By Bruce Greenhalgh

I was about to begin this piece with an invitation to rogainers to get their slide rules out in preparation for the Bundaleer 15-hour event, Ngadjuri Dreaming. Then I thought it wasn’t such a great opening since a good number of potential entrants wouldn’t even not what a slide rule was, let alone own one. I have one; it dates back to my high school years which makes it, well, let’s just say ‘old’. It’s a relic from a time before calculators and computers when slide rules were the go-to device for mathematical computation. Mention of slide rules was, then, an allusion to serious calculation activity. But while slide rules are quite wonderous instruments, they were never cool. Indeed, slide rule enthusiasts tended to be a bit on the nerdy side. They were the kind of guys (almost always guys) who wore white, short sleeved, polyester business shirts with the top button done up, even though they didn’t wear a tie, and had a battalion of pens safely kept in the shirt pocket thanks to a ‘pocket protector’ (remember them?) (if you’re young, probably not).

Since slide rules are dated and uncool devices, and therefore unlikely to add any lustre or appeal to the rogaine, I’ll desist with any further references to them. I only wanted to make my call to take up slide rules because the 15-hour, being a roving event, involves a bunch of calculations that the usual, set time, rogaines don’t have. At Bundaleer you will have 24 hours to complete 15 hours of rogaining. If you do what most competitors do and try to maximise your daylight hours by splitting your time out on the course, you will need to do some calculating with time, distance and daylight as the variables. You might also consider the moon and add that to your calculation mix. If you do split the 15 hours there’s also a bit of maths involved in working out how much time you have left after your first stint. Admin won’t keep track of this and you’ll likely be working with a time that, inconveniently, doesn’t coincide with a complete hour or half hour.

So many calculations! The return for all this number crunching though, is the opportunity to do a long bush event where enjoying an evening meal and breakfast, and getting some shut eye has no adverse effect on your score. Other good things include the fact that Bundaleer is a sane distance from Adelaide and with flexible start times (yes, any time after 12 noon) you can make the trip there on the Saturday. The terrain – a mix of farmland and bush – is bucolically beautiful, especially in Spring, and presents a navigational challenge that sits comfortably below the Rubik’s Cube level of difficulty.

If 15 hours sounds too much there is a roving 8-hour option with nearly as much calculation, but much less exertion required. You don’t even have to camp, as nearby Jamestown has a range of accommodation options.

If you do plan to use the onsite camping and need some new gear, why not come along to SARA’s Exurbia night on 25 August? 20% off!  Exurbia don’t sell slide rules, but they do have an excellent range of outdoor gear.

See you at Bundaleer!