Saltoun Wood SoSOL
Sunday 27th November 2022

Saltoun Wood SoSOL  Sunday 27th November 2022

Saltoun Big Wood © Richard Webb -

Many thanks to all who came to compete in East Lothian’s toughest forest. Saltoun was always a challenging venue and in the last few years footfall has decreased so the paths have became fainter and the undergrowth denser.

The winners of the ELO Club Championship will be announced as soon as possible and their trophies will be awarded at a future event.

Organiser’s Report

Our thanks as usual to the many helpers who worked hard to stage the event – particularly to our Planner, Sheila Strain, and Paul Caban of Interlopers as Controller.

Thanks also to Trina for arranging permissions, toilets and other advance preparations and for the String course map, and to Max Baillie and family for the string course pictures. Also particular thanks to Robin who ran download all day single-handed, and to Saartje who raised £60 for Mary’s Meals from the coffee stall.

The event budget was not intended to cover the full cost of the remapping so we hope for many more events in our toughest forest.

Planner’s Report

You may have thought it was rough and tough in parts but it was a whole lot worse in September when the bracken was over my head in places! It has become much nicer in the past couple of weeks.

The vegetation on the old map was well out of date, but planning had to be done on that map as the new map arrived less than three weeks ago, only two weeks before the courses had to go to print and therefor some adjustments to control sites had to be done at the last minute to fit with the new map.  Extra special thanks to controller, Paul, for having to fit in with such a tight time-line for checking the control sites on the map and on the ground and for spotting a few inconsistencies. The new Lidar base map certainly helped as my GPX tracks fitted perfectly and when the earlier tracks were superimposed on the new map showed up where I had been.  There are areas which were runnable on the old map and I had to find out the hard way by trying to go through them that some have become somewhat less so, whereas a few nicer bits have opened up.

The start had to be on a path for the White and Yellow courses and I had investigated various ways of getting everyone else into the forest and positioned the start kite where it seemed best.  I had attempted to stamp out a trod, and marked it with tape streamers but some of the early starters were disadvantaged by not seeing the streamers or not realising their significance.  Extra tape was added when we realised but in retrospect perhaps there could have been some way of showing on the map where the trod emerged into the forest as the mapped ditch is under the ‘Arwen’ trees.

Thank you to Murray and Tessa who went out to Humbie wood and the railway line with the last 20 SI units on Saturday morning (the kites had been out since earlier in the week) and so allowed me to get to compete in Haddington, and to the team of control collectors – Pete Brownsort, Pete Younger, Duncan Edmonson and Ross Lyall – who managed to get all the controls in before dark.

Thank you also to ESOC for the loan of the kites as the ELO ones were in use in Haddington.


Controller’s Report

I’d last visited Saltoun & Humbie pre 2008 for (I think) a Wednesday evening event.  My memory is of neck-deep brashings.  Whilst the forest is certainly rough in some places – and perfectly pleasant in many others places – it’s a whole load nicer now than it had been then.  And also much more pleasant than even a month ago when the bracken was still high and difficult to run through.
Saltoun is quite a difficult place to plan well at.  With the constraints imposed by the parking location and the length of the white course, and wishing to minimise the walk to the start and from the finish, Sheila’s start location was pretty much fixed.  That that took the senior courses through the very roughest area almost immediately meant that at least things only improved.  Overall, I think Sheila made an excellent job with the courses, particularly when considering that the new map, which was significantly different to the previous one, only became available with less than three weeks to go.
Our principal concern was with the state of the Birns Water, which was crossed by green and longer courses.  For most of our planning or controlling visits, it had been only ankle deep, however; on my last visit, the weekend before the event, it was fully in spate, and I didn’t even contemplate a fording.  We’d worked up various plans, up to and including cutting the longer courses (very much) shorter.  Fortunately, none of that was needed to be put into place, meaning that I did have a eight mile, two and a half hour control checking’n’waking jaunt on Sunday morning.
Looking at the results, leading times on all courses seem to be within guidelines.  I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend in East Lothian.


  • Simple results are here.
  • Routegadget allows you to plot your route, either by hand or by downloading a gpx file from a watch or phone and to look where you and others went.
  • Winsplits Online gives another way of comparing your times for each leg.
  • British Orienteering collect results from all events and publish ranking scores for larger events.
  • SoSOL Tables

Advance Information

Saltoun is a classic East Lothian area – a rough and rugged woodland with fast running on the tracks. The longest courses will venture to the far side of the river into Humbie Wood.

The area has been remapped for this event by Peel Surveys.

Orienteers of all abilities are welcome to join us on the day when we will have a range of courses to suit everyone.

Type of event:

A regional event in the 2022 South of Scotland Orienteering League (SoSOL) series. It is also the ELO club championship event for 2022.

Saltoun Big Wood
Saltoun Big Wood © Richard Webb –


  • Mixed woodland with a good track and path network
  • Even the main paths have some muddy sections
  • Off the paths there are some brambles
  • Runnability is improving at this time of year as bracken is dying down
  • Steep-sided Birns Water valley
  • Please observe any out of bounds areas

Other Users

The area is less well used than formerly but you may still meet dog walkers and other members of the public. Please respect their right to be there at the same time as you are orienteering.


Dogs are welcome to come with orienteers.


Toilets are available at assembly.


In recent years the path network has been less well used so even White and Yellow courses may prove difficult for buggies.


