Edinburgh Southern Orienteering Club


Blackford Hill


ESOC local event in Edinburgh and the Lothians

Sat 20th Jul 2019

Info updated: 21st Jul
Type of event: Local
Type of terrain: Parkland, Woodland


The results are here  (Read Planner's Comments to find a link to his optimum route for the strategy score)

PLANNER'S COMMENTS:  Mike Stewart writes: 'The Course was set up for a testing challenge with narrow fairways and some tricky pin positions. A warm and wet summer ensured the rough would sort out any competitors straying off the fairways.
The Challenge was to introduce a degree of strategy to what was a normal SCORE course. Most of the runners treated the Event as a normal SCORE and if you got the lot you scored 500 points. Congratulations to the girls at the top who showed the boys how to think on their feet and cleaned up with the quickest times.
There was the possibility of getting 620 points if you chose to collect each group in ascending CODE order. Only Graham McIntyre had a go at this and got the maximum score. Well done to him, though he was 18 minutes over time. I have provided you with the planners optimum route of 5km, so it could have been done in the 60 minutes if you had a good pair of legs on top of spotting the best pick order.
The Orange was a popular choice for many and this area lends itself to a great course in that category.
For those of you who enjoyed the afternoon sun, it wasn't like that while putting out controls. My shower at home has less output than those thunder heads over Blackford Hill at 1030 yesterday. Thanks to those who helped me out. I hope you all enjoyed yourselves.'

ORGANISER’S COMMENTS:  Janet Clark writes: The lovely sunny afternoon was a bit unexpected and a lovely surprise.  I'm afraid MIke and his helpers got soaked putting out the controls, but everyone else mostly remarked on it being too hot for running.  And we didn't have to pack up wet tents. 
Mike planned a masterly range of courses, from the easiest White, enjoyed by lots of young families, to a tricky "Strategy Score" which tested the best of orienteers.    This is the great beauty of orienteering; it is truly a sport for everyone, at whatever level suits them. 
Many thanks to everyone for coming, and hope to see you all at another event soon.

General Information

Blackford Hill is near the centre of the city of Edinburgh but still offers great orienteering.  

Dress: Please check the weather forecast on the day and dress appropriately.  This event is in the city but it can still be cool and windy on the top of the hill even on the sunniest of summer days.  

Map: The map has been updated recently by Stirling Surveys. The map scale for this event will be 1:4000 and the map will be A3 size.

Terrain:  Mixture of open hillside and wooded area, steep in parts; good track network, crags, streams and a river. 

Other Users: Blackford Hill and The Hermitage are very well used by the general public, including dog walkers, runners, families out for a picnic and even bikers.  Please respect their right to be there at the same time as you are orienteering. 

Dogs: Dogs are allowed but should be kept under close control at all times.

Course Closure Time: Please note that courses have a closure time of 4.00pm after which controls will start  to be brought in.

MEDICAL CONDITIONS: You have the option of downloading and completing this Medical Form. It could be life saving if the organisers are aware of any existing medical conditions in the event of an incident. You can leave it at registration/enquires in a sealed envelope that will only be opened if required and destroyed after the event.


map location

Nearest town: City of Edinburgh


Head for the Royal Observatory car park, Obervatory Road, Edinburgh. 

You can get pretty close to this area by public transport, check Lothian Buses for information.

Registration & Start Times

REGISTRATION: This will be close to car parking and will be from 1.30pm to 2.30pm for newcomers to orienteering and will run from 1.30pm to 3pm for experienced orienteers. 

It is not necessary - or possible – to pre-enter for this event.  Everyone is very welcome, just to turn up.  Whether you are a newcomer or have been to a lot of events, please try to come and start early if you think you might take a long time over your course.

Registration Form - We know how time consuming, and occasionally frustrating, it can be for our competitors to have to complete the Registration Form outside in the cold and wet of a Scottish Saturday afternoon so we have produced an ESOC  ADVANCE REGISTRATION FORM for you to complete and print off and bring with you to the event. This will save a lot of time and the forms easier to read!!  Apologies to those experienced Saturday attendees who feel they don't need the sample at the top of the page but it will be very helpful to our newcomers and properly completed, legible registration forms are a huge help to those manning our computers during and after the event.  

Thank you in advance for helping us by completing the form and bringing it with you.

 If you would like a little more advance information about the registration process at a local event why not read our QUICK GUIDE TO REGISTRATION?

NOTE: Current members of an orienteering club who have their own registered SI can continue to come to Registration and go through the speedy entry system.  If in any doubt whether this applies to you then it is best to complete the attached application form and bring it with you.

DATA PROTECTION:  Completion of the Registration/Entry Form for this event confirms your agreement to have your entry details stored on a computer system and for your name and age class to appear in the results on the ESOC website and the British Orienteering website. More information about ESOC's Data Privacy Policy

START AND FINISH: both will be close to Registration.  

COURSE CLOSURE TIME: Please note that courses have a closure time of 4pm after which controls will be brought in.  You should be back at Registration/Download by 4pm.  

Course Information

As usual at local events there will be White, Yellow and Orange courses.  In addition there will be a Score course with an optional extra strategy element planned especially for experienced orienteers. 

The extra strategy option will provide opportunities for experienced orienteers to practice strategic planning and route choice.

NOTE that the Score course map will be available after the Start line.

Explanation of colour courses

  • White are very easy with all controls on paths. They are mainly used by 6-10 year olds and family groups.
  • Yellow use simple linear features like paths, walls and streams. They are mainly used by under 12’s and family groups.
  • Orange progress to basic use of the compass and route choice. They are ideal for novice adults or experienced youngsters.
  • Light Green are ideal for improvers as the navigational difficulty begins to increase and uses simple contours and point features.
  • Green are used mostly by experienced under 18’s and adults wanting a short but challenging course with a very hard navigational difficulty.
  • Blue are a longer, more physically demanding course in comparison to the green. The distances are more varied between controls and the course attracts experienced orienteers.
  • Brown & Black are very physically demanding and have a very hard navigational difficulty. They are for experienced orienteers only.
  • Score means visiting as many controls as possible in any order in a specific time, like 45mins.

Entry Details

ENTRY FEES are shown below.  Note that entry fees are lower for those who are members of orienteering clubs.  If you would like to join ESOC you can find out how to do so on our MEMBERSHIP PAGE.

Note that a Junior is a competitor who was born in 1999 or later and an Adult (Senior) is a competitor who was born in 1998 or earlier.

Adults £7
Unaccompanied Junior/Student £4
Additional Adult £1
Additional Junior (under 21) 50p
Adults £4
Unaccompanied Junior/Student £2
Additional Adult £1
Additional Junior (under 21) 50p
Additional Maps £2 each
Hire of SI-Card Free but £30 charge if lost

SportIdent (SI) electronic timing will be used.   If you would like to buy your own dibber (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.

PUBLIC LIABILITY INSURANCE: You are only covered by our public liability insurance if you have joined an orienteering club, or are competing in one of your first 3 events. If you would like to join ESOC you can find out how to do this here.  

Contacts / Officials


Safety and Risk

A comprehensive risk assessment will have been carried out by the organiser, but participants take part at their own risk and are responsible for their own safety during the event.

Privacy: when entering our events your name may appear in the results section of this website or in newspaper reports.
Read our privacy policy to see how we look after your personal data.

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