Film release marks 50 years of 24-hour orienteering event Twalk video

TOBI WULFF

Shots from the film made about 50 years of the Canterbury University Tramping Club's Twalk event, being released on Wednesday.

From trespassing to costumes, a new film marks how much has changed since orienteering event Twalk began 50 years ago.

Twalk differentiates itself from other orienteering or rogaining events with the way cryptic clues or codes are used for people to meet their objective. It is also a 24-hour walk, forming the origin of its name.

Greg Martin brought the idea back to his fellow students at the University of Canterbury, after an exchange to a Melbourne university.

Teams take off from the start of Twalk 2017, as organisers prepare to celebrate 50 years of the high country ...
MATTHIAS HEYNE

Teams take off from the start of Twalk 2017, as organisers prepare to celebrate 50 years of the high country orienteering event.

"He organised the first Twalk and didn't ask the land owners," Pete Squires, one of the event's pioneering members, said.

READ MORE: Tramping in costumes all the rage for Canterbury trampers

"We were travelling, basically illegally, on private property without permission."

About 300 people from more than 50 teams take off at the start of Twalk's 50th-year event.
MATTHIAS HEYNE

About 300 people from more than 50 teams take off at the start of Twalk's 50th-year event.

Squires was one of many past and present Twalkers interviewed for a film about the event's 50-year history, screening for the first time on Wednesday.

50 Years of Twalk  showcases some of the landscapes explored by the thousands who have embarked, with a narrative driven by those interviews.

"I think [the scenery] really adds to the film because it's the kind of event where you get to areas you usually can't, because it's private farm land," Tobi Wulff, one of the filmmakers and a Twalker since 2009, said.

Winners of the best costume prize arrive at the event base after being dropped off in a 'mystery' location.
MATTHIAS HEYNE

Winners of the best costume prize arrive at the event base after being dropped off in a 'mystery' location.

"A lot of the time it's country we could never go tramping in, but we can thanks to the event."

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Twalk has been run annually by the Canterbury University Tramping Club since 1967. The club's Twalk officer, Enda Walsh, said it was held in a different location, kept secret from the hundreds of contenders until it began, each year.

Walsh said ​there was one glaring introduction to the event, made in the late 1970s, which perhaps differentiated it from others – costumes.

"I don't know why the dressing up became a thing but, with the cryptic clues, it was part of the sillier end of Twalk. We're not looking to be Godzone here, you know."

But that did not stop people taking it seriously, with about 10 of the 57 teams involved this year contending for the top spot.

"They do not stop. They do not rest. They continue going for the whole thing . . . The winning teams this year were a hodge podge of people from all over the place."

Wulff ​said the concept for a film started about two months before the 2016 Twalk, and included compiling more than six hours of interviews.

The time spent putting the film together was worth the effort, he said.

"There's a lot of people that have some connection to it . . . it may be one of the longest-running events in its category.

"It's never missed a year."

50 Years of Twalk will screen at Bivouac Outdoor, Tower Junction, from 7.30pm on Wednesday. Tickets are $5 and filmgoers are encouraged to bring a chair or beanbag.

 - The Press

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