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Scouts: The Ultimate Alpine Adventure

posted 10 Aug 2013, 04:11 by Stephen Harrison

Awesome activities, fantastic new friendships and stunning alpine scenery, were highlights of the week as 108 scouts and adult leaders from the Houghton-Le-Spring District enjoyed an amazing Alpine Adventure in Morillon, France.

The event brought together young people from across the scout district and challenged them to push their boundaries to overcome their fears, to work together to support each other and most importantly to have a great time. This year was the biggest event ever and the increase in participants reflects the growth in young people and adults enjoying scouting in Houghton-Le-Spring district.

The 8 days abroad were certainly action packed and this year’s trip included many memorable moments. Young people stayed a night in a mountain refuge and after a tough climb through snow to the hut were able to take in some fantastic Alpine views, girls and boys supporting each other all the way. For many scouts, via Ferrata was one of the biggest challenges - traversing a cliff face hundreds of metres up is not for the faint hearted (even when you’re clipped on)!

Daniel Haughan, (11) from Washington said,

“My favourite moment was the cable car to the Aguille Du Midi and the Chamonix Luge! It was freezing at the top, but I enjoyed seeing the clouds clear to open up a view of Mont Blanc. The luge was wicked and I had a blast!”

Another highlight was white water rafting, an exciting rush of adrenalin as scouts teamed up to paddle furiously down the raging rapids, avoiding the rocks. Scouts also enjoyed some Alpine views from the Aguille Du Midi, the cable car took us well above the clouds.

Andrew Turnbull, (41), an adult volunteer from Washington, who enjoyed his first European Adventure this year said,

“Rafting was my highlight of the week - tremendous fun! Scouts worked really well together to paddle the course, in fact I’ve had one of the best weeks of my life and I’d encourage others to support scouting as an adult volunteer.”

The week for most scouts was a journey of self discovery as scouts learned how they contribute to the group, how they can support and inspire others and how they can meet their own personal potential. Many scouts signed up for the trip knowing only a few others from their own group, but by the end of the week, everyone left with new friends.

The weeklong adventure wouldn’t have been possible without the support of a large team of adult volunteers who brought unrivalled enthusiasm and commitment to the event. The thorough planning ensured the success of the week. To find out how you can join our growing adult team, please visit.

Houghton-Le-Spring District is one of the largest districts in Durham Scout County. The district has recently opened a new group to cope with the growing demand for scouting in the area and now supports 7 groups to offer adventure and challenge to over 750 young people aged 6 to 18. For more information about Scouting in Washington and Houghton-Le-Spring, please visit or call 0845 300 1818.

Growing the Adventure: More than 750 Enjoy Scouts in Houghton-Le-Spring District

posted 21 Apr 2013, 16:01 by Stephen Harrison

Thanks to the enthusiasm of our 124 adult members, scouting has grown again in Houghton-Le-Spring with a further 74 young people joining the adventure. Overall that's a fantastic 13% rise on 2011.

The news comes as details of The Scout Association’s annual census are published today with total UK membership now standing at 536,787. The continued growth of scouting in Houghton-Le-Spring  - the twelfth consecutive year of expansion - has helped cement Scouting’s position as the largest co-educational youth Movement in the country.

A large part is of this growth is due to the district opening new provisions for young people aged 6 to 8 in the west of Washington and Hetton-Le-Hole to meet demand for scouting locally. The district has been able to do this as a result of new volunteers coming forward to take on leadership roles in scouting.

More and more of our adults are choosing to volunteer flexibly just like the Duchess of Cambridge, one of Scouting's highest profile volunteers. Flexible volunteering allows adult volunteers to give as much or as little time as they have available and to fit scouting around their busy lives. We hope the Duchess’ involvement in scouting will inspire other adults to get involved in Scouting and to help us to continue to grow the adventure.

Bear Grylls, Chief Scout, thanked volunteers across the country:

"Like me I'm sure you fit your volunteering around a very busy lifestyle, but my mum used to say if you want something doing ask a busy person. I'd really like to say a massive thank you to you on behalf of all the young people who benefit from Scouting. It's basically because of what you do. Together you make the adventure possible."

“It’s great that so young people and adults are joining the Scouts, more than ever before, and I am sure this increase has had much to do with the Duchess of Cambridge becoming a Scout volunteer last year.

“The Duchess is an incredible role model for young women and she helps us show that Scouting’s not just for boys. She’s also such a generous volunteer and everyone is so excited to have her in the Scouting family. Many people have followed her lead and are getting involved and enjoying the adventure!”

The Duchess yesterday celebrated the achievement of over 400 Scouts and adult volunteers at Windsor Castle. The event recognises the outstanding achievements of both young people and adults in scouting. Our district commissioner, Jonathan Chicken received the Silver Acorn, an award for outstanding contribution as to Scouting as a volunteer. Chief Scout and international adventurer Bear Grylls also attended the event at Windsor castle.

You can find out more about becoming an adult volunteer on our volunteer page, whether you are interested in working with young people, could help with the management of one of our groups, or could help our fundraising efforts.

