Edinburgh Southern Orienteering Club


Blackford Hill

Image of the Blackford Hill and The Hermitage map

ESOC local event in Edinburgh and the Lothians

Sat 23rd Jul 2016

Info updated: 18th Feb
Type of event: Local
Type of terrain: Parkland, Woodland


The results are here.

Planner's Comments:  Mike Stewart writes - The area lent itself well for a SCORE event. I tried to make it so that as many people as possible could collect them all without penalty for arriving back late. Hopefully everybody enjoyed the challenges of which order to pick them up in.
Thanks to my dogs for accompanying me around the planning of the event and Margaret for getting out of bed early to bring me the equipment on the day.

Organiser's Comments:  Ewart Scott writes - Thank you to those who attended our local event at Blackford Hill today.  Numbers were perhaps a little down compared to other local events through the year, understandably being the middle of the school holidays.  However, the area was as busy as ever with dog walkers and strollers.  The variety of courses planned by Michael Stewart was very good with excellent use made of the whole area and some small sections seldom visited on orienteering courses.  A small hold up when the first finishers arrived was due to a problem with a download unit, but a change of unit solved that.

Thanks also to the small but efficient ESOC team for helping and control collecting in rounding off a very pleasant afternoon.

General Information

Dress: Please check the weather forecast on the day and dress appropriately.  This event will be 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: As the Spanish Score course is off-track, and there are plenty of nettles and other vegetation nasties like brambles, we suggest all competitors on that course 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. 

Other Users: Blackford Hill and The Hermitage is 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 4.15pm after which controls will start  to be brought in.  This is 15 minutes later than usual to accommodate the 70 minute time limit for the Spanish Score course.


map location

Nearest town: City of Edinburgh


Head for the Observatory car park, at the top of Observatory Road, Edinburgh.  It is possible to get close to Blackford Hill by public transport.  Check Lothian Buses website for more information. 

Registration & Start Times

REGISTRATION: This will be in the on the edge of the Observatory car park 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 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-Card can continue to come to Registration and go through the speedy entry system.  If in any doubt whether this applies to you then you could read the quick guide as above for more information about the registration process.

START AND FINISH: These will both be close to Registration. Start times will be from 1.30pm to 3pm.

COURSE CLOSURE TIME: 4.15pm (a little later than usual to allow late starters on the Spanish Score course to complete).  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. The course for experienced orienteers will be a Spanish Score.  This is effectively to visit all of the controls. All controls score 10 points. Time limit is 70mins. There are no penalty points but points scored after the 70 mins do not count. It allows all to have a fun day out without being penalised! Optimum route is 5.3 km so most people will complete in time.  See also note above about competitors on Spanish Score course being advised to wear full leg cover due to the nettles and other lush and rampant undergrowth.

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 1995 or earlier)
British Orienteering members - £3
Non-members - £5

Juniors (born 1996 or later)
British Orienteering members - £2
Non-members - £2.50

British Orienteering members - £2
Non-members - £2.50

Groups (Adults + children)
British Orienteering members - £4
Non- members - £5

SportIdent (SI) electronic timing will be used.  If you have your own SI-Card (dibber) please bring it with you. We'll have SI-Cards 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.

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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