Tom Brennan
Tom getting amongst the rocks in his trusty Volleys!
Tom getting amongst the rocks in his trusty Volleys!
What started you bushwalking and when did you really get into it? I did the odd walk through school and uni, but in 1999 I walked from Kanangra to Carlons Farm over 3 days, and something must have just clicked. I bought books and maps and started planning my own walks and I've never looked back. I got into canyoning a couple of years later and that's now the activity of choice in summer. It's a natural extension of bushwalking.
Why do you bushwalk? (What motivates you?) I'm obsessed by maps and aerial photos, so I need to go out there and see what's on the ground. I also find that going bush allows me to reboot. If I don't go bush at least every few weeks I get very edgy.
When did you join SBW? 2009
What were the 3 Q test walks you did and what memories do you have of them?

1. The first was a scrub bash of Caro Ryan's along Little Crater Ridge above Erskine Creek. At the pub afterwards I remember Caro asking whether this would be one to repeat. I diplomatically said "Not until after a bushfire goes through"!

2. The second was a wet day in the Bungleboori area with Ian Thorpe. I'd had the week off work to go canyoning, but it had been raining all week and we hadn't got any canyoning done. We signed up with Ian at the last minute and his walk ended up going through a couple of neat little canyons.

3. I did two overnight Q walks, one with Bill Hope in the upper part of Wollemi Creek, and the other was a navigation training walk to the Colo River via Angorawa Creek and out via Clews Short Cut, with Don Finch.

What's your favourite piece of gear in your pack and why? Probably my camera. I have to keep the photos on my web site turning over!.
Which piece of gear couldn't you live without and why? I don't think there's much I couldn't live without. I do like my Summit Gear pack. It's great for overnight canyoning as it's tough, got drainage holes in the bottom, and is a simple but fairly lightweight design. And I use it as my overnight bushwalking pack too.
Volleys, runners or boots? Volleys. They have excellent grip, and are minimal impact. I wear runners occasionally, particularly on tracks and fire trails, but I have a lot of trouble finding a pair that doesn't mess with my feet. What are "boots"?!
Average, Light or Ultra Light pack? Average to light. Definitely not ultralight - I like my various creature comforts too much. Like port.
What is the average weight of your overnight pack, without water? Around 11kg, but if I throw in all my camera gear that will take it up to 14kg.
What's your walking motto? You never know what's just around the corner ... so go and look!
What's one piece of advice you can offer new walkers that you wish you knew when you started? Any time you think you need a bit of gear, sit on the idea for a month or two and see if you can do without it. I've got lots of bits of gear that I bought on the spur of the moment that are gathering dust in boxes in the garage.

Oh yeah, ear plugs are also handy items on an overnight walk...

Favourite walking areas? Anywhere in the sandstone country north west of Sydney. Basically the northern Blue Mountains and Wollemi National Parks. Lots of cliffs, chasms and canyons. Navigation and pass finding is a challenge, as is the scrambling, and there's very little information about large chunks of the area. It is one of the state's greatest wildernesses.
Most memorable walk?

Not a club walk, but the first walk I led after getting into walking was pretty memorable. The idea was to do a loop from Mountain Lagoon via Colo Meroo along the Colo to Tootie Creek. Very ambitious looking back at how inexperienced we were. We got benighted at Tootie Creek, the first and only time! We had plenty of food and knew where we were, though everyone back in Sydney was a bit worried.

I haven't been with the club for long, but memorable club walks include our recent trip to Kakadu with Ro McDonald and Mike Arnott. Very relaxing, and such a beautiful place. Also, Richard Pattison's north-south traverse of Mt Solitary via Point Repulse and the Miners Pass. It rained the whole way up to the mountains, and we assumed that with the exposed scrambling the walk would be called off. But no, we did 11 hours in the "isolated showers" and completed the walk as programmed.

Describe the kind of walks you like to do and your style? I like short, fairly challenging walks in sandstone country. I don't tend to cover great distances, but the lack of tracks and the route finding means you might spend all day travelling 5km on the map. I stop for lots of photos, and I go to all the lookouts, so my walks don't tend to be at a fast pace. I enjoy overnight walks as it gives you a chance to get to know people around the camp fire. Make sure you bring something nice for Happy Hour (not bhuja!).
What's your walks philosophy? Stop and smell the flowers (or photograph them!)
What's on your walking wish list? Kimberley, Western Arthurs, all the bits of Wollemi I haven't been to!

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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