Edinburgh Southern Orienteering Club


North Pentland Hills (Dreghorn), SoSOL

Image of the Dreghorn map

ESOC event in South of Scotland Orienteering League (SoSOL)

Sun 06th Mar 2022

Info updated: 16th Apr
Type of event: Regional
Type of terrain: Moorland, Woodland


Results are here

Winsplits are here

Routegadget is here

For all other post event comments please read on. ORGANISER'S and PLANNERS' COMMENTS added Monday 7th March.

General Information

ORGANISER'S COMMENTS from Fiona Findlay:  I want to thank all of the people involved in today’s event from land owners, helpers to competitors.

Janet for initiating the process, the MOD and tenant farmers for allowing use of their land and Simon, Sabine and Paul for great courses. 

A special thank you to Fran who stepped in at short notice to cover for me on the day and all the helpers who offered to help, some not running themselves. More people than usual were needed because of a far start and needing to man both a barrier and a gate. The event couldn’t have gone ahead without you.

The weather was perfect and I hoped you all enjoyed the Pentland Hills.

Addititional Comment from Fran Humphrey who stood in for Fiona on the day of the event: Congratulations to Fiona for her superb pre-event organisation and my thanks to all the helpers on the day who just got on with their jobs in their usual competant ESOC way.  Fiona was right - I had very little to do on the day as it all went so smoothly.

PLANNERS' COMMENTS from Sabine Oechsner and Simon Gregersen:  The North Pentland Hills posed quite a planning challenge due to plenty of elevation, rough open lands, and barbed-wire fences. The area is well-used by local orienteers and hill runners so it also required a fair amount of creativity to come up with a set of courses that would challenge the locals navigationally as well!

Blue skies, lots of sun, and next to no wind made it a truly marvellous weekend to be out and about putting out controls. This stood in sharp contrast to all our other visits to the area with storm-like winds and even snow on the exposed hillside. 

Very early on, we decided on having two starts. This meant as many as possible could get the full Pentlands experience by getting to run on the demanding hillside and naviating some of the tricky contour details. On the flip side, it also implied a tough climb to the start. We hope everybody made proper use of the walk to get warmed-up while enjoying the magnificent views over Edinburgh offered on the way.

The white, yellow, and orange courses took off from Chuckie Knowe and remained mainly around the Dreghorn woods. The courses were---as always---hard to get just right in terms of technical difficulty. Many, many thanks to Paul Caban, our controller, for all his advice and feedback in the process of getting them just right.

The remaining courses all took off from the hillside with a loop of controls on intricate contour details. The light green, short green, and green courses then dropped down into the Dreghorn woods to find some devious crags, boulders, and stream bends. The blue and and brown courses continued with a 2.2 km or 2.9 km long leg (!), respectively, out in to the open lands to the south of Bonaly. We are very pleased that the long legs were well-received and that almost all the possible route choices that we could think of were taken.

Yet again, many, many thanks to Paul for all his advice and for helping putting out units, to Fiona for a very smooth organisation, and to Janet for convincing us to plan the event in the first place---it has truly been a joy! And thanks a million to all the other helpers on the day, in particular to Sally, Crawford, Hanne, and David for staying after the event to collect controls.


Start time blocks
and Final Details are now available. It's important to read the Final Details in conjunction with the information below rather than relying on one or other.

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.  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 precautions are specifically 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”). Apart from this you should follow all Scottish Government Guidelines for the general public.

BRITISH ORIENTEERING PARTICIPANT CODE OF CONDUCT: All competitors are asked to read and abide by the British Orienteering Participant Code of Conduct in relation to Covid. Anyone making an entry on behalf of someone else should advise them of this.

Weather and Dress: Please check the weather forecast on the day and dress appropriately.  This event will be mostly on open hillside on the lower northern slopes of the North Pentland Hills.  The White, Yellow and Orange courses will be on lower, less exposed areas.  It is especially important on this area to dress appropriately for the weather conditions on the day. Extra Note: In the event of very bad weather, we may make cagoules compulsory. Notices will be posted where the route to the starts leave the car park. Please come prepared for this.

Map: Scale will be 1:10,000 for Blue and Brown courses and 1:7500 for all other courses. The Dreghorn map shown on thumbnail covers only part of the area.  Routegadget for the North Pentland Hills event back in September 2019 is here. This shows the entire area of North Pentland Hills, much of which will be used for this event.

Course Maps:  The Blue and Brown courses will be A3 size, all other courses will be A4 size.  These will be printed on waterproof paper and control descriptions will be printed on all course maps.  Loose control descriptions will be available at the starts.

Terrain:  The area is mostly exposed open hillside with some wooded areas.  There are paths and tracks, plenty of contour detail and, in parts, many crags and ditches.  There are also numerous low and high fences in the area.  There is a path and fence network with paths mostly being on the lower slopes.  The area is used for sheep grazing and there are numerous unmapped animal tracks. There also a few vague, unmapped mountain bike tracks in the some of the woods. Competitors may also encounter the resident herd of highland cows on the high ground in eastern part of the area. They are used to people and should not be a problem.

North Pentland Hills can be very muddy indeed. 

Other Users: This area is extensively used by all sectors of the general public and some parts are used for Army training from nearby Dreghorn Barracks. Please respect their right to be there at the same time as you are orienteering.  More information later about the military use of the area for training purposes. 

