Edinburgh Southern Orienteering Club


Dalkeith Park, SoSOL

Image of the Dalkeith Park map

ESOC Event in the South of Scotland Orienteering League (SoSOL)

Sun 18th Nov 2018

Info updated: 11th Feb
Type of event: Regional
Type of terrain: Parkland, Woodland


Provisional results are here.

Winsplits are available here

Routegadget now available

PLANNER'S COMMENTS: Thank you to everyone to came to Dalkeith Country Park. What a stunning day – I wish I could claim credit for planning the weather!

Planning at Dalkeith has its challenges. The river is a major constraint and can only be crossed at 2 bridges. During the planning we also expected the access road from the King’s Gate to be open and reasonably busy, and we were also asked to keep runners off the steep banks around the start. I also wanted to avoid crossing most of the fields as they usually contain livestock.

We decided to keep the junior courses east of the river to avoid crossing the impressive Montagu bridge. To get suitable junior courses there were really only 2 possible start/ finish locations – and it’s always nice to finish near a café! I also wanted the senior courses to finish through the Old Oakwood as it’s the nicest part of the park. So the start had to be in the rather fine amphitheatre below Dalkeith Palace. The constraints made the start a little tricky and obviously caught out a few competitors who hadn’t quickly spotted the need to run under the bridge, and immediately turn back up the path to the road. I should probably have cut the start triangle, but I think most folk spotted the route.   

Unfortunately the area isn’t especially complicated for skilled orienteers, but it has a few features and is ideal for junior courses. The western area has very little contour detail and some very subtle (i.e. small) features. I tried to set legs that cut across paths at right angles to give some challenge. Unfortunately I couldn’t avoid the dead run to north east of them map. There are one or two possible mapped features in the valley, but it’s very unpleasant underfoot. Apologies if you were confused by all of the extra holly bushes just before the river crossing. I convinced myself that the control was on a reasonable thicket and the right distance from the distinctive rides, and I tried to hang it clearly.

The old oakwood is an SSSI with some M/W900 trees and a beautiful example of a managed forest. It’s not very complicated, but there are a few features around the edges and those on the longer courses had 2-3 loops here. I apologise for the second holly encounter at 218 (must be that time of year). The map isn’t quite right here but I thought the feature was good enough and visibility was good once through the holly barrier.

We had the inevitable discussion about SIAC and waking controls and decided that there wouldn’t be enough time to guarantee waking all of them on the morning of the event. This seems reasonable for a Level C forest event but if you feel differently please let me know as we will consider it as part of the SOA review of event standards

Finally thanks to Julie Merrilees and Stephen Begg from Dalkeith Country Park for their help and flexibility (especially making sure there weren’t any cattle in the Old Oakwood fields). To Sheila for keeping me straight! And to the control collectors who made my and Sheila’s jobs very easy at the end of the day. With a special mention for Margaret & Les for going out again in the gloom to collect the last 2 controls that I forgot!

General Information


Final Details: All the information you need for this event is contained in this web item which was last updated on Thursday 15th November.  If you need to print off the event information then it should be possible to do so direct from the web item.  In case this proves difficult we have also prepared a Word document with the same information (updated 15th November): Dalkeith Park Details

Dress: Please check the weather forecast and dress appropriately, including full leg cover as required by rules. It is recommended to carry a whistle and a cagoule. The park is not particularly exposed, but in November the conditions may be cold and/or wet or windy. In the event of very poor weather conditions, cagoules may be compulsory.  If this happens there will be notices in the arena and near Registration.  

Terrain: Dalkeith Country Park is managed parkland, but with some wilder wooded parts. There is an extensive path and track network. There are steep slopes in places, with some contour detail, and a number of open fields surrounded by fences. The park is divided in two by the large River North Esk, which can only be crossed at bridges marked as crossing points.

The park is divided in two by the large River North Esk. There are a number of dangerous crags along the river and it must only be crossed at one of the two mapped bridges – near the start and at the far north east of the map.

Map: The park was originally mapped by Peel Land Surveys in 2007 and updated in 2014 by Stirling Surveys. Some recent corrections have been made owing to changes to paths and fences.

Course maps: These will be printed at A3 size and 1:7500 scale. ALL pre-entries and early entrants on the day will get maps printed on waterproof paper – once these have all been reserved, further people wishing to enter on the day will be offered the option of a paper map in a poly bag.

Course Maps: For the White and Yellow courses will be issued at Registration, even for pre-entries – please remember to collect your map before going to the start.  Maps for other courses will be issued after punching the Start punch. 

Control Descriptions: Separate control descriptions will be available in the start box. Control descriptions may obscure the legend on the longer TD5 courses (blue and brown).

Timing: SI electronic timing will be used. If you don’t have your own dibber, these can be hired free of charge from Registration, but there will be a £30 charge if it lost. SIAC will not be activated.

Other Users: Dalkeith Country Park is very well used by the general public including tourists, other runners, horse riders and dog walkers although the numbers will depend on weather conditions on the day.  Please respect their right to be there at the same time as you are orienteering. We need to maintain good relations with the park in order to have events here in the future.

