Edinburgh Southern Orienteering Club


Blackford Hill

Image of the Blackford Hill and The Hermitage map

ESOC local event in Edinburgh and the Lothians

Sat 21st Jul 2018

Info updated: 26th Jul
Type of event: Local
Type of terrain: Parkland, Woodland


Organiser's comments: This was local orienteering at its best.  Lovely weather, central area easy to get to, and good courses for the wide range of age and experience who came along.  It was great to see a number of families from the local area trying it out, and equally good to see experienced orienteers who know Blackford Hill well thinking hard and running hard on Mike's ingenious Score course.  Grateful thanks to everyone who worked hard behind the scenes to put the event on, and to everyone who came along to enjoy it. Janet Clark

Planners Report: The weather proved perfect for the Planner at least. I rather enjoyed the heat and the sunshine. Not so sure about my two trusty dogs but special thanks go out to Evie the Sprocker for running Walter round to victory on the SCORE. The SCORE was a strategy Event and aimed at those who have orienteering experience but are looking for something different in a well used area. Top SCORE potentially was 450 points and the Optimum route was only 4.5km albeit involving a few contours. So well done to anybody getting near that. Mike Stewart.

Marks: I originally calculated the bonuses incorrectly, assuming the controls were to be tackled in the order listed. Of course, the correct way (as it said quite clearly on the map) was to do them in code order. A few people made the same mistake I made, and ran groups in listed rather than ascending code order. Because I had used the wrong sequence, the results posted here on the 22nd missed a lot of bonuses. I have now corrected that, and the more-accurate results are here. This has been further updated to show the time penalties correctly. (23/7/18, Alistair Armitage).

Winsplits are here. Note these are not very relevant for the Score course.

Our next Local event is on 8th September at Lauriston Castle, at which everyone is equally welcome. 

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.  NOTE: Some courses for the more experienced orienteers can involve going off-track, and there are likely to be plenty of nettles and other vegetation nasties like brambles.   We therefore suggest competitors on any course beyond the white and yellow courses wear full leg cover - even if the sun is shining.

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

Map: The map will be printed on A4 paper and the map scale will be 1:6000.

Other Users: Blackford Hill and The Hermitage is 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: If you, or anyone in your group (including juniors), have a medical condition that first aiders or health professionals should know about in the event of accident or illness during the course of the event please print off the Medical Form, fully complete it and bring it along to the event.   You should complete a separate copy for each individual who has a medical condition.  Please leave the completed Medical Form at Event Registration.  It will be put in a sealed envelope and only be opened in an emergency.  It will be destroyed immediately after the event.   If you prefer, you can bring your completed form in a sealed envelope with your name (or the relevant person's name) on the front and hand it in when you arrive.  


map location

Nearest town: City of Edinburgh


Head for north east end of Midmar Drive (cul de sac next to the wood near the pond) at the north west end of Blackford Hill and park in streets.  Note this is is not very close to the Observatory car park at the east end of Blackford Hill.  It is however possible to get reasonably close to the west end of Blackford Hill by public transport. Check Lothian Buses website for more information. 

The postcode and grid reference given are for general guidance only. 

Registration & Start Times

REGISTRATION: This will be near the north west end of Blackford Pond and will be close to both the start and finish.

Registration 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 REGISTRATION FORM for you to complete online, print off and bring with you to the event. This will save a lot of time and typescript makes the forms so much easier to read!!    

Thank you in advance for helping us by typing your details on to 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 will be orienteering on their own and have their own SI registered in their own name can 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 UPDATES MAY 2018:  Edinburgh Southern Orienteering Club (ESOC) processes personal data and recognises the club’s responsibilities under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). 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: These will both be close to Registration. Start times will be from 1.30pm to 3pm.

COURSE CLOSURE TIME: 4pm.  Controls will start to be brought in from this time.  Please make sure you arrive in plenty of time to register, get to the start and complete your course before controls begin to be brought in.

Course Information

As usual for ESOC local events there will be White, Yellow and Orange courses for beginners and improvers.

For experienced orienteers there will be a 60 minute SCORE course with the option of some added strategy for extra points. The extra options will provide opportunities for experienced orienteers to practice strategic planning and route choice.

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

Seniors (born 1997 or earlier)
British/Scottish Orienteering members - £4
Non-members - £6

Juniors (born 1998 or later)
British/Scottish Orienteering members - £2
Non-members - £3

British/Scottish Orienteering members - £2
Non-members - £3

Family Groups (Adults + children)
British/Scottish Orienteering members - £4
Non- members - £6

Note: A family group for the above entry fee purposes comprises up to a maximum of 2 adults and up to 3 children. 

Extra adults are £1 each and extra juniors are 50 pence each.

SportIdent (SI) electronic timing will be used.  If you have your own SI (dibber) please bring it with you. We'll have SIs for hire free of charge 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.

PUBLIC LIABILITY INSURANCE INFORMATION: Please note that participants who are not members of an orienteering club automatically have Public Liability insurance cover provided by British Orienteering/Scottish Orienteering only for their first three "taster" sessions (i.e. events). Thereafter, if they wish to continue with this cover, they should become a member of an orienteering club, such as ESOC, which, depending on the membership option chosen, includes membership of British Orienteering and/or Scottish Orienteering.  Details of how to join ESOC are here or pick up an application form at this event. There are many benefits of being a member of an orienteeering club and one of these is lower entry fees at most events.

Contacts / Officials

Phone Janet on 0131 225 7771

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.

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