Edinburgh Southern Orienteering Club


Blackford Hill

Image of the Blackford Hill and The Hermitage map

ESOC Local Event

Sat 18th Jun 2022

Info updated: 11th Jul
Type of event: Local
Type of terrain: Parkland, Woodland


Results are here

Winsplits are here

Routegadget is here

Organiser's comments and details of Lost Property added Saturday evening. Read more for these...

General Information

ORGANISER Janet Clark writes: It was windy up there today, but lovely in the sun.  Great for running; not quite so good for working in the tent.  It  was a shame that the Planners, Katherine & Thea, struck down by Covid, couldn't be there to see everyone enjoying their courses.  The day was saved by the willing last-minute volunteers, co-ordinated by Ian, who stepped in to put out the controls.
The whole range of ages and experience was here today;  the toddler who loves dibbing,  the speedy kids, the Juniors practising skills learnt at the pre-event training; the families enjoying doing  a course together, the regular orienteers getting  a challenging course, the Turfer trying it for the first time, the M85 who  never gives up - and everybody in between.  
Thank you to everyone who worked behind the scenes to make this event happen and to everyone who came to enjoy it.

LOST PROPERTY: Water bottle with "school dinner" rubber bands round it.  Contact Janet by EMAIL if it's yours


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 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.

We also strongly recommend that competitors choosing the Green and Blue courses wear studded shoes as the steep slopes can be slippery in both wet and dry conditions.

Terrain:  Mixture of open hillside, an old golf course and some wooded areas. There is a good track network but there are also steep slopes, crags, streams and a reasonably sized river. 

Map: The map will be printed on waterproof paper, the control descriptions will be printed on the map (no loose control descriptions) and the map scale will likely be 1:5000.

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 very 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. All competitors should be back at Download by 4pm.

Covid:  The legal restrictions related to Covid have been removed however much of the Government guidance remains the same and the precautions we have been taking at orienteering events for some time now will continue for the time being. 

Please don’t come to the event if you have Covid or symptoms of Covid.

Please also try to:

1. Respect other people's personal space at all times; 

2. Make use of the hand sanitiser wherever it is made available; 

3. Remain as quiet as possible at and around the start area, the start line and the download area;   

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

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, bring it to the event in a sealed envelope with your name on the front and leave at Registration.   You are welcome to collect it after your run but if you don't, it will be destroyed immediately after the event.

First Aid: We encourage you to bring your own first aid kit and administer as necessary.  A basic first aid kit will be available at Registration/Download. Please ask there for anything you may need.  For further specific advice please call 111 or for a life threatening emergency dial 999.  The Organiser will be happy to advise and support you as required, including use of a mobile phone if you do not have one with you.  

The main hospital for A&E services in Edinburgh is:

Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh
51 Little France Crescent
Old Dalkeith Road
EH16 4SA
Telephone: 0131 536 1000

Depending on where you live you may prefer to attend A & E or the minor injury unit local to your home. Note that current advice is to ring 111 before attending A&E if the situation is not life threatening. 


map location

Nearest town: City of Edinburgh


Head for the Observatory car park as Registration, start, finish and download will be located very close by.

Public Transport: It should be quite easy to reach this event by bus.  Check Lothian Buses to plan your route. 

By Bike: If you live in or close to the city, you'll find it pretty easy to come to the event by bike.  A variety of quiet cycle route maps throughout the city are available on the Edinburgh City Council Quiet Routes web pages. It should be possible to lock your bike to a fence near Registration.

By Vehicle: Head for the Observatory car park, at the top of Observatory Road, Edinburgh.   

Registration & Start Times

Registration, Start and Finish : These will all be very close to parking. 

REGISTRATION will be open from approximately 1pm to 2.15pm for very limited Entry on the Day (EOD) but only if maps are still available.  See also section on Entry Details below – payment for EOD will be in cash only.  Please try to have the correct money if at all possible.

WHITE and YELLOW COURSE MAPS: Please collect these from Registration before going to the Start.  Course maps for other courses are collected after punching the start.

STARTS: 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.

Course Information

As usual for ESOC local events there will be White, Yellow and Orange courses for beginners and improvers.  There will also be Green and Blue  courses for experienced orienteers.  
On this occasion we will also offer a free very, very short white course suitable for toddlers and very young children (along with an accompanying adult). Check this out on the day. 

Blue 6.0km 240m
Green 4.2km 170m
Orange 2.8km 110m
Yellow  1.8km 80m
White 1.1km  40m
Very Short White (Toddler) 0.5km 30m

Note that the above course information is a guide only and small changes could be made by the time of the event.

Footwear: The steep slopes are often very slippery in both wet and dry conditions. Studded orienteering shoes are strongly recommended for competitors choosing Blue and Green courses.

Buggies: There are steep slopes on all courses and none of the courses are suitable for buggies (in some cases due to steps as well as the steep inclines). The very short, white course for toddlers is included in this unless it is a robust all-terrain buggy.

NOTE: There is a junior training session immediately before this event and small training control kites will be used for this.  They are not likely to be on the same feature as the Event controls but may be seen in passing.  Please ignore them.  These training kites are less than half the size of normal orienteering kites and may have a number attached but they will not have any SI Unit (for electronic timing) attached.  

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

Pre-Entry and pre payment via Racesignup are required for this event.  Entries open 9am on Monday 6th June and will close at 10am on Saturday 18th June - the day of the event.  However to be guaranteed a course map for your chosen course you MUST pre-enter by 6pm on Tuesday 14th June. 

Late pre-entries - As mentioned above, entries will remain open until 10am on the morning of the event but entries will only be accepted by Racesignup if there are course maps remaining.   RaceSignUp will not accept your entry once the maps for your chosen course have sold out however it's still worth trying to enter, you could still be lucky. You could maybe even try entering a different course if your first choice is full.

Entry on the day (EOD): If you have to resort to coming to the event without pre-entering please read the Registration Section above for details of what to do.

You can view an entry list for all competitors and their chosen start blocks on RaceSignUp (scroll down to Start List section). Please note that you can arrive at the start any time within your block.

Entry Fees: As well as individuals the entry system also allows pairs, groups or families who wish to go round a course together to enter using a sliding scale of fees.  Full details at the RaceSignUp webpage link above but a flavour of the entry fee scales is given below for advance guidance.

Category No of Persons Per Entry Orienteering Club Members Non Members
1. 1 Adult (Senior) £4 £6
2. 1 Junior £2 £4
3. 2 Adults (Seniors) £5 £7
4. 2 Juniors  £2.50 £4.50
5. 1 Adult + 1 Junior £4.50 £6.50
6. 1 Adult + 2 Juniors £5 £7
7. 2 Adults + 1 Junior £5.50 £7.50
8. 2 Adults + 2 Juniors £6 £8
9. 2 Adults + 3 Juniors £6.50 £8.50

Note that a Senior is someone born 2001 or earlier and a Junior is someone born 2002 or later.  Matriculated students will normally be eligible to enter as Juniors and pay junior fees - check out RaceSignUp as before.

SportIdent (SI) electronic timing will be used.  If you have your own SI (dibber) please bring it with you.

We have SIs 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.

Contacts / Officials

EMAIL for general enquiries about this event.

Planners: Katherine Kirk and Thea Thomas (both ESOC)

Controller/Mentor: IanPyrah (ESOC)

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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