Cubs Go Capital 2013

posted 23 Mar 2013, 12:58 by Stephen Harrison

A Capital City Adventure For Cub Scouts

On  Friday 1 November  we set off in the morning on an epic experience specially suited to Cubs aged 8-10 years old. We'll travel by coach, with on board games, music, films and fun. We'll stop regularly over the six hour journey.
We'll arrive at our accommodation, the Youth Hostel Association's
Holland Park Hostel in Kensington. We'll settle into our rooms, have tea and then head out by coach into Central London, walking from Buckingham Palace, down the Mall to Trafalgar Square. We'll walk past Downing Street, into Parliament Square before crossing Westminster Bridge to meet our coach on the South Bank near the London Eye.

On Saturday, we plan to visit the Science Museum where we’ll visit Launch pad which is packed with over 50 interactive exhibits, plus electrifying shows and lively demos! 
Later, we’ll visit the Natural History Museum to discover the gentle giants and bloodthirsty hunters that roamed the Earth and see the dinosaurs too.

After our evening meal we’re off on our coach into the West End to see the award winning new musical, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, showing at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.

On Sunday, we pack our bags, and head out by coach around London’s sights with an accredited Blue Badge Guide who’ll take us around the famous landmarks, giving us a commentary about London's rich past, present and future.

Finally, we finish with the highlight of the weekend, a flight on The EDF London Eye.

We leave London by 2.00pm, making our way home by mid-evening. What a weekend!!

How We Manage Safety

Safety is at the heart of what we do. Families should be reassured that our adult team are
 experienced in events such as this and that our systems for managing safety are well refined. The use of our own coaches allows us to travel together without using public transport and a planned adult:child ratio of at least 1:6 ensures that cubs are closely supervised. Cubs will share single-sex rooms of 6-10 beds each in the vicinity of leaders' rooms. Our accommodation is secure and cubs will be roomed in dormitories with electronic access cards for blocks and rooms. Adult leaders'. 

We will share our progress during travel and our activity programme via social media and using our website allowing families to keep in touch with our highlights and progress.


Date: Friday 1 November - Sunday 3 November 2013
Cost: £160 how to pay
Accommodation: Full Board, YHA, Holland Park, Kensington
Travel: Executive Coaches, toilets, air-conditioning, DVD
Leader in Charge: Jonathan Chicken (District Commissioner)
Places: 90 (76 Cubs + 12 Leaders + 2 Drivers)
Meeting for Parents and Carers: Wednesday 2nd October 2013 6.30pm. where

Book Your Place

Book your place by clicking this link

Until 28th March, bookings will be allocated proportionally between our cub packs. Once that initial allocation is filled, families will receive an email explaining that we'll be releasing more places shortly. This ensures that all cub packs have a fair chance to attend this popular trip.

More Information

1st Houghton to Welcome the Olympic Flame

posted 10 Jun 2012, 14:31 by Jonathan Chicken

On Saturday 16 June 2012 the Olympic Torch Relay will travel through the City of Sunderland.  To mark this once in a lifetime event we are planning a day long Sunderland in 2012 celebratory event at Herrington Country Park (HCP).  There will be something for everyone including a WORLD RECORD ATTEMPT sponsored by EDF Energy.   

The Hula Hoop World Record Attempt will be one of the highlights of the day and is something that all the family can be part of. The current record stands at 2,492 people hula hooping continuously for 2 minutes.  We want to break this World Record….If you are up for the challenge to continuously Hula Hoop for at least 2 minutes please come and join us and help put Sunderland on the map as the “Hula Hoop World Record Holder”. Don’t worry practice sessions will be available and details will be sent once you have registered. Hula Hoops can be provided on the day, however if you have 
your own please bring it with you. 

Children under the age of 12 years must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

Hula Hoop Registration and practice  HCP 9.00 – 10.15am 
Entertainment and build up to Olympic flame  10.15 - 11.30am
Hula Hoop World Record attempt 11.30am.

After the Hula Hoop event, there will be exhibitions and activities. And BBC Blue Peter are live at the event.

For further information and a plan visit or check out the leaflet that came through your door a couple of weeks ago.

Look out for the Scouts’ Mobile Display Unit on the day!

1st Houghton Scouts tackle the Maclaren 2012

posted 17 May 2012, 12:08 by Andrew Brown   [ updated 18 May 2012, 01:48 by Danni Sims ]

A team of six scouts took part in the Maclaren Trophy incident hike competition on 12/13 May 2012. The Maclaren competition requires teams of Scouts to navigate around a route and complete tasks at check points along the way. This year the Maclaren started at Bellingham Hertitage centre and was based at Barrasford Scout centre just north of Hexham. Daniel Millican, Lucy Bennison, Rebecca Dodd, Amy Allan, James Millican and Jake Williams took on 7 other teams from the Distict. Jake, Amy & Rebecca were attempting their first ever Maclaren with experienced Maclareners Daniel, Lucy and James. The team started well and were lying second overall by the end of the first day with some very good scores. During Sunday they continued their efforts but dropped slighlty to fourth overall by the end of the event. Second to fourth was only separated by 12 points so the team did very well. Well done!

