Blog | Get a taste for adventure - 25 hot activities to try
Scouting is about experiencing adventure, facing up to new challenges, learning vital skills and having fun with friends. We’re always looking for the next buzz, so here’s a bucket list of 25 hot activities to try – a mix of adrenaline-fuelled excitement, slick skills to learn, essential knowledge to master and a few crazy things thrown in too, just for kicks.
Get your friends involved or take the kids… what will be your next adventure?
1. Zorbing – few things are more exhilarating than rolling down a hill inside a giant plastic ball! Check out this crazy YouTube video from a group of Explorer Scouts and Scout Network members zorbing near the River Stour. Find out more about zorbing at scouts.org.uk.
2. Freerunning – you’ll have seen freerunning, or parkour, in almost every new big budget Hollywood action movie. It’s often criticised as being dangerous and reckless, but actually parkour is a holistic mind-body discipline that teaches control, self-expression and risk management. Check out leading practitioner Dan Edwardes’ take on the many benefits of parkour for young people. Practice responsibly.
3. Slacklining – one of the coolest activities around at the moment, which Scouts across the UK have embraced wholeheartedly. Slacklining needs minimal equipment but demands a supreme sense of balance, making it an inexpensive yet challenging activity for all ages. Read slackline instructor and performer Harry Cloudfoot’s essential guide.
4. Ghyll scrambling – This challenging activity involves working your way up or down a gorge containing a cascading mountain river. You can traverse along rock faces, hop across boulders, climb up waterfalls, slide down natural rock chutes and plunge into deep pools of water. There’s nothing like it! Get a taste with an Ultimate Adventures package at Great Tower Scout Activity Centre in the heart of the Lake District.
5. Camping with a hammock and tarp – for a wild camping experience, ditch the tent and spend a night out in the open air. Camping with a tarpaulin and hammock is a lightweight backpacking solution that brings you closer to nature. Watch Scout leader Austin Lill’s video guide to rigging a hammock and tarp and you can master the knots in minutes. Then all you need is a 3 to 4 season sleeping bag, a DD hammock and a tarp from Scout Shops to head outdoors…
6. Geocaching – a worldwide phenomenon made possible by cheap and accessible GPS technology. Geocaching is fiendishly addictive, and there are caches everywhere. What can you find? Get started with Scout Leader Eddie Langdown’s essential guide.
7. Pioneering – this classic Scouting activity means making amazing structures from poles and lashings. It’s like making your own adventure playground, and almost anything is possible. Check out this impressive piece of pioneering from Greek Scouts, then grab a free download of Discovery Channel’s pioneering activity pack and learn the ropes – literally.
8. Ninja! – it’s not just a martial art, it’s also a fast-paced game that’s loads of fun. You’ll need dexterity, lightning reactions and agility. It was originally a playground craze that spread across the world, and brought Scouts from all countries together at the last international jamboree. Ninja has even got its own Wikipedia entry. Give it a go!
9. Animal tracking – signs of animals are everywhere, if you know what to look for. Read professional bushcraft instructor Paul Kirtley’s spotter’s guide to identifying tracks and sign – it could open your eyes to a fascinating world of animal activity in your local area.
10. Whittling and carving – Working with wood takes patience and practice, but with a few additional tools such as a crook knife it is possible to make amazing handmade projects including traditional bowls and spoons. Carving is an absorbing hobby, and the best practitioners are truly dedicated to their craft. Visit Jon Mac’s spoon carving blog for ideas and insight into the world of carving.
11. Foraging – food for free? Sounds too good to be true, but foraging in British hedgerows, along woodland trails and in fact almost anywhere can reap rewards. From the ubiquitous blackberry and the nettle to ramsons (wild garlic) and even rarer plants, food can be found in a variety of forms. And it doesn’t end there – read Austin Lill’s guide to make delicious herbal-infused teas from foraged ingredients.
12. Canoeing and kayaking – Get out on the water! Scout Activity Centres teach courses aimed at all skill levels, from beginners’ courses that cover the essentials through to more advanced strokes and techniques. They’ll get you well on the way to becoming a paddling pro. Find out more.
13. Sub-aqua – Fancy exploring a submerged wreck or coming face-to-face with some amazing wildlife? Then sub-aqua could be for you. Learning to snorkel or scuba-dive is now more accessible than ever. Thanks to various organisations including BSAC (the British Sub Aqua Club), you can even try it at your local pool.
14. Pedal car racing – ok, it’s not quite Formula 1, but if you like the sound of track racing action on a budget, then why not design, build and race your own pedal car? Enter the British Pedal Car Championships. Scouts often take part in the National Scout Car Races.
15. Night hiking – being outside at night can be a real adventure, whatever your age. After all, adding one simple ingredient – darkness – can transform a straightforward activity into something altogether more challenging. Read Steve Backhouse’s guide and head on out for a night to remember. Perry McGee’s top 10 tips will keep you safe.
16. Kitesurfing – ready for a unique challenge? How about high-speed racing across water on a surf board, using a power kite to control speed and direction? Stability, strength and control are essential to master this high-adrenaline activity. Find out more at scouts.org.uk.
17. Zip lining – zip wires or aerial runways are a great way to face your fears and experience a real rush. The UK’s longest zip line is at Zip World in Snowdonia, but the activity is available at centres all over the UK – including our very own Scout Activity Centres.
18. Bouldering – low-level rock climbing without ropes offers the safety of crash mats and the exhilaration of free climbing. Bouldering walls can be natural or man-made, indoor or outdoor, and Scouts love it. Some Groups are even lucky enough to have their own walls. Find out more at Mountain Training UK or the website of the British Mountaineering Council.
19. Harlem shake – Ok, it’s not really an adventure, but it is an internet craze that’s taken YouTube by storm. Set the scene, wait for the beat to drop, go wild like these Scouts, upload a video, then sit back and wait for the view count to climb...
20. Bungee running – test your strength and speed against a bungee rope, but be prepared for intense recoil! A great centrepiece for a large event, inflatable bungee runs can be hired from numerous events and activities companies across the UK. Find out more at scouts.org.uk.
21. Crate stacking – build a tower of crates, one at a time, whilst trying to stand on the highest crate. How high can you get before the stack topples over? It’s a great test of balance and technique, and is a favourite activity at Scout campsites and Activity Centres. Check out this video from a crate-stacking aficionado for a view from the top…
22. Potholing and caving – descend into the bowels of the earth to explore caves and shafts, and discover a beautiful, hidden world. You might encounter complex networks of tunnels, water-filled passages and even underground lakes. Find out more.
23. Dragon boating – join a dragon boat crew and paddle to the beat of a drum. It’s a great way to hone your teamwork skills and physical fitness. Dragon boat races are loud and colourful events that have been enthusiastically embraced by rowing and sailing clubs, college and university teams, and of course, Scout Groups. Find your local club.
24. High ropes – climb, run and swing on your own tree-top adventure at a high ropes centre, which have sprung up all over the country in the last few years. Of course, Scouts have been doing it longer than anybody, so why not go to the experts at Scout Activity Centres?
25. Hovercrafting – taking place over land or water (and often both), hovercrafting is a unique experience. Race or cruise around tracks and courses, like this Air Scout Group, who raced two craft this year thanks to the support of the Jack Petchey Foundation. If you’d like to try it yourself, The Hovercraft Club of Great Britain, the national governing body for the UK, is a good source of information.
Scouts take part in more than 200 different activities – and you too can join the adventure.
If you’re already a Scout member planning any of these activities, you are automatically insured under The Scout Association’s policies. However, if you are allowing members of the public to take part, please speak to Unity about additional insurance you may need.