Edinburgh Southern Orienteering Club

North PentlandsSat 27 Aug

MTBO, Long Distance Event

Last updated: Thu 28 December, 2023

MTBO level event

Explanation of event levels

Local events are usually low key and in the 'localised' area, ideal for newcomers to try the sport and Training events are non competitive and used for training and coaching, aimed at members of the club, but they can attract people from neighbouring clubs, and are often ideal for newcomers to try the sport. Regional events attract participants from around the local Region, National events are high quality competitions that will attract people from far away, Major events are Major Events such as a British Championships. Virtual events are where there are no physical controls being used. Your presence at a control is registered using an App on your mobile phone, normally the free MapRun App.

Terrain type: Moorland


Officials' Reports

POST EVENT COMMENTS FROM ORGANISER, RICHARD OXLADE - Thank you to everyone who took part in the ESOC Long MTBO event on Saturday. Conditions in the Pentlands were at their finest and it was great to see so many happy (albeit exhausted) faces at the finish. I’d hoped for a winning time on the A of about 90-100 minutes so it was great to some of you in this range and congratulations to Alan Hartley winning in 92:48. Thanks for making the journey north Alan!

These events never take place without a lot of help so I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who contributed to our first Pentlands MTBO:

  • Rangers and Landowners – Paula Newton & Tommy McManmon at the Pentland Hills Regional Park for advice on access and coordinating permissions. Alastair McClung at Swanston Farm for letting us use the assembly area by the riding school and Chris Harrigan at the MOD for helping with access to Dreghorn.
  • Keith Dawson and Karena Hanley (MTBO gurus) for planning advice and test riding the long course
  • Walter Clark & Keith (and probably some others) for promoting the event
  • Rob Hickling & Judy Bell for helping me with MapRun
  • Janet Clark, Jayne MacGregor, Anne Hoy, and Hanne & Dave Robertson for helping with kit, on the day inquiries and First Aid cover
  • Margaret for patiently uploading information/ results etc onto the website
  • And last but not least Walter for sharing his birthday cake, taking some great photos (this one says it all) and for his expertise with DIY map boards

I’d naively hoped that MapRun would provide a source of fun and amusement. It seems to have worked for some competitors and I've given links to these for each course under the Results section above. However, it looks like I’m still on the MapRun learning curve so I’ve also put the courses on Routegadget where you can upload gpx tracks and see routes on the MTBO map. See link in Results section above.


ROUTEGADGET - To add your own course.

You can also look at the courses for people who were able to use Maprun on the day by using the following links:

Maprun for A Course

Maprun for B Course

Maprun for C Course

To read Richard Oxlade's post event comments and some background explanations please click Read More ..... and you'll see them in the main event item.


Mountain bike orienteering on an excellent area on the southern edge of Edinburgh. 

Pre-event Information

Location Info

Near: Edinburgh
Lat,Lng: 55.89786,-3.21699
OS Grid Ref: NT240678
Postcode: EH10 7HR

Open an interactive map in:
GoogleMap - OpenStreetMap - AppleMaps - BingMap

Directions / Parking

The assembly area (Event Centre) will be located at the Swanston Farm Outdoor Riding Centre which is located alongside Swanston Road on the south side of the city bypass (GR: NT240678). This assembly is accessed from a right turn very soon after crossing over the bypass (note that it's not at the Swanston Farm Livery Stables which are further on). The assembly area is located about 100m along a rough vehicle track which parallels Swanston Road (follow signpost). There will be a pre-start briefing at 10.15am.

Public Car/vehicle Parking: If you are coming by car there is a public car park at Swanston (adjacent to Swanston Golf Club (GR: NT240673)). 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.

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.

FINAL COURSE DETAILS: 3 courses available (straight line distance, optimum climb)

Long (A) – 12 km, 500m climb. Suitable for experienced MTB orienteers

Medium (B) – 7 km, 330m climb. Suitable for experience MTB orienteers

Short (C) – 7 km, 75m climb. Suitable for novices

TIMING & CONTROL SITES: Orienteering kites will be placed at each control site, but no control codes or punches will be used. We will be using stopwatches rather than electronic timing and it is on trust that you visit all controls (at the end of the day it’s all for fun!). Having said that we will also be using/testing a couple of bits of technology:

1. MAPRUN: this is an App that can be downloaded onto IOS and Android devices. For this event we plan to use it for electronic timing (instead of SI) as it can register when you visit control sites. It will not be mandatory but it adds some fun. All you need to do is download to your phone and we will tell you how to use it at the event. You will still need to use a paper map & compass for navigation.

2. ROUTEGADGET: this is used to share route choices so please record your route on watch/Garmin device or phone and upload it after the event so that you can compare routes.

Overall it’s all fairly informal but riders MUST report to the finish even if they retire.

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

Read more about Course lengths and Difficulty here

Entry Details

ENTER NOW VIA BMBO WEBSITE up to Midnight on 21st August when entries will close. We will also print a few spare maps and late entries/entries on the day will be accepted while these are available. PLEASE EMAIL THE ORGANISER RATHER THAN ENTERING VIA THE BMBO WEBSITE.


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”.

Registration and 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 at 10.15am for all riders.

EVENT BRIEFING: Arrive at assembly area/event centre by 10am, ready for a briefing and Q&A at 10.15am.

START/FINISH: these will be co-located ca. 400m west of the assembly area.

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, please email the organiser know as soon as possible if you would like to eat there after the event and we will reserve a couple of tables.

Contacts / Officials

Planner/ Organiser: Richard Oxlade (ESOC)

Early enquiries: EMAIL

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