Beaver camp goes wild on the 19th May

posted 3 May 2012, 14:26 by Danni Sims

The Houghton Beaver leaders are busy planning their next camp. It will take place on the 19th May and will include a trip to Washington Wildfowl Park. The cost of camp is £20.  If your beaver would like join in the wildlife adventure please contact Panther to add their name to the list and further details.

World Class Adventure Meets World Class Science

posted 8 Mar 2012, 11:51 by James Fenwick

  •  550 male and female scouts took part in a 24 hour challenge
  • Over 30 outdoor activities at the scout’s activity centre in Durham
  • At 1am the event moved to the Centre for Life.

The Weekend of February 11th 2012, 550 scouts descended on Newcastle’s Centre for Life as part of a 24 hour weekend adventure.

The event, run by Durham Scout County challenged young people from the Tyne to the Tees to undertake a seemingly endless number of activities at their Durham adventure centre before boarding a fleet of coaches at 1am to travel to Newcastle’s Centre for Life. The 24 hour challenge began at 11am on Saturday and having bounced on seven metre high bungee trampolines, abseiled from a 60ft climbing wall, mountain biked, cooked food "Bear Grylls style‟ in the woods, the scouts partied on into the evening, celebrating common friendships and enjoying being a part of a big, growing youth movement. 14 year old scout, Katie Smith from Gateshead commented, “This is amazing. Its freezing, and muddy and I just love being outdoors with my friends. I've met so many new people from the area, I just don't want it to end.” As temperatures plummeted, scouts set off for Newcastle to begin the nocturnal part of the challenge:

The Life Science Centre's attractions promised to keep the scouts amazed for much of the early hours of Sunday, with its Planetarium, Science Theatre, Motion Ride and permanent Human Life exhibition as well as the brand new 'make-it' activity area which was unveiled earlier in the day as a brand new attraction for half term. But just in case that wasn‟t enough, the Scouts themselves brought an inflatable assault course, giant 12 metre slide and gladiator games as well as a pop up cinema to show 'Bang Goes the Theory' episodes to get everyone in science mood. The scouts‟ in house stage team ensured a lively atmosphere truly brought science to life!

11 year old Shane English from Washington enthused, “I‟ve managed to get round only half of the activities at Life so far and I‟m determined to try everything. The Motion Ride was awesome, but I‟m most forward to Ice Rink at 4am”, after a short pause he continued, “people not in scouts would just never do so much in one weekend!” By 4am, with boundless energy left, scouts enjoyed the Skating@Life rink, opened for a special dawn skating experience – very much in keeping with the Frostie:24 theme. Organisers at Life were pleased to be able to accommodate the idea "We have some amazing facilities here" said Kathryn Brame, group events organizer "the exhibition space seems even more exciting at night and takes on something of a magical quality.” By 6am, the scouts‟ logistical feat began again, moving the participants back to Durham for a hearty breakfast and an early morning fitness session! Off-road buggies churned the mud, and craft activities continued in the heated 200ft marquee for those feeling a little more weary.

At 10.30am, boys and girls gathered for the Final Act, a closing ceremony and party to  mark the end of 24 hours of world-class fun. 550 tired-but-content young people then left the site, taking not just bags full of washing home, but a sense of pride that they are part of the UK‟s largest coeducational youth movement. 

“My youngest has just returned from #frostie24 very muddy and tired. Volunteer leaders deserve a medal”, tweeted a parent from Chester-le-Street shortly after the event closed.

Monday 12th March

posted 8 Mar 2012, 11:37 by Andrew Brown

Mums the word on Monday!
Come along and make your Mother an awesome gift.

Friday 9 March

posted 8 Mar 2012, 11:32 by Andrew Brown   [ updated 8 Mar 2012, 15:38 ]

Great egg race - make an eggtastic eggstraordinary egg vehicle

Knights Away!

posted 23 Feb 2012, 13:05 by Danni Sims   [ updated 23 Feb 2012, 13:10 ]

On the 4th February, Beavers joined forces with both of 1st Fatfields colonies to spend a night away from home at Fort Fatfield. Fun was had by all as Beavers thrived at the challenges set throughout the day. Swords, shields and helmets were forged as well as decorating goblets and making dragon hand puppets. Knights then searched for the kings taxes and tested their bravery at the scary string trail before enjoying a hearty banquet.
Following the banquet we cleared the hall for a medival fete where beavers bobbed for apples, put out the dragons flame and made castle cakes.  Our Knights then relaxed to a film with hot chocolate and marshmallows before getting ready for bed. For many it was their first sleepover and excitement was high as they settled down in their medival camp.  After a night under canvas (in the hall as it was snowing outside) beavers woke up refreshed and ready for breakfast.  After packing up and the lost property show, parents arrived to collect their children and all the bounty which beavers had made over the weekend.  

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