National Scout Active Support centred around the use of 4×4 vehicles in Scouting

About us

Who are we and what do Scout 4x4 do?

In 2007 a group of like-minded people got together to go and explore some local green lanes, although most of the people had done this before they hadn't been as a group of Scouters. During this landmark day, there were a plethora of activities including helping a crashed motorcyclist, righting a rolled Suzuki and a major breakdown! A very eventful day you could say.
Following from this day some, friends who had come as passengers ended buying their own 4x4's and together we were regularly heading out and trying new things, breaking things, fixing things and generally having fun and learning what these vehicles could do.
We then got a little more serious and helped a local campsite with logistics for a major weekend camp which saw more people join and help out and that is how Scout 4x4 started.

Now with members all over the UK driving various marques of 4x4, although predominantly land rovers as that seem to be the Scout leaders choice! Our focus is on supporting Scouting and each other, be it a work weekend at a campsite or hq, to offering off road experiences to thousands of young people and leaders at large events.
With a focus on driver quality and training, we have seen several members earn a City & Guilds in off-road driving and winching. 

We are a National Scout Active Support Unit (NSASU) of the UK Scout Association and our membership isn't made up of just male scout leaders with land rovers, we have many females and other gents both with and without 4x4's our only criteria is that you are over 18 and want to get stuck in!
With such a diverse membership comes an amazing array of careers and we are lucky enough to have members whose professional skills can help us with our tasks, from plumbers and electricians to mechanics, plant fitters, builders, civil servants and emergency responders.

Scout 4x4 is fully insured for the activities we undertake and all members are observed before young people are allowed to travel in their vehicles on a driving activity. 
We adhere to Scouting POR (more info below) and provide fully safety paperwork for every activity.

POR Rule 9.72 - Motorsports

Motorised activities away from public roads may be undertaken when:

  • Participants must wear appropriate safety equipment for the activity being undertaken, this includes helmets for all off-road and racing activities.
  • Safety briefings must be given to all participants and marshals.
  • The activity must take place in an area with clear separation and boundary between participants and spectators/ the public.
  • The maximum speed must be considered based on the age and ability of the participant, the vehicle, the supervision, the terrain and any additional factors including legal restrictions on age e.g. quad biking.

What does this all mean?

If you're thinking of running an off-road activity then you need to make sure the activity is correctly risk assessed and that all safety precautions are taken. The rule states that helmets must be worn but not what type.

We recommend that cycling, climbing and most canoeing helmets are not suitable and will make the activity more dangerous due to the overhang on the rear of the helmet. BMX style helmets which follow the shape of the head are a good option and part of our research.

A simple safety briefing to be given to everyone involved, this is a simple quick chat to the participants about the activity and what to do during the activity and should cover basic things like seat belt use, how to sit in the vehicle correctly and what to do in  the event of break down or accident, etc...
A similar chat should be had with all the marshalls, drivers and other activity team members so they are aware of route, protocols, risk and what to do in an emergency.

Separation should be kept from the activity and bystanders, while at an off-road centre or campsite this could be very simple with the use of temporary fencing, barriers and signage if green laning you are likely to encounter public and horse riders and other motor vehicles all of which won't be aware of what your doing or your intentions and in some cases may present a risk or danger to you and your participants. This is where having a good risk assessment comes into play as part of it will denote your speed and what to do in these situations.

The most suitable speed for almost every off-road activity is slow, often less than walking speed. Off-road driving isn't a race!
These rules apply to all in scouting and include adults! It is also required to be followed if at an external centre, or when dealing with external providers. Green lanes are classed as off road too.

Please also see fact sheet: 120413

How do I risk asses off-road driving?

We often get asked by Scouters how to do things safely and do you have a template?
The best thing to do is to think about it and start from scratch each time you do the activity. The same off road course will be very different in different weather conditions and the surfaces will behave very differently.
For example, our Gilwell Park off-road course after prolonged sun is like driving on concrete but add a small bit of water and it becomes an ice rink. After lots of rain it becomes very sticky but incredibly soft and difficult to keep momentum.
If you add snow, it is easy to drive as the ground freezes - its the same course but can go from one extreme to the other overnight, requiring many different driving techniques and skill sets. What we are trying to say is that the weather is a very big factor and can turn a simple risk assessment into a complicated one, and as such, we need to look at the weather and plan accordingly. This is all part of the process.

Firstly decide your venue and do a site visit, plan for the weather expected (don't rely on just one weather prediction, search around to get a better feel).
Once this is established decide what the driving skills needed will be and what are the drivers capable and suitable for the expected conditions.
Then look at what will you use do they need any prep for the activity and are they safe to use? What could possibly go wrong? Think about it as it should be in your risk assessment!
We cant offer a template and could talk all day about safety and how to risk asses but the biggest things we see that get overlooked are - weather, drivers ability, vehicle stability, PPE, un-restrained load, emergency plan, safety briefings, vehicle speed, recovery procedure and use of suitable terrain.

It is also worth remembering POR rule 9.77 other activities:
There are many opportunities for Members to take part in potentially hazardous activities which are not specifically covered in the activity rules. Before undertaking an activity of this nature the Leader concerned must:

    • assess the risks involved;
    • ensure that the Members concerned are physically and mentally able to cope with the activity;
    • ensure that all equipment used fits the participants and is suitable for the activity;
    • obtain the approval of the Home District/County Commissioner

The latest copy of POR can be downloaded here.

Scout 4×4 on the web