The Three Towers Hike

FAQ

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Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the more popular questions we receive...

What is the Three Towers Hike ?
Which hike section should I enter ?
What's the name mean ?
When is the hike ?
Who can take part ?
I'm not a member of the Scout Association. Can I still take part ?
How do you know where the hikers are ?
How do I enter ?
How many teams enter the event ?
What happens if the weather is really bad ?
Are there any discounts available ?
Do I need a signature from my DC ?
I don't have anyone to walk with. What should I do ?
Can I enter as a team of 4 ?
What do I need ?
What was the Jubilee event ?
What was the JubileePlus event ?
What's this I hear about a Junket event ?
How much will it cost ?
What happens if I win ?
What happens if I drop out ?
Do you provide food ?
I don't eat meat. Can you still feed me ?
Will the hike ever fall over Easter weekend?
I have a question that's not in this FAQ list !!


What is the Three Towers Hike ?

The Three Towers Hike is a downland competition hike. That means you walk it and are competing against other hikers across open country - although many people do it just for fun or for the challenge.

The hike covers footpaths in West Berkshire and South Oxfordshire, straddling the Ridgeway and Thames. There are a number of different events, each with different route lengths for different age ranges.

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Which hike section should I enter ?

Scout

The hike is about 25 km.
The Scout event is open to anyone of Scout age (10, 11, 12, 13 or 14-year olds only).
This is exclusively for members of a Scout Troop operating within Berkshire
No team may have more than one 10 year old nor more than one 14 year old.

ScoutPlus

The hike is about 40 km.
The Scout event is a qualified event open to Scouts (13-14) who have completed the Scout event previously in under 6 hours.
This is exclusively for members of a Scout Troop operating within Berkshire

Explorer

The hike is about 45 km.
The Explorer event is open to 13½, 14, 15, 16 and 17 year olds.
It is also open to persons 18 years and over who have never walked any of the hikes before (Novices).
This is ideal for all Explorer Scouts and Ranger Guides.
It is also ideal for cadet units and other recognised youth training organisations.

Classic

The hike is about 70km - depending on which footpaths you take.
The Classic hike is open to just about absolutely anyone 16 years and older.
This is ideal for older Explorer Scouts and Ranger Guides, members of the Scout Network, Scout Active Support or adult leaders, helpers and supporters. It is also idea for cadet units, sports clubs etc.

Entrants from Adult members of the general public are positively welcomed (non-Scouting folk will need to complete an waiver form).
It is well suited to anyone who has walked the hike before. This event is the 'open event' and is considered the "main" hike.
The Classic event is very popular with members of the Long Distance Walking Association and Ramblers Association.
The Classic event previously was known as the Senior event.

Status Scout event ScoutPlus event Explorer event Classic event Junket event
Home location Berkshire based Berkshire based no restrictions no restrictions no restrictions
Age group †10 - 14½ †13 - 14½ only 13½ to 17, 18+ 16 and over 16 and over
Scout membership required Yes - and restricted to Scout section only Yes - and restricted to Scout section only No - although primarily restricted to Explorer section, other youth training organisations may participate by invitation. No - open event.
Qualification Event none yes - 2 of the 3 hikers in the team must have completed Scout event in previous year in a time under 7½ hours none none none
Length about 25km about 40km about 45km about 70km about 15km
Duration between 4 and 8 hours walking between 6 and 9 hours walking between 8 and 16 hours walking between 12 and 24 hours walking between 3 and 5 hours walking
First teams check-in 07:30 07:00 09:30 06:50 11:30
First teams start time 08:00 07:30 11:00 07:30 13:00
Maximum Number of Teams 50 10 30 30 20

† Since September 2009, thee maximum age for a Scout in a Troop is 14½ i.e. on 2011 hike day, born on or after 10 October 1996.

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What's the name mean ?

The name dates back from the early days 30 years ago when the hike visited 3 large water towers.

Only the water tower at Tilehurst remains on the route today.

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When is the hike ?

In the past it has usually taken place on the third Saturday in March, but in more recent years it has been held in April.

In 2011, the hike took place on Saturday, 9th April 2011.

In 2012, the Queen's Dimaond Jubilee year and the London 2012 Olympics year, the hike took place on Saturday, 14th April 2012. (Easter fell on Sunday, 8th April)

In 2013, the hike tool place on Saturday, 20th April 2013. (Easter fell at the end of March)

In 2014, the hike tool place on Saturday, 12th April 2014.

In 2015, the hike took take on Saturday, 11th April 2015. (Easter fell at the beginning of April )

In 2016, the hike will take place on Saturday, 16th April 2016. (Easter falls end of March)

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Who can take part ?

