Edinburgh Southern Orienteering Club


Craigmillar Castle Mountain Bike Orienteering Event

2021_Craigmillar Castle Mountain Bike Orienteering Map, 2021.11_Gold Medal Winner_MTBO_Craigmillar Castle event, Walter Clark 2021.11_Competitor_MTBO_Craigmillar Castle, Walter Clark 2021.11_MTBO event_Craigmillar Castle, Walter Clark 2021.11_Course A_MTBO_Craigmillar Castle, Walter Clark 2021.11_Course C_MTBO_Craigmillar Castle, Walter Clark


Sat 27th Nov 2021

Info updated: 26th Jan
Type of event: MTBO
Type of terrain: Parkland, Woodland



ORGANISER'S COMMENTS: Walter Clark writes - Storm Arwen meant for wild weather overnight ahead of the mountain bike orienteering (MTBO) event at Craigmillar Castle on Saturday 27 November, but fortunately by the morning the wind had subsided and it was a lovely day with dry conditions for the riders.  The marquee for assembly at Bridgend Farmhouse had lost part of its roof, so that was flapping about a bit and there were also a few branches to clear from the paths before the competitors went out on the courses, but we were lucky to be able to go ahead without any problems. 

Most competitors did the A course (long and tricky!) of 10.4km (straight line distance) that took in Craigmillar Castle Park, Little France Park and a tricky urban section at Greendykes. The winner was John Houlihan in 50 minutes and he was awarded a gold medal, having also travelled the furthest to the event and helped collect in half the controls. Thanks also to Keith Dawson, Karena Hanley, Mark Rowe and Janet Clark for all of their help. It was fantastic to see nearly 40 riders competing, including mountain bike orienteers, mountain bikers and orienteers!  More ESOC MTBO events to come in 2022!

A few photos from the event from Walter are attached.

General Information

EVENT STILL ON - Weather Forecast is for weather to improve overnight. 

TERRAIN: Craigmillar Castle Park (and Little France Park, visited by the longer courses) is primarily parkland and woodland, with a complex network of bike-friendly roads, paths and tracks that cover a fairly significant area.  It offers great views and all courses will pass Craigmillar Castle, a ruined medieval castle best known for its association with Mary, Queen of Scots (who stayed there in 1566 after the birth of her son, the future James VI).  The longest courses (A & B) also visit urban terrain (Craigmillar and Greendykes neighbourhoods).  Some paths are relatively steep. Please note that parts of the tracks can be muddy and slippery so please be prepared for this.

TERRAIN SPECIAL NOTE: Craigmillar Castle Road runs through the middle of the map and cars often travel fast on it.  The road will be marked on the map with red crosses, showing that it should not be used to cycle along as part of your course.  Great care must also be taken when crossing this road. 

DRESS: Please check the weather forecast and dress appropriately.  

MAP:  Courses A & B: Scale 1:10,000.  1cm on the map = 100m on the ground. Courses C & D: Scale 1:7,500.  1cm on the map = 75m on the ground.

COURSE MAPS: These will be printed on strong (but not waterproof) paper.  There will be no control descriptions (as is normal for mountain bike orienteering).  Private property on the map: Please do not enter any areas marked in olive green on the map or with vertical red lines.  These are all out of bounds.

OTHER USERS: Craigmillar Castle Park and Little France Park are popular with dog walkers and joggers; please show courtesy to all and provide space when you pass, particularly in view of the fact COVID 19 is still with us.

GENERAL SAFETY: Children (juniors) may only ride Courses C and D without being accompanied by an adult, due to Courses A and B crossing Craigmillar Castle Road (see above).  Although traffic may be light, please take extreme care when cycling along any roads on the map. Please note also that bike helmets are mandatory (additional safety information below).  


1. Helmets are mandatory.

2. A serviceable bike is required.

3. You must stay with your bike at all times.

4. You must stay on mapped paths at all times.

5. Controls must be visited in numerical order.

6. You can leave the tracks at this event (this is not always the case at mountain bike orienteering events) but in almost all circumstances this won’t be faster!

7. Give way to members of the public on foot or on horseback.

8. When overtaking, pass the other cyclist on the right and shout loudly "on the right".  In a head on situation, both parties turn to the left.

9. Riders travelling uphill must be given priority.

10. Take extra when approaching roads with traffic. Obey the Highway Code when on a road.

11. At an intersection, the rider on the smaller path must give way to the rider on the larger path.

12. Slower riders should give way to faster riders.

13. Take extra care when head down reading the map or approaching another rider head down. Shout warnings as appropriate.

14. Do not loiter at a control site.

15. Move well clear of the track if stopping for any reason (including reading the map).

16. MTBO maps are similar to foot orienteering maps but contain less detail. There are no form lines and only 2 grades of forest (white - open forest, green -the rest). Many small contour and rock features are not mapped.

