An hour's drive west out of Melbourne, we come to You Yangs Regional Park. Hills rise up 300 metres from the surrounding plain. Matthew Flinders came up here in 1800 so the highest point bears his name. The car park is already filling up as we arrive. Looks popular.
Pat enters the D course and I opt for the B, 4.1km with 14 controls. Giant boulders are everywhere so it should be interesting. The sun shines down on us as we go our separate ways. I set off from the start and, immediately, the ubiquitous kangaroo hops across my path. I follow the road up the hill towards the first control and then fight through some green stuff to get to the flag. First lesson, stay away from the green! Straight down to 2 and 3, using white woods where possible. Use the compass to steer a course and then out onto the road to the south. I had thought my running was improving, but you'd never know it along this stretch. I'm blowing hard when I turn north through the green, looking for 4. The flags are generously hung, which helps a lot.
I'd seen the track up to 5 while on the way to 4, so was able to confidently head for it direct. I'd been advised at the start line to avoid the green where possible, and with this ringing in my ears, I decide to approach 6 through the yellow semi-open and it works well. 7 is done straight, using compass and pacing. My route out is conservatively south-west to the road and, trotting past car park and crossroads, I manage to spot the indistinct path into 8. I now decide to go straight to 9, spotting the building before my control through the trees.
9-10 looks like being a potential crippler, so I head east, round the green and try to follow the indistinct path heading north. I decide, if all else fails, that I can relocate on the forest road junction north of the control. I hear much crashing to left and right of me as I soldier on up, my eyes stinging with sweat. Suddenly, and just in time, the path becomes clearer and I spot the control, breathing a sigh of relief. I trot along the forest road to 11, trying to follow the bends in the road. Suddenly, two enormous rock pillars appear and I spot my flag. Straight down now all the way to the finish. I find 12 by going east along the road to the bend, then back along the road to 13, down the re-entrant to 14 and in to the finish. Pat is waiting for me, obviously having finished her course some time ago.
I put my result on the DIY display and head back to the car for a much needed drink. Later I find that I'm 4th out of 38 on my course. Pat introduces her trainers to Aussie terrain with an easy 6th place. Technically, the course was more generous than I was expecting, with generally good visibility and flags hung high. This is the last event in the MelbushO series, which has been a brilliant introduction to local orienteering, but it now looks like I will have to venture out towards Bendigo and Ballarat to get my weekly orienteering fix.