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Scouting Skills Hiking and map reading are just some of the great skills covered in A Complete Guide to Scouting Skills, available from

hikes, to help with the transition from Scout hall to the real thing. That is where we can teach them to try and make two or three decisions ahead, to put the map aside and walk at some speed until an agreed point is reached. So, the length of some first hikes might be five or six miles, which realistically could take them between four and six hours.

Now check it out yourself Always walk and check every route, especially if it involves fiddly little footpath junctions and farm tracks. Make notes or take photos of confusing junctions which you can add advice upon to their hike instructions. You may decide that a road crossing on a bend is just too dangerous when you see it or you might opt to have someone there to see them across. Finding an inscription on a bench or boundary stone could be a question in a quiz.


• Do everything you can to help your Scouts stay safe. • Give everyone a laminated map section and a compass. • Get them to check every turning with their compass. • Make the route challenging but relatively obvious; we want them to get it right. • Instead of written instructions, simply highlight their route. • Make it fun; hide sweets along the route or give them a laminated picture quiz. • Use small radios to keep in touch as you track them from a little way behind. • Don’t slow them down by making it an ‘incident hike’.

Hike often If Scouts are encouraged to buy some basic hike boots when they join and if map reading and hiking is something you discuss regularly and do at every camp, my experience is that your Troop will accept it as being part of what Scouting is all about and, perhaps begrudgingly, they will become very good at it and enjoy it.

Get in touch Do you have any other top tips for teaching these skills? Are you planning on adopting some of Eddie’s ideas? Let us know at



11/01/2011 12:06


Cross border ties The International Links Scheme is looking for Scout Troops Hiking tips for urban and rural environments Identifying the es...