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    Organiser: Tessa Strain

    Dates: 30 & 31st July 2016

    Event Centre: Balmacara

    Final details are available here

    You can turn up and run at any of the events during the Purple Thistle 2016 - don't worry if you have not entered in advance.

    Competitors will get the chance to orienteer twice on the epic Balmacara, a stunningly wild open rocky hillside with distracting views of Skye.

    There will also be an additional event on the Saturday evening on the newly mapped area called The Plock. This is a mixed area of community parkland, open rocky hills, and a bit of urban terrain - the last bit of mainland Scotland before the Skye bridge.

    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.

    Profits from the event will be going to support the Scottish Elite Development Squad

    Event Centre 2016

    Balmacara Square, Balmacara, near Kyle of Lochalsh

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    The Races 2016
    Saturday 30 & Sunday 31 July

    The program for the weekend is as follows:

    • Saturday pm - Middle-ish distance (net downhill) - Balmacara
    • Saturday eve - Middle-ish distance - The Plock
    • Sunday am - Classic distance - Balmacara


    As usual we will probably be providing 5 main courses (along with a string course) each day, so there's sure to be one to suit any ability. The following is a rough guide to help you choose (estimated distances for Saturday/Sunday):

    • Mighty Thistle ~ 6km/11km – TD5 - Technically & Physically demanding
    • Big Thistle ~ 5km/9km – TD5 – Same technical level but shorter.
    • Medium Thistle ~ 4km/6km – TD5 - As Technical but without the distance
    • Small Thistle ~ 3km/4km - TD4 – Slightly easier & shorter, suitable for progressing intermediates
    • Baby Thistle ~ 2.5km/2.5km – TD2/3 - Suitable for beginners and young juniors - Equivalent to Yellow/Orange

    For The Plock, we'll be providing the following courses (estimated distances):

    • Course A (6km) - As technically and physically tough as the area allows. Possible road crossings.
    • Course B (4km) - Same technical difficulty, but slightly shorter. No road crossings, so suitable for under 16s.
    • Course C (3km) - Suitable for beginners and young juniors - Equivalent to Yellow/Orange

    Beginners information for The Plock:

    • We welcome everyone to come and try orienteering at the event at The Plock on Saturday 30th July.
      All you'll need is a pair of trainers (although if you have a compass that would be useful).
      There will be a course for beginners and help will be on hand to get you started on your course.
    • Park anywhere in Kyle and walk up to the old toll booth. Registration will be a short walk (signed) from there. We will be there between 5.30-8pm.
      You are welcome to go round as an individual or as a group. It will cost 3 per map for under 21s, 5 for adults. Hiring an electronic timing chip costs 1.
      If you have any queries please contact Tessa Strain


    Pre-entries advised online only via, closing on July 10th.

    You can turn up and run at any of the events during the Purple Thistle 2016 - don't worry if you have not entered in advance.

    Entry fees per day:

    • Seniors - £8 (Balmacara) / £5 (The Plock)
    • Students/Juniors - £3
    • Electronic punching hire - £1

    Camping fees:

    • £4 per person, per night (no charge for under 8s)

    Profits from the event will be going to support the Scottish Elite Development Squad

    Enter online now.

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    Event Centre & Event Accommodation:

    The Forestry Commission have very kindly allowed us to camp at Balmacara Square. Camping fee - 4 pppn. No charge for under 8s.

    Mixture of field and hard-standing. Toilets on site. 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.

    Location: View on Google Maps

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

    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 from Inverness 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.

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