Hillwalking Permit Scheme

The adventurous activity permit scheme is designed to show that all those leading adventurous activities for young people within Scouting have the skills, experience and personal suitability to do so. Everyone who leads an adventurous activity, such as Hillwalking, within Scouting is required to hold an activity permit for that activity. Details of which activities are classed as adventurous can be found in POR.

Although managed locally, the Adventurous Activity Permit Scheme is a national scheme, so once gained; a permit may allow you to run that activity in any District or County. There are two ways of obtaining your Permit

1. You can apply directly through the County Mountaineering Adviser (CMA) via email

  • Send your permit application form to the (CMA) along with a detailed log of your experience, particularly the last three years. Following a review of your logged experience, the CMA will send you a home study paper.  When the completed home study paper is returned, the CMA will put you in touch with a County Assessor for you to arrange assessment.  If you are additionally applying for a Supervisory Permit, further information could be required.  See separate page on supervisor status.
  • A formal assessment of your technical competence e.g. navigational skills, party management and Scouting rules will then carried out. The Assessor will normally make their recommendation on Compass and your granting commissioner will automatically be notified with a copy to you. The Commissioner will grant the permit based upon the assessors recommendation, a CRB check and your ‘Personal Suitability’.

2. You can follow the process outlined in “The Applicants Guide”

If granted, your permit lasts for up to five years and can be restricted from just one area of hills to region/country wide. Normally, first time applicants permits do not include the “Supervisor” or ‘Wild Camping’ status.  However if suitable experience is shown, either through external qualification / walking log / personal knowledge of the applicant (e.g. through attendance at County events), these may be recommended.

For renewal of permits, three months before the expiry date, follow the procedure above. Subject to your log book showing relevant continued activity, unless you require a higher level authorisation, a further assessment may not be required.

When applying for your permit you will have to decide what season you want on your permit. The seasonal definitions are Summer or Winter.

“Winter refers to when winter conditions, including snow and ice prevail or are forecast. This cannot be defined by a portion of the year. Snow / ice cover is not the only defining feature. Severe cold, high winds and shortened daylight hours should also be considered”

“Summer means any condition not covered under winter”

When summer conditions become winter conditions is very subjective.  The following notes are to help leaders decide.

The definitions above are the same as the Mountain Training England Summer Award definitions.  MTE also say “a light covering of snow or morning frost on the ground should not necessarily prevent a group from exploring the hills.  These conditions can occur any time from October to April.  Award holders should have the necessary skills to make appropriate judgments regarding the underfoot conditions and act accordingly.”

It is expected that Winter Permits will normally only be required by leaders primarily wanting to take young people into the higher mountains of the UK (excluding S.W.England and S.Wales) where the skills and equipment to cope with the special hazards of winter conditions as defined by the Winter Mountain Leader Training Syllabus are likely to be encountered:

  1. Loose and verglassed rock.
  2. Snow bridges above streams and boulder fields.
  • Cornices
  1. Avalanche prone slopes
  2. Strong winds.

Permit holders will have to risk assess the conditions, taking into account the weather forecast, to determine if they have the appropriate permit and the group are sufficiently experienced and equipped for the walk they are undertaking and know when to turn back.

Using the restrictions available the assessors can tailor the permit to your needs providing you have relevant logged experience and can demonstrate that you have the skills during the technical assessment.

If you decide to further your walking skills by undertaking a nationally recognised course of training and/or assessment (e.g. Hill and Moorland, ML or WML), you may be able to secure some funding locally and/or from Scout HQ.