Edinburgh Southern Orienteering Club


Bonaly Park

Image of the Bonaly Park map

ESOC Local Event

Sat 12th Dec 2020

Info updated: 30th Jan
Type of event: Local
Type of terrain: Moorland, Woodland


The results are here

Organiser's Comments:  It was so exciting to finally be able to put on our first "Real" event; The logistics and the short December day were a challenge, but comments from competitors more than compensated:
"REAL CONTROLS.  Fantastic to be back orienteering traditional style"
"Fantastic fun, great course and amazing organisation.  I give it 10/10"
"Lovely to have brief and socially-distanced catch-ups with many of my orienteering family; I miss that".
"Thanks to everybody involved.  Thoroughly enjoyed the Green Course".
I couldn't have put it better myself!  Sincere and grateful thanks to one and all


General Information



1. Roadworks on Bonaly ROAD – Roadworks started today on Bonaly Road between Woodhall Road and Bonaly Avenue at "The Store". On Saturday, if the bottom end of Bonaly Road is still closed, the signposted diversion takes you left up a small road, Fernielaw Avenue, then left again into the wide Munro Drive, rejoining Bonaly Road almost opposite the Bonaly Store, from where Torduff Road is reached.

The No 10 bus will only go to Torphin, not to Bonaly at all over the weekend. See the Lothian busses website for more information, plus a useful map of the roadworks

2. New Scottish Government/SOA travel guidance - New guidance pertaining to travel between Local Authority areas in different levels has recently been issued. Please make sure you are comfortable with the changes to the rules (some of which are now in law) and if you decide you can no longer attend please contact  as soon as possible.





The Grid Reference given gives an indication of where the start and finish area will be and where to head to when walking/running to take part in the event.  The postcode given covers a number of individual houses around the general area near to the event. 
'What3Words' references will be added here soon.

This event is open to members of any orienteering club who are able to travel there within the travel restrictions current at the time of the event.  It is pre-entry only and start times will be allocated.

COVID 19: You should not attend the event if you are showing any symptoms of Covid 19 even though you have pre-entered.  Social distancing will be necessary at all times, even out on your course, and the start will be managed appropriately to comply with all relevant Government and Scottish Orienteering Guidelines. More specific information and details of the Covid 19 precautions, guidelines and rules will be included in the final details. 

PARTICPANT CODE OF CONDUCT: Everyone taking part in this event should read this and by entering are agreeing to abide by this Code.

Note that a separate Covid 19 risk assessment will be prepared in addition to the usual risk assessment.

Orienteering Area: Bonaly Park and the wider Bonaly area of the Pentlands have something for everyone whether an experienced orienteer or a relative newcomer. 

Dress: Please check the weather forecast and dress appropriately.  Bonaly is on the northern edge of the Pentland Hills and the open, exposed areas can provide a real challenge. 

Terrain:  Mostly open hillside but with some areas of runnable woodland. There are steep slopes, crags, streams, intricate contour detail in some parts and a good network of paths. 

There are some excellent views across the city from several parts of Bonaly, including the start/finish area.    

Other Users: Bonaly is very well used by the general public, including dog walkers, runners, walkers, mountain bikers, families on a day out and even campers.  Please respect their right to be there at the same time as you are orienteering.

Facilities: There are no facilities. NO TOILETSPlease 'go before you go' to the event.  We have however identified a possible BAG DROP area. There is a rough open area next to a wall near the start/finish area where it is possible to leave bags/warm clothing etc however this area is open to the elements, pretty public and anything left is completely at your own risk.  Once you have finished your run please collect your belongings as soon as possible and head away from the area. 

Dogs: Dogs are allowed on the general Bonaly area but should be kept under very close control (preferably on a lead) at all times and dog owners should take account of any Covid-related advice for dog owners.  Dogs are NOT however allowed in the Pre-Start area, Start boxes and out on the courses. 

Course Closure Time: Please note that courses will have a strict closure time of 2.30pm.  ALL competitors should be back at the finish by this time even if you don't manage to finish your chosen course.  It will be getting dark very soon after course closure time and controls will start to be brought in immediately. 

Medical Conditions (non Covid): 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 the completed form with the start official in a sealed envelope that will only be opened if required and destroyed after the event.  Alternatively, in these times of Covid, you are welcome to complete the form, scan it and send it to the email given below.  This is the safest option for Club volunteers but we recognise that you may not feel happy about this option even though the details will be held in the strictest confidence by a single named person (Janet Clark) and the email will be deleted immediately after the event.

First Aid: A 1st Aid kit will be available at the Download area. It will be very basic and volunteers handling this will be ready with relevant PPE to hand over content as required.  However we strongly suggest you bring along your own supply of basic first aid materials.  


map location

Nearest town: Edinburgh


Bonaly is a very busy area and we very strongly suggest parking a little further away and walking to the area.

Bonaly is accessible from various points to the North of the competition area and competitors are advised to park in the residential parts of Bonaly or Torphin areas of Edinburgh and walk to Bonaly from there. 

