Tayside Orienteers


“Not the JK”

Image of the Balkello Hill map

Sun 16th Apr 2017

Last updated: 17th Apr
Type of event: Local
Type of terrain: Moorland, Woodland
Read more about the mapped area


Results and split times


TAY put on a local event over the Easter weekend for those orienteers who were not travelling to the Jan Kjellstrom International Festival of Orienteering.

With the JK taking place in the south east of England this year we once again organised our own event, this time at Balkello near Dundee. Thanks to everyone who took part and special thanks to Planner Roos and Organiser Pete, and their merry band of helpers! 


Nearest town: Balkello

Pre event information

Balkello is a Forestry Commission area of mixed woodland, open grassy areas and ponds with an open hillside, old quarry workings, mountain bike trails and dense patches of gorse above. There are some areas of scree or loose rock; take care if crossing these as they can slip underfoot.  On the hillside there are many area of broken ground mapped; these are generally a series of small indentations with the larger ones mapped as pits or depressions. 

Balkello can be affected by low cloud. The Organiser will advise if any additional safety measures are required on the day. Courses have been planned to avoid being above or in the quarry workings . 

Being only 5 miles from Dundee it is a popular area for locals to walk dogs, ride bikes and horses.

Ticks are a potential hazard; please ensure you and any children in your care are checked after their run.

There are some steep home-made mountain bike trails marked on the map (a very obvious zig zag on the open hill and linked paths above and below). The courses are planned to minimise conflict but this depends on route choice.

Directions / Parking

Follow directions to  Balkello Community Woodland Car Park

NB: When you're driving along the A923/B954 through Muirhead: ignore the signs about road closure and diversion - this closure is not until after the turn-off at Auchterhouse so does not affect the event.

From A90 southbound at Tealing, turn right on to minor road for Auchterhouse. Balkello aprox 6km. From eastbound A90, take A923 towards Coupar Angus, at Muirhead take B954 for Auchterhouse; after approx 4km turn right (Kirkton of Auchterhouse/ Tealing). Balkello 4km.

Car parking: Either in the main car park or overflow parking in a level(ish), well-drained field on the right as you come in to the main car park. Please follow any signage/marshall’s directions. Please remember the general public will also be using this car park so do not obstruct the entry/exit track.


There are no toilet facilities at Balkello.

Club members - if able to help with set up/tidy up please contact Pete.

Registration & Start Times

Registration open from 11:00

Starts between 11:30 and 1pm

Courses close 3pm

Course Information

Yellow: 2.2k, 85m climb
Orange: 2.5k, 120m climb
Green: 3.1k, 210m climb
Blue: 4.8k, 275m climb

The walk to the start is an easy 10 minutes on a good path.The start is a bit lower than one used previously which means the courses start with an uphill section.The finish is at the car park.

All courses have a fair amount of climb, and include steep sections with mud and/or scree, which may become very slippery if wet. Please contact the organiser if you are not sure whether the yellow is suitable for your child to do on their own.

All controls on the orange course are within easy access of a path this time, though there is an optional shortcut through steep heather for those who feel like it.

The green and blue course cross onto the eastern hill where there may be livestock (most likely sheep, but there have been cattle in the past). Please remember to close gates behind you.

Compared to previous events at Balkello the terrain is more runnable, as the bracken and thistles have not come up yet. This has opened up a couple of routes that were not possible before. All courses, especially the blue, offer stunning views over the Tay and beyond.

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

Please contact the Organiser with a few days' notice  to reserve a map if at all possible.

TAY/SOA/British Orienteering adult - £5

Non TAY//SOA/BOF adult Fee - £7

TAY/SOA/British Orienteering junior - £2

Non TAY/SOA/BOF junior - £3

Family Group- Pays 1 adult fee and gets 1 map. £1 for every extra map. 

Contacts / Officials

Organiser: Pete Clinch  p.j.clinch@  dundee.ac.uk (remove spaces after @)

Planner: Roos Eisma roos.eisma@  gmail.com (remove spaces after @)

Dogs allowed?

The area is popular with dog walkers. Please ensure you keep your dog/s under proper control and clear up after them.

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.

Keep It Clean campaign - Forestry Commission Scotland

Our forests are at risk from tree pests and diseases. These can dramatically affect the health of our trees, upsetting the delicate ecosystem balance and devastating large areas of woodland.
Pests and diseases hitch a ride in mud and debris on shoes, paws and tyres, ending up in new forests. Here, they can spread rapidly in environments with no natural resilience.
Read more about this on the FCS website.


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