What is the event and how is it operated today
The Fells Marathon is a two-day hiking competition for Scouts and Explorer Scouts. Carrying full kit for the two days, the Scout teams walk around 20 miles while the Explorer Scout teams walk about 26 miles.
Overnight the teams cater for themselves on a remote site monitored by event staff – no leaders or team supporters are permitted there. It is a test of navigation, camping skills and endurance.
Typically, the event is run in, or close to a northern National Park such as the North Yorkshire Moors, Yorkshire Dales or the Peak District; though it does sometimes visit other areas of outstanding natural beauty as it did in 2014 going to the Forest of Bowland. To avoid teams become familiar with a location we usually leave a gap of at least 3 years before re-using a centre.
The event first ran in 1975, organised by Dave Laud and the late John “Swifty” Loncaster; both competent mountaineers who competed twice in the then Karrimor Mountain Marathon.
The idea was to create a similar event for Scouts, to challenge them to survive 2 days carrying all they need and to navigate a route against the clock; from this the Haltemprice Scouts Fells Marathon was born.
The event celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2016. It is now run by Blacktoft Beacon District Scout and has evolved with the times, but still carries its original ethos. The event now has an average of 30 teams from both the Scout and Explorer sections.
A new category was introduced in 2017 called “Fells Lite”. This was designed to be a starter category for younger Scouts. The elements are the same but the overnight kit is transported for the team.
The Wolds Challenge and The Fells Marathon are organised and run by Blacktoft Beacon District Scout Council.
Registered with the Scout Association: 016357. Registered Charity Number: 1148031