Thursday, February 27, 2014


'Padre' Lotty and the Uringa faithful put up a right old pant last night that saw the 'Double Bay/double pay' adage given a physical and not monetary meaning. This is not to say there wasn't money about (there was the odd mansion noted, and even a street named Mansion!), it's just that most of the flogsters were too exhausted by the exceptional 'upsey' work to notice. Later in the evening, and over a quiet one at the Golden Sheaf, one word told the story…stairs! Series stars, wondering what went wrong, looked into their beers, and muttered…stairs….stairs…and became lost in thought. The cartographer had pulled on a classic.

But let's start at the beginning.

A brand new area many had never visited was lure enough for 145 summer series tragic's to ignore thunderstorm warnings and head for Bellevue Hill's Cooper Park. Here, in a valley between assets and even greater assets (purchased by the government, after some wrangling, from Sir William Cooper in 1913), the Uringa congregation made camp with tables, cables, flags, instructional posters - and a wondrous large scale map of the service too follow. Sir Ron was on hand, the 'Padre' was glowing, the dunnies were locked (to deter backpackers it seems), and buses did close shaves with parking cars. The 'Lough' playing fields, scene of Lloyds last rugby game some fifty years earlier, had a benign and friendly look. It was to be a flat beginning.

Despite the location, a tenner still enabled the map purchase - probably the cheapest item on sale hereabouts. The portrait A4 sheet was well filled in a beehive, Helen Shapiro, style hairdo dollop, with the teased 'hair' occupying more than three quarters of the area. From Rose Bay in the north, Dave's comb weaved in, about and down the (admittedly grey) hair (I guess Helen is in LW these days) in a masterful display of mapping detail and cartographic skill - to the mouthparts in Cooper Park, and the southern jawline along Edgecliff Road. Although many commented on the fine map detail on the blow up, conversation soon trailed off when they trained their Christine Cragie's on the A4, and the course became apparent. A sort of lock jaw developed amongst the faithful. "Geez, this looks a puzzle" was the unspoken thought as the string was abandoned and you peered closer, and then closer again.

The reason was, Dave had piled it on in Cooper Park and the southern quarter of the map, with a mere sprinkling of glitter upon the beehive. Fully eighteen controls were within the Cooper influence (with maybe #17 and 7 as also in this orbit), leaving ten of the well taped beeping posts across the huge remaining mid/northern area. You also noted the elevation, as any escape from Cooper meant crossing the 100 metre high Bellevue ridge. The points allocation was 210 north to 390 in the grip of Sir William's volcanic dyke. The map scale of 1:8000 did distort things somewhat, but intimidation in the north and conundrum in the south, was clearly on the ministers mind as he prepared his hymn sheet.

After an agony of indecision, most started south to 'do' Cooper first. Many never got much further, with the 'S' shaped bends and folds needed to loop in a mid to high three score taking up the tic tok. Flasher Harry's that managed to work the 'letter before T' in smart fashion, often exited from #6, and across to #28 before getting into real estate stride. A 28,18,8,27,17 curve then worked for the Supers, with the wider 18,29,19,27 loop finding favour with the Vets. Going north from #29 required real commitment, especially when the return from 20,30 up to 10,19 was upon you. You can bet the 'lonely pot' was #9, well off line for all except Glenn and Ian - who might have gone that way to catch a glimpse of Lady Sonia. Come to think of it, Lady McMahon might not be with us any longer. Mmmm.

The up, down and then up again looping in Cooper came in a huge variety of ways, and was very enjoyable orienteering. Hard to get an angle on a best option. I heard 21,12 (testingly high),2,1,11,5 (who found it hidden in the hedge?),25,15,4,23,3 and then a game with Rod Laver. I also heard 21,12,2,22 (lowish, so good from below),3,23 and then back to 11,5,25,15. Going 15-6 as out-back made one conscious of Gordy's rule "never go out of your way for a tenner", but, many did (PP included) and enjoyed another take on the variety of shelters Cooper Park had on show (#14 perhaps the best of them). If going reverse engines along the northern tracks, an option to work up to #16 through the light green worked if you timed the exit up to avoid the OOB and the high fence.

And for both the Cooper captured, and the escapees, there were always the steps and stairways - including what we now dub the longest set of steps in any SSS venue, the lane way northeast from 17. It is a feature of the area in a sense, providing interesting alternate access to what was originally called 'Vinegar Hill' in solidarity with the Irish uprising of the same named battle in 1798. Governor Macquarie didn't seem too keen on this however and is responsible for changing it to the current name - acknowledging the 'beautiful view'. I guess this is why we have the Packers, Fairfax's and other notables (including, apparently, the great gallery man of mixed sox) here.

