Aldershot Scouts navigate their way back to the great outdoors.

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Youngsters at 1st Aldershot Scouts have been learning to navigate with evening hikes in their local area as they get back together. 

The Scouts have been making the most of the longer evenings and enjoying getting out more since the easing of lockdown restrictions. It's allowed them to get stuck in with both geocaching and a hike using the traditional method of map and compass recognisable to Scouts down the ages. 

Navigation for the digital age

Two Scouts hiking in the woods

It's a sunny Friday evening in May and the Scouts are looking for geocaches in the Southwood area. For the uninitiated, this seems like a peculiar activity but its a modern mix of navigation and a treasure hunt that spans the world. Using a co-ordinate, the scouts were looking for a small container with something special inside.

Section helper Nikki organised the evening and taught the Scouts about her passion for the past-time. Together they learnt how geocaching works, what the items they were searching for could look like and how to find the items - no easy feat.

After using phones and a GPS tracker to navigate to the right area, the Scouts searched high and low for the geocaches and managed to find 5 different ones altogether in various locations. Nikki signed 1st Aldershot into each of the geocaches found and the young people experienced an overwhelming sense of achievement and accomplishment when each ‘cache was located. 

A more traditional method

Two weeks later, the Scouts ventured out again for a wander around the local area on the outskirts of Aldershot with map and compass only stopping to take bearings and look at the route along the way. They enjoyed another warm, sunny evening out walking and learning navigation skills so they'll never be lost again. It was a good chance to put into practice some of the things they had gone through on Zoom sessions during the lockdown period. The Scouts remained in high spirits throughout the hike. 

Back face to face

It's well known that we Scouts thrive best in the outdoors. Is it any wonder so many of our Scouts were rushing back into the great outdoors as soon as it was safe to go ahead? It certainly wasn't for 1st Aldershot.

These navigation sessions were some of the first sessions back for the 1st Aldershot's Scouts who only saw each other in the flesh on the first of that month! And they were itching for a challenge, in this case hiking seven miles from their local Scout headquarters to the top of Caesar's Camp.

Four Scouts enjoy a hike back face to face.

The Scouts donned their daysacks, neckerchiefs and outdoor wear, braving all the elements including very bright sunshine, wind and heavy rain throughout the afternoon. The group made their way along the Basingstoke canal towards the area and ventured up the steep hill (with much relief when they arrived at the top). After seeing some friendly faces of the Beavers and Cubs at the peak, they headed back down to the Aldershot Wellington Statue and their finish line.

“It was great to see the Scouts in person after so long doing Zoom sessions and they were very excitable. They enjoyed walking and being outside with their friends again and it was a great introduction to ease them back into face--to-face Scouting.”

Nathan Barham, Volunteer with 1st Aldershot

Our thanks to the 1st Aldershot Scouts for sharing with us what they've been up to and the fun they've had getting back face to face.

They're looking for more young people aged 10 ½ to 14 years old and adult volunteers to join in and learn skills for life. You can get in touch and learn more by emailing [email protected] or checking them out on Twitter @1stAldershot and Instagram: firstaldershotscouts

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