Caving and Climbing

Cambridge District Scout Archive


1940    5th Cambridge (Perse)             ‘It was a cave in Lathkill Dale that we crawled on hands and knees deep into the bowels of the earth.  There, the feeble candlelight served only to accentuate the oppressive darkness.  In the other cave by Wolf’s Cote Dale, it was quite different.  We climbed onwards and upwards guided by the flickering light of a candle upon the high and glistening walls.’

1974 5th Cambridge (Perse)  Caving in the Peak District

1982    28th Cambridge         ‘Went caving and it was brilliant.’

2020    28th Cambridge Caving is part of the activities every year. Indoor artifical caving systems for Beavers at Duxford Scout Centre, outdoor artifical systems above or below ground for Cubs and natural systems for Scouts.


It is difficult from the records to differentiate between reaching the top, a scramble over low rocks or scree and a roped climb.  The term ‘climbed’ is used for all these stages and many of us have experienced an ascent as it eases imperceptibly into the second and what should be the third: usually with height.  The differentiation in this 1922 summary is unusual.

1922. Summer: Wall-End Farm, Langdale, with ascents of ScaFell, etc., and rock-climb on Little Gully, Pavey Ark.             9th Cambridge   The evidence is found in C T Woods photographs below.  The 9th were early practioners.

Rocking climbing with ropes and belays was depicted in The Rover of 1934.  Climbing with ropes and intent became increasingly discussed in Scouting during the 1940’s and Senior Scouts appeared climbing on the front cover of The Scouter in 1944.   World War 2 led to the availability of inexpensive army surplus pitons, carabineers and the newly invented nylon rope.  Alongside a developing skill base within the country this enabled the growth of the sport. 

Cambridge Archives

1922. Summer: Wall-End Farm, Langdale, with ascents of ScaFell, etc., and rock-climb on Little Gully, Pavey Ark.                                                             9th Cambridge

1928    Cumberland C T Wood’s album

1950    5th and 7th attended Climbing Course held by DC of Llanberis.

1950    The first record of rock climbing from the 5th Cambridge Senior Scouts, in Edale

            Talk on Caving for Senior Scouts by Myles Burhilt

1969    £8 to Venture Scout abseiling rope

1969    £25 to climbing wall committee ‘the climbing wall was constantly used by Scouts for training’     District Minutes

1969    Climbing wall at Lime pit closed

1972    Climbing wall fund to be donated to a wall in conjunction with the sports hall (Kelsey Kerridge was built between 1971 and 1975 with an external climbing wall).

1972    ‘SJC Climbed Ben Nevis’          District Minutes          (Sir John Cockcroft VSU)

1984 ‘Hillwalker confidence ropes’ were mentioned in Cambridge Scout Gazette – 18m by 8 mm they were specifically not for climbing but presumably for the inexperienced and uncertain on areas of uneven broken and steep ground. I have never seen ropes used in this context.

Known routes

Little Gully, Pavey Ark             II on the UIAA grades  Moderate

Wall End Langdale camp 1922

Scar Fell Pike 1922


Little Gully, Pavey Ark 1922
Cumberland                1928
‘Preparations for safety.  The Middleman’s Knot’

JWR Archivist Oct 2019