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Hill Walking Assessments

This page has been prepared to answer a number of general queries about the Hill Walking Assessment Scheme being run within GLSE Scouting.  

If you plan to take groups under the age of 18 into the hills, it is likely you will need a permit or permit holder present throughout, unless you hold a National Governing Body Award (such as WGL or ML).  As a rough guide any walking above 500m above sea level requires a permit, with more information available within POR points 9.28, 9.29 & 9.30 relating to when a permit is required.

Some useful information is available on Scoutbase under the following link:


At this stage the most relevant are:

FS120101 – Applicants Guide

FS120454 – Hill Walking (Includes signpost for First Aid)

If you require a permit, you will need to complete the assessment process currently in place at GLSE, or alternatively you can seek alternative assessment through another county assessor.  The assessment process can be split into three categories, the ‘paper assessment’, ‘practical assessment’ and ‘commissioner assessment’.


If you are applying for a permit renewal please contact the hill walking assessor to discuss your situation as some of the assessment process will not be applicable or will take a different shape.

Paper Assessment

After registering your interest in gaining a hill walking permit, all applicants are required to submit three items:

1) A copy of your logbook experience.  A rough guide is that you require 20 days experience in the terrain you are applying to lead in.  With less experience, we can discuss a permit restricted to particular routes.

2) A completed questionnaire.  The hill walking assessor has the questionnaire and will release this when someone registers their interest in attending an assessment.  This helps assess many of the POR requirements needed for a permit.

3) A route plan (using FS120409) completed for a circular walk suitable for the applicant’s scout group.  A note with group’s level of experience and age is needed to accompany this.

Practical Assessment

This element typically involves a trip to a hill walking region in the UK, with terrain 1 assessments lasting one day (9am – 5pm) and terrain 2 assessments lasting two days (10am on day one to 2pm the following day).  On occasions, with either suitable experience shown or other circumstances, a practical assessment may take place somewhere local to GLSE over a shorter time scale.

The checklists for assessment are AC120913 for both Terrain 1 and Terrain 2.  However, for a breakdown of the technical skill sought in an assessment please refer to the Walking Group Leader or Mountain Leader schemes (relating to Terrain 1 and Terrain 2 respectively).  This information can be found on the MLTUK website.  It is strongly recommended that this is referred to before attending an assessment as it highlights the level of competence required.

If you have not already read it, you are strongly recommended to read ‘Hillwalking’ by Steve Long which is the official handbook of the WGL and ML schemes.  It is well written and illustrated and provides all the information required for leading in the hills.

On the assessment, please come equipped as you would lead a group of young people in the hills in the weather conditions you might experience on the date of assessment.  Please bring a 1:25,000 map of the area of assessment and food for the whole assessment period.

Commissioner Assessment

The final stage of assessment is when the hill walking assessor will make a recommendation to your DC as to whether you should be permitted to lead groups in Terrain 1 or Terrain 2 and any restrictions on where you can lead.  A valuable feature of the Scout scheme is that if you are relatively inexperienced you can still get a permit allowing you to lead groups in the less challenging hill walking areas, and to apply for a permit with wider scope when you have more experience.

The relevant DC will then (hopefully) approve that the applicant is suitably responsible to lead groups in the outdoors.  A permit is then issued to the applicant.

Useful Tips

Please contact the hill walking assessor (hillwalking@glsescouts.org.uk) to register your interest and discuss any questions you have regarding the hill walking permits.

If you cannot satisfy the 20 days experience you may still be able to gain a permit, with restrictions placed on where you can lead groups.

Currently assessments are organised when people register their interest and a date is booked a few months in advance.  Please ask the hill walking assessor when the next assessment is planned.


This page was last updated on 4 March 2012 by Matt Barnett