Edinburgh Southern Orienteering Club


Mary Erskine School & Ravelston Woods

Image of the Mary Erskine and Ravelston Woods map

ESOC Local Event

Sun 12th Sep 2021

Info updated: 15th Sep
Type of event: Local
Type of terrain: Parkland, Woodland


Results are here

Winsplits are here

ORGANISER'S COMMENTS from Janet Clark: There were lots of things about this afternoon to really enjoy and appreciate:
The lovely grounds of the Mary Erskine School; with the adjacent slightly more complex Ravelston Woods.
The willing co-operation of the Sports Centre, providing access to the grounds and mains electricity 
The cool dry weather, ideal for running.
Forty members of the school orienteering club enthusiastically competing with each other.  
A good number of non-members finding their way through the obligatory pre-entry system.  
The extra bonus for young children of the Short White Course that they could do by themselves; very exciting! 
The hardworking small team of club volunteers who made everything run smoothly.
Lots to love about orienteering!

PLANNERS’ COMMENTS from Katherine Kirk & Thea Thomas: For an area which is not “out in the wilds” Mary Erskine School and Ravelston Woods has some surprisingly hazardous parts – the high crags and quarries. There is also a danger of moving traffic at several points on the site which needed to be taken account of on White and Yellow courses. These factors dominated the planning, along with the single crossing point between the School and the Woods, and the “pinch points” to get around the sports pitches. 

Planning originally started in January 2020 and resumed in August 2021 when we got a date for the event. It was good to have the 2021 map version which incorporated new buildings and paths close to the school. Thea drafted White and Yellow and repeated her innovation of Toddle Course (Short White) designed as a chance for young novice competitors to try something very short and safe on their own or with a little help. We recommend it to anyone planning on a suitable area!

It was interesting to use the multi-level school buildings, and the woodland area has some tiny lovely areas with pine trees which I wanted people to visit. Since there were many paths I tried to maximise the number of decisions needed on the Green course. The other key aim was to get the Yellow participants safely out of the woods. Thea said it was fun to plan but hard to get enough distance for White and Yellow. 

On the day we had two issues, two controls swapped numbers between the penultimate and final version of the courses, so we had to renumber with sticky labels. An incorrect control placement on Green was rescued out in the forest by an experienced early starter. Apologies to competitors, and thanks very much to the computing and download team for dealing with this complication and fixing it in the results.

General Information

Dress: Please check the weather forecast and dress appropriately. The ground could be muddy and slippery so please be prepared for this.  

Terrain:  School grounds (iuncluding buildings for courses for experienced orienteers) and adjoining woodland.  

Course Maps: These will be printed on waterproof paper and control descriptions will be printed on the map. No loose control descriptions.

Other Users: There are likely to be other sports users around the pitches of the Sports Centre and School.  Ravelston Woods are used by the general public, including those with young children using the adjacent playpark, and dog walkers.  Please respect their right to be there at the same time as you are orienteering.

Dogs: Dogs allowed on leads in the car park only. Not to be taken into the school grounds at all.

Course Closure Time: Please note that courses have a closure time of 4pm after which controls will start  to be brought in. See note below about trying to get an early start time if you think you might take a long time out on your course. 

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 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. 

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 Scottish Government Guidelines.  Additionally, the event will be run in accordance with Scottish Orienteering Association (SOA) Guidelines around social distancing and hand sanitising so please 
- do not arrive too early for your start block
- keep a 1m distance to others outwith your household
- use the hand sanitiser provided at the Start and Download.
These extra precautions are only required during your ‘race’ ie from the time you leave you car to go to the start to after you download (ie while you are in the “field of play”).


map location

Nearest town: City of Edinburgh


Head for the car park for the Mary Erskine Sports Centre which is entered from Craigleith Rise, off Ravelston Dykes.  You can also park in the surrounding streets.  If you choose this option please be considerate of local residents.

You should be able to get close to this event by bus.  Check out Lothian Buses for information about services.

Registration & Start Times

No Registration, enquiries or entry on the day. This event will be based at, or very close to, Sports Centre building within the School grounds.

STARTS will be from 1.30pm to 3pm. 

Pre-entry is required but everyone is welcome whether a relative newcomer or have been to a lot of events.  If you are a relative newcomer and think you might take quite a long time on your course please try to get an early start time so that you can concentrate without worrying so much about the course closure time.

Course Information

This will be ESOC's first traditional local event post Covid restrictions and, as was usual for ESOC local events pre-Covid,  there will be White, Yellow and Orange courses for those fairly new to orienteering and for those who have done some courses before and are now improvers.  There will also be a Green course for experienced orienteers.  

This area is quite small but it does lend itself well to a range of courses.  The terrain includes woodland, parkland and complex buildings.  

EXTRA:  There will also be a free Short White course for young children accompanying those who have pre-entered.  This does not require pre-entry but the names will be recorded.

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 has now closed to enable event preparations to be finalised.  You can still see entries and start blocks via racesignup.  There is no entry on the day.

ENTRY FEES for members of an orienteering club

Seniors (born in 2000 or earlier): £4 

Juniors (born in 2001 or later) : £2

£2 surcharge per competitor for those who are not members of an orienteering club.

1 course map (and 1 hired SI if appropriate) per entry.

SportIdent (SI) electronic timing will be used.  If you have your own SI (dibber) please provide details on the entry form and remember to bring it with you!  We also 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.

Contacts / Officials


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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