Helen MacDonald
Helen in Kosciusko NP on a 5 day mountaineering trip
Helen in Kosciusko NP on a 5 day mountaineering trip
What started you bushwalking and when did you really get into it? I guess you could say my parents got me into walking - back in the UK school holidays were spent walking the hills of Wales & Scotland. I really got into ‘bushwalking’ when I arrived in Australia and someone lent me the “100 Walks in NSW”!
Why do you bushwalk? (What motivates you?) I love to be outdoors, whether it’s a leisurely walk by the harbour or a 3 peaks extravaganza. It’s the cheapest gym membership you could ever wish for…!
When did you join SBW? 2007
What were the 3 Q test walks you did and what memories do you have of them?

1. Mount Solitary traverse with David Trinder. It said in the walks program it was only 12km and I thought that sounded like a geat day out for my first real bushwalk!! I had blisters, but being my first walk didn't want to say anything.

2. Ron Watters overnighter - I should remember it better than that as I had a nasty fall!

3. Nigel Weaver exploratory - hmm, nope can't quite remember that one either.

What's your favourite piece of gear in your pack and why? I’d have to say my Outdoor Research lightweight rain jacket. Why? – it’s a pretty shade of red & keeps the rain/wind out..!!
Which piece of gear couldn't you live without and why? I haven't found it yet.
Volleys, runners or boots? It depends on the terrain and whether or not I’m on a challenge! Generally boots for winter & rocky terrain, trail runners for endurance walks and volleys for canyons – a girl just can’t have enough pairs of shoes..!!
Average, Light or Ultra Light pack? There should be an “above-average” category! I carried 18kg on one of my overnight walks and thought I was going light! I was determined not to hold up the group of ultra-lights who were with me. I would like to think I am down to ‘light’ now and if I spend any more time with Karl Miller I’ll have to become ‘ultra-light’ to keep up with him..!.
What is the weight of your standard weekend pack not including water? 8-10kg
What's your walking motto? When the going gets tough –SMILE!
What's one piece of advice you can offer new walkers that you wish you knew when you started? It’s worth learning the basics of how to read a map. It’s great to have a ‘leader’ to follow but it’s also a great feeling to understand yourself exactly where you are……
Favourite walking areas? Snowy Mountains, Budawangs, Blue Mountains
Most memorable walks? Carrying 18kg on Karl’s K2K in 3 days! I thought I was carrying light – my first experience of sleeping in a cave..!. Christmas walking around the snowies – it snowed on Boxing Day……… Climbing Kilimanjaro and Mont Blanc
Describe the kind of walks you like to do and your style?

I’m versatile. I’m happy to do a mad endurance dash from A-B for those who dare to follow, but I’m also just as happy to go for a leisurely walk that involves coffee and lunch stops preferably with views.

In addition to one-day walks, I have also led some great overnight walks in the Gardens of Stone (Mt Genowlan area), the Wild Dog Mountains (Splendour Rock, Knights Deck, Mobbs Soak), and Goulburn River National Park (west of Musswellbrook).

What's your walks philosophy? Plan the adventure; adapt the pace; guaranteed to put a smile on every face..!!
What's on your walking wish list? If I could wave a magic wand I’d be taking it easy by a ‘waterhole’ in Kakadu.

New Members Information Night
New Members Information Nights are held every month except January, at 16 Fitzroy Street Kirribilli, 7:30pm - 8:30 pm on the second Wednesday the month.


February 2017 - Autumn Program released!

The Autumn Program for 2017 is now out and has been emailed to members. Check it out for lots of great walks around Sydney and beyond. If you haven't got your copy, it can be downloaded from the Member's Area of the website. You'll need to login to access it.


Prospective Members, watch your Qs

Are you a Prospective Member and have completed your Qualifying (Q) day walks and overnight trip as well as the first aid and navigation training requirements? If yes, then you're eligible to become a Full Member!


Please send any news items to communications@sbw.org.au.

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