17. The main difference from foot orienteering maps is the grading of tracks and paths. Tracks are wide enough for 2 cyclists to pass and paths are narrower and generally difficult for cyclists to pass. Tracks are drawn with thick width black symbol and paths are shown with a narrower width symbol.

18. Tracks and paths are classified into 4 speed bands. Fast (75-100% of possible riding speed on a hard smooth surface). Medium (50 - 75%), slow (25 - 50%) and very slow (0 - 25%). Fast is shown with an unbroken line, medium with large dashes, slow with smaller dashes and very slow with tiny dashes that look like dots.

19. If an obstacle cannot be crossed or the track/road is out of bounds, a magenta X will be marked on the track/road.  This applies to Craigmillar Castle Road, which runs through the centre of the map for courses A and B (north to south) and on the east edge of the map for courses C and D.

20. Control descriptions are not used and control codes are not used at this session.  The control marker will be in the centre of the circle on the map.

MEDICAL CONDITIONS (not 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 put it in a sealed envelope and hand it to the Organiser on the day.  It will only be opened if required and destroyed or handed back to you after the event. If you can't easily identify the Organiser on the day please leave it with the start official (who will give it to the Organiser).

COVID 19: You should not attend the event if you are showing any symptoms of Covid 19 even though you have pre-entered. You should also not attend if you have specifically been asked to quarantine or self-isolate.  The event will be managed to take account of all Government guidance.


map location

Nearest town: City of Edinburgh


Assembly is in the marquee at Bridgend Farmhouse.  There is no exclusive parking for this event, although there is a small park at Bridgend Farmhouse.  This is on the north east side of Old Dalkeith Road (A7), east of the Cameron Toll roundabout, and north of the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.  Additional parking is available on the opposite side of Old Dalkeith Road, inside Inch Park, and this will involve crossing the road to reach assembly.  Further parking is available at Cameron Toll Shopping Centre, which is a few minutes away by bike.  Juniors should always be accompanied.  There will be free tea and coffee at assembly and also space to leave bags.

Registration & Start Times

There will be no Registration (change of course on the day) or Enquiries, and there will be a single event briefing for all riders.

EVENT BRIEFING: Arrive at 10am, ready for a briefing and Q&A at 10.15am.

START TIMES:  10.30am to 11am.  The start is very close to assembly at Bridgend Farmhouse.  The finish is also close to the start.  The start is indicated by a triangle on the map, and the finish is indicated by a double circle.

HIRED SI CARDS: Anyone who needs to hire an SI will be able to collect one at assembly.

MAP BOARDS: There are a limited number of map boards which can be attached to your bike and borrowed for the event, then returned.

Course Information

A 10.0km Tricky navigation
B 6.5km Tricky Navigation
C 3.0km Fairly Tricky Navigation
D 2.0km Easy Navigation

Please note that course lengths are approximate at this stage (subject to final planning) and indicate the straight line distance between controls.  The distance you actually ride is likely to be up to around 30% longer, depending upon the route you take.  In mountain bike orienteering, a longer route can easily be faster, depending on track ride-ability and climb, etc.

CONTROLS: Orienteering kites will be at each control site, but no control codes or punches will be used.  In urban areas, there will be red/white plastic tape to indicate you have found the control, rather than a kite.  It is on trust that you visit all controls and at the end of the day it’s all for fun! 

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: This is available now on the British Mountain Bike Orienteering websiteEntries close at 9pm on Thursday 25th November.

Entry on the day of the event (EOD) may be available, but will be subject to spare maps.  Please do not rely upon EOD if you would like to enter the event.


Seniors (Born 2000 or earlier): £7 (BMBO members: £6)

Juniors (Born 2001 or later): £3

Free standard SI card hire, if required, but there will be a £30.00 charge if it is lost.

Contacts / Officials

Planner: Walter Clark (ESOC)

Organisers: Janet Clark (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.

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.

Image Gallery

Click the image for a larger version.

2021_Craigmillar Castle Mountain Bike Orienteering Map,

2021_Craigmillar Castle Mountain Bike Orienteering Map

2021.11_Gold Medal Winner_MTBO_Craigmillar Castle event, Walter Clark

2021.11_Gold Medal Winner_MTBO_Craigmillar Castle event

2021.11_Competitor_MTBO_Craigmillar Castle, Walter Clark

2021.11_Competitor_MTBO_Craigmillar Castle

2021.11_MTBO event_Craigmillar Castle, Walter Clark

2021.11_MTBO event_Craigmillar Castle

2021.11_Course A_MTBO_Craigmillar Castle, Walter Clark

2021.11_Course A_MTBO_Craigmillar Castle

2021.11_Course C_MTBO_Craigmillar Castle, Walter Clark

2021.11_Course C_MTBO_Craigmillar Castle