• Forvie, credit: ActivNorth


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    Balmoral Castle

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    Edinburgh Castle map

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    Stirling Castle map

Forvie, Sun Oct 19

Fast and furious racing at another iconic Aberdeenshire location. The Forvie National Nature Reserve is the best open sand dune orienteering area in Scotland. Then relax on the beach afterwards, and build your own sandcastle!
Incorporating the UK Senior Home International Relay.
Classic orienteering race for standard entrants (50 minute winning time, shorter for juniors, as per Scottish Orienteering League Guidelines)
Relay race for elite runners (M/W21E).


Senior Home Internationals


Event Parking & assembly

Forvie National Nature Reserve Little Collieston Croft Collieston, Aberdeenshire
AB41 8RU, Grid Ref: NK035289, Link to Google maps


Forvie is approx 13 miles north of Aberdeen along the East coast of Scotland

By Car: From Aberdeen take the A90 signed Fraserburgh/Peterhead and after approx 7 miles after leaving the city, turn right onto the A975 (signed Newburgh, the event will be signed from here). In approx 5.5 miles (after passing through Newburgh and passing the Waterside SNH car park) turn right onto the B9003 at the Collieston crossroads. Parking is in 1 mile.


Is in a large flat, stubble field, please follow the marshal’s instructions especially if it is wet. PLEASE ask children/juniors not to climb on any hay bales.

A £1 parking fee is included in the entry fee which will be donated to local cancer charity UCAN at the owner’s request.

The pedestrian exit from the Parking field (during busy arrivals & departures) is via a stile near the entrance gate (for safety reasons) – if required marshals will stop the flow of cars to allow buggies through the gate. The route to Assembly, String Course and the Race the Castles (aka RTC) start will be signed from the stile and the Toilets are just opposite. NB The route to the RTC start follows 2 sides of the parking field which is also bordered by a double wire fence. PLEASE do not attempt to climb the fence except at the stile.


Are welcome in the parking field and in the Forvie National Nature Reserve (under control) but are not allowed in the assembly field (normally used for grazing animals). Please clean up after them anywhere on the site, a stock of poo bags will be available near the toilets and there are bins for disposal near the Visitor Centre. There will be lots of local dogs for yours to meet in the Reserve.


Annabel Drysdale, Reserve Manager for Scottish Natural Heritage or allowing us to use Forvie (again) for orienteering

Mr Andy Harper for the use of the Parking and Assembly fields and his advice on logistics.

Volunteers from Grampian Orienteers and others from within the SOA, with particular thanks to Robin Strain and Rob Hickling for managing SI and Elizabeth Furness for dealing with entries

Red Cross for First Aid cover


Activity Time Comment
Car park opens 08:30 For competitor parking
Information / Registration opens 08:45 EOD, bib collection etc
Elite Men’s Relay call up 09:50  
Elite Men’s Relay Start 10:00  
Elite Women’s Relay call up 10:05  
Elite Women’s Relay Start 10:15  
Race The Castles Starts 10:30-12:00 See note below under RTC starts
String course open 10:30-12:00 Free course using EMIT EPS
Elite Relays Prize giving ~13:00  
SHI Relays & Overall Prize giving ~13:15  
Race the Castles Prize giving ~14:00  
Northern Lights Prize giving 1 ~14:30  
Courses Close 14:30 Please report to download by then

General Information

  • The Nature Reserve is popular with local families and dog walkers, please show them consideration if your paths should cross, especially as the last control is at the main gate into the Nature Reserve. The Reserve is Out of Bounds until after your run.
  • All competitors must wear a bib, replacement bibs, if mislaid, can be collected at Information/Registration.. RTC competitors should wear the numbered bibs used for the other RTC races, Relay competitors have Team Names and a coloured band indicating the leg order (red, white & blue).
  • The terrain is very open (little undergrowth) and the wearing of shorts will be allowed (although not recommended due to the marram grass and it being October in NE Scotland!). Body cover is mandatory however.
  • In the event of bad weather competitors may be required to carry/wear a waterproof – a notice to this effect will be displayed at the exit to the parking field.
  • The longer courses visit the remote southern end of the reserve which during WWII was an army training ground. Please do not touch or pick up any metal objects.
  • There will be limited rubbish collection facilities (bin bags, etc). Please take rubbish away with you.
  • Whistles are not mandatory but are recommended.
  • All competitors must go to DOWNLOAD in the Assembly field even if they do not complete their course so that they can be accounted for and not designated as LOST.
  • No water will be provided at the Finish and there will be no water points on any courses
  • Competitors take part at their own risk.
  • Both the route to the RTC start and String course (and possibly the queue for the toilets) share a short section of the access road (one-way system) to the Nature Reserve Visitor Centre car park which will be in use by members of the general public. Please look out and listen for cars and supervise children.


