Scouting in Scotland

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Scouting in Scotland is largely represented by The Scottish Council of The Scout Association, a registered Scottish charity that is affiliated to the Scout Association of the United Kingdom.[1] The Baden-Powell Scouts' Association also has a presence in Scotland.

There are five student associations at various universities in Scotland, each of which is affiliated to the Student Scout and Guide Organisation (SSAGO): University of Aberdeen Guides and Scouts,[2] Heriot-Watt University SSAGO,[3] University of St Andrews Scout and Guide Club,[4] University of Stirling SSAGO[5] and University of Strathclyde Guides and Scouts.[6]

History of Scouting in Scotland[edit]

The 1st Glasgow Scout Group has a claim to be the first Scout Troop, as it holds a registration certificate dated 26 January 1908.[7][8] No other Scout troop has documentation that pre-dates this.[9]

The 24th Glasgow Scout Group's published history has it forming January 1908, although this is not currently recognised by The Scout Association.[7][10] The 3rd Glasgow (Waverley) Scout Group are also listed as one of the first Groups to have started in 1908.[7]

Oral tradition (at least as of 1976) was that the 12th Glasgow (1st Lenzie) troop was the first troop outside central Glasgow. The story told by leaders in the mid-70's was that the 12th Glasgow was the second formed but had to take the number 12th as the first 11 numbers were reserved for city troops.[citation needed] The group's own website gives a starting date of May 1908.[11]

It is acknowledged by Scout Headquarters in Gillwell that many Groups were meeting as early as 1907 although registration did not begin until 1908. The 10th Craigalmond Scout Group in Edinburgh (formerly 10th Midlothian and 10th Haymarket) was, for example, meeting in late 1907 and there are a number of other Groups still existing to this day who formed immediately following reports of the camp on Brownsea Island. Until 1919 registration was undertaken by local associations and not centrally.

Mr. Jack Stewart, a former International Commissioner for Scotland, founded the Blair Atholl International Jamborette in 1946. It has been held every two years since that date, with representatives of more than 50 countries attending.[12]

The centenary of Scouting was marked by a debate and reception in the Scottish Parliament initiated by member of the Scottish Parliament, Robert Brown, in December 2007.[13]

The Scout Association in Scotland[edit]

The Scottish Council
Scottish Scout Council (The Scout Association).svg
Owner The Scout Association
Headquarters Fordell Firs, Fife
Country Scotland
 Scouting portal

A Scottish Headquarters, at Fordell Firs in Fife, for training, programme and administration in Scotland goes back to 1909. The current Chief Commissioner of Scotland is Graham Haddock.[1]

Eight new regions of the Scout Association in Scotland were formed on 1 April 2008, by amalgamating the previous Scout Areas.[14]

In April, 2008, it was reported that there are 582 Scout Groups in Scotland and that in the previous year there had been an increase in new members of 1500, raising the total to nearly 30,000. However, these figures were unaudited and the incredible 5.25% claimed increase seems to have resulted from changes in statistical methods and the 2008 restructure rather than any real increase in numbers. A publicity release was made as to this claimed increase suggesting it had resulted in a shortage of leaders.[15]

Highlands and Islands Region[edit]

The Highlands and Islands Region was formed by amalgamating the six previous Scout Areas of Caithness, Inverness, Lochaber, Orkney, Ross and Sutherland, and Western Isles. The old areas are now the six Scout Districts in the Region:

Inverness District Scouts raise money at Christmas by delivering Christmas cards around the city delivering in excess of 27,000 cards at 20 pence per card.[citation needed]

Inverness District Scouts perform the Inverness Area Gang Show every two years at Eden Court Theatre, Inverness. The next show takes place 11–14 April 2012.

North East Scotland Region[edit]

The North East Scotland Region was formed by amalgamating the six previous Scout Areas of Aberdeen,[18] Banff and Buchan, Gordon, Kincardine and Deeside,[19] Moray, and Shetland.

