Horses, Riding and Scouts

Cambridge District Scout Archive

1st Class test 1908       Make a journey alone of not less than fifteen miles from point to point by walking, riding, boat, or bicycle.

Despite the proximity to Newmarket Cambridge is not a centre for horse riding.  Horses were the standard means of local transportation of goods before 1914. In the early years the second most frequent reason for the award of a Scout medal of honour was stopping runaway horses, although this was not recorded in Cambridge.

Some references have appeared in the archives that suggest that some Scouts had the opportunity to become riders.

Cambridge Archives

1911                ‘On Saturday May 20th, 1911, some 400 scouts assembled on Parkers Piece in traditional Chief Scout’s weather. “A bitterly cold wind blew across the Piece; there was a suspicion of rain in the air”. The troops marched round the town, led by the Bands of the Perse and County Schools, while cyclists and mounted scouts (how’s that) brought up the rear’                   WTT Archaeology 1978

1917                Impington Fruit Farms ‘Our field was also tenanted each night by five jovial cart horses devoured by curiosity and not devoid of humour.  The field had a barbed wire fence but … his friends looked over the fence with glee written on their faces  as he trotted round and into the tents.’

1919                5th Cambridge             ‘ All very glad to welcome the Headmaster who rode over on his horse’     This was at a camp near Oxford, presumably he was staying nearby

1920                Medaevil Fayre           Donkeys as beasts of burden for the display

C T Wood’s album 1920

1920                28th (Cherryhinton). A.S.M. George Langham worked so well with this Troop in the earlier part of the year that they were worth entering for the Silver Bugle.  P.L. Coe is splendidly keen. Scout King deserves mention for his pluck in stopping a running horse.                Reveille

2nd Cambridge on the way to camp 1933

1956                Course for Rider/ Horseman Badge if at least six apply, at Abington.  No cost, but provide your own food.

1960’s              Morley competition; each section covered by a different Scout:   Running 1.5 miles, Wheeling wheelbarrow 0.33 mile, Pulling a trolley 0.33 mile, Walking 1.5 mile, Horseback 2 miles, Cycling 6 miles, Raft 0.5 mile, Canoe 1.5 mile

1970’s              Camp inspection by Jock Dawson on horseback.  Jock was County VS leader and Ventures recall riding his horses on a hack around Linton.

Horses

1920                5th Cambridge             ‘…loading our goods onto a wagon.  This on starting on its way to the gate sank nearly up to its axles in the ground.  All efforts of horses and men were unavailing and we had to unload everything…’

The journey from the station was by ‘van’, that back by ‘wagon’.  This wording may imply that the first was motorised and second horse drawn.

Cambridge Chronicle 1922

1957    54th Cambridge Courts of Honour      ‘We have acquired a horse and cart for the last three quarters of a mile to camp.’

JWR Archivist Feb 2019