The turnout of 250 on a cold, clear, Saturday night was unusually low for a British Championship event, however it should be noted that they, like us, have a 16+ age rule for night-O. I asked the organisers why the event was held on a Saturday and not a Tuesday and was met with a bemused blank stare.
The courses were very well planned and challenging, testing our technique to the limit; even tiny lapses of concentration were punished with several minutes of tricky relocation. Proper international night-O is not dumbed-down for the lack of light or for the competitors’ choice of equipment; it has exactly the same level of technical difficulty as daylight-O and there is also little difference in course length. The men’s elite course was won in 6.9 minutes per kilometre.
By the way, in his 2009 event calendar I think John McCullough has found the ideal solution to everyone’s night-O concerns; it is possible to orienteer through the night with no need of a headlamp at this event: http://tinyurl.com/anqlau, the perfect politically correct compromise solution.
Editor's note: There is still some night-O to be had at home. It's a great way to sharpen up your navigation and add a new challenge to your orienteering. Check out the Fixtures List on the IOA page. In Leinster we've had two night events in Wicklow and there's one at Tara in Co. Meath on 1st February, plus Killiney Hill, Belfield and Phoenix Park to come. And who says that orienteering doesn't help your geography? Why shouldn't Wicklow and Meath feature in the Dublin by Night series?