There are now 8 Scout District in the Region:

Map of Scotland highlighting the location of Aberdeen
  • Aberdeen
  • Banff and Buchan was the old Area with three Districts Banff District, Buchan District and Turriff District.
  • Gordon. Prior to Scottish restructuring in 2008 there were three districts Central, Western and Eastern within Gordon Area.[20]
  • Deveron
  • Deeside
  • Kincardineshire
  • Moray. Before 2008, there were four districts Elgin District, Moray West District, Seafield District and Speyside District.
  • Shetland with only 4 Groups.

East Scotland Region[edit]

The East Scotland Region was formed by amalgamating the four previous Scout Areas of Dundee, Fife, Perth and Kinross, and Angus.

The 2nd Fife (Dunfermline) Scout Group was founded in 1908 and is the oldest existing Scout Group in Fife and one of the oldest in Scotland. It also owns one of the most-used Scouting campsites in Fife, Nineacres.[21]

There are now ten Scout Districts in the Region:

  • Arbroath
  • North Angus
  • South Angus. These three were formerly in the old Area of Angus as: Arbroath & Montrose District, North Angus and South Angus District
  • Dundee[22]
  • Dunfermline
  • Glenrothes and Levenmouth
  • Kirkcaldy
  • Rosyth
  • North East Fife. The former Area of Fife[23] contained ten Districts: Benarty District, Cupar District, Dunfermline District, East Neuk District, Glenrothes and Levenmouth District[24] Kirkcaldy, Rosyth District[25] and St Andrews District
  • Perth and Kinross.[26][27] There are 25 Groups and 5 Explorer units.[28]

South East Scotland Region[edit]

The South East Scotland Region was formed by amalgamating the four previous Scout Areas of Borders, East Lothian, Midlothian, and City of Edinburgh.[29]

There are now seven Scout Districts in the Region:

  • Braid - merging Blackford and Morningside (from April 2012)
  • Borders. The old Area was 4 Districts: Berwickshire District, Ettrick and Lauderdale District, Roxburgh District, Tweeddale District.[30]
  • East Lothian. The old Area was 2 Districts: North — East Lothian District and South — East Lothian District
  • Craigalmond - merging Haymarket and Inverleith (from April 2012) Craigalmond Scouts
  • Edinburgh North East - merging Leith District[31] and Portobello District
  • Midlothian[32]
  • Pentland

The Edinburgh Scout Area was formerly 8 Districts: Blackford, Haymarket, Inverleith, Leith,[31] Merchiston (Merger Gorgie and Craiglockhart Districts), Morningside, Pentlands and Almond Valley and Portobello.[33]

When the Edinburgh Scout Area was changed to South East Region the area contained 10 Districts: Borders, East Lothian, Midlothian, Pentland, Haymarket, Blackford, Morningside, Leith and Portobello. The changes made in April 2012 reflect the current Scouting Area.

Forth Region[edit]

The Forth Region was formed by amalgamating the three previous Scout Areas of Clackmannan, Forth Valley, and West Lothian.

There are now four Scout Districts in the Region:

  • Clackmannanshire. The previous Area was split into Alloa and Hillfoots Districts.
  • Falkirk, previously in the Forth Valley Scout Area.[34]
  • Stirling & Trossachs, previously in the Forth Valley Scout Area.[35]
  • West Lothian.[36]

Clyde Region[edit]

Map of Scotland highlighting the location of Greater Glasgow

The Clyde Region was formed by amalgamating the two previous Scout Areas of Greater Glasgow and Lanarkshire. Greater Glasgow was a Scout Area that included the local government authorities of the City of Glasgow and East Dunbartonshire, along with parts of North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire and East Renfrewshire.[37] Lanarkshire was a Scout Area covering Lanarkshire.[38]

The 28th Glasgow Scout Group's Hut was used to hold the Nazi Party Deputy Leader, Rudolf Hess, after his plane crashed in nearby Eaglesham.[39] This Group is particularly active in international events, helping to organise the Ukrainian Scottish Experience, which helps Ukrainian (a country which currently has no official Scouting organisation) children to visit Scotland and participate in Scouting during the Summer.

