Orienteering at Balls Head brings back quite a range of emotions.

Balls Head and Berry Island used to be the stomping ground for my cross country training back in high school. I’m pretty sure I held the record for the run from school to Waverton Park for many years. Teachers later concluded that a mass of kids crossing Union Street without looking probably wasn’t covered by insurance, and curtailed that activity.

Balls Head is also the place where my father had his car accident following a sudden heart attack almost exactly two years ago. The course went within metres of the bend that he failed to negotiate. He’d just finished a lunch with his Probus mates at the Coal Loader. He never recovered from the heart attack and passed away 6 days later.

Today my oldest son had a run too after I picked him up from school. The circle of life continues.

Map Comments

Firstly – why is the map called Lavender Bay? The map includes Waverton, North Sydney and McMahons Point but not Lavender Bay. A little strange.

When I was georeferencing the map that ended up at https://omaps.burnett.com.au/lavender-bay/ I had great troubles getting things to align. When I overlaid the GPS route from Strava the issues were confirmed – the map is very distorted!

The area around the old gas tanks in particular, as well as Balls Head itself, are not aligned to the real world.

GPS overlaid on the aerial imagery is very accurate

Same GPS, but orienteering map is way off

I notice also the map has not included roundabouts, and one is even mapped as a T-intersection.

Just a regular T-intersection?

Same GPS, but a four-way intersection with a roundabout

I’d love to get in and remap the area using NSW map resources. My name was on the original map from the 1980s, so I feel have some sort of claim to assist.

Course Highlights

Without a doubt, the leg between #23 and #10 was amazing. Check the GPS track points – there aren’t any! It was a 183m long TUNNEL.

Orienteering underground at the Coal Loader


I can’t seem to break into the top 20 – this week I was 24th from 239. Perhaps not having a crap Achilles would go some way to an improvement, but speed is probably a bigger factor. I can’t blame age – my teammate from the 80s and 90s Richard Morris was the fastest competitor again, cleaning up with 590 points and no penalties. Way to go, Richard!

Results are at https://sportident.itsdamp.com/results/sss8.php

Both Richard M’s had solid runs again, keeping the young guns on their toes.