25 year participation award for Highlands bushwalker

MILESTONE: Malcolm Hughes recently received an award for 25 years taking part in the NavShield. Photo: supplied

MILESTONE: Malcolm Hughes recently received an award for 25 years taking part in the NavShield. Photo: supplied

In 1992 Malcolm Hughes first took part in the Australian Emergency Services Wilderness Navigation Shield.

On the last weekend in June, he received a 25 year participation award.

Awards are presented to participants at every five year milestone.

The event was held at Marramarra National park this year.

Southern Highlands Bushwalkers entered two teams in the event.

The NavShield is a navigation exercise and teams are awarded points for reaching certain checkpoints.

The event is used for training emergency services.

Entry is open to all groups that participate in search and rescue activities.

Bushwalking clubs, outdoor groups and members of Rogaining Associations can also take part.

He first took part with the Hill Top Bushfire Brigade, with the team coming in second. Soon after this he joined the Southern Highlands Bushwalkers.

The next year he was part of a Southern Highlands Bushwalkers team which finished third.

He was part of a team that won the Navigation Shield in 1996 and 1997.

NavShield event coordinator Steven Rutten said Mr Hughes had had missed only a couple of events since in started in 1989.

I just like to go out into the bush. There’s spectacular places like cliff top views and creeks and that’s [bushwalking] the only way to get to them.

Malcolm Hughes

“NavShield participants are regularly challenged by the terrain, vegetation, and ruggedness of the areas in which the event takes place. So to have competed in 25 NavShields shows the toughness and determination of the individual,” he said. 

“In Malcolm's case it also shows a love for the Australian bush, and gentle sense of humour too. Bush Search and Rescue NSW genuinely appreciates the efforts of people like Malcolm and we were very pleased to award Malcolm a 25 year participation in NavShield award this year.”

Mr Hughes said he had always had an interest in bushwalking and been been involved in orienteering since 1974.

“I’ve spent most of my life wandering around the bush,” he said.

“I just like to go out into the bush. There’s spectacular places like cliff top views and creeks and that’s [bushwalking] the only way to get to them.”

A deputy captain with Hill Top RFS, Mr Hughes said his skills were often needed, particularly with the SES.

“I have local knowledge and navigational skills. I usually go out when people are lost in the bush. I’ve done about 60 of those.”

Now at 80 years of age, Mr Hughes said he would try and aim for another five years and reach the 30 year milestone.