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ACTRA Bulletin April 2023

ACTRA Bulletin April 2023

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The Four Reserves Virtualgaine

It's almost time for the 2023 virtualgaine. This year’s event area includes The Pinnacle, Mount Painter, Aranda Bushlands and Black Mountain nature reserves, plus the suburbs of Weetangera, Macquarie, Cook and Aranda. This is a virtual event, which means that you can take part at any time between Saturday 27 May and Monday 12 June 2023 and you'll use the MapRun app on your phone or watch to record your visits to control sites. It's a four hour event, and you can enter individually or as a team. Make the most of the autumn sunshine and enjoy the great views as you explore our beautiful reserves. 


Go for Gold ACT Championships

‍The 2023 ACT 'Go for Gold' 24 hour Rogaining Championship and 8 hour event have been run and won on Ngambri Country in the Kiandra region.  A big congratulations to everyone who participated over the weekend - the wet and wild weather certainly made for some challenging conditions, but the organisers were glad to see that participants still had a good time and enjoyed the beautiful high country. A big congratulations to Julie Quinn and David Baldwin who were the 24 hour Championship winners, with Ronnie Taib and David Williams in second, and Ivan Koudashev and Xanda Kolesnikow in third. Sergey Pikuz, Maria Plyashechko and Sergey Kurov were the overall winners in the 8 hour event, followed closely by Ben Hofmann and Chris Bradley in second, and Kelvin Peh and Holly Ashburner in third. The new Under 30s category seemed to be well represented, and we look forward to seeing more youths transition to this age group in future events. Our website has the full results. 

A big thank you also to the large number of volunteers who helped make the event happen. Lee Rice and Craig Cowan were the lead course setters and were assisted by Jean Douglass and Ron Simpson with setting, map making and obtaining approvals before they headed overseas. Julie Quinn helped coordinate the vetters/hangers and opened entries in March, after which Keira Banks came back from overseas and coordinated the event over the weekend. A special thank you to the tough bunch of volunteers who helped with event set-up and pack-down, registration, and providing first aid during the challenging conditions, and for David Baldwin for publishing the results so quickly!

‍2023 Australasian Rogaining Champs

‍We are excited to announce that the Australasian Rogaining 24hr Championships, on 16-17th December 2023, will be held in the Lake Tekapo region. Along side the 24hr event, there is also 15hr, 6hr &  3hr non-championship event options. Lake Tekapo/Takapō is about three hours drive south-west of Christchurch in the Mackenzie Basin. The township faces north across the remarkable turquoise coloured lake to the mountainous drama of the Southern Alps. Lake Tekapo/Takapō gets its intense milky-turquoise colour from the fine rock-flour (ground by glaciers) which is suspended in the water. Christchurch or Queenstown are the recommended cities to fly to. Early bird entries close beginning of August!

‍Presidents Piece

‍Bedraggled, befuddled, benighted, but also beguiled by bucolic beauty - just some of the reactions experienced by all the hardy souls who enjoyed this year’s ACT Champs at Three Mile Dam. Returning from Melbourne recently I recognised the distinctive shape of the HH arena as we flew over the northern Kosciuszko NP - a dramatic vista any which way you look at it, except perhaps from under a head torch in the rain and fog! Thanks to all the organisers for another excellent event, not least in the face of wet wet weather and tight access constraints. The topic of park access is the subject of a couple of discussion pieces in the ACT at the moment. ACTRA members can be assured that along with our orienteering colleagues we are regularly making the case for how ecological sensitivities can sensibly be balanced with the low-impact recreational benefits of our sport/s in the region’s parks and reserves. What can you do? If there are public surveys please express your support for rogaining; if there aren’t, just keep encouraging your friends and families to come to our events. 

‍Magnetic Madness

‍If you took part in the ACT Champs or 8 hour event there is a good chance you experienced your compass needle swinging around in all directions up on some of the high flat tops. Super challenging when you were trying to find controls like 102 in the dark or mist! This is caused by the underlying rocks, in this case a basalt from volcanic eruptions about 20 million years ago.


Your compass works by having a small amount of magnetite on the needle that aligns with the earth’s magnetic field. However, these basalt rocks have lots of magnetite in them and the effect from these can be stronger locally than the earth’s magnetic field, causing your compass to align to whatever way the magnetite is lying within the rock. This would have been set to align with the earth’s magnetic field at the time the rock was erupted and cooled but subsequent erosion and movement of rocks gives a seemingly random swing of your compass needle.


If you want to find out more about the geological history of Kosciuszko National Park, there is a geological map (low and high res versions) and history explanations you can download from the Geosciences Australia website.

A tip: some backpacks have a magnet on them to clip your water hose on to. Keep your compass well away from this (I recommend taking it off your pack during rogaines) as that too will cause your compass to point in the wrong direction.

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