The SA Rogaining Association held their annual 3 hour minigaine event in and around the Stirling Hills district on Saturday 20th October in ideal weather between 3pm and 6pm. Bethany and Jo Powell set an enjoyable course giving competitors the opportunity to visit the bakeries and coffee shops in Stirling, pubs in Crafers, Bridgewater and Aldgate as well as smell the flowers in the Botanic gardens and stroll blissfully along the banks of the Cox Creek from Mt George to Bridgewater. With the mental simulation of the Answer & Question format and numerous route choices with the controls set a challenging distance apart from each other a good day out was had by all.

I teamed up with fellow Orienteer, Al Sankauskas for the first time, entering just before the online entries closed on the Wednesday night before the event.

At the Event, while I was busy with the Novice assistance during the Planning stage, Al was left to plan our course for the event and by the time we started it had been worked out that we would start by doing 20; 70, 41 & 63. The rest was left to be worked out as we went with controls added based, a bit on local knowledge and what we thought we could reach. As the time started to run out numerous hopeful controls were dropped and a fast short-cut back from the Gully at Control 62 was desperately needed with only about 20 minutes left before the Pizzas were going to be delivered at 6pm. With Al gasping for breath as we struggled up Old Mt Barker Rd towards Control 54 finishing on time seemed a forlorn hope. A couple of walkways between no through roads however enabled us to get C54 and onto Snows Rd back to the Hash House before all the pizza was gone, however a few minutes late like many others.

One of our failings in this event was to use the information which Bethany & Jo provided i.e. the Control feature descriptions marked on the back of the map. I tend to fold the map up into a small hand-sized sheet as I find it more comfortable and user friendly, therefore rarely checking the what the actual control description was. This lead to considerable loss of time at numerous control sites such Control 51 (special tree), which meant we missed out on the cream buns at the bakery, then Control 71 (sculpture in the school) which meant we couldn’t get to the pub in Crafers. We heard similar tales of woe especially Control 30 which had something to do with a General Store in the PLAYGROUND. Hopefully the Novices I spoke to before the start followed my advice about using the Control descriptions better than I did.

Our blissful walk along the Cox river didn’t quite eventuate either, as we spent too much time trying to work out which sign had the dedication date for C42 and as for smelling the flowers in the Botanic Park, a good idea but just out reach for these old legs and sore knees.

Fortunately, even though we were late back, there was plenty of pizza, as the Admin team had ordered extra (on the day) to cope with the large influx of ‘enter on the day’ teams. What was also very pleasing was the large number of family teams which made up almost a third of the total teams and some of them a pretty competitive, note the Afnan family finishing sixth overall and Cooper family coming in tenth. For those interested in route selection we did 51 after playing Petanque at the Stirling tennis courts then onto 71;40;72;74;50;64 (possibly could have bypassed 64 and done C80, but there were lots of contours to climb to that control) 42;62;54 and back to the HH.