What training should I be doing?

It’s essential that you and your teammates do the necessary preparation for the Hike. Get your body used to walking walking long distances and carrying weight, understand how you safely use a gas stove, practice navigating, learning how to put your your tent and getting used to your team mates’ company are all part and parcel of the run up to the event. Try and get out at least every other weekend.


Brave the cold and start walking! Try and fit in a couple of day hikes in at the
weekends with your partners. Spend an evening practicing plotting grid references,
putting up the tent and camp overnight in the back garden.


Increase the weight you are
carrying. Try and fit in at least two,
2 day hikes in different types of
terrain. Practice some micronavigation.


Increase the amount of weight again. Try and do some walking every weekend. Try
out some different foods with your team mates. Ask your parents to drop you
somewhere random and navigate your way home!


Try and do two practice runs of the Hike with full weight. A few days before the
Hike, pack your bag and weigh it, empty it and pack it again!

Top tips for training

Here’s some extra bits and pieces you can easily do to supplement your training:

  • Walk to and from school everyday
  • Try navigating in the dark
  • Practice navigating and map reading on car journeys
  • Try cooking a meal at home
  • Do a route plan for everywhere you go
  • Play OS map symbol bingo
  • Participate in a sport
  • Participate in oriteneering
  • Pack your own rucksack for the practices
  • Join in with your Group or District training

What’s a grid reference?

Grid references define locations in maps using coordinates. The blue grid lines on maps define the coordinate system, and are numbered to provide a unique reference to each location. They are useful as they will allow you to easily describe either where you are or where you want to be! You will need to understand how to plot a grid reference for the hike so you can plan your route.

Step one
To demonstrate, we will do a grid reference for Cornhill Farm. First, locate the vertical gridlines going from left to right on the map. Then locate the horizontal gridlines from the bottom to the top of the map. This will give you a four figure grid reference 61 61.

Step two
To make a six figure reference, imagine dividing the grid square in to a smaller 10 x 10 grid. Read the horizontal numbers first, from left to right. This will give you you the third digit of your 6 figure reference 619.

Step three
Then count vertically from the bottom upwards. When you find your POI, you will have found the sixth digit of your 6 figure reference 614. Et voila! You have a six figure grid reference for Cornhill Farm of 619 614.

How do I use a compass?

A Compass helps inform you which direction to orientate your map. It is also a useful tool if you were to get lost and you needed to relocate yourself. You can use three landmarks visible on the map or real life to ‘triangulate’ your position using a method called resection.

To take a grid bearing, point the direction of travel in the direction you want to go. Turn the bezel until the north arrow is parallel with the light blue gridlines on the map. To take a magnetic bearing, point the direction of travel in the direction of the landmark you want to take a bearing of. Turn the bezel until the red part of the compass needle is in the red part of the north arrow.

Navigation Techniques

Tick lists
Along the route, have a checklist in your mind of what you should pass along the way. You should always be thinking one or two steps ahead. When you pass something you can tick it off and be more confident you’re going the right way.

Catching features
These are features that you can use to know whether you’ve actually missed, or overshot your intended target. E.g. boundary wall or a stream. You should try to identify these as part of your planning.

Aiming off
This method work by deliberately aiming to either side of the target in order not to
miss it. This is useful.

Attack points

An attack point is a ground feature that is unique to the area you are in. It is something on the map that should be easy to find, and that you can aim for as well as confident that you won’t miss it. You can use attack points to break your route up into legs.


These are features that run parallel with your route. A stream, road, boundary that you can keep to one side of you.

How far have we gone?

Naismith’s rule was developed by William Naismith in 1892 as a basic rule of thumb that can be used to calculate the time it will take to walk from point A to B. The formula has been adapted a little since then and considers the distance to walk, the altitude changed and the speed that you will walk at.

Naismith’s Rule first makes a calculation based on distance over time. E.g. if your walking at 4km/h for 4 km (or four grid squares) it will take you one hour. Not rocket science!

For every 100m of ascent (going up hill) it will take an extra 10 minutes.

Depending on how much weight you are carrying and the type of terrain you are on, your speed may vary. Here’s a handy table to help calculate how long it will take depending on the speed at which you are travelling and the how much you have gone uphill.

5km/h 4km/h 3km/h 2km/h
100m 1.25 1.5 2 3
200m 2.5 3 4 6
300m 3.75 4.5 6 9
400m 5 6 8 12
500m 6 7.5 10 15
600m 7.5 9 12 18
700m 8.25 10.5 14 21
800m 10 12 16 24
900m 11 13.5 18 27
100m/1km 12 15 20 30
Nature and the outdoors are languages that can be learned. Once you identify a beech tree, tie a clove hitch or cook a simple meal over a fire that you’ve built yourself, you’ll never forget it.'
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls