Edinburgh Southern Orienteering Club

Blackford Hill and The HermitageSat 13 Apr

Local Event

Last updated: Mon 15 April, 2024

Local level event

Explanation of event levels

Local events are usually low key and in the 'localised' area, ideal for newcomers to try the sport and Training events are non competitive and used for training and coaching, aimed at members of the club, but they can attract people from neighbouring clubs, and are often ideal for newcomers to try the sport. Regional events attract participants from around the local Region, National events are high quality competitions that will attract people from far away, Major events are Major Events such as a British Championships. Virtual events are where there are no physical controls being used. Your presence at a control is registered using an App on your mobile phone, normally the free MapRun App.

Terrain type: Parkland & Woodland


Blackford Hill Results



Officials' Reports

Planners' Comments

We hope you enjoyed the courses. We only heard compliments about the White, Yellow and Orange courses, planned by Sam Mackenzie (age 13). The White course reversed the direction of the loop in recent events, and used some smaller paths rather than just the wide main ones. The Yellow course had a lot of direction changes to keep you interested. The Orange course added just enough extra challenge – as an Orange competitor himself, Sam knew exactly what was reasonable.

The Blue and Green courses, as well as a few extra loops to make a Long Orange, were planned by his grandfather Papa Peter Halling (age 73). There were a few grumbles about a control on a small crag on the steep side of the gorge – but it was one of the few places where you can descend, even if slowly, away from the paths. There was a lot of interesting discussion about the long leg on Blue, where there were many small route choice decisions to be made as well as selecting the general line, even if nothing was too hard to follow.

Organisers' Comments

This was a great event, notable for the large number of beginner families and the large number of ESOC volunteers; all braving the mud and the sudden downpours and coming out smiling. Well done everyone!

PS At the Tuesday deadline for a guaranteed map of your choice we had 29 entries. By Saturday we had 80, hence the last-minute printing of some non-waterproof maps. It's really important to pre-enter by the deadline if you can; though we realise this isn't always possible.

Janet Clark


Local event on this popular city area with magnificent views.


In response to the very, very late flurry of entries after the maps had already arrived from Inverness, we can offer 5 places on each course using non-waterproof paper maps. Please get in touch with email hidden; JavaScript is required) if you would like to take up one of these places, so we can reserve a map for you. Please give your name, age class, club and membership number, dibber number (or hire) please.

You will be able to collect your map at registration (and a poly pocket if you forget your map bag) when you arrive to pay the fee (as stated below).

Pre-event Information

Location Info

Near: Edinburgh
Lat,Lng: 55.92236,-3.18728
Postcode: EH16 6TR
What3Words: ///solo.dock.cave

Open an interactive map in:
GoogleMap - OpenStreetMap - AppleMaps - BingMap

Directions / Parking

The event will be based in the Observatory car park. The Google-map shows the route up Observatory Road, off West Mains Road.

Please try to walk, use public transport or bike to the event if you possibly can.

Car share: Edinburgh based orienteers are welcome to join the newly expanded Edinburgh Orienteers - Car sharing WhatsApp group. Please contact email hidden; JavaScript is required for the joining link.

Public Transport Options

By Bus: Blackford Hill (Royal Observatory end) is easily reached by Lothian Buses, service 9 from the city centre and 38 from west Edinburgh serve a stop called Royal Observatory, from where it is 400 m walk uphill to the Observatory buildings.

By Bike: A variety of quiet cycle route maps throughout the city are available on the Edinburgh City Council Quiet Routes web pages. There is a marked cycle route to the Edinburgh University Kings Buildings – save some energy for the final climb up to the Observatory!

It will be possible to lock your bike close by Registration while you run and there will be a tent to leave bags.

Edinburgh based orienteers are welcome to join the newly expanded ESOC car sharing WhatsApp group. Please contact email hidden; JavaScript is required for the joining link.

Map / Terrain

Terrain: Large areas of open ground, with a mixture of short and rougher vegetation. There are many gorse bushes, some making large impassable blocks. Some woodland, especially in the glen and gorge around the Braid Burn, which has steep sides with many crags and some contour detail. (White and Yellow courses do not visit this glen.) There are many paths throughout.

Map: 1:5000 map by Peel Land Surveys 2019, minor updates 2022 and 2023. The maps will be printed on waterproof paper, the control descriptions will be printed on the map (no loose control descriptions).