Lothian Buses service 10 will also get you close to Bonaly and it is an easy walk from either terminus.  There is a terminus near Bonaly shop (Bonaly) and another just over the city bypass (A720) at Torphin. Check which one suits you best and check the Saturday timetables on Lothian Buses website. .

Please do not try to park in the car park beyond the Scout Centre which we have used in the past. Please also avoid walking to the area via this route as it means approaching through the competition area.  There is parking in Torduff Road but this fills up quickly and you may find it easier to park further away in the residential areas further north and walk (warm up on route) to the competition area.  You could also park on Torphin Road and walk to Bonaly. 

The approach route from Torduff Road is to park  up and head on foot to the bridge over the bypass (A720), turn right past the parking area (which is often very busy/full) and walk and up the hill towards the reservoir.  

The approach route from Torphin Road is to park then head on foot to the bridge (different to before), cross the bypass (A720), turn left up and over the hill, down into the valley and up the other side towards dam on Torduff reservoir. 

Once you have crossed over the Torduff Reservoir dam it is only a short walk along a flat track eastwards to the start/finish area. 

From either of the bridges over the A720 city bypass mentioned above it is approximately 15 minutes walk to the start/finish area at an average pace.  

These are very pleasant walks with lovely views and you are less likely to encounter vehicles. When walking up Torduff Road look left and you will see the start/finish area.

Registration & Start Times

There will be no Registration or Enquiries at this event.  The FINAL DETAILS will be pretty comprehensive and these will be sent out on Thursday 10th December. If you have any enquiries after reading these you can email  

Starts will run from 11.30am to 1pm and we suggest you try to arrive in the general start area no more than about10 minutes before your allocated start time and that you leave the finish area as soon as you get your breath back and are able to head away.

PRE-START AREA: There will be a small Pre-Start Area where you should collect any pre-ordered sanitiser (see ENTRIES), pre-hired SI and the yellow course maps.  There will be a volunteer present but please minimise the time you spend at this area. Collect or drop off whatever you have to and move away.  The Pre-Start official is not able to answer enquiries.

START: Please arrive at the actual start no more than 5/6 minutes before your start time.  There will be 4 boxes and everyone will be asked to sanitise their hands on entry to the start boxes. You can use your own or the sanitiser provided but you must do this when asked to by the Start official. Please be prepared to remove gloves in order to sanitise your hands and keep them off until after you have punched the start box and collected your course map.  This is for your safety and that of others.

Full details of the start procedure will be in the final details but everyone must punch the start box even if using SI Air for the controls out on the courses. Please ensure that you pass on information contained in the final details to  everyone you have entered on behalf of, including juniors.

COURSE MAPS:  YELLOW COURSE MAPS should be collected at the Pre-Start Area. Juniors are welcome to discuss the yellow course with an adult after collection (in the rough open area close to the Pre-Start and Start - see FACILITIES above) but please try to keep the time spent on this as short as possible.  Juniors on the yellow course must go through the same start procedure as everyone else though there will be a separate start lane for yellow course entrants. ORANGE AND GREEN COURSE MAPS are collected after punching the start box.

FINISH: This is quite close to the pre-start and start.  After punching the 'finish' please move away promptly to get your breath back. As soon as you've got your breath back go immediately to download then move away to prepare to head away from the area. 

Course Information

There will be YELLOW, ORANGE and GREEN courses. 
Approximate course lengths are:

Yellow: 1.2k (relatively easy)

Orange: 2k (medium difficulty)

Green: 3.7k (difficult)

The Yellow and Orange courses are on the Bonaly Park mapped area and the map scale will be 1:5000.  The Green course extends out on to the moorland area south of Bonaly Park and the map scale will be 1:7500.

TIMING: SI Timing will be used and SI Air will be enabled.

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

ENTRIES: Pre-entries have now closed.  You are welcome to email  to ask if there is still a suitable course map and time slot available. If there is, you will be advised how to proceed from there. You must however do all this before 6pm on Thursday 10th December at the absolute latest. 

There is NO ENTRY ON THE DAY (EOD) so please do not attend the event if you have not had your entry confirmed and been given a start time.

All entrants should be members of an orienteering club and able to get to the event within the travel restrictions laid down by the Scottish government current at the time.


Seniors who are members of an orienteering club: £4

Juniors who are members of an orienteering club: £2

ESOC SANITISER: In the final details you will be encouraged to bring along your own sanitiser to use while out on your course e.g. for use when crossing stiles, fences or gates. This is for your safety and that of others. You can still buy bottles of sanitiser as shown on the ESOC website. If you have pre-ordered and pre-paid you should collect at the Pre-Start area.  Limited stocks of sanitiser will be available to buy on the day at the Pre-start area. Correct money only please. See ESOC website (link above) for details and cost.

The START LIST and FINAL DETAILS will be sent out by email on Thursday 10th December.

Contacts / Officials

Advance enquiries to:  

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.