Planning tips for a topnotch walk
If you’re planning a walk or expedition, or are feeling inspired by our walks feature in the latest issue of Scouting magazine, here are some tips and resources to get you going
When it comes to walking in Scouting, don’t be put off by the prospect of permits; walks in Terrain Zero territory don’t require a permit. Full definitions of Terrain Zero, Terrain One and Terrain Two are in Chapter 9 of The Scout Association’s Policy Organisation and Rules (POR).
That means you can get your young people reaping the benefits in next to no time – while supporting them to work towards badges. A good walk can contribute to the Scout/Explorer Hill Walker Activity Badge, Hikes Away Staged Activity Badge, My/Our Adventure Challenge Award, or for those doing a walking expedition, the Scout Expedition Challenge Award. This is not to say a walk requires no preparation at all. A prepared walker is a happy walker. To support you and your young people trekking through the great outdoors, we’ve gathered some links to useful resources and guidance.
Something to consider is whether or not you need a permit. Generally, as long as the terrain isn’t too steep or challenging and help is within easy reach, you shouldn’t require a permit. For more challenging terrain however, a permit will be needed. There are various levels of hillwalking permits, determined by factors such as weather conditions, the height of the route and the distance from assistance.
If you’re new to organising walking activities, it’s best to begin with Terrain Zero expeditions, as there are plenty of routes accessible to all sections and abilities and you won’t require a permit. Despite not needing a permit, activity leaders should have the skills and knowledge to complete the necessary risk assessments and activity plans. Take a look at the Terrain Zero Activities factsheet at scouts.org.uk/ terrainzeroactivities for more support.
More practised leaders, who are after more of a challenge for their young people, can choose a route that falls into Terrain One or Terrain Two.
Walking with young people in these terrains will require a permit. If you’re unsure of how to classify the terrain, get advice from your Assistant District/ County Commissioner (Activities) (or equivalent) or a hillwalking adviser.
For Terrain Zero and Terrain One routes, you’ll simply need a standard first response certificate. However, Terrain Two routes require a full first-aid qualification.
What to do before setting off
■ Plan your route. Check out this example route.
■ Be sure to leave a copy with a responsible local member who is not participating in the walk.
■ Ensure the activity is suitable for the age and ability of all participants.
■ Complete a risk assessment using the guidance online.
■ Ensure appropriate supervision and support will be available for the duration of the walk.
■ Make sure Scouting’s adult-to- young-person ratios are adhered to as specified in Chapter 3 of POR.
■ Brief your section: make sure they know what to wear, what to bring and where they’re going.
■ Make sure you have an InTouch process in place.
■ Have a safety plan in case of emergency.
What to bring: the bare essentials
Your equipment requirements will naturally depend on the length and climate of your particular walk.
You could use the Scout Expedition Challenge Award kit list as a guide. But even the simplest walk with your young people will require these essentials:
■ good walking shoes/boots or sturdy trainers
■ a map and a compass/GPS
■ sunblock and sun hat
■ a first-aid kit
■ rain gear
Find accessible routes
Ensure all young people, regardless of their ability, have access to the joys of the outdoors by choosing accessible routes. For those with limited walking ability and wheelchair users, take a look at how to hire equipment such as all-terrain wheelchairs and find out where to go for accessible paths with this guidance from National Parks.
Support young people on their way to gaining top awards
Taking part and planning for a good walk, hike or expedition can contribute to several top awards, such as the Chief Scout’s Bronze/Silver/Gold/ Platinum/Diamond Award, the Queen Scout’s Award and DofE.
For the Scout section, Scouts can complete an expedition for their Expedition Challenge Award.
Information and resources are available at scouts.org.uk/expeditionchallenge. Resources include an expedition planner, a menu planner, a kit list and guidance on how to pack a rucksack.
For factsheets, risk assessments, rules, forms and further guidance on hillwalking in Scouting, click here.
Or contact your Assistant District/ County Commissioner (Activities) (or equivalent) or your local hillwalking adviser.