Is in the southern corner of a large sloping field accessed via a gate just behind the toilets and will contain the following facilities

  • Finish for all courses
  • Start/Change-over for SHI/Elite relays
  • Information / Registration
    • White & Yellow map collection
    • SI dibber hire
    • EOD (whilst maps / time slots are available) for the RTC courses
    • Bib collection for the relays
    • Car key deposit & solo runners check-in
    • Start Lists & Blank maps of the area
    • RTC standings (from previous races)
    • Lost property and children
    • On the day results
  • Shelters for the SHI/elite relay competitors
  • First Aid courtesy of the Red Cross
  • PA announcements
  • Catering – 2 Junior fundraising stalls providing hot soup& bread, cakes, hot & cold drinks
  • Space forClub tents but NO BANNERS please as the area is crossed by a Power Line
  • Excellent spectator viewing of the runners at the final controls

NB As cows will have previously grazed this field please pay attention to hand hygiene, especially before eating, to prevent contamination.


The nearest hospital with an Accident and Emergency departments is

Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Foresterhill Rd, Aberdeen AB25 2ZN 0845 456 6000.

Directions available at Information


This event will be using SI, dibbers may be hired at Information, but please note that there will be a charge for any hired SI cards (dibbers) that are lost ie

  • £65 for SIAC type (mostly used by Elites)
  • £35 for all other types

Elite Relays

The entry process for the Elite Relays at Forvie requires each team member to enter as an individual through Fabian4 (this is to enable you to take advantage of the 5 race package). Team declaration forms will be available below or the Information point at Edinburgh and Stirling.

Download the Relay Team Declaration Form, all teams must be declared by 2pm on Saturday 18th October


The SHI/Elite Relays Start

is in Assembly – there will be some dedicated shelters available in case of bad weather

Men’s Relay call up 09:50
Men’s Relay Start 10:00
Women’s Relay call up 10:05
Women’s Relay Start 10:15

Maps will be issued from the map issue tent after the relevant call-up, please use the clear unit before entering. Please check that the map label matches your bib number.

NB: There is a low fence adjacent to the Start triangle which will be marked with tape, please take care.

The RTC start

is a 500m (10 minute) walk, signed and taped (white tape) from the exit from the Parking Field (or 600m from Assembly), along easy paths. There will be a PreO course on the route to the start - a few TrailO controls which may help you get a feel for the map before you start. Allow an extra 10-15 minutes to do the PreO. Register and collect a map at the exit from the parking field. Maps can be left at the PreO finish which is close to the main start.

There are no toilets at the Start and no clothing transfer.

Start Times: 10:30-12:00

NB The condensed start time interval is designed such that the prize giving’s are as early as possible to allow our overseas guests to start their return journeys as soon as possible. Anyone who requested a late split start will be given a punching start if required, please arrive at the Start as soon as possible. These runners will be notified to the Start team (who will wait for you) and only they will be afforded this facility.

Please arrive in plenty of time for your start which will be a timed (not punching) start. Anyone who arrives late will be slotted in at the next appropriate time and given a punching start (which may be rescinded if the Controller deems their excuse not to be reasonable).

Call up will be at -4 minutes and blank maps and loose control descriptions (they are also printed on the map) will be available in the start lanes. Don’t forget to clear your SI dibber in the pre-Start area.


The Finish for all courses (RTC & Relays) is in Assembly although there are separate finish controls and download stations

  • RTC competitors should bear right when entering the Finish field and follow the tapes
  • Relay competitors (both SHI and Elite relays) should bear left to the change-over line then follow the tapes turning right to their finish and download

NB There will be a marshal at the field entrance to direct runners into the correct lane, please ensure your bib is visible.


Course Length km Climb m
Mens Elite Relay 7.3 200
Womens Elite Relay 6.2 185
Race the Castles Courses TD Length km Course Climb m Junior Classes Senior Classes
          M W M W
2 5 7.8 Brown 180 M18 M20   M21 M35 M40  
3 5 6.5 Short Brown 135     M45 M50 M21S W21
4 5 5.2 Blue 125 M16 W18 W20 M55 M60 M35S M40S W35 W40
5 5 3.9 Short Blue 115 M18S M20S   M65 M45S M50S W45 W50 W21S
6 5 3.4 Green 100   W16 M70 M60S M55S W55 W60 W35S W40S
7 5 2.9 Short Green 85   W18S W20S M75 M80 M70S M65S W65 W70 W75 W80 W45S W50S W55S W60S
8 4 2.7 Light Green 80 M14 M16B W14 W16B    
9 3 3.7 Long Orange 75        
10 3 2.2 Orange 50 M12 M14B W12 W14B    
11 2 2.1 Yellow 30 M10 M12B W10 W12B    
12 1 1.1 White 20 M10B W10B    

String course

There will be a free String Course using EMIT EPS for the under 10’s, which is a 5 minute buggy friendly stroll from Parking although the String Course terrain is somewhat physical. The course will be open from 10:30-12:00 and the theme is Peter Rabbit & Friends.

