British Night Champs 2017

British Night Championships 2017 Great Tower Wood
A number of PFO members braved the recent downpours to participate in this year’s British Night Championships at Tower Wood.
George Crawford Smith had let it slip that he has completed many of this year’s local night events in preparation for the event whereas , night novices Chris Goddard, Andy Wood and I were relying on our wits and enthusiasm to complete the courses.
George’s preparation was well judged; he completed the 3.4km M70L course in 4th place in a time of 67.10.
Unfortunately Chris’s torch failed early which meant he was relying on his less than adequate backup torch, an almost impossible task over the complicated 3.1km course, in the dark. He reached control 20 before forced to retire.
Andy fared little better, failing to find control 5 on M60S despite relocating 4 times and finally retreating back to the assembly to retire.
I completed W55L (the same course as George) in a time of 73.40, simply happy to have found all my controls and the way to the finish. I had a fairly clean start, finding controls 1 – 4 slowly but without too much of a problem, somehow I managed to find my 5th control completely by accident and approached it from the south instead of from the west as I had expected. I took a long route to 6 using a track and keeping to a path for as long as I could for safety which seemed to work. Control 8 was located on a complex steep hill with lots of rock and contour detail, which would be a challenge in broad daylight! Once again I found it with an element of surprise and felt very smug as I departed on a bearing for number 9.
Now they say pride comes before a fall and it couldn’t have been more true. I managed to get myself complete lost not even able to find anything to relocate from. The hillside in front of me looked strangely steeper than anywhere I could find on the map and I wandered aimlessly for several minutes until I stumbled across a path and finally found control 9. It took 15 minutes to travel 300m!
The cluster of controls towards the end were negotiated cleanly with the exception of the penultimate control which I simply ran past….twice.
I reached the finish with mixed feelings of relief and disappointment that it had taken so long but I was delighted to find myself in 11th place in the results. Reflecting on the courses in the cold light of day everyone who attempted them let alone completed them should be congratulated.
Special congratulations to George, 4th in his age group and nearly 7 minutes in front of me.
Keep checking the website for Chapter 2 Judith’s revenge!


Judith Wood

03rd Mar 17  by Kate Willis