British Night Championships - Great Tower

UKOL event, part of the Championship weekend.

Sat 25 Feb 2017

Type of event: Major, UKOL
Type of terrain: Woodland

Info updated: Wed 8 Mar


Event Report

British Night Championship’s Controller’s Comments - Dick Carmichael

One of the first jobs of controlling a Grade A event is to check on and have confidence in the competence of the delivery team. Having worked previously with both Derek Allison and Dick Towler at major event delivery I had confidence in our joint ability to deliver a top class event from the beginning.

The second rule is that a Championship has to be just that. It has to test the best in class however painful that may be for the bottom half of the field. With Night orienteering being the forgotten ugly sister of our sport in many day competitors views this is even more important. In my experience it’s a different sport requiring different techniques and needs lots of practice to perfect. However good you are in daylight turning out at night for the first time in three years in a wood of the calibre of Great Tower is not going to trouble the champions. I have always thought that this sport needs a structured separate control body and an organised national calendar of events culminating in a truly testing Championship like this one.

The Great Tower Scout camp event centre’s double booking concerned me until I realised that if Urban O is about making our sport more visible, then 100 scouts with a bonfire at our Night O champs was fine, as long as they didn’t move controls or block runners. Both of which we took steps to ensure 

Night O is always challenging and for believers like myself, planning this coming November our 30th annual Tinto Twin night event, a British Championship in Great Tower wood with a new superb Lidar map by Martin Bagness had all the potential to be one of the world’s best ever night events. 

In summary that is what I think we achieved and I am proud to have played a part, and very relieved that the wet weather and low cloud produced minimum injuries and that the only rescue required was for me to pick up my wife, retiring from Course 9, from the lake shore A592 at 11pm.


British Night Championship’s Planner’s notes - Derek Alison

Thanks to those who made comments to me on the weekend, the vast majority were complimentary.

Great Tower is an excellent area for a Night Championships although we really did need the small extension to the north for the longest courses. In my first email to Dick Carmichael I said “I have resisted throwing competitors directly onto the slope at the start, it would be game over for a significant proportion before number 1, and hopefully those going on the slope will have got their eye in by the time they get there!”. After Dick’s first site visit he replied that he now knew what I meant. I know that it was still hard but I hope that you appreciated my kindness.

On the steep slope, I chose hill tops or large features or small features in large features for control sites. Although not using reflective tape I did think some of the controls were quite visible from a long way off.

The low cloud proved an additional challenge, taking a head torch off and holding it low down makes seeing the ground shapes easier, a bit like car fog lights.

Most courses had the leg from 139 to 145, I think that a well-executed fairly straight slightly left of the line was quicker than the sinuous track route even further to the west and over the top of the hill.

Most discussion between the controller and I involved the marking of the maps and positioning and sizing of numbers to make the maps clear with such convoluted courses. I hope and think that we got it right.

From the event Rules:

The British Night Orienteering Championships courses must be planned to test the orienteering ability of the leading competitors in each class.

Course lengths are based on the M21L course being planned such that a top elite standard competitor would win it in 75 minutes.

Based on previous night events on Great Tower; I therefore needed to plan a corrected length M21L course of 16 km; all other courses followed the ratios in the event rules. With such terrain it was almost impossible to have less than 5% climb but I tried to avoid climbs that didn’t involve careful map reading.

The winning times were as I had expected with some runners having clear wins, well done! On course 10, no competitors did under 100 minutes. I had considered not sending them up the hill to 115 and 144 but in following the ratios the course would have had to have the climb or distance somewhere; adding the fastest splits would have given an over 75 minutes winning time so I’d suggest the ratio for these competitors is reduced for future BNOC’s.

Pre Event Info

The combined Preliminary Information (including entry information) and the​ Final Details for this event and the Northern Championships are attached, this includes all the the entry details and options.

The combined entry for the British Night Championship and the Northern Championship Events is on the Fabian website.

Note that the entry closes on the 19th February.

​There will be no entries on the day for Championship Courses.

​All competitors must read the information below about parking.


Nearest town: Newby Bridge

Directions / Parking

Parking Problems

We are now expecting over 400 entries for this event which is much larger than we originally anticipated and it is likely to cause some significant parking difficulties.

We have already requested that no competitors drive to these events on their own and have included suggested locations where people can arrange to meet up and leave a vehicle. If you are thinking of arriving at these events on your own, please consider that, if you do, later arrivals may not be able to park and so may miss their start times.

Important Information

Safety and Risk: A comprehensive risk assessment will have been carried out by the organiser.

Runners MUST download even if they retire so we can be sure everyone is back and that we do not need to start a search and rescue.

Participants take part at their own risk and are responsible for their own safety during the event.

Help and Information: Anyone needing any advice about Orienteering should talk to the Organiser.

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