Record numbers of Scouts from across Nottinghamshire, all aged 6 to 18, are set to take part in the annual NESST challenge hikes, which begins today. The event, now in its 28th year, has become an absolute favourite in the annual Scouting programme of events and has grown year on year.

  • Over 1,400 youngsters take part in 1 of 4 challenge walks
  • 500 6-8 year olds (Beaver Scouts) to explore wintery wildlife and countryside in a 2.5 mile ramble
  • 400 8-10½ year olds (Cub Scouts) to learn the importance of map reading and navigation in 4 mile mini-hike
  • 500 10½ – 18 year olds (Scouts and Explorer Scouts) will work in small teams to test their navigation and emergency response skills whilst on either a 10 or 18 mile overnight hike
  • The Scouts will raise thousands of pounds for event hosts, the Nottinghamshire Emergency Scout Support Team (NESST), who provide support to communities when emergencies occur

Tomasz, a 7 year old Beaver from Notts said, “I’ve had a great time, I’ve really enjoyed looking out for the clues and learning how to read the map to see where we are going.”

Megan, 16 years old from Notts said, as she pitched her tent ready for when the walk was over, “Last year our team did the short walk, it was really snowy and a real challenge. We got a bit lost, but managed to find the right path. I think we finished at about 2 in the morning! We’re back this year for the long walk and want to win the prize for the fastest team around the 19 mile course. We’re hoping to finish before it gets light!” she added.

An organising team of adult volunteers of cooks, navigators, radio controllers, survival experts, and winter walking leaders have been planning and preparing for the event over recent months and believe this will be the best NESST yet!

Event organiser, Keith Morris said, “It’s all about providing fantastic opportunities that challenge our youngsters. We want to put the skills they learn for life at their regular Scouting meetings to the test. What would they do to find their way in an unknown environment, how do they work as a team under pressure, how would they respond upon discovering a casualty who required first aid. This year’s event will test all of these things and more!”

In a first for the event, the Scouts are this year planning a mass consultation exercise to elicit the view and aspirations that young people have for the future of the local Scout Movement and their communities.

Jordan Phillips, Youth Commissioner for Nottinghamshire, said “We couldn’t miss the opportunity of attending one of the flagship Scouting events in the County and asking the Scouts and adult volunteers what they wanted Scouting to do for them and their local communities and how they could help us to shape it.”