Scout Pace

Cambridge District Scout Archives

Baden Powell described Scout’s pace in Scouting for Boys; it is designed to cover ground quickly without tiring you out. Scouts pace alternates walking 50 paces and running 50 paces until you reach your destination. If there are suitable environmental markers you may be able to use lampposts or road markers instead of counting.

It was a requirement for a tenderfoot to ’Go a mile in 12 minutes at Scout pace’ to qualify as a second class scout (‘not less than 13 minutes‘ in the 1908 tests).  This was not a minimum but a specific target to achieve a steady five miles an hour, to recognize when it is being achieved and replicate it without a watch.  Thirty seconds leeway was permitted and a later publication stated that it needed to be achieved twice to pass the test.

Some early competitions had a Scouts Pace race for individuals or teams of mixed ages.  The number of seconds over or under the target 12 minutes being a negative score.

Few references are found in the archives.

Cambridge Archives

1923 +             ‘I went on many occasions on my cycle with boys doing their Scout Pace mile, we reckoned that from Tracey Hall to Brookfield’s Hospital and back was a mile.’                                                      Ken North on helping recruits to obtain their Second class badge

1926               Athletic Trophy           Scout Pace       4 x 440 yards (1 mile) nearest team to 12 minutes wins

1934 1st Harston (then a Patrol of the 56th Cambridge) , ‘We Scout paced over to Haslingfield’

1936                5th Cambridge (Perse) ‘The troop marched to Coe Fen.   There a Scouts’ Pace Competition took place..’

1940’s              The 60th Cambridge Leys School reallocated to Scotland.  The weather is often mentioned, the rain, the frozen rivers and ‘exceeding Scout pace’ to get down to the warmer valley on a bitter day in the hills. 

JWR Archivist Jan 2019