Dogs: Dogs are allowed and should be kept under close control at all times. Note there are animals in some of the fields, it is especially important to keep dogs in close control near farm animals.

Safety:  All competitors take part in this event at their own risk.  Note too that there are some steep slopes and crags close to rivers, please take care if your course takes you near these. Do not attempt to cross the main River North Esk except at the marked crossing points. 

There may be (or have recently been) some cows or other animals in fenced fields in the park. Please remember the risk of infection and wash hands well before eating (ensure juniors are reminded to do this too).

Lone Competitors: If you are travelling on your own, you can leave keys or some other item at registration, and collect on your return.

Cancellation Procedure: If very severe weather is predicted or if some other unexpected issue makes it necessary to cancel the event on safety grounds, this will be notified on the ESOC web site. We would plan to have such a notice in place by 1000 on Saturday 17th November, but in exceptional circumstances we may have to cancel later. Please check this website on the morning of the event before you leave home.

First Aid: Basic first aid can be provided by event officials with relevant certificates. The nearest Accident and Emergency department is at the Royal Infirmary about 6 km away – follow signs for Edinburgh City Centre which will take you by the A7 right past the hospital entrance.

MEDICAL CONDITIONS: 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 it at registration/enquires in a sealed envelope that will only be opened if required and destroyed after the event.

Assembly/Arena:  This is in the lower part of the parking field, in and by the small building, with Registration, Enquiries and Download.

Club Tents: There is space for clubs to pitch their own tents in the lower part of the parking field if wanted.

Toilets: These will be sited at the South side of the parking field.

Starts: See below

Finish and Download:  The finish is about 300m from Download at the bottom of the car park field, there will be a taped route back. You must go to Download even if you have not completed your course, so we know you are safely back.

Shadowing:  Parents or guardians may follow a child around their course, but must declare to the organisers if they have assisted in any way. Adults who shadow should do so after they have completed their own course.  If a shadower runs their own course after having been out with a child, they must declare themselves non-competitive. 

Acknowledgement:  We are grateful to Buccleuch Estates for permission to hold the event, and in particular to Stephen Begg, Sales & Events Manager at Restoration Yard.


map location

Nearest town: Dalkeith


Dalkeith Country Park is just South of the Edinburgh City Bypass (A720) at Sheriffhall roundabout. 

NEW INFORMATION ABOUT ACCESS AND PARKING:  This change/update was confirmed by the management of Dalkeith Country Park today, Thursday 15th November.  The Kings Gate entrance is still closed for works, so we can no longer enter this way (as we had previously been asked to do). So sorry for having to make these changes at such a late stage but we had no alternative. All vehicles must now enter by the Town Gate off the North end of Dalkeith High Street (A6094) at EH22 2NA. For about 400 m follow the main park road which bends to the right and then back left, then turn sharp left as signed. After another 200 m, turn right as signed into the car park field, and park as directed by marshals. On exit, follow the signs to leave at the bottom of the field, turning left down to near the main buildings, then follow the exit signs to return to Dalkeith High Street.

If you plan to use the cafes and shops in Restoration Yard after your run, you may move your car down to the parking nearby though it isn't far to walk from event parking. Please do not enter these buildings with dirty footwear.

Public Transport:  Buses 3, 33 or 49 from central Edinburgh will take you to central Dalkeith, while bus 140 from Penicuik or Musselburgh will drop you at Dalkeith Corn Exchange close to the park entrance. From the centre walk North along High Street past the Corn Exchange, and enter the park at the main gates straight ahead. Follow the main park road which bends to the right and then back left, then turn left on to the road coming from the Kings Gate entrance. Another 200m will take you to the entrance to Parking/Assembly, on your right. About 1km total from central Dalkeith. Please check bus times as services are less frequent on Sundays. Check Lothian Buses

Registration & Start Times

Registration: 1130 to 1330 

Start Times: 1130 to 1400

Course Closure Time 1600: Courses close at 1600, but early controls will be taken in from 1530 (Sunset on the day is at 1600). If you expect to take a long time, please try to start early.

Start: There is a single start about 300m from the upper gate into the car park field, along a taped route. Take care crossing the access road immediately outside the gate. Follow the tapes all the way, avoiding the steep slope marked as out-of-bounds. There are no pre-allocated start times.  There will be a punching start.  One you arrive at the start you may have to queue to actually start your course especially if you have chosen a popular course (usually Green and possibly Blue).  Start officials will organise a queueing system.

PUBLIC LIABILITY INSURANCE INFORMATION: If you have joined an orienteering club, or are competing in one of your first 3 events, then you are covered by our public liability insurance. If you would like to join ESOC you can find out how to do this here or you can pick up an application form at this event.  Entry fees are lower for members of an orienteering club.

