NIOC 2021

Saturday 16th October 2021 – Classic/Long Distance Championship – Cavan Burren

Location and Directions

The NIOC 2021 is at Cavan Burren, venue of IOC 2019.

The event will be signposted from Blacklion.

Grid Reference: H 073 351                    Lat N 54.264919, Long W -7.888118,-7.8925456,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x485e5c00ba2e6e3f:0x77ac967d948fab5d!8m2!3d54.2628173!4d-7.8903569

Parking & Assembly

Parking is limited with most places alongside a forest road. It is a 500m walk to the pre-Start from the Assembly. Competitors should take care and allow plenty of time.

Due to Covid 19 protocols competitors are asked to limit their time spent at the Assembly area to a minimum and maintain social distancing at all times. 

The finish is adjacent to Assembly. 

Map & Control Descriptions

The area was first mapped in 1993 by Barry Dalby of East-West Mapping and subsequently updated by Bill Simpson. An extensive revision and update has been made for this event by Pat Healy in 2018/2019, including adjustment to ISOM17. 

Control descriptions will be printed on the map and available in the Start lanes.

The map will be printed on waterproof paper. The map is available on Routegadget.


Both SI and SIAC cards will be acceptable.

Draft Course Combinations        

CourseClass (NB non-championship)ScaleLength (km)Climb (m)Controls
2M18E, M20E, W21E1:150008.133520
3W18E, W20E1:150006.616519
4M35, M40, M45, (M21L)1:100007.429518
5M16, M50, (M Long)1:100006.215519
6M55, M60, W35, W40, (W21L)1:100005.110515
7M65, W16, W45, W50, (W Long)1:100004.510014
8M70, W55, W60, W65, (M Short)1:100003.68011
9M75+, W70+, (W Short)1:100002.13010
10M14, W14, (M/W16S, M/W18S)1:100003.98512
11M12, W121:100002.2209
12M10, W101:100002.33012

Start Process

There will be a pre-Start at -10 minutes.

It will be a punching start. Start times will be assigned in the days before the competition and will run from 10.30 to 14.00. Courses will close at 16.00. 

At the pre-Start and in the arrival area at the Start-proper competitors are requested to maintain social distancing and a ‘silent start’ atmosphere.

In the interest of safety, all orienteers will be checked out at the PRE-START. Clear, Check and Battery Check (for SIAC cards) will be located in the pre-Start area. It is the responsibility of each competitor to ensure that they have cleared their SI/SIAC card.

Call-up at the START-PROPER will be at -3 minutes. Hand sanitiser will be available and competitors are requested to use it before proceeding along the start boxes. All competitors must PUNCH the START BOX and check they have taken the correct map.

Start times will be available on SI entries in the week leading up to the event.

Finish Process

You must PUNCH a FINISH BOX to record your finish time. This is especially important when using SIAC.

ALL COMPETITORS must download whether they have completed the course or not.

Any rental SIACs MUST be returned to organisers at download.

Entry on the Day

There will be no entry on the day due to Covid 19 protocols

Clothing Transfer

Parking, Start, Finish and Registration are fairly close to each other so no clothing transfer will be provided.

Terrain notes


This is very mixed and complex terrain. The underlying geology is limestone which typically produces interesting contour detail, depression features, crags, pits/caves and in places bare rock (limestone pavement). On top of this the ice age left innumerable sandstone boulders.

The Open area is typical farm upland with areas of fast close-cropped grassland and rough moorland. There are many fences and ruined walls most of which are in poor condition but relatively easily crossed; please report any damage. Crossing points marked along the forest edge or in the open are for competitors’ convenience; they are not compulsory.

Of the area to be used the Cavan Burren Forest takes up about 25%. However, over the last 10 years 66% of it has been clear felled with most of that re-planted or left for scrub re-growth; all best avoided! The remaining third is mature conifer plantation which will be visited by all courses with a high density of control sites (check your codes!). This is a very complex piece of forest, but not only because of the geology and boulders.

The forest poses difficult underfoot conditions. In its exposed position on this high ground there is wind blow debris across the forest, some of it is isolated trees and in other places concentrated damage. Lichens and moss grow profusely covering some of this debris, walls and also areas of limestone pavement. The undergrowth has pockets of bramble and in summer bracken flourishes. The area has been mapped for late autumn/spring conditions.

Local archaeologists have, over the last 20 years, pieced together evidence of human habitation for at least 5 millennia. The Cavan Burren is now a site of great historical importance with an interesting interpretive centre (beside the car park) and a network of engineered trails and raised double plank boardwalks. The readily available sandstone boulders have been utilised over the centuries to create a variety of tombs, habitation and, in particular, walls. In addition to the permanent trails there are some ‘indistinct paths’, with occasional tapes, created by the archaeologists. They have been mapped but are very indistinct on the ground; like the remnant walls, more easily recognised when followed than when crossed!



There are a large number of boulders generally across the area with a particularly high concentration within the forest. In order to maintain legibility of the map only the largest and most prominent have been shown on the map.

Note that boulders are represented on the map in a number of ways: The normal circular black dot symbol of varying sizes; the gigantic boulder symbol (thick black line in ‘donut’ or ‘polygon’ shapes); boulder fields and clusters (black triangles).

Bare rock and Stony ground

Areas of exposed limestone “pavement” are mapped as the solid light grey bare rock symbol. Note that generally these areas are interspersed with grass and therefore may not appear as distinct on the ground as on the map. Areas of strewn boulders are mapped using the stony ground symbol, i.e. small black dots. Within the forest there are areas of broken limestone pavement which are overgrown in mosses and such like. These areas are represented by the stony ground symbol.

Ruined walls, Remnant ancient walls and Distinct vegetation changes

In the forest where there is a high concentration of boulders there are also numerous ruined walls. Some remnant ancient walls appear as lines of boulders on the ground and so to assist with readability of the map these have been shown as lines of dots (same dots as for stony ground).

Such lines of dots should not be confused with the traditional symbol for distinct vegetation changes. To avoid confusion, distinct vegetation changes are represented by the new ISOM 2017 symbol which is a line of short green dashes.

Semi-open land

The open areas are populated by numerous naturally growing native trees of varying heights (small to medium). Distinct individual trees and bushes are marked with green dots. Where trees are more numerous the semi-open land with scattered trees symbol (white dots) is used. The tree canopies are in places low and this reduces visibility and runnability locally.

Within the forest plantation where previously cut or felled areas have been replanted with young trees, the semi-rough open land symbol with green dots has been used.


There are toilets in the visitors’ centre.


Due to Covid 19 restrictions Prizes will need to be personally collected from the organisers in the Burren Carpark immediately after the Results have been verified (est.16.15)


We would like to thank the many landowners, UNESCO Global Geo-Park and Coillte for permission to orienteer on their land.