Safety Notes

General notes - please also read the Course specific notes below

  • Other Users: The Blackford Hill and Hermitages areas are very well used by the general public, including dog walkers, runners and bikers. Please respect their right to be there at the same time as you are orienteering.
  • Dogs: Competitor’s dogs are allowed and should be kept under very close control at all times.
  • SAFETY NOTE RE DOGS: Please give any dog walkers you encounter whilst running on your course extra space ie don’t run too close, especially if their dog/dogs are off lead. This applies to all competitors, not just those running with a dog. We always need to respect other people's right to be there.
  • Course Closure Time: All courses have a closure time of 4pm after which controls will start to be brought in (before it gets dark). All competitors should be back at Download by 4pm.
  • You must report to Download even if you do not complete your course, so we know you are back safely, and we don’t have to mount a search for you.
  • Please check the weather forecast on the day and dress appropriately. The area can be exposed especially when windy and the grassy slopes slippery of wet, , so please wear the most appropriate clothing and footwear for the course you are entering.

Please read and respect the British Orienteering Participant Code of Conduct.

Course Information

There will be White, Yellow, Orange and Long Orange, for beginners and improvers and Green and Blue for more experienced orienteers. The terrain does not allow courses harder than technical difficulty 4, so the Green course is also suitable for those moving up from Orange, who might choose a Light Green course in more technical terrain.

  • An emergency phone number will be printed on the course maps
  • There are some steep crags along the sides of the Braid Burn gorge. Optimal routes avoid these, but take care when descending.
  • Even away from the crags, the sides of the gorge are mostly very steep and slippery. It is usually best to use the mapped paths.
  • The Braid Burn must only be crossed at the mapped bridges.

The course lengths below are provisional at this time

CourseLength (km)Climb (m)
Long Orange3.8195

Course Closure Time: Please note that courses have a closure time of 4pm after which controls will start to be brought in, so please return to download by 4pm.

Read more about Course lengths and Difficulty here

Entry Details

Pre-Entry and pre payment via RaceSignUp are required for this event. Entries open Monday 1st April and will close at 8pm on Friday 12th April.

However to be guaranteed a course map for your chosen course you MUST pre-enter by 2pm on Tuesday 9th April

Entry on the day (EOD): Entry on the day will be available at Registration as long as maps are available - see section below.

On the RaceSignUp page you can view

- an entry list for all competitors and their chosen start blocks (scroll down to the Start List section). Please note that you can arrive at the start any time within your block.
- number of maps left, ie entry limit-no of entries in the Courses box, from 3pm on Tuesday 9th April

Entry Fees: For 2024 we have a new range of Individual entry fees following membership restructuring by British Orienteering and increases in levy charges to support insurance cover for all competitors

CategoryBOF MembersSOA MembersNon Members
Seniors (26 and over)£4.50£5.50£6.50
Juniors/Students/Young adults (21-25)£2.50£3.50£4.50

As well as individuals the entry system also allows pairs, groups or families who wish to go round a course together (sharing one map and dibber) to enter using a sliding scale of fees. Full details of how to enter pairs and groups (or as a Student) are on the RaceSignUp entry page. NB The RaceSignUp entry process for these categories has also changed for 2024

CategoryBOF membersSOA only membersNon members
2 Seniors
2 Juniors
1 Senior + 1 Junior
1 Senior + 2 Juniors
2 Seniors + 1 Junior
2 Seniors + 2 Juniors
2 Seniors + 3 Juniors

SportIdent (SI) electronic timing will be used.

We have SI dibbers for hire free of charge via the pre-entry system but there is a £30 charge if lost.

If you would like to buy your own SI-Card then a variety are available directly from SportIdent UK. The choice may be confusing and it may help you to know that the SI-Cards which ESOC hires out are very similar to the most basic model shown on the linked page - the SI-Card 8.

Registration and Start times

Registration: Will be open from 12:45am -2.15pm for

  • Entry on the Day (EOD) if maps are still available. Payment by cash, bank transfer or by card/contactless. Please try to have the correct money if at all possible.
  • Collection of hired dibbers, White and Yellow maps:
  • Advice and help for beginners

Start and Finish: The Start is less than 200m from Registration (and less than 100m from the main car park). The Finish is adjacent to Registration.

Start Times: From 1.00pm to 2.30pm with course closure at 4pm. You should be back at Download by 4pm as controls will start to be brought in by 4pm so if you think you'll take a long time to complete your course please enter early so you can choose an early start time.


  • There are no toilets available but there are numerous options for calling in at a supermarket or shopping centre on your way to the event.
  • Pre-Event Coaching - sorry no coaching at this event. All our coaches are away at the British Orienteering Championships.

Dog restrictions

Well behaved dogs under close control welcome.

Contacts / Officials

Enquiries by EMAIL

Nearest A&E Hospital

See under Important Information

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