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    Organising Club: Team Nopesport

    Organiser: Brooner

    Planners: Brooner/Duncan Grassie

    Dates: 14 & 15 August

    Event Centre: Balmacara Square, Balmacara, near Kyle of Lochalsh

    After a years sabbatical, the Purple Thistle weekend returns once again to the calendar for 2010 and once more to the West coast of Scotland. In true PT style we are taking you to another area which will be brand new to almost all, but highly regarded by those who have been there. It certainly offers the usual top quality terrain as we provide another weekend of Barebones orienteering.

    For those of you who do not know of the barebones concept, it is all about taking the fuss out of event organisation as much as possible while still providing an event of the highest quality, with a great atmosphere and enjoyment for all - including the organisers! So all that is left for you is the things that matter for a quality orienteering experience (maps, courses, controls and electronic punching) and a bunch of likeminded people out to enjoy a weekend away from it all in a beautiful part of the country.

    General Information

    The whole event will be based in and around the small village of Balmacara Square, a few miles east of Kyle of Lochalsh and close to the village of Balmacara. Balmacara Square was traditionally the centre of the Balmacara Estate, some 6400 acres in size, with a number of crofts, farmhouses and steadings being built across the area before being bequeathed to the National Trust for Scotland in 1946. The square recently underwent extensive renovation, the centrepiece being the restoration of the steading and barns for use as flats, workshops and shops alongside a landscaped loch. The village rests in a large bowl overlooked by the slopes of Sgurr Mor and Auchtertyre Hill and the lower hills of Coille Mhor with its important remnant oak wood.

    We're putting on this event in co-operation with Lochalsh Woodland Park, a partnership between the people of Lochalsh and the Forestry Commission to provide and promote public access to the woodland and develop community benefits. It is the Lochalsh Woodland Park who have been successful in getting the area mapped (by Jon Musgrave, Deeside Orienteering & Leisure Maps) as a means of encouraging the community and local schools to try orienteering, and we hope the staging of this event will further stimulate interest in the sport and help finance further investment in mapping of the area. We are also grateful for the co-operation of Forestry Commission Scotland and the main landowners the National Trust for Scotland.

    Getting Here (Location Map)

    By car:Balmacara Square is 4 miles East of Kyle of Lochalsh, and approximately 75 miles from Inverness and 180 miles from Glasgow.

    By Air:Inverness Airport is the nearest large airport to Balmacara and is approximately 80 miles away. Numerous airlines fly to Inverness with many cheap flights offered by Easyjet & FlyBe. The airport has bus links to Inverness train and bus stations where you can get onward connections to Kyle of Lochalsh and Balmacara.

    By Train: By rail, the journey takes around 2 and a half hours to Kyle of Lochalsh, where a local bus service could take you to Balmacara Square. ScotRail runs four trains daily (Monday to Saturday) from Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh with two trains on Sundays. For times and prices visit the Scotrail website. To plan your timetable with connecting buses go to the Traveline Scotland website.

    By Bus: Citylink runs a service between Glasgow & Kyle (5:45 hours), and from Inverness to Kyle (2 hours), with both of these services stopping at Balmacara or Balmacara Square by request. Visit the Citylink website for the most up-to-date timetables and pricing information.

    Event Centre & Event Accommodation:

    The event centre for this year will be at Balmacara Square Campsite, a former Forestry Commission campsite that we have exclusive use of for the event, and will provide us with assembly, car parking and camping.

    Location: View on Multimap

    Official accommodation offered will be very basic camping at the event assembly. There will be no showers available, but there is a public swimming pool at Kyle of Lochalsh and public showers available at the Tourist Information car park in Kyle.

    If you do not wish to camp, the area offers a wide range of accomodation options from Hostels and B&Bs to Hotels.


    As per usual, we'll organise some sort of Saturday Night Social to ensure everyone gets the chance to catch up with their friends and fellow competitors, more details will appear closer to the event.

    The Races:

    Day 1 and Day 2: Balmacara

    This area which overlooks Balmacara Square, with views across Loch Alsh to Skye, been mapped thanks to the efforts of Lochalsh Woodland Park and the PT marks its first major event. The terrain is predominantly open moorland, with a mix of short grass and heather, with areas of birch woodland and some managed forest. The area contains a mixture of interesting contour detail and rock features, while if you look up from your map you'll enjoy views across to Skye. Expect a testing physical and technical challenge, which is what competitors have come to expect from the event’s planners and the terrain chosen.

  • Day 1 Starts: 10:30 - 13:30
  • Day 2 Starts: 10:00 - 12:30
  • Microsprint:(tbc)

    We're still looking into organising some sort of race, possibly a microsprint and most likely on the Saturday, if there is anything it'll be entry on the day and we'll let you know more in the final details.

  • Starts: (tbc)
  • Courses:

    As usual we will be providing 5 main courses each day, with one sure to suit any ability. The following is a rough guide to help you choose, day 2 courses will be approx ~10% shorter than stated:

    • Mighty Thistle ~ 12km – TD5 - Technically & Physically demanding
    • Big Thistle ~ 10km – TD5 – Same technical level but shorter.
    • Medium Thistle ~ 6km – TD5 - As Technical the as the mighty but without the distance
    • Small Thistle ~ 4km - TD4 – Slightly easier & shorter, suitable for progressing intermediates
    • Baby Thistle ~ 3km – TD2/3 - Suitable for beginners
    • Thistle Taster ~ 2.0km – TD1 - Available both days, this is permanent course around the event assembly for introducing the sport and map reading to newcomers.


    Entries are available online only via, closing on August 2nd.

    Entry fees per day:

    • Seniors - £6
    • Students/Juniors - £3
    • Electronic punching hire - £1

    Enter online now.