postheadericon Take Nothing for Granite Setter's Report

Ahhh granite, how I love thee. Would a boulder by any other name be as fun to put a control under?

The winter 24hr rogaine started life much like any other – with a mostly-empty volunteer board at the upside-down in February. I thought “gosh, I haven’t set a rogaine for four years and I’ve forgotten everything I learned then. It’s clearly time to set another.” With my rogaine partner Rafer in tow, and Joe already signed up, we filled out the setters quotient and went off to nag Mr Rogaine for the pre-arranged area to set in.

Pretty shortly we had large amount of map data to play with, including the entire area from Wandering West (2009 Aus Champs) and some more to the west...including a large amount of what Landgate optimistically (and generally inaccurately) calls “rocky outcrops”. Being an orienteer I gravitated to the most complex area I could find, and we armchaired 85 controls with a straight-line route of ~125km to get them all.

We spent a couple of days over the Easter long weekend taping some of the course, and quickly found a lot of rock to play with. Pretty soon we were ignoring half of our armchaired control points (which were heavy on the vague watercourse junctions) and finding the biggest pieces of granite in the area. #81 was an early casualty – we popped out into the clearing and couldn’t resist the 6m clump of boulders sitting on the edge. Some judicious positioning of a handy log and we had the first loony granite control. The granite theme was soon well-established, but we’re all terrible at puns and it was Joe’s daughter who contributed the final name - Take Nothing for Granite.

One of the most talked-about controls was 102. A 100-pointer only 3km from the Hash was always going to be visited by a lot of teams, but this one had a twist – it was underneath an 8m boulder. Joe and I came across this monster with the little cave under it completely by accident, and it was too pretty not to have a control on it. I found another handy log, put the setting plate in the cave and grinned at Joe. He told me I was a bloody idiot and there was no way the vetters would approve it. Thankfully they saw the funny side and let us keep it.

‘Hell Hill’ provided some more commentary...but then, any single hill with 400 points (65, 84, 77, 99 and 103) on it was always going to entertaining. The entire hill seemed to be an endless maze of granite slabs, thick bush and complex contours – perfect for a pile of controls! From the routes I saw, many teams took the sensible approach and nibbled away at it in two or three sections rather than attempt to go over the top.

My intention in setting this rogaine was to challenge the teams’ navigation as much, if not more, than their legs. There were many controls in technical country, requiring fine navigation right to the flag, with the odd bit of humour and strange flag placement where we could get away with it without compromising fairness. I decided not to use the mushroom rock pictured above, near what became #93, because I couldn’t find a mapped feature to use as the primary description despite it being one of the most spectacular rocks on the map. From the feedback after the event, I think we succeeded nicely – many people commented that the higher pointers in particular were often tough, but fair.  

I’d like to give a big thanks to my co-setters, Rafer Gluyas and Joe Scibiorski, and the indefatigable Phil and Penny Dufty who vetted the course on very short notice. While the course bore a lot of my fingerprints, no one can set a rogaine alone and together I think we created a pretty memorable event.

Paul Dowling

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