The view across the course from City Lookout
The view across the course from City Lookout

Congratulations James & Edwina!  The Cartophiles only entered one team for the NSW Rogaining Association’s (NSWRA) annual Metrograine in the Lane Cove National Park.  James and Edwina carried the weight of the Cartophiles’ expectations and didn’t let us down.  The came 56th of 94 teams in the mixed team category and 103rd overall out of 194 teams.

Here’s James’s report:

To the frustration of many (or some) of the Cartophiles, only Edwina and I faced the starter’s whistle for the Metrogaine held last Saturday, 28 February 2015. Not only that, we finished within the time limit.  

Before I fill in the details between the beginning and end, I wish to praise the organizers, the course setters and the map makers. This was my fourth Metrogaine and I have to come to appreciate the tremendous effort made by those who put it together. The event runs like clockwork (you lose 10 points for every minute or part thereof you are late), the course is challenging without being over the top and the maps are delightfully potentially ambiguous to keep your map reading skills on edge. It’s a great day.

This year’s event was held in the upper reaches of the Lane Cove River. It was called the Lane Cove Rivergaine.  It was bounded by Ryde Road, The Pacific Highway, Fox Valley Road, The Comenarra, Pennant Hills Road, the Northern Railway Line and the M2. The course was longer than usual because they were running both a 6 hour and a 12 hour event.  Only because of time restraints, Edwina and I entered the 6 hour event.

The weather was beautiful, the last day of summer. Walking conditions were superb. The temperature was only in the high 20’s when we were in the shade of the bush, rising to the mid 30’s when we were marching along the suburban streets and all of that was wrapped up with high humidity, soft breezes and a gorgeous cloudless blue sky. A great day for Whale Beach, not Whale Rock. It was one of those days which makes you glow and shine as your enjoy the steady trickle of perspiration ooze down your back or drip into your eye. The first thing we noticed as we started was the pong of BO in the air: a real incentive to find our own course. We spent much of the time hoping for a pub around the next bend. A typical metrogaine.

The hash house was the Baden-Powell Scout Centre at Thornleigh. We started at 11.00 which gave me time to mow the lawn before we left home. Life is too short! We then chose an anticlockwise route which took us to Pennant Hills Park, down to Whale Rock, back to the M2, up to Norfolk Road,  Epping (such beautiful homes), past North Epping Primary before heading back into the bush and down to Devlin’s Creek, along Scout Creek where we missed our turn up to City Lookout and had to backtrack, then up to the lookout (which really had me puffing and regretting that I had only had a hot cross bun for breakfast – we had to stop for lunch) then off to Thornleigh Park, before clambering down to the Lane Cover River and up to The Broadway (if the track goes down it must soon go up)  then back through the bush to the Comenarra, down the Comenarra to the cutting, through the bush up to Dawson Ave. Park and finally, we hightailed it back to the start. We covered about 19 klms, most of it on bush tracks, some of which were easy, one section was like a creek bed but most of it was undulating and rocky and at times, quite narrow and steep. The track was not as fast as I anticipated.

We had planned a longer route (about 23 klms) but at 3.30 we realised we weren’t going to make it and had to plan a new course to maximize our points for the last 90 minutes and not be late. With gut instinct and rough intuition (chaos always trumps planning) we managed to score over 1000 points and make it home with 4 minutes to spare. A quick sanger and drink and I was ready to cark it.

We had a splendid meander through some very beautiful bushland all so close to home. We hope other Cartophiles will take up the challenge with us next year. I plan to take a large magnifying glass because after a while all contour lines look the same.

Metrogaine competitors at the checkpoint at Whale Rock in the Lane Cove National Park
Metrogaine competitors at the Whale Rock checkpoint in the Lane Cove National Park

For all the results and more photos see the NSWRA site at