Edinburgh Southern Orienteering Club



Image of the Castlelaw map

ESOC local event in Edinburgh and the Lothians with an extra course, Long Green, 10k

Sat 14th Apr 2018

Info updated: 15th May
Type of event: Local
Type of terrain: Moorland


Results are here

Winsplits are here

ORGANISER’S COMMENTS: Janet Clark writes:  The day of this event was an unbelievably lovely surprise, truly the first day of spring!  The prospects hadn't looked good during the week before, with sleet and low cloud making it very hard to check and tape control sites.  But all that was forgotten as the sun shone, the fields and hill rapidly filled up with new-born lambs (100 were born that day) and everyone from experienced hill runners to beginner families enjoyed their runs.  The addition of a 10km course was popular; and we'll do this again on the Pentlands.  
We're very grateful to the shepherd who tolerates us at this time of year, and, as ever, to the small but hard-working team of ESOC members who made the event possible.

General Information

Castlelaw is a super area for orienteering at all skill levels.  At this event we will have the usual courses (including a Green course) plus a 10k Long Green course.  Something for absolutely everyone. 

Dress: Please check the weather forecast and dress appropriately. Much of the area is open hillside which is fairly exposed.  It can be windy even on the sunniest of spring days.  Please come prepared for any conditions. 

Terrain:  Mostly open, exposed hillside.  There are some patches of runnable woodland on the map and there are paths and tracks on some parts of the competition area. 

Other Users: The Pentland Hills are used fairly extensively by the general public.  In particular you may encounter hill runners, walkers, dog walkers and mountain bikers.  Please respect their right to be there at the same time as you are orienteering.


1. Army use of parts of the area: Please note that some parts of the Pentlands, including much of Castlelaw Hill and surrounding hills, are used by the Army for training and it is possible you could encounter army personnel whilst out on your course.  You may also find used shells and other debris discarded by the Army whilst on training exercises.  Please do not touch or pick up any discarded Army debris while orienteering. Please advise any junior within your care of this important point.  Castlelaw Army shooting ranges are on the map, close to the start and finish and it is possible that training could  be going on there at the same time as our event (meaning there could be banging noises during the event).

2. Mud: Recent snow and rain has resulted in plenty of mud around the area and it is slippery in places.  Some of the mud has has been created by animals. Please take care.

3. Farm animals: Sheep are plentiful around the area.  Care should be taken to clean hands after running and before eating. Children should be advised of the imortance of doing this.

LAMBS:  Lambing will be in full swing at Castlelaw.  The shepherds know we are coming, and are fine with that, with the important proviso that ALL GATES ARE KEPT CLOSED AND LATCHED.  If you open one to go through, close it behind you. There are gates on all courses, including the White course so unaccompanied juniors should be reminded to properly close all gates they go through.   'Gates' includes the turnstile/kissing gate on the way to the start and back from the Finish.  Sheep know how to get through these turnstiles if the swing gate is left unlatched.  

Dogs: Dogs allowed provided they are under close control at all times.  Note that there could be lambs around the hills at this time of year so it is especially important to keep dogs under close control.

Course Closure Time: Please note that the White, Yellow, Orange and Green courses have a closure time of 4pm after which controls will start  to be brought in.  Competitors on the Long Green (10k) can have a little longer but must return to Download by 4.30pm at the latest. Please come and start early if you think you will take a longish time to complete your course.

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: Penicuik


Parking will be close to the gateway on to the hillside at Castlelaw Hill Fort . The Ministry of Defence (MOD) charge us to use the area (parking and competition area) and to help offset this cost we feel the fairest way is to charge £2 per car on arrival.  Please park as directed by helpers on the day.

Castlelaw is reached from an unclassified road which leaves the A702 approximately 2.8 miles South of the Lothianburn junction of Edinburgh City Bypass (A720) (and also from Midlothian Ski Centre at Hillend).  The unclassified road is signed with a brown sign to 'Castlelaw Hill Fort' and a military sign to 'Castlelaw Ranges'.  If heading South turn right towards Castlelaw near a farmhouse and just after some bad bends - if you reach the Flotterstone Inn you have missed the turn to Castlelaw and need to turn round and go back up the hill towards the junction.  If coming from the South then the unclassified road is up the hill on the left after you pass the Flotterstone Inn.    

NOTE: If you intend to come via Penicuik on the A701, please note the stretch of road next to the junction of the road from A701 via Mauricewood to the A702 is due to be closed at the time of this event. A new roundabout is being built. Also, there are intermittent roadworks (and road closure) on the Bush road between Gowkley Moss roundabout and the A702.  It is best to use the A702.

Registration & Start Times

REGISTRATION: This will be in a tent located close to Parking, Start and Finish.  Registration will be from 1.00pm to 2.30pm for newcomers to orienteering and will extend to 3pm for experienced orienteers.  The earlier start time is especially for those who want to enter the Long Green 10k course and think they may take a long time.  If you think you may take a long time on your course please come along as early as possible and let the Registration Team know you expect to be out a while.  We have to start looking for competitors who do not return by the course closure time so it is 

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.  This is especially the case if you intend to enter the 10k Long Green 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 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!!  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 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.  

START AND FINISH will be very close to Registration. Start times will be from soon after 1.00pm to 3pm.

COURSE CLOSURE TIME: Please note that courses have a closure time of 4pm after which controls will start  to be brought in.  There will be a bit of flexibility for Long Green 10k course competitors but we ask that they return by 4.30pm at the latest.   

Course Information

As usual for ESOC local events there will be White, Yellow and Orange courses for newcomers and improvers and a standard length Green course for experienced orienteers.  The White course is 1.5k with 85m climb, Yellow is 2k with 90m climb, Orange is 2.6k with 125m climb and Green is 3.7k with 215m climb.

In addition there will also be a Long Green course of around 10k for those experienced orienteers who would like a longer run.  This Long Green course is also suitable for those who are training for mountain marathons or who are experienced hill runners and would like the challenge of orienteering on the hills. 

More details about the course lengths in the week or so before the event but the Long Green will definitely be in the region of 10k with quite a lot of climb.  The course will be on a larger map covering more of the Pentlands (with different scale) to that used in the thumbnail for this item. 

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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