British Night Champs Great Tower
Set off pretty excited - knew this would be challenging. Found #1 ok with a small hesitation, then set off towards #2; already hardly any lights around. Thought I was semi-prepared for the technical challenge, but wasn't prepared for the mist which meant visibility was very poor and picking out even the large contour shapes was tricky. Kept going steadily and pleased to get through to #5 without real incident (even if route to #5 may not have been quickest - hard to tell).
#6 was tricky, really felt at the time that this was the trickiest combination of terrain and conditions I have ever encountered - had thoughts of what percentage of the field would actually finish the race - but just as I was starting to despair the flag emerged from the gloom.
#7 was my first real time loss - stuck in a very slow and rocky line down the hill initially, then lost confidence in my position when approaching the control due to extra unmapped rock; verified location from boulder beneath crag. No mist here 
#9 Distracted by seeing first light since somewhere after #4, overshot down hill 
#10 Used path then (accidentally) top of crag - back in the mist on the top once more 
#11 Retraced steps along top of crag, bit of hesitation around newly stoned area, but then attacked ok from fenced path. Somehow missed flag (tucked around eastern side of crag) and ended up too low. Can't recall any mist issues beyond this point [3m 30s]
#13 Rushing navigation a little; should have stayed high 
#14 Slightly lucky; tricky control.
#15 Still not settled; recognised this was the control I'd run past earlier so tried to speed up, lost focus and ended up on path below... 
#16 Same control as #9... made even more of a mess of it; struggling to focus now there are lots of lights around 
#17 Still unable to ignore myriad of lights 
#22 First time feeling like racing - loop to north similar to other courses. Dragged east though 
#24 Caught Malley here, almost an hour after being in sight before #9...
#26 Ended up too low, then took 'shortcut' down crag. Ouch 
#27 Couldn't even do this Orange leg well 
Clean to end. Much easier in these conditions!
Was pleased with first section. Poor section from #9 to #17. Then better again. So difficult to transition from being a lonely light with poor visibility to suddenly lots of lights and much improved conditions... That was something I was just not prepared for.
Finished 17th/25 so not quite up to last year.
With approaching 15mins of errors also falling short of 'technical excellence' target :)
Nevertheless enjoyed it; good to see Rich and Andy in podium positions.
On a positive personal note (and for future reference), early afternoon Pizza Hut buffet in Lancaster followed by gentle stroll around Blakeholme beforehand meant body was pretty happy in the potential problem areas of stomach and back :)http://www.loc.routegadget.co.uk/rg2/#85&cours...