The 77th Glasgow (Disabled) Scout Group is the only group in Scotland that caters for young people with physical disabilities. It has all four sections — Cubs, Scouts, Explorer Scouts and Scout Network.[40]

The 24th Glasgow Scout Group, is one of the largest Groups with four Beaver Scout Colonies, four Cub Scout Packs, two Scout Troops and an Explorer Scout Unit.[10]

There are eight Scout Districts in the Region:

  • Eastwood
  • Great Western (amalgamation of Bearsden and Milngavie, North Western and Northern Districts)
  • Kelvin Valley (amalgamation of Strathkelvin, North Eastern Glasgow, and Cumbernauld and Kilsyth Districts)
  • South East (formerly Cambusglen and Easthill Districts)
  • South Western (amalgamation of South Parks and Burrell Districts)
  • Strathcalder (amalgamation of East Kilbride and Hamilton Districts)[41]
  • Clydesdale
  • Calder (amalgamation of Monklands and Motherwell Districts)

West Scotland Region[edit]

The West Scotland Region was formed by amalgamating the three previous Scout Areas of Argyll, Dunbartonshire, Renfrew and Inverclyde.

There are now five Scout Districts in the Region.

The oldest Scout group in Greenock and District is 5th Greenock and District "Westburn's Own".[44] It started in 1908 and the first Scoutmaster was Sergeant D. Ferguson. Former group members include Sir Albert McQuarrie, Sam Galbraith and three Silver Wolf recipients, Colin Finnie, Jimmy McElwee, and Duncan Riddell.[citation needed] The group won the World Pipe Band Championship in 1922.[45]

South West Scotland Region[edit]

The South West Scotland Region was formed by amalgamating the three previous Scout Areas of Ayrshire, Dumfriesshire and Galloway. The region covers the four Local Authorities of North Ayrshire, East Ayrshire, South Ayrshire, and Dumfries & Galloway.[46]

There are now five Scout Districts in the Region.

  • Ayrshire East District was formed in 2006 from Kilmarnock & Loudoun and Kylesmuir Districts.
  • Dumfriesshire District was formed from the Dumfriesshire Area in 2008.
  • Galloway District was formed from the Galloway Area in 2008.[47]
  • Kyle and Carrick District was formed in 2006 from Kyle District and Carrick Scout District.
  • North Ayrshire and Arran District was formed in 2006 from Cunninghame North, Cunninghame South and Isle of Arran Districts.

Camp sites[edit]

The Scout Association in Scotland is responsible for three activity centres:[1]

Templars' Park Scout Campsite in the North East Scotland Region, is located on the south bank of the River Dee about 8 miles west of the city of Aberdeen, and is maintained by the City of Aberdeen Scout Council. The site has capacity for around 2,000 campers, as well as indoor accommodation. A number of Scouting activities are provided on site, including archery and pioneering, and there are also a number of local facilities providing other adventurous activities. Templars' Park, formerly the home-park of Maryculter House, within the Kincardineshire parish of Maryculter, was purchased by the City of Aberdeen Boy Scouts' Association in December, 1935. The following year, it was opened by Baden-Powell.[48]

The East Scotland Region, formerly Perth and Kinross Area, jointly with Girlguiding Perth and Kinross, runs Craggan campsite, located between the BracoComrie road (B827) and the MuthillCrieff road (A822).[49][50]

In the South West Scotland Region there are:[51]

  • Craigshiels Outdoor Centre
  • Culzean Camp Site, previously the Ayrshire Area Camp Site, is located 12 miles south west of Ayr within the Culzean Country Park, owned by the National Trust for Scotland.[52]
  • Gatehouse of Fleet Scout Hall
  • Shorefield Camp Site
  • Boreland Camp Site, St Anns (near Beattock).

Shorefield is the main campsite for Galloway Area Scouts.[53]

The South-East district main campsite, is Bonaly Campsite. It is situated in Edinburgh.[54]

In West Region, the Regional Scout Council owns Lapwing Lodge, a former hospital, to provide indoor accommodation and full camping facilities.

Clyde Region operates Auchengillan which is located north of the City.