NB Both the route to the RTC start and String courses (and possibly the queue for the toilets) share a short section of the access road (one-way system) to the Nature Reserve Visitor Centre car park which will be in use by members of the general public. Please look out and listen for cars and supervise children.

Map Collection

Maps will be collected from the Leg 1 & leg 2 relay finishers which will be returned to them once all relay competitors have started.

Sands of Fovie terrain


Fast, runnable open sand dunes with exceptional contour detail and a limited path network
The dune system at Forvie is one of the best examples of its kind in Europe. The northern part of the reserve is dune heath; a rare mix of heather, crowberry and lichens with wet hollows and patches of bare sand.


Sand of Forvie map segment

Re-mapped in summer 2014 by DOLM (Jon Musgrave) with new contour interpretation from LiDAR by Stirling Surveys.

Scale - 1:10000 for Relays and Brown (Course2), 1:7500 for all other courses

Contour interval 2.5m

Printed on waterproof paper with control descriptions on the front in sizes from A4 to A3.


Will be

  • Displayed in Assembly
  • Linked from the Race the Castles and GRAMP web sites as soon as possible after the event (including routegadget, winsplits, splitsbrowser etc.).
  • Live results will also be pushed to the outside world.
  • Available in Assembly using WIFI. For the IT literate here are the details (no password required)
    SSID soa_results


We will do our very best to stick to these timings

Elite Relays 13:00

SHI Relays & SHI overall 13:15

Race the Castles 14:00

Northern Lights 1 14:30

If you are a prize-winner please make every effort to stay for the prize-giving, but if you can’t please nominate a deputy (first 3 in each class for Relays and King of the Castles).

NB The King of Castle completion prizes (based on 4 races) will only be awarded to the first 3 in each of the ‘Standard classes’ ie not the Junior B or Adult Short courses


Shadowing (or taking part as a pair) is only permitted on the White-Light Green courses (courses 8-12) and must be noted in the online entry system or reported to the Start marshal at call up . The person shadowing must complete their own run before shadowing and they must not pick up a map at the start.

Event Photography


Chris Spencer (freelance photographer and Moravian orienteer) will be at Forvie taking photos in the assembly area, run in to finish, start and more importantly in the competition areas in and around the controls. The photos will be uploaded his website and will be available for viewing by the general public and for purchasing. . Visit the website (which gets referrals and views from orienteers in and outside the U.K) to see his photos from previous Scottish 6 days events eg OBAN2011 & MORAY2013. NB Some photographs maybe used for marketing and publicity, eg SOA publicity, club websites and newspaper reports etc.

If individuals wish to take photos, please note “ In accordance with British Orienteering Child Welfare Policy and Procedures, we request that any person wishing to engage in any video, zoom or close range photography should make themselves aware of British Orienteering policy. Organisers reserve the right to challenge anyone who is giving cause for concern”

If anyone has concerns about inappropriate or intrusive photography they should raise them with the Day Organiser.

Complaints, Protests and Appeals

In the first case the competitor should discuss any concerns with the Planner, Controller or Organiser (via Information dependent on the problem). If this does not resolve the issue then a Complaint should be made to the Day Organiser (in writing using a form available at Information). A Complaint should be made as soon as possible after the problem is identified and no more than 15 minutes after the last result has been displayed.


Tony Carlyle (AIRE) Tim Sands (BASOC) Allan Williams (WCH)


Planner: Ian Searle [GRAMP]

Controller: Andy Oliver [MAROC]

Day Organiser: Jayne MacGregor [GRAMP]

(m) 07979901151


1. The Northern Lights is an annual inter-club competition staged by the North and North East Scotland clubs. Trophies (open to any SOA club member) to be awarded are

  • M/W 10
  • M/W 12
  • M/W 14
  • M/W 16
  • M/W 18
  • M/W 21
  • M/W 35
  • Pitgaveny Cup for the best performance by a North Junior
  • Contours Trophy for the best performance by a North Veteran

Nearby places of interest

Slains Castle(s), download a PDF with more details


Last edited: 22nd Oct 14