Richard Darke
Richard with his 'average' pack and permanent smile!
Richard with his 'average' pack and permanent smile!
What started you bushwalking and when did you really get into it? I worked for too many years at desk jobs. Somehow, while I always wanted an out of doors job, I ended up in the city - to make ends meet. Although originally from the UK, I spent a decade in British Columbia, Canada, and wanted to be a national park ranger, but that never happened. In fact I ended up working in, of all places, a high rise building in Hong Kong for 12 years (don’t ask me how). To get as far away as possible from the weekday crush in that crowded city, I started walking in the wild country of Hong Kong’s mountainous country parks, and have been bushwalking at weekends ever since. In fact I took a group of SBW members there a while ago, and surprised them by showing them what good walking HK has to offer..
Why do you bushwalk? (What motivates you?) I love the outdoors, and it is an excellent form of aerobic exercise.
When did you join SBW? 1998.
What were your 3 test walks and what memories do you have of them? Mt. Solitary (in torrential rain and fog), a walk in the Royal National Park, and an overnighter on the Illawarra Escarpment with Wilf Hilder. I did these 3 test walks plus the Coolana training weekend over 4 successive weeks. They opened my eyes to the variety of walking available so close to Sydney, and of course the companionship walking offers.
What's your favourite piece of gear in your pack and why? A good camera, for the memories.
Which piece of gear couldn't you live without and why? Map and compass. I always need to know where I am..
Volleys, runners or boots? Light boots with gortex lining. I like low cut boots even with a 20 kilo pack, with vibram soles for grip and comfort on rough terrain.
Average, Light or Ultra Light pack? Average. I have never learned to pack light!
What is the average weight of your overnight pack, without water? Maybe 15 kilos. As already noted, I never learned to pack light!
What's your walking motto? I walk for fun – take it easy.
What's one piece of advice you can offer new walkers that you wish you knew when you started? Always carry rain gear, even on a sunny day. It’s amazing how the weather can change, and you’ll be glad you have the gear when it does.
Favourite walking areas? Too many great places to chose any one particular area. Mt. Kaputar is fantastic. So is the Kimberley. So is Tassie. So is New Zealand. I tend to do a lot of day walks in the Illawarra, because we own a place down there.
Most memorable walk? So hard to choose! Walking the New Zealand Great Walks – I did the Milford, Kepler and Routburn tracks in Fiordland back to back. Wonderful scenery, a pristine environment, and excellent huts to stay in. But trekking in the high Andes takes the cake for me.
Describe the types of walks you like to do and your style? I have quite eclectic walking tastes. I prefer day walks over weekend walks as I never have time to prepare, but also do quite a lot of long distance walks. I am not a Tiger Walker, I prefer to take my time, enjoy the environment, and not be too ambitious by taking on too much in a single day. A good Happy Hour is very important on an overnight walk!
What's your walks philosophy? I walk to enjoy myself, not to rush from A to B as fast as possible.
What's on your walking wish list? Having just retired, more walking in Europe. Everywhere from the UK to Switzerland, to France to Spain.

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!


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