The Challenge


The Southern 50 Challenge is a tough walk in The Chiltern Hills through the counties of Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, organised by Greater London North Scout County.

There are THREE routes to choose from, 50 miles and 50km open to all, and a 30km route for Explorer Scouts only.

The event is a test of good orienteering skills as well as physical ability and teamwork and unlike other well-known hikes the routes are different each year and so local knowledge will not be of help as the route will not be disclosed until the day of the event. All teams therefore start with exactly the same chance of winning a trophy.

Like any other long distance challenge, the effort required to last the full course and receive a finishing certificate is an achievement.

Many like to return to have another crack at the trophy or just to improve on their time. 

Whatever the reason, you will enjoy our challenge and, we are sure, find the event very rewarding.


Each team must comprise of between 3 - 5 participants, all of whom must be members of The Scout Association or GirlGuiding UK . Each participant must be at least fourteen years old on the day of the event for the 50mile and 50km events. Participants for the 30km event must be thirteen and a half years or over but have not reached their eighteenth birthday on the day of the event.

It is this difference that has made the Southern 50 Challenge a successful and rewarding event in the past and will continue to for many years.


How to Enter, for details of how to enter your team(s). Here you will also find the cost and what you get for your money.

The Event, for details of the Start and Finish location, registration, accommodation, meals and presentation.

Rules of the event.

Kit List, for details of personal and team kit required for the event both compulsory and suggested items. And the maps needed for this year’s event. Although it may look tame on the map, in February the conditions can be very severe this is why we expect all walkers to be prepared for the worst.

The Event


Please ensure all members of your team read these instructions as well as the Rules and Kit List and that you all understand the arrangements for the event.


This years event for the 50 mile, 50 km and 30 km events and the venue for the presentation ceremony will be disclosed nearer to the event.


The emergency telephone number for Central Control is a mobile number 07960 282626. Please ensure your team’s home contact has this number which will be operational from 21.00hrs on Friday.


The School will be open from 21.00hrs on the Friday and you may report in at any time from then until ONE HOUR before your 50 mile, 50 km or 30 km scheduled start time (TWO HOURS if you require breakfast).

When you receive your start times, we will also give you a time to arrive for breakfast and time to arrive at kit check. Please keep to these times as this helps us to manage the smooth running of the event through to the start area.

Please follow the signs for the car park for this event as you enter the School. It is important that you do not park in other areas or obstruct access to the School for other vehicles.

There will be direction signs displayed on the approach to the School and signage in the School to assist you in navigating your way around. You will be allocated a sleeping area once you have checked in at the registration Desk. Please do not settle down anywhere other than where instructed. You may want to bring an air-bed, but please do NOT bring camp beds as these can cause problems with the allocation of sleeping space. If you arrive late at the School please bed down quickly and quietly.Your co-operation on this would be much appreciated.


Please check in on arrival. When you check in please report as a complete team and you will be issued with the necessary items for the walk.

These include:

  • Identity Wristbands (team no. plus A,B,C,D,E) - these are individual to each competitor and should be worn on the wrist at all times for identification and obtaining meals. The emergency telephone number is also on the wrist band
  • Luggage Labels - to be tied to the luggage bag you are leaving behind. Please make sure you pack your kit into bags, attach the label and take it to the kit check area so that it will be ready for collection at the finish.

If you have any team member changes please log on to the online entry database and make the necessary amendments. This can be done up until midnight on the Thursday before the event. After this time, changes will need to be made at the registration desk on arrival.


There will be a shop at the School which will have a limited stock of some items necessary for this event. This will be run by COTSWOLD OUTDOOR. The shop will operate on Friday evening up until the last team has checked in.

Teams should ensure they have the required equipment and clothing before they arrive as stock cannot be guaranteed. The required equipment to carry and wear can be found in the Kit List, please check it carefully.


Those of you bringing along supporters are reminded that food and accommodation can be provided but the cost of meals is payable on a ‘pay as you go’ basis. Supporters should also remember that food and drink at checkpoints are for teams only. Supporters can pick up details of the route from the Information Desk once all the teams have started. Please ensure that any parking restrictions are followed.


Saturday breakfast will be served from 04.30 hrs to 07.30 hrs.

An evening meal will be provided on return to the School from 18.30 hrs onwards.

Sunday breakfast will be served from 07.30hrs to 09.00hrs.

There will be no food served on Friday evening but there is a selection of local food outlets close by.


The presentations for all three events will start at 9.30 am with an event summary, Guest speaker, Certificates and trophy presentation and the Event Video.

The whole event should be complete by 11.00hrs when refreshments will be available. The wearing of uniform for the presentations is optional but preferred.