DATA PROTECTION UPDATES MAY 2018:  Edinburgh Southern Orienteering Club (ESOC) processes personal data and recognises the club’s responsibilities under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Completion of the Registration/Entry Form for this event confirms your agreement to have your entry details stored on a computer system and for your name and age class to appear in the results on the ESOC website and the British Orienteering website. More information about ESOC's Data Privacy Policy

New to this level of event? Below is a summary of the Registration and Entry Procedures:


1. If you are doing White or Yellow course, collect map at Registration.
2. If you are hiring a dibber, collect it at Registration.
3. Otherwise, or afterwards, go straight to start (follow taped route).
4. Clear your dibber at the Clear unit near the start.
5. Join the queue (if any) for your course, then enter the first start box (there will be a start official to keep you right).
6. On the start line, wait for the beep, then punch the start unit and go (there will be an official here to keep you right).

Not pre-entered?

1. Go to Registration, write all your details on entry form and pay the fee.
2. Collect dibber (if hiring).

3. Collect map (if on White or Yellow course only). If not entering White or Yellow, collect a map reservation card to take to Start.
4. Go to the start (follow taped route).
5. Clear your dibber at the Clear unit near the start.

6. Show your map or reservation card, then join the queue (if any) for your course, then enter the first start box.
7. Join the queue (if any) for your course, then enter the first start box (there will be a start official to keep you right).
8. On the start line, wait for the beep, then punch the start unit and go (there will be a start official to keep you right).

Remember to get there early if you are new to this level of event and also remember that you must go to Download after you have finished, even if you do not complete your course. We might otherwise be sending out a search party to look for you at the end of the event!

Course Information

There will be Brown, Blue, Green, Short Green, Light Green, Orange, Yellow and White courses.  Final course lengths are now shown below. Climb and number of controls added below on Monday 12th November.

BROWN 8.4km 160 23
BLUE 6.5km 120 16
GREEN 4km 85 12
SHORT GREEN 3.4km 70 9
LIGHT GREEN 3.4km 70 8
ORANGE 2.6km 50 9
YELLOW 2.5km 40 12
WHITE 1.7km 20 14

Note that Brown, Blue, Green, Short Green and Light Green courses cross the main access road used by event and other traffic. This is one-way, has generally good visibility and a 15 mph speed limit. Legs usually cross diagonally, so you can run along the verge a bit until traffic clears.

Most courses cross a strong barbed wire fence. This has a number of gates and marked crossing points. Please use these to avoid damage to the fence and to yourselves. Gates will be shut and sometimes have a stile alongside. Please do not open the gates (most are padlocked anyway) and either use the adjacent stile or climb over the gate at the hinge end. We particularly recommend that juniors and older competitors use these crossing points.

The TD1 (White) course has a taped section – this will be taped using red and white tags on canes. Please make juniors aware of this.

String Course: There will also be a free String course for younger juniors. To reach the String Course leave the car park field by the upper gate (where cars enter) and turn left along the verge for about 150 m, following tapes to the start/finish tent.  There are two themes, Fortnite skins and dances, and nocturnal animals. There will be bonus prizes for Fortnite dances and nocturnal animal sounds!

NEW TO THIS LEVEL OF EVENT?? If you have only been to a local event before you may be unfamiliar with the level of experience you need to cope with each of these courses.  Please check the descriptions below for more details.  At ESOC local events we offer white, yellow and orange courses so you will be familiar with these.  Light Green is a bit harder than Orange but still possibly within the scope of some adult novices who have done a course before.  Short Green, Green, Blue and Brown courses are all aimed at more experienced orienteers.  

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-entries closed at Midnight on Thursday15th November so no further maps can be reserved in advance. See below for information about entering on the day of the event.

If you are fairly new to orienteering and have only been to a local event before you may not be familiar with online entry.  It really is quite straightforward and it is important to do this to ensure there is a map available on the day for the course you want to do.  If you would like a few pointers as to what is involvd in online entry why not have a look at our Beginners Guide to Online Entry Using Fabian4?

Entry Fees

  Pre-Entry Pre-Entry Entry at Event
  To midnight 11th Nov To midnight 15th Nov On Sun 18th Nov
Brown, Blue, Green, Short Green & Light Green Courses
Seniors (born 1997 or earlier) BOF/SOA member £10 £11 £12
Seniors (born 1997 or earlier) none BOF/SOA member £12 £13 £14
Juniors (born 1998 or later) BOF/SOA member £5 £5.50 £6
Juniors (born 1998 or later) none BOF/SOA member £6 £6.50 £7
Students BOF/SOA member £5 £5.50 £6
Students none BOF/SOA member £6 £6.50 £7
Orange, Yellow & White Courses (ONLY)
BOF/SOA member £5 £5.50 £6
None BOF/SOA member £6 £6.50 £7

There will be very limited entry on the day (EOD) depending on maps available.  Some waterproof maps have been printed for entry on the day. Once these have all been reserved, there will be the option to run with a paper map in a poly bag.

TIMING: SI electronic punching will be used. If you don’t have your own dibber, these can be hired free of charge from Registration, but there will be a £30 charge if it lost.  It will be confirmed later if SIAC contactless punching will be activated.

Contacts / Officials

Organiser: Peter Halling (ESOC) Email:   

Planner: Richard Oxlade (ESOC)

Controller: Sheila Strain (ELO)

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.