So, how did the aforesaid 145 punting ponies perform?

For a start, early runners managed their loops in fine weather, and were thankful for it - especially as one spied later starting Dunk's soggy map 'ball'. The Flickster also reports a soaking in his 44.10 run for 370, but would have enjoyed some comfort on the course from his shady 'Greg Chappell'. To others, launching off in the rain to a darkening Cooper and fog upon the lens was a brave act indeed, and we applaud you from the comfort of our Camry's and Commodores.

I think I mentioned 'punished' in my title, and at a lone 530 point toppie (Andrew in OM), I think we can safely say it was a tough night with the reverend Lotty working the lash. Our top four runners were all OM's, with Tommy Joss' 520 to Mark and Andre's 510 keeping this class a fascinating one. Steve Ryan must have had too much in his 'last meal', running wide at 52.51 for a 470 post, and letting the 'Hills Ford' sneak a hundred on him. 'The Ink Bottle' and 'The Movies' were the other two 500 men, Gill just falling short in OW with 490 after a withering 550 run in fifty plus. There was good action in the fours, with 116 of the assembled posting 300's or greater. Our most popular final beep of coins into the offer bowl (can't think of the word) was 390 with ten supplicants so enrobed - amongst them Aidan Dawson (warming down after a sensational sprint weekend in Brisbane), Ian 'Cardiff Castle' Jones, Chris Arnison, Bennelong's Peter 'The Grass' Hopper, and a brace of Garingal's finest - messieurs Goddard, Bulman and Brayan.

Age classes saw some interesting action with a few upsets. Teddy Mulherin had an excellent run with 380 in 44.31 in IM to claim from Ken (350) and Brian 'The Skipper' Cleland (330), and well clear of Heiko who had one of those nights (58.30 upon the map for a uncharacteristic 300 post). Gwen Sewell (160) takes IW with no shows from Sue or Janet, Tristan White nicely up in JM - as was Georgia over Michele (360/180), but maybe Michele was warming down as well as brother Aidan - having blasted the field in Brisbane also. Well done 'The Helicopter'. In MW, Carolyn Haupt scored over leader Antoniya (410/330) and in VW Magaret Jones was ten on from club rival Linda Sesta (370/360) in taking the points. In WaW it is interesting to see Rachael Povah's win over Kathryn Cox as only a narrow one (290/270) where one might have expected a greater margin. Kathryn must have maximised her Cooper work and its sniff of orienteering think methinks. Good stuff.

Not too many odd timing stats to 'enjoy', although we do like to linger on the one second over runners - and note the following offenders: Michelle 'I'm' Hone (OW 44.01), Kenny 'Porta' Jacobson (IM 43.01), Peter 'The Butcher' Day (VM 42.01), and James 'The Mountains of the Malley" Lithgow (SVM) with an annoying one second over 49 - and a tale to tell of joining #19 to #27. Peter Annetts (VM) has another close call at the red flag with 44.46 for his 410 point post, with 'The Shunter' (SJW) coupling up the train in an even closer 44.58 and nearly earning the golden 'phew' award. Our point party poopers include Super Vet and Lake District linguist Prudhoe (44.00 for 350) and Andrew Graham (OM) carrying home the BNO tricolour in 47.00. And earning a goodly 410 for his efforts.

Numbers were down a bit, which was disappointing for a first time area. Still, Bryony was there, Nick Dent was there, Ernest was there, 'The Royal Family' was (!) there - as were Heather Voaden, Crystal and Emily, and next weeks setter, Neil 'The Organ Virtuoso' Lefevre. Most got away with dry to dampish runs, but all enjoyed the newie. It was a very worthy addition to the Sydney mapped area ranks - and stands out for Padre Lotty's extraordinary work on pavement, footpath and verge. He should be in the clothing business.

Big thanks to all from the Uringa eagle for a great evening on the puff, on the scratch, and on the sniff for points. It was great to have a map scale and course that defied too much pre planning - for a change! And for another change, how about Chatswood High in your uniforms for next weeks flogerooney! Not started here before, so it will give this interesting area with its mix of creek lines, bush tracks and street running, a new slant. Neil is one of the better MM runners and knows a thing or two about SSS antics, so expect fun and fireworks from the keyboard man as we fly full steam ahead to SSS event 23.

And let's bring along a few aunties and uncles so we get the numbers up. This should be a ripper.


1 comment:

Bruce S said...

Enjoyed the challenge ... certainly was a Puff Puff event! Dave Lotty's map was excellent ... and the Poster version even more so! Thanks PP for the descriptive 'NEWS'

Could Do Better will be back again

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