Scottish Night Championships: Balmoral

Sat 25th Feb 2023

Type of event: Regional Race, Night
Type of terrain: Forest
Info updated: 26th Feb


To celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Maroc and Grampian's Deeside Night Cup Series ("The Toughest Night Series in the Country") MAROC is pleased to host the Scottish Night Champonships at Balmoral on Royal Deeside.

Two further events will make this a memorable weekend of Orienteering.

Saturday afternoon: MAROC Ballater Sprint.

Sunday morning: GRAMP Balmedie Regional Event. 

Balmoral Final Details

Facilities Update: First Aid cover will be provided by 'Active First Aid Scotland', located at the Finish. Hot food and drinks will be available from 'Scoff' caterers outside the Event Centre at Easter Balmoral Hall. 

Entries Update: To be competitive for the Scottish Championships you must enter the Course appropriate to your Age Class. If you wish to run a shorter course feel free to enter the course of your choice by selecting an older age class for Seniors or younger for Juniors. Entries can be modified at any time up to the closing date.

Note: Courses 01 to 05 are Technical Difficulty 5 (Green standard and above). See: Scottish-Night-Championships-Rules-and-Guidelines

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Nearest town: Ballater

Pre Event Info

Balmoral Forest covers several low hills adjacent to Balmoral Castle grounds. It comprises good quality runnable forest which has been largely unaffected by the 2021/22 winter storms. There is abundant rock and contour detail throughout and a sparse trail network linking the royal memorial cairns. The area has only been used three times previously, most recently for the British Championships in 2018 and the Scottish Championships in 2016.

Competitor safety is very important and the carrying of whistles and a spare torch or battery is mandatory. Clothing appropriate for the weather is essential and the wearing of cagoules may be made compulsory up to and including on the day of the event. The carrying of mobile phones is strongly advised to facilitate rescue in the unfortunate event. Competitors take part at their own risk. 

Many thanks to the Balmoral Estate and estate staff for allowing us to hold this event and being so helpful in the run up to the event. The castle is closed at the moment but will reopen in the Spring.

We are also very grateful to Royal Lochnagar Distillery for generously allowing us to use their car park. The Distillery is open from 10 am to 4pm and is well worth a visit. They have a lovely warm coffee shop (last orders 3.30pm). Why not combine a whisky tour with your visit to Royal Deeside? Bookings can be made online. 

You should not attend the event if you are showing any symptoms of Covid 19. The event will be managed to take account of Scottish Government & SOA guidelines.

Directions / Parking

We are delighted to have the prestigious Balmoral Estate, Crathie, Ballater as a venue for the 2023 Scottish Night Orienteering Championships, with the Event Centre based at Easter Balmoral Hall, GR NO 266941. A map of event logistics is here.

Car & Minibus parking will be at the Royal Lochnagar Distillery, AB35 5TB, by kind permission of the distillery. The car park is an 600m walk to the Hall and will be taped and signed.

Motor homes are to be parked at the Crathie Visitor Car Park across the bridge from the main Castle Entrance (w3w: ///intrigued.bookshop.zoned), 1.2km walk to the Hall. There is a charge of £5/day or £10 overnight for motorhomes. 

The 201 bus route travels along the A93 from Aberdeen to Braemar, passing through Crathie with a stop adjacent to the Visitor Car Park, 1.2km walk to the Event Centre at Easter Balmoral Hall.

Registration & Start Times

All entrants must have pre-registered beforehand and there will be no entry on the night.

Start Time Window: 6.45pm to 7.45pm approx. Start times will be published on Sientries during the week before the event. 

Event Information Point and Download will be located in Easter Balmoral Hall. Hired SI cards can be collected here.

Course Information

Course Details.

01: 7.5km  350m        M20, MO

02: 5.1km  245m        MV(40+)                              W20, WO

03: 4.5km  180m        M18, MSV(55+)                   WV(40+)

04: 3.2km  165m        M Junior(16-), MUV(65+)     W18, WSV(55+)

05: 2.3km  120m        MHV(75+)                           W Junior(16-), WUV(65+), WHV(75+)

06: 2.0km  110m         Novice (TD2 course, Yellow standard)

Subject to final controlling.

Course 6 (Novice) is all on paths.

SIAC Timing will be used. Start and Finish units must be punched.

Reflectors on stakes will be used to mark control locations. Standard red/white kites will only be present (in addition to a reflector) at the start triangle and finish. An example control will be on display outside the Event Centre.


The map is ISOM17, 5m contours updated by DOLM in Jan 2023. Courses 1 and 2 will be printed at 1:10,000 and courses 3-6 at 1:7,500. Control descriptions will be printed on the map and loose descriptions will be provided at the start. Blank maps in start lane. There will be event official contact numbers printed on the map, should assistance be required.

Start and Finish

The Start will be signed following reflective canes from the Event Centre and is approximately 800m (allow 10-15 minutes). There will be a kit check half way. Call up will be at -4 minutes and you will start 'by punch'. The start area is close to some residential properties so please respect their privacy and keep noise to a minimum.

After punching at the Finish, follow the reflective canes from Finish to Download in the Event Centre. Please do this as quickly as possible and please leave muddy/spiked shoes outside the Hall.

It is essential that all competitors download, whether they completed their course or not

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

Enter online by SI Entries here

To be competitive for the Scottish Championships you must enter the Course appropriate to your Age Class. If you wish to run a shorter course feel free to enter the course of your choice by selecting an older age class for Seniors or younger for Juniors. Entries can be modified at any time up to the closing date.

Closing date: Sunday 19th February 2023. Limited entry may be available after this date depending on map availability.

Seniors: £15

Juniors/Students: £8

Novice Course: £4

SI Cards can be hired free of charge.

No SIAC card hire available.


Easter Balmoral Hall is a late Victorian era Highland Village Hall. Please respect its quaint charm. It is a large warm space with plenty of room to congregate and to leave kit at your own risk. Please remove muddy shoes and shoes with spikes before entry.


We hope to have Live results available on the night. We aim to present trophies as soon as possible after 9.15pm.


Portaloo toilets will be available outside the Hall with additional toilets inside. Toilets are also available at the Distillery until 4pm. The public toilets in both Crathie and Braemar are currently closed, the nearest public toilets are in Church Square, Ballater (8am – 6pm).


'Scoff' catering van will be outside the Hall selling a variety of hot food and drinks. Complimentary hot drinks will also be available in the kitchen but please bring your own mugs if possible. We hope to have home bakes on sale too.

First Aid

'Active First Aid Scotland' first aiders will be situated at the Finish, otherwise please alert the Information Point in the Hall or call the mobile number on the map.

Contacts / Officials

Planner: Nick Hale (MAROC)

Organisers: Caz Dudley and Pat Graham (MAROC)

Controller: Ian Hamilton (GRAMP)

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.
Participants in orienteering should be aware of the risk of tick bites - more information here.

SPORTident timing will be used

Please note that a lost hire SI-Card will be charged for at a rate of £30, unless the Club Commitee agrees that there are special circumstances.


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