Dogs:  NOTE - change to original information. Dogs are NOT allowed on courses. They are allowed at car parking area only and should be kept under close control at all times.   

Course Closure Time: This will be 3pm.  At this time controls will start to be brought in.  Please not too that the gate allowing access into the car parking area will be locked as soon as everyone is back from their run and had time change and get out.

Dusk followed by darkness is still fairly early at this time of year, especially in poor weather, so it is important to start bringing in controls at the first opportunity.

Area Specific Safety Issues:  1.  Army training, This orienteering area is used by the Army for training.  It is close to Dreghorn Barracks.  We do not know if there will be training on the day of the event however those responsible for juniors should make them aware that they may possibly see or hear Army training operations. Juniors should also be told not to pick up anything whilst out on their course.  There will be no danger to the public or to orienteers (this is a very public area) but noises, including bangs, can be scary for youngsters.   2. Electricity Pylons, There are large electricity pylons on this area.  These are strictly out of bounds to everyone. 


map location

Nearest town: City of Edinburgh


The postcode given is for the Travelodge at Dreghorn Services and is ONLY A GUIDE to reach the general area.

You can reach this orienteering area reasonably easily by public transport.  

By bus: Lothian Buses service 16  to the stop near roundabout at Dreghorn Link is the best option. Follow Dreghorn Link towards the city bypass and follow intstructions as below from westbound carriageway.  Note that the roads here are very busy, take great care when crossing. 

By bike:  A variety of quiet cycle route maps throughout the city are available on the Edinburgh City Council Quiet Routes web pages.  There is a fence adjoining the car parking where bikes can be chained. 

By motor vehicle: Head for the Edinburgh city bypass (A720) and exit at the Dreghorn Junction.  Coming from the eastbound carriageway of the bypass (or from the city via Dreghorn Link) cross over the bypass and follow the road around to the right as though you were heading back on to the westbound carriageway of the bypass (note this part of the westbound slip is a two way road). The turning to the parking area is 50m from the corner on the left.  
From the westbound carriageway of the bypass head to the top of the Dreghorn junction slip road go straight across (again, note two way road here) as though you were heading back on to the westbound carriageway.  After 50m turn left. Parking for orienteers is NOT on the public parking area immediately adjoining the city bypass.

EXTRA NOTE RE OVERNIGHT CLOSURE OF A720 (added 2nd March): This is not likely to be a problem for people coming to the event but it is worth noting anyway that the A720 (city bypass) eastbound between Lothianburn and Straiton will be closed overnight for 3 nights Friday, Saturday and Sunday (4th, 5th and 6th March) from 8.30pm with reopening times of 11am Saturday and Sunday and 6am Monday.

HEIGHT RESTRICTED BARRIER FOR VEHICLE ACCESS: there is an access barrier with a height restriction, just after the final left turn mentioned above, to gain access to the Dreghorn parking area - approach with extreme care.  Specific information about how we can enable this barrier to be open to orienteers with a vehicle over the designated height will be added here nearer the event.  Note  See note above about course closure time of 3pm as this affects the time you will have from getting back to getting out of the car parking area.  Everyone will need to be out of the orienteering-specific parking area as soon as possible after their run and changing otherwise they will be locked in.      

Registration & Start Times

No Registration or Enquiries on the day.

START TIMES: 11.00am to 1pm.  

STARTS: There will be 2 starts. One close by the car parking for White, Yellow and Orange course competitors (Near Start) and a separate start (Far Start) for all other competitors which is 1.7k walk away with approx 175m climb.  

FINISH: Single finish close to car parking. 

Course Information

Course information is shown below.  

Brown 9.0 260 1:10,000 Far
Blue 6.2 200 1:10,000 Far
Green 4.9 165 1:7500 Far
Short Green 3.5 125 1:7500 Far
Light Green 3.7 130 1:7500 Far
Orange 2.1 100 1:7500 Near
Yellow 2.2 65 1:7500 Near
White 1.7 45 1:7500 Near

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 closed on Sunday 27th February.  Start time blocks are available via Fabian4. Entry on the day of the event (EOD) will not be available. 


1. Entrants can select a 15 min start block from the range available at the time of making the entry on Fabian4. The system has been setup for a maximum of 30 participants (or 8 per course) in each block for the far start and a maximum of 10 participants (or 5 per course) in each block for the near start.

2.  Please arrive at the appropriate start in time to start within your chosen time block.   It is not however necessary for everyone to be there at the beginning of their chosen block.  

Entry Fees




To midnight 27th Feb

Brown, Blue, Green, Short Green & Light Green Courses  
Seniors (born 2001 or earlier) BOF/SOA member £10
Seniors (born 2001 or earlier) none BOF/SOA member £12
Juniors (born 2002 or later) BOF/SOA member £5
Juniors (born 2002 or later) none BOF/SOA member £6
Students BOF/SOA member £5
Students none BOF/SOA member £6
Orange, Yellow & White Courses (ONLY)  
BOF/SOA member £5

None BOF/SOA member


Free standard SI card hire, if required, but there will be a £30.00 charge if it is lost.
Hire of SIAC cards is £2.50 and a charge of £60 will be made if it is lost.

Contacts / Officials

Planners: Sabine Oechsner and Simon Gregersen (ESOC)

Controller: Paul Caban (INT)

Organiser: Fiona Findlay (ESOC)

Early enquiries of any kind:  

Entry enquiries once entries open (only):  

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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