Saltoun Big Wood
Saturday 26 September 2020

Saltoun Big Wood  Saturday 26 September 2020

This was our second Saturday event after the easing of the virus restrictions. It was staged using the same methods of meeting the distancing and hygiene requirements as at last month’s event – except that this time we were able to include some juniors and their families from other local clubs.

Thanks to everyone who attended and co-operated with the special arrangements. Remember to check for ticks.



Organiser’s Report

Everyone seemed to be unanimous that it was great to be out in a real tough orienteering forest, despite finding in places that the brambles were more of a hindrance than a tasty snack! The sun shone, the woods looked wonderful and with 50 starters spread over 90 minutes the current troubles seemed far away.

Thank you to Peter Brownsort who originally planned the courses for use in April and had to spend some extra time checking and updating them for autumn use, to Sir Francis Ogilvy and Winton Estate for access to the wood, and to Keith Stuart for the use of the hardstanding for parking. Thanks also to the volunteers: Trina, Robin, Pete Y, Jamie, Duncan, Jeff, Ross, Ian, David, Hanne and Michael.

Planner’s Report

As a first-time planner it was very satisfying to sit in the sun at the finish on Saturday and hear from many of you that my courses had actually worked out. Despite the thorns and the scratches, it looked like most of you enjoyed them, at least in some way. So thank you all for coming out, and for the feedback. And my particular thanks to Trina, Robin and Sheila for mentoring me through the planning, mapping and general organising aspects; and to Hanne, David and Ian for collecting and sorting controls on Saturday afternoon.
I must apologise for wrongly positioning Control 2 on Green, this was one of the controls that needed relocating for the autumn vegetation. I moved it twice, then on Saturday approached in a different direction from usual and just plonked it in the “wrong new” position. Learning point – always double check the map when positioning each control.

I’ve really enjoyed the whole of this course planning experience, even with it stretched out to seven months! But happy now to leave the beautiful woods of Saltoun to the wildlife again for a while – and did anyone spot the giraffe at Woodgate Cottage?

Pre-event Information


Due to the need to run the event with minimal risk of infection to competitors and helpers, and to comply with the government’s guidelines issued by sportscotland, everyone must enter in advance.

Limited parking space and the continuing need for social distancing will restrict competitor numbers. So we will open this event to ELO members first and then if places are available they will be offered to members of other local clubs.

Details of how to enter will be sent out by email to ELO members, but if you need more information, contact us here


White 11 controls 1.7 km 25 m climb
Yellow 10 controls 2.6 km 50 m climb
Orange 13 controls 3.2 km 60 m climb
Green 18 controls 4.3 km 85 m climb

Start and Finish:

Are in the woods approximately 600 metres from Parking and Registration. Please remember to return to download promptly whether you complete your course or not


There are no results on display, but there should be live online results.


There are no public toilets in the vicinity. The nearest are in Pencaitland and Haddington.

Planner’s Notes:

These courses were first planned in early March, pre-lockdown, before the bracken was up and the leaves were on the trees. With the event postponed from April to September, there is inevitably a change in the state of the forest, but generally the planned courses have not been affected much.

Some of the paths are narrower and less distinct, but they can still be followed. Tall grass, bracken and leaves on the trees and bushes make the visibility less clear in general. But the going underfoot has not changed much in most places with the main issues, away from the paths, being low brambles and brashings. There are a few exceptions where bands of bracken make for difficult progress, but don’t worry, push through or go round these and it will get better!

In terms of mapped features, some distinctive trees are less obvious now with other trees being in leaf, but they are still distinguishable; a couple of marked marshes and streams are dry, but their beds are obvious; and some of the ditches are chocked with vegetation so are less distinct.

Note that there are many more ditches in the forest than are mapped, but I have updated the detail around ditches that are used for controls. Also, while I have updated vegetation density (in the spring) for most areas that the courses pass through or near, I have not updated the whole map.

I hope you enjoy the courses and these beautiful woods. Look out for buzzards, hares, squirrels, very shy deer, dragonflies, and you may even spot a giraffe on the way to the start!

Pete Brownsort – Sept 2020

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Saturday 26 September 2020

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