The organisers would appreciate any help with 30 minutes of clearing up at the end.


For your safety and the future of the event please observe the following whilst on the School premises:

  • No smoking anywhere in the School or anywhere on site
  • Fire Exits must be kept clear
  • Do not obstruct doors or gangways
  • Do not obstruct or tamper with fire fighting equipment
  • Familiarise yourself with the fire evacuation procedure

In case of fire:

  • If you discover a fire, sound the alarm, alert a Southern 50 official and call the fire services (or ensure someone does).
  • On hearing the alarm proceed to the nearest fire exit and make your way to the fire assembly point outside the building
  • Once outside at the assembly point give your name to the official on duty

The Southern 50 organisers will appoint fire wardens who will patrol the School and take charge in the event of a fire. Please follow any instructions they give.



  • Each team must comprise of between 3 - 5 participants, all of whom must be members of The Scout Association or Girl Guiding. 
  • Each participant must be at least fourteen years old on the day of the event for the 50 mile and 50 km events. 
  • Participants for the 30 km event must be thirteen and a half years or over but have not reached their eighteenth birthday on the day of the event.
  • The kit list also comprises a part of these rules.
  • Teams must register at all checkpoints in the specified order.
  • Teams must have at least THREE members. If a participant has to retire from the event meaning that the team is left with just two members, these two must join up with another team to form a 'scratch team' for safety reasons, who may finish but will not qualify for a trophy. A team that finishes having fewer members that it started with shall not qualify for a trophy or receive an official placing.
  • Rescue teams will be operating throughout the event. If a participant is unable to continue when in open country, the entire team should bivouac and advise Central Control by telephoning the emergency number. Any team finding another in distress must assist to erect their shelter and ensure that those in distress are comfortable before continuing to the next checkpoint where they MUST report their findings. Suitable time allowance for any such action will be made at the discretion of the organisers.

A team will be disqualified if:

  • Any member is inadequately equipped
  • Any member receives outside assistance (other than medical)
  • Accompanied by unregistered walker(s)

A competitor will be withdrawn from the event and not allowed to continue if:

  • In the opinion of a marshal they are unfit to continue
  • They are deemed by the organisers to be making unsatisfactory progress

All decisions of the organisers are final. The organisers reserve the right to adjust the rules and route if they consider it necessary. The organisers cannot be held personally responsible for any mishap or injury, however caused, during the event.

Kit List


Map required for teams entering the 50 mile, 50 km and 30 km routes:

  • OS Explorer maps required will be disclosed nearer to the event.
To comply with the rules each team must carry two sets of each of the maps listed above for your team’s event.

Each person must wear or carry at all times on the walk:

  • Long trousers or similar to cover the lower body (no denims)
  • Boots or walking shoes to give protection from the elements (suitability of footwear will be entirely at the discretion of the Inspection teams)
  • Three layers of clothing for the upper body
  • Waterproof garments to cover the whole body – including the head
  • Hat to cover the ears
  • Gloves or Mittens
  • Whistle
  • Torch with spare batteries
  • A high visibility jacket or vest. This item must be worn during hours of darkness or as instructed to do so by event staff.
  • Emergency rations (glucose, sweets, chocolate, nuts, raisins etc.)
  • Survival bag – minimum 500 gauge
  • Drinking water
  • A mug
  • Emergency personal first aid kit

Each team must carry:

  • Two sets of the OS maps for the chosen route (see top of page)
  • Two compasses (Silva or similar)
  • Team first aid kit containing, as a minimum, a good supply of plasters and 3 large triangular bandages in a waterproof bag/box
  • At least one mobile phone which must be fully charged at the start of the event and must be switched on throughout the event. The mobile phone number must be given to the member of staff at registration.

In addition for the 50 mile and 50 km routes, each team must carry:

  • An emergency shelter, also known as a KISU or Blokka bag, or a 2 person tent without poles or pegs. Full description on page 4 of Walk Instructions
  • A sleeping bag
  • A stove and fuel, emergency food and equipment to cook it

Suggested items you will also need for the weekend:

  • Sleeping bag, mat and pillow
  • Wash kit to freshen up
  • Change of clothes
  • Change of footwear. Please note that the walking boots / shoes you use for the event will be taken from you at the Finish Control on returning to the school and placed in a bin bag with your team number, it can be collected when you leave. This policy allows us to keep the accommodation as free of mud as possible.

How to Enter

How to Enter

Please send your entry form well before the closing date to avoid disappointment - the event is so popular that we have had to turn late team entries away. 

Demand for this event is very high, so to make it fair for all, your entry will only be placed into the draw on receipt of your entry fee, by cheque, or by BACS payment.

