Balgone Heughs SoSOL
Sunday 24 March 2024

Balgone Heughs SoSOL  Sunday 24 March 2024

Balgone Heughs - photo credit: M. Atkinson

Many thanks to all the 170+ runners who came to take part on a day when the weather was kind and Balgone was looking delightful. Particular thanks to Michael for his courses and to the army of helpers co-ordinated so efficiently by Sheila.

Most notable of many strong performances was Murray Strain winning the Brown course. Murray was formerly Britain’s top-ranked orienteer but runs comparatively few events these days so it was great to see him competing in East Lothian again.

Catering cash donations raised £115 for Mary’s Meals and this does not include the many donations made online.

Planner’s Report

There are a number of constraints at Balgone so courses were planned to allow as many courses as possible to visit the most open sections of woodland rather than spending more time than was needed in the greener areas.  The contrasting sections – craggy, open, undulating – provided some variation and allowed different skills to be tested. 

It was particularly pleasing to see so many being successful on the White and Yellow courses!


  • 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.

Advance Information

Balgone is a relatively new area for orienteering in East Lothian and was professionally mapped for us in 2022 – the longer courses will be using more distant areas of the estate. It is a wooded area with two lochs and plenty of spectacular landscape features.

We are very grateful to James Grant-Suttie and the Balgone Estate for permission to map and use this beautiful area for orienteering.

Orienteers of all abilities are welcome to join us on the day when we will have a range of courses to suit everyone. We have ordered plenty of maps and entries will be available, both online until 6:00pm on Saturday, and at Balgone on the day.

Type of event:

South of Scotland League Event, a Regional/Ranking event.

Balgone Heughs – photo credit: M. Atkinson


  • Shorter courses are limited to the path network around the two lochs.
  • Longer courses also venture along the wooded corridor of the John Muir Way and include some steeper terrain along the great escarpment which runs east to west.
  • Please observe any out of bounds areas including private gardens of houses in the estate.

Other Users:

The area is used by the general public including horse riders, cyclists and families. Please respect their right to be there at the same time as you are orienteering.


Dogs should be kept on leads as there are ground nesting birds in the area


Hot drinks and cake will be available in return for donations to Maggie’s Meals. Donations can be made in cash or online.


There will be toilets at registration / download.


The courses are down a steepish slope from car parking so accessibility for buggies is difficult.


Nearest Town: North Berwick
Grid Ref: NT563824
Nearest Postcode: EH39 5LB


Parking and assembly will be at Balgone Barns just north of the competition area.
Approach from the west only – this is the Balgone road junction near Carperstane at Grid Ref 556 824. This route will be signed from the crossroads on the B1347 at Grid Ref 549 828.
Drivers should not use the access lane from the north although anyone walking or cycling from North Berwick is welcome to use that route.
As the road in is narrow it would help if everyone could arrive by 12:15 and not attempt to leave till after this time.
There will be a parking charge of £2.50 per vehicle – this will be charged to the driver in online entries.

Public Transport

The nearest public transport links are at North Berwick and you can walk, run or cycle south along the John Muir Way to Balgone.

Nearest Defibrillator:


Registration & Start Times


This will be online in advance. Entry on the Day at Registration near the car park – look for the ELO flag.

If would like advice before going out or if you think you will take over an hour please arrive and start early.

Start and Finish:

Start times are from 11:00 am till 1:00 pm. Start times will not be allocated. You should join a queue in the line for your course.

The start is located about 450 metres from parking, southwards on a footpath across a field then down a steepish slope. Finish is located not far from start, and the return to Download is around 600 metres uphill.

White and Yellow maps will be available at the start area.

Courses Close:

The courses will close at 3:00 pm and controls will be collected in after that.  You should aim to start your course with plenty of time to complete it.  

If would like advice before going out or if you think you may take a long time please arrive early and aim to start between 11:00 am and 12:00 noon.

You must report to the Download point, whether you complete the course or not, so that we know you are not lost or injured in the area.

Course Information


The map is printed at 1:7500 with 5m contours.


SportIdent (SI) electronic timing will be used – we will have SIs for hire free of charge but there is a £30 charge if lost. Units, apart from start and finish, will be set for contactless punching.


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

Course Length / Ascent Description
White1.0km / 0mFor competitive 9-10 year olds and 11-12 year old beginners. Follows paths with a control at each choice point.
Yellow2.4km / 15mFor competitive 11-12 year olds and 13-14 year old beginners. Follows line features with controls after choice points.
Orange2.8km / 30mFor competitive 13-14 year olds and beginner adults. Controls near paths or line features.
Light Green3.5km / 70mSuitable for improving orienteers. A more challenging course with navigation away from paths.
Short Green3.8km / 70mSuitable for experienced orienteers. A very challenging course with navigation away from paths.
Green4.9km / 95mSuitable for experienced orienteers. A very challenging course with navigation away from paths.
Blue7.2km / 160mSuitable for experienced orienteers. A very challenging course with navigation away from paths.
Brown8.6km / 200mSuitable for experienced orienteers. A very challenging course with navigation away from paths.

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


Sheila Strain


Michael Atkinson


Ian Pyrah, ESOC

Other Information:

There will also be a free activity/course for youngsters in the field south of parking.

The White course is relatively short, so juniors of that level could also be encouraged to do the Yellow course with someone to coach them through the extra challenge and/or do the activity for juniors which will include a map-reading grid type of activity as well as a variation of a ‘string’ course.

You may enter any coloured course for the league which will recognise competitive pairs who run on the green course; adult novices who run on the orange course and improving adults who run the light green course. 

For details of how the colours relate to the ESOA Championships and Tinto Twin day event, please see the related article.  

Entry Charges

Entry is cheaper if you are a current 2024 member of a club affiliated to Scottish or British Orienteering.

Please ensure that your membership has been renewed for 2024.

Entry TypeBritish Orienteering memberScottish Orienteering memberNon‑member Late Entry
Pair of Seniors£15£16£17+£2
Pair of Juniors 
(no accompanying adults)
Junior and Parent£7£8£9+£1
Family Groups (one or more children accompanied by one or more adults – we would generally encourage families to split up into pairs!)£15£17£19+£1
Second junior course
Entries made after we have ordered maps (Monday 18 March) will be subject to a surcharge.

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:

  • Crags. There are high crags in the area, but courses have been planned to avoid these, and TD1-3 courses stay on the low level.
  • Lochs: All courses go around the two lochs, but controls will all be placed away from the edges. Blue and Brown courses also go past another pond.
  • Barbed wire: the longer courses may go near to a broken barbed wire fence. Where sections have been found they will be marked with black/yellow tape and/or laid flat.
  • Traffic: there could be occasional vehicles on the tracks. Cyclists and horses could be encountered where the John Muir Way is within the area.
  • Livestock: Horses, deer and hares frequent the area. Check for ticks after your run, and wash hands before handling food. Bird-scarers may be in operation near the start which sound similar to gunshots – the estate is aware of the event and there is no shooting taking place.
  • Rough terrain: Participants on TD4 and TD5 courses are advised to wear studded shoes.

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.

Covid: Please do not attend if you or a member of your household has symptoms of Covid-19.


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.

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Sunday 24 March 2024

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