In Scouting, a favourite activity of the young people is going hiking. Whenever we do this activity, there is always a team of leaders who work away in the background to plan the route and keep things safe and secure for the participants. In these unusual times, especially if face-to-face Scouting is currently suspended, this is not always possible so we are pleased to have the support of many parents and carers who are actively helping young people to keep Scouting. We have produced this short checklist of some simple and straightforward things that you may want to consider as you help your young people to prepare for taking part in shirehike.
The shirehike routes vary in difficulty, length and terrain so it’s best to always be prepared. Check out our suggested kit list for taking on a hike here.
Make sure you study the route carefully before you set out and don’t forget to take a copy of the map with you along with a compass to help you navigate. Choose a route that matches your capabilities as a walker. If you can’t manage any of the longer walks you can complete several shorter walks over the period to get the higher badge levels.
Don’t set off alone, it is always best to walk with other people, and it is advisable to let someone else know (who is not going on the walk with you) where you are going and when you plan to be back – don’t forget to let them know when you have arrived back safely too.
Take a first aid kit with you (just in case) along with enough water and food to last you for the walk. Also make sure you have some way of getting help if you need (i.e. a mobile phone with fully charged battery)
Please always follow the latest Government advice. And if you are a leader planning the activity as part of group meeting please make sure you check the activity is allowed under the current readiness level and have the appropriate COVID restart risk assessments in place.
Walking is still subject to the government guidelines. Make sure you check what the current guidelines are around social distancing etc at the time of your walk. Please comply with all the current guidelines regarding who you walk with and be aware of other walkers making sure to give them plenty of space as you pass.
Many will want to post about their walks on social media and we do encourage this using the #Shirehike hashtag. However remember to keep your social media posts appropriate by following our guidelines for online Scouting. You may also want to avoid posting things that reveal your precise location.
For a young person to be taking part in shirehike outside of an organised scout meeting, they will need to have talked about it with their parents or carers who will be giving their permission/approval of them doing it. Remember, parents and carers, you will be the responsible adult on the scene so the young person is dependent upon you for their safety and well-being.
We hope that you find these guidelines useful. We will keep them updated with any new information we have from time to time. Remember to keep your Scouting Section Leaders updated with any hikes you do so that they can track them against any badges they can award.
Keep yourselves and your young people safe and have lots of fun!