Nearest Town: Pencaitland
Grid Ref: NT464672
Nearest Postcode: EH34 5EH


Assembly and registration is in the farmyard south of Greenhead farm near the minor road between East and West Saltoun.
Both villages are just south of Pencaitland in East Lothian.
Parking will initially be in the farmyard on hard standing and, if required, overflow parking will be on an adjacent stubble field.

Public Transport

The 113 from Edinburgh terminates in Pencaitland. It is roughly a 40 minute walk from the terminus to assembly (although if you get in touch we may be able to sort out a lift).

Nearest Defibrillator:

West Saltoun

Registration & Start Times


This was primarily online. Look for the ELO flag and tent on the day if you need to pick up a dibber. Some entry on the day (EOD) will be offered subject to map availability.

Please select an early start time window if you might take a long time to complete your course. This is particularly important in this season of short daylight.

We will not be allocating formal start times but would ask that competitors come early/middle/late within the start window to avoid congestion.

Start and Finish:

Start times are from 11:00am until 1:00pm.

Start and Finish locations are approximately 600m from assembly area – 500m to reach the wood and then 100m within the wood. Clothing can be left at your own risk at the former car park just inside the wood.

Maps for the White and Yellow course will be available in the start area before you enter the start lanes.

Unless you need to collect a hired dibber, you may proceed straight to the start area.

Courses Close:

The courses will close at 15:00. If you have not completed your course by then, please stop and return to assembly. 
You must report to Download, whether you complete the course or not, so that we know you are not lost or injured in the woods!

Course Information


The map is printed at 1:10,000 with 5m contours.


Sportident (SI) timing will be used and SI cards can be hired free of charge but there will be a charge of £30 if not returned.

Contactless cards can be hired for a fee, please book when entering.

All units except for Start and Finish will be set for contactless punching.

Early starters note that it may not be possible for the planner to get round all the controls in the morning to turn them on. If your card does not flash and beep then punch by ‘dibbing’.

Live results will be available at


There will be White, Yellow, Orange, Light Green, Short Green, Green, Blue and Brown courses.

CourseLength / Ascent Description
White1.7km / 35mVery Easy (suitable for competitive 9-10 year olds and 11-12 year old beginners)
Yellow2.5km / 45mEasy (suitable for competitive 11-12 year olds and 13-14 year old beginners)
Orange3.6km / 55mModerate (suitable for competitive 13-14 year olds and beginner adults)
Light Green3.5km / 80mDifficult
Short Green3.0km / 65mVery Difficult
Green4.0km / 110mVery Difficult
Blue6.0km / 140mVery Difficult
Brown7.7km / 125mVery Difficult

More details about the colour coding is available on the Scottish Orienteering website.


Pete Younger & Trina Rogerson


Sheila Strain


Paul Caban

Other Information:

Planner’s notes on courses …

  • The White course follows paths but Happy Faces signs will be used on faint paths on legs 3 to 4 and 4 to 5. If you see a smiley face 😊you are on the right route. If you see a sad face 😒you have made a wrong turn and need to go back.
  • The Yellow course follows linear features – mainly paths but also rides and a short length of ditch – tape will be used to help on leg 9 to 10
  • Most other courses visit the steep banks of the Birns Water – studded shoes are strongly recommended
  • The Green, Blue and Brown courses are planned to cross the Birns Water twice. On race day, if the river is too deep to cross safely, courses may be shortened to remove the river crossing – or a rope handline may be added to aid crossing and its position will be shown on the blank map displayed in the Start boxes.
  • The Blue and Brown courses cross a broad ride under a power line which has filled with very dense bracken. Two informal crossings have been created, one close to the fence at the southern edge and the other near the northern edge, skirting the pylon on its north-west side.
  • The map includes a non-standard symbol of green dots on a white background which represents scattered young trees.
  • String course – a free follow-the-string course for the very youngest orienteers will be available in the woods near the Finish of the other courses.
  • Please ensure that you check for ticks after your run.

Entry Charges

Orienteering member*
Pair of Seniors£12£14
Pair of Juniors 
(no accompanying adults)
Larger Family Groups 
(one or more children accompanied by one or more adults)
Seniors – Late Entry
(from Monday 21 November)
Juniors – Late Entry
(from Monday 21 November)
*Members of any orienteering club will receive a discount for pre-entry only.

Juniors are under 21 on 31st December.

Safety and Risk

A comprehensive risk assessment has been carried out by the organisers, but participants take part at their own risk and are responsible for their own safety during the event.

in the event of adverse weather conditions (cold or wet), cagoules will be compulsory.

Medical Conditions:

If you, or anyone in your group (including juniors), have a medical condition that first-aiders or health professionals should know about in the event of accident or illness during the course of the event please print off the Medical Form, complete it fully and bring it along to the event.   You should complete a separate copy for each individual who has a medical condition.  Please leave the completed Medical Form at Event Registration.  If it is not in a labelled sealed envelope, it will be put in one and will be opened only in an emergency.  It will be shredded immediately after the event if you do not claim it back.

Please stay away from the event if you suspect that you have Covid.


When entering our events your name will appear in the results section of this website and may appear in newspaper reports.
We may also take photographs at the event for publicity purposes – please let us know if you do not want us to use your photograph in this way.
Read our privacy policy.


  • Winton Estate (Saltoun Wood access)
  • Scottish Woodlands (Humbie Wood access)
  • Greenhead Farm (parking)
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One thought on “Saltoun Wood SoSOL
Sunday 27th November 2022

  1. Pingback: ELO Club Championships 2022 - 27th November - East Lothian Orienteers

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