Gang Shows[edit]

  • Glasgow Gang Show, started in 1936.[55]
  • Greenock Gang Show, started in 1942.[56]
  • Aberdeen Gang Show, started in 1960.[57]
  • Edinburgh Gang Show, started in 1960.[58]
  • Dundee Gang Show, started in 1967.[59]
  • Inverness Area Gang Show, started in 1983.[60]
  • Stirling Gang Show, started in 1986.[61]
  • Lockerbie Scout Group Gang Show, started in 2012


In 2008, the National Scout and Guide Symphony Orchestra performed at the Edinburgh Festival playing 'The Great Adventure', a symphony commissioned for the Scouting 2007 Centenary.[62]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c The Scout Association in Scotland
  2. ^ Aberdeen Universities Student Scouts and Guides Society
  3. ^ Heriot-Watt SSAGO
  4. ^ St Andrews University Scout and Guide Club
  5. ^ Stirling SSAGO
  6. ^ University of Strathclyde Guides and Scouts
  7. ^ a b c "The First Troops" (pdf). The Scout Association. August 2006. Retrieved 2007-02-14. 
  8. ^ The First Glasgow Scout Group
  9. ^ Scouts in Scotland
  10. ^ a b Spalding, Alex. The 24th: 1908 - 2008. ISBN 0-9513439-0-4. 
  11. ^ 12th Glasgow (1st Lenzie) Scout Group
  12. ^ History of Blair Atholl International Jamborette
  13. ^ Robert Brown praises Centenary of Scouting
  14. ^ Restructuring Scotland Guidance Document
  15. ^ Leadership crisis for Scouts as wave of new members leaves them short
  16. ^ Former Caithness Scout Area
  17. ^ Inverness Scout District
  18. ^ Former Aberdeen Scout Scout Area
  19. ^ Former Kincardine and Deeside Scout Area
  20. ^ Gordon Scout District
  21. ^ 2nd Fife (Dunfermline Y.M.C.A.) Scout Group
  22. ^ Former Dundee Scout Area
  23. ^ Former Fife Scout Area
  24. ^ Glenrothes and Levenmouth Scout District
  25. ^ Rosyth Scout District
  26. ^ Perth and Kinross Scout Area
  27. ^ ScoutBase on Perth and Kinross
  28. ^ Perth and Kinross Scout Groups
  29. ^ South East Scotland Scout Region
  30. ^ Borders Scout Area
  31. ^ a b Leith Scout District
  32. ^ Midlothian Scout District and Portobello (from April 2012)
  33. ^ Former Edinburgh Scout Area
  34. ^ Former Forth Valley Scout Area
  35. ^ Stirling & Trossachs Scout District
  36. ^ Former West Lothian Scout Area
  37. ^ Former Glasgow Scout Area
  38. ^ Clyde Scout Region
  39. ^ "Rudolf Hess Flight". Secret Wiki — Scotland. 2006-11-24. Retrieved 2007-02-14. 
  40. ^ 77th Glasgow (Disabled) Scout Group
  41. ^ East Kilbride Scout District
  42. ^ Greenock Scout District
  43. ^ Paisley Scout District
  44. ^ "Oldest Scout Group Honoured". Inverclyde Now. 2008-10-11. 
  45. ^ "5th Greenock & District". Retrieved 2008-10-14. 
  46. ^ South West Scotland Region
  47. ^ Galloway Scouts
  48. ^ Templars' Park Scout Campsite homepage
  49. ^ Graggan Scout Camp
  50. ^ Girlguiding Perth and Kinross
  51. ^ South West Scotland Region Camp Sites
  52. ^ Culzean Camp Site
  53. ^ Kirkdale Port Camp Site
  54. ^ Bonaly Campsite
  55. ^ Glasgow Gang Show
  56. ^ Greenock Gang Show
  57. ^ Aberdeen Gang Show
  58. ^ Edinburgh Gang Show
  59. ^ Dundee Gang Show
  60. ^ Inverness Area Gang Show
  61. ^ Stirling Gang Show
  62. ^ Edinburgh Festival 2008

External links[edit]