The entry fee for this year's event is £98 per team (regardless of whether there are three, four or five walkers) and includes the following:

  • Indoor accommodation on Friday and Saturday night.
  • Cooked meals for Saturday breakfast, evening meal and Sunday breakfast.
  • Drinks and snacks at most checkpoints.
  • Transport (where necessary).
  • First aid and rescue facilities.
  • Communications and Administration.

Entering the Southern 50 Challenge is done in two parts.


  • Entries open at 10pm on Friday 27th October 2017.
  • Entries close at 10pm on Friday 26th January 2018.
  • Then follow the instructions below to create a team record entry and fill in the names and other information requested.
    • Select 'Southern2018' if prompted,
    • Click on 'Guest', then click 'Login'.
    • Follow instructions when database actually loads. You will have to create your own username and password
    • This system allows you to create your own entry record. You type in your name, and a password of your choice.
    • Whenever you want to look at or change your details, you will need that password - so don't forget it!
    • Entries made before the closing date can be amended (names and other personal details) up to 10pm on Friday 2nd February 2018.
    • All Adult walkers must supply their Scout Association membership number. This will be checked against Compass. Changes to adult team members and the team name cannot be made after 10pm 2nd February 2018. This allows us time to carry out the necessary checks. Adult walkers not declared by 10pm 2nd February 2018 WILL NOT BE PERMITTED TO TAKE PART. Changes can be made to young person walkers at the reception desk at the walk venue. 



  • Select the On-Line Payment Entry Form.
  • Make your payment direct to the Southern 50 bank account (details are provided).
  • Enter the figure that you have transferred and check the box to agree with the conditions of entry.
  • Print this page as a pdf document.
  • Email this document to our Walk Registrar.


  • Select the Entry Form Page and print a copy.
  • Sign this document, place it in an envelope with a cheque to cover the entry fee and post it to the Walk Registrar.
  • Cheques should be made payable to 'Southern 50 Challenge'. 


If for some reason you are unable to complete the process in this way, please make contact with the Walk Registrar who will then make paper copies available for you to complete.

The draw for team numbers and start times will be made during the week following 26th January 2018. Team entries will only be placed in the draw if they are complete (ie at least three names with personal details) and the team payment has been received. The draw will be sent to team leaders by email, and the full draw will be on the website from 3rd February 2018.


Hints & Tips

50 mile, 50k, 30k - What do you choose?

It's up to you but here are some thoughts . . .

  • All of the challenges are difficult requiring endurance, navigation and above all team spirit, the shorter ones are not soft options.
  • The ideal distance should be the amount that your team can expect to complete in difficult terrain (50m within 20 hours, 50k within 15 hours, 30k within 10 hours). Faster teams will do it in about half the time of the slower ones.
  • The organisers may stop your team if weather conditions are bad or they think that it is unlikely that you will finish in a reasonable time for them.
  • Whilst it has been done, it is unlikely that a young team of Explorers will be able to complete 50 miles, 50k or 30k is more realistic, especially if they are not very experienced.
  • If your team has not entered before it is probably better to enter for a distance shorter than the one you originally thought about.
  • To succeed as a team, all your registered participants must finish. Injury and illness can occur before the day. Think about reserve members that could fill in at the last minute. How far could the reserve walk? Perhaps that should be your distance.

When you have decided - some more thoughts

  • Training for the 50 mile event should start about October and the other routes before the year end. If you do not train it does not mean that you will not finish but that parts of four bodies will hurt (they will anyway but less so if you prepare!)
  • Do not try breaking in new boots on the event. It will also hurt - a lot. 
  • Check all kit well before, when you enter would be a good idea.
  • The amount of kit can also cause pain. Sensible teams weigh it before hand.
  • It is a navigation exercise so it would help if all of the team could use a compass and understand a map.
  • Try to send the entry form before the closing date.

Read walkers' views of the Southern 50 in the Team Reports.


Southern 50 Challenge Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to our FAQ page which we'll update as more questions are asked! We have tried to answer the most commonly asked questions relating to the Southern 50 Challenge below . . . visit our contact page to if there's something else you need to know.

Reports & Results
Photos & Video
Equipment Shop


Cotswold Outdoor

COTSWOLD OUTDOOR will be running the equipment shop for this years event, they will have a limited amount of stock of some items necessary for this event.

The shop will operate on Friday evening up until the last team has checked in.

Teams should ensure they have the required equipment and clothing before they arrive as stock cannot be guaranteed. The required equipment to carry and wear is detailed in the RULES which are in the WALK INSTRUCTIONS. Please ensure you check carefully.

This Chiltern 20 & Southern 50 weather forecast is generated by the Met Office Weather Widget