Edinburgh Southern Orienteering Club


MTBO, Long Distance Event, North Pentlands

Image of the Dreghorn map

Sat 27th Aug 2022

Info updated: 27th Jul
Type of event: MTBO
Type of terrain: Moorland

General Information

LOCATION & TERRAIN: The North Pentlands event will be held on the north western part of the Pentlands mega map which has been adapted for mountain bike orienteering.  The adjacent 'thumbnail' is a foot orienteering map and only covers the general Dreghorn area but you can see a reasonable copy of the whole Pentlands mega map here.

The terrain used for this event is primarily open grassland and upland moorland with an extensive path and track network that includes the surfaced and unsurfaced “Pentland Paths” together with a range of smaller unmaintained double and single track which will allow some fantastic cycling if dry.

TERRAIN SPECIAL NOTE: Route choices may include small quiet public roads. The Edinburgh city bypass should not be used under any circumstances (bikes are banned from the bypass) and locals should not be tempted to use routes that are not on the mapped area!

DRESS: Please check the weather forecast and dress appropriately. If the weather is bad cagoules may be compulsory.  

MAP:  Note that the base map is 1:10000 but owing to the size of the area it will probably be printed at 1:15000 for the longest courses (approximately A3). NOTE - Remember that the map being used will cover a larger area than the thumbnail shown above but you can click on a link to a representation of the larger mapped area in LOCATION & TERRAIN above.  

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).  

GATES AND STILES: There are a lot of gates and a few stiles on the mapped area. These can all be used and will be shown on the map as obstructions (red line across the track/path). Please ensure all gates are shut behind you – future use of the area may depend on this.

PRIVATE PROPERTY: There is some private property on the map. Please do not enter any areas marked in olive green or with vertical red lines.  These are all out of bounds.

OTHER USERS: The Pentlands is heavily used by walkers, cyclists and horse riders. please show courtesy to all and provide space when you pass, particularly in view of the fact COVID 19 is still with us. If approaching from behind please use your bell!

LIVESTOCK: Livestock may be encountered on all courses. Avoid cycling at speed too close to livestock. There is a very small chance of encountering the highland cows that live on the eastern end of the area. They are usually quite docile but again please pass them with care. The route to/from the start/finish passes through the Swanston Livery stable – please take extra care through here.

MOUNTAIN BIKE ORIENTEERING SAFETY: Please be aware of all the safety issues related to mountain bike orienteering which are in the linked document. 

GENERAL SAFETY:  Bike helmets, a whistle and a small first aid kit are mandatory. Please ensure your bike is in good condition, that you have basic spares and that you carry a fully charged mobile phone (an emergency contact number will be printed on the map).

RISK: All competitors take part in this event at their own risk. For those more used to foot orienteering, this event is being organised under the rules of British Mountain Bike Orienteering (not British Orienteering).

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. 

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 self-isolate.  The event will be managed to take account of all Government guidance current at the time of the event. Please respect distancing and be aware that some competitors may be vulnerable and need extra space.


map location

Nearest town: Edinburgh


The event will be centred on the public car park at Swanston (adjacent to Swanston Golf Club, 111 Swanston Road Edinburgh EH10 7DS.  Turn off Oxgangs Road (B701) south into Swanston Road (brown signpost to Pentland Hills Regional Park, Swanston) and follow for approximately 1km . NOTE that this car park is not exclusively for this event and is likely to be busy on a Saturday morning. You may therefore need to park along Swanston Road. Please do not use the golf club car park, the overflow car park or the driving range car park as the golf club will be busy with competitions on Saturday morning.

The start/ finish will be at the same location, ca. 800m west of the golf club along a track that passes through the Swanston Farm livery stables. Please follow the route outlined here, and be considerate cycling through the livery stable.

Registration & Start Times

Note that there will be limited entry or change of course on the day (subject to availability of maps), 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, with starts from 10.30am (competitors start at short intervals). This will either be close to the car park or at the west end of the livery yard (to be confirmed in final details).

START TIMES FOR ALL COURSES:  10.30am to 11.30am. There will not be allocated start times and we will be using stopwatches rather than any electronic timing.  It is all fairly informal.

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

AFTERWARDS: Swanston Brasserie (above the golf club) serves food and drinks throughout the day and we will probably meet there after the event to discuss routes, results etc. If there is enough interest we will reserve a couple of tables closer to the event.

Course Information

COURSES: This is a long format event with an emphasis on route choice rather than intricate map reading at speed. Please note that course lengths indicate the straight line distance between controls, while climb has been estimated using the planner’s optimal route. The distance you actually ride is likely to be up to around 20 to 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.

A (Long) 13.2km Fairly Tricky Navigation + 500m climb
B (Medium) 8.8km Fairly Tricky Navigation + 330m climb
C (Short) 4.1km Fairly Tricky Navigation + 75m climb

CONTROLS: Orienteering kites will be at each control site, but no control codes or punches will be used.  It is on trust that you visit all controls and at the end of the day it’s all for fun! Having said that we will put the event on routegadget so please record your route on watch/Garmin device or phone and upload it so that you can compare routes.

Note that the explanation of colour coded courses (link below) relates to foot orienteering and is not relevant to this event.

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

ENTER NOW VIA BMBO WEBSITE  Entries close on 20th August.


Day Rider £8.00

BMBO Member £8.00

Youth Entry £4.00

NOTE: eMTBs allowed to take part but must declare on entry and will be listed as “non competitive”.

Contacts / Officials

Planner/ Organiser: Richard Oxlade (ESOC)

Early enquiries: EMAIL

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.