was a 4pm start Carolyn started to get very excited when a family arrived at 3:45 and were keen to go. Over the next 2 hours another17 people came, including Ian Miller from Western Hills who “organised” his travel to come to “a Newcastle event”! Thanks Ian. As well Tamara Orr was travelling home from work and called in for a run and to help out. Club members Nicole and Andrew Haigh and Kerry and Greg Bacon as well as Maria Orr took on the duties of set-up, control placing (and retrieval) and meet and greet. All got a run when they could. The weekend was off to a good start as the parkrunners were there in force and seemed to really enjoy themselves. Russell’s map used the park between the main shopping centre and the Hunter River, where parkrun happens each week. It was very benign and a good lead out without a great deal of intensity of navigation. However a few “experienced” orienteers weren’t totally on the ball and had to focus!

Saturday was another afternoon event at Alroy Park in Singleton Heights.  We had a good contingent waiting to get the show on the road. Maria and Peter Orr, Peter Newton and David Kitchener scattered to place controls, Peels helped set up and soon Lynda Hewson and Maria were in demand for SI duties. Advertised to start at 3pm people were arriving by 2:40 – they were keen and we were really happy. Graham Fowler’s map area was a little more challenging than Rose Point but encroached on the streets so it was a mix of our Street and Park style events, though SI was used throughout. A LOT of people came, some very intense rivalry developed between Kalani and Luchia vs Conor and Jesse with the girls taking the honours with both superior planning and better time management. What was really impressive were the people who’d been on Friday and then to parkrun Saturday then to the Alroy Park event! Again they all loved it and we were very happy with their interest. Lots of chat afterwards among locals and with our club members. Event 2 done! The women’s category was clearly for the runners and local Carol Burgmann was in her element. Katie Roach was also a standout.

Sunday morning at Nowlan Park for the last – again we had no idea of turnout but Carolyn was starting to get a bit more confident. With such a quick turnaround and early start we were very grateful for early risers, especially given the previous days’ happenings. Peels again set up the assembly beautifully and logically, David Kitchener and Lyndy Hewson as well as Carolyn Chalmers and Viola O’Connor deftly placed controls in the most interesting and challenging of the map areas for the weekend. Again linear parkland and some surrounding streets was the format.

Andrew Power took the reins of the computer to pull it into shape. With again a lot of people returning explanation was a little less than the other days so we saved ourselves for the really newcomers, plus we made sure the returnees were treated as “old” friends. Again Katie Roach did really well, in a fantastic Game of Throws top and bringing a friend and a canine companion for the whole experience. Well done girls! The challenge between Kalani and Luchia against Jesse was on again – armed with highlighter, fancy watches and P cards on wrists to speed up punching!!! no less. It was ON. Jesse took the honours this time with both losing time in the watercourse section – map reading not running! Dominic made his dad work very hard for the points but it was an enjoyable experience when he stopped panting. The day was warming up so the early starts were appreciated by all. Control collection by David Kitchener, Glenn Burgess and Lynda Hewson (on bike getting in some sneaky MTBO training) and Russell finally was allowed to get out on the course to collect a couple of controls, pack up by Peels and Bridget Whitehead and the weekend was over.

Possibly the highlight for Russell over the weekend was being there when Stephen Ward did his first orienteering event walking, after his stroke. Stephen participated on all 3 days and Tracy and their children came on the Saturday and Sunday. It was lovely to see them all again and they can’t wait for the Taster events scheduled for Muswellbrook in 2018 to get in motion.

Our sincere thanks to the club for its support, for the club members who came and gave so generously of their time. It is this sort of support that makes us the envy of all other clubs in the state!

Carolyn and Russell Rigby



Friday Results

Saturday Results

Sunday Results