The Scout section is only open to active Scouts who are a member of a Scout Troop operating in Berkshire. Note: Scouts working towards their Explorer Scout membership are strongly recommended to enter the Explorer Hike.

The Explorer sections is primarily open to Explorer Scouts and Ranger Guides, although subject to certain conditions anyone of the appropriate age range may be able to enter. Please talk to us to find out more.

The Classic section is open to anyone based on the appropriate age ranges.

Adults can also take part.

Entrants need not be local, in fact, the hike welcomes applications from distant groups too. 

The hike does not discriminate. Provided you are fit enough to walk, you can enter.  We hope you can make at least half the course.

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I'm not a member of the Scout Association. Can I still take part ?

The hike is also open to other recognised groups. 

This includes such organisations as Army Cadets, St John Ambulance Cadets and other groups which provide their members with accident liability insurance.

All non members are required to complete a Scout Association accident liability waiver.

We would happy to tell you what you need to know. If in doubt, please ask us.

 

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How do you know where the hikers are ?

control Every checkpoint marshal has a skilled radio operator who will relay by wireless the arrival times of every hiker arriving at the checkpoint. Back at base, we have computers which process this information and can predict the whereabouts of every hiker on the course.

How do I enter ?

The easiest way to enter the hike is to register directly online. More.

Paper forms will not be used in 2012.

If all else fails, ring one of the numbers on the contacts page and ask for one.

How many teams enter the event ?

Spaces are limited to:

    Classic event - 30 teams
    Junket event - 20 teams
    Explorer event - 30 teams
    ScoutPlus event - 10 teams
    Scout event - 60 teams

Theoretical maximum number of walkers is therefore 450 people, though it's usually limited to 360 people.

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What happens if the weather is really bad ?

Bad means whiteouts caused by blizzards, exceptionally windy conditions, or dangerous flood levels.

In such circumstances the hike director reserves to amend the route to avoid the worst spots. A shorter route with fewer checkpoints may be substituted. Some of the younger hikers may not be permitted to start.

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Are there any discounts available ?

Yes !!

If you are submitting more than four teams, let us know..

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Do I need a signature from my DC ?

Members of the Scout Association under the age of 18 years require the acknowledgement of their District Commissioner. If you register online and you're from Berkshire, we will inform your DC on your behalf. Otherwise, it is your leader's responsibility to ensure your own DC is aware of your participation.

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I don't have anyone to walk with. What should I do ?

That's not a problem. Register your interest now.

We will match you up with someone of similar experience to form a team.

The sooner you register the sooner we can find a match. 

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Can I enter as a team of 4 ?

Yes, from 2013 all teams can comprise either 3 or 4 hikers.

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What do I need ?

The rules specify a certain amount of kit to be carried.

You will need to wear on your feet some solid walking shoes , not trainers , together with comfortable socks.

You will need lightweight clothing appropriate for walking on the Berkshire Downs plus certain changes of clothes.

You will also need a rucksack and some basic safety equipment. Check the RULES page for more information 

What was the Jubilee event ?

It was a one-off one-year-only event of just 15km for adults who knew it's way beyond their league to contemplate 70km. Jubilee entrants were treated like any other hiker on the day (including rigurous kit checks) but weren'be treated to so many aches and pains afterwards.

The Jubilee event was NOT suitable for stompers, sprinters or anyone who has completed the Classic or Explorer events previously.

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What was the JubileePlus event ?

This event in 2013 was aimed at the same walking-experienced hikers as the 2012 Jubilee. As an experiment it proved very popular. It continues in 2014 and beyond as the .Junket'.

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What's this about a Junket event ?

Tim' Junket will from 2014 onwards will be the new name for the JubileePlus (as it was in 2013).

Tim Jenkin's was the checkpoint marshal at Blewbury for decades and was a great supporter of the hike. He was taken ill and died shortly before the 2012 hike causing a great loss to the team. In honour of his services to the hike and to scouting, and with the agreement of his family, we have named this circular route from Compton to Blewbury and back under the banner 'Tim's Junket'.

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How much will it cost ?

Prices correct at time of publication - subject to change.

These fees are per hiker - remember a team comprises 3 or 4 people.

Scout section Event £12.00
ScoutPlus section Event £14.00
Explorer Team (all under 18) £16.00 †
Classic Team (all 18+) £22.00 †
† adults entering Explorer event: additional £6 per adult; youths entering Classic event: discount £6 per youth.

Overnight supporters fee (non-staff, for food and lodgings for addition people not listed in team) - £6.00 

If your troop, unit, or company wish to enter a number of teams and you are able to provide a minibus, please contact is to arrange a special discount.

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What happens if I win ?

You get a trophy if you win. There are lots of trophies for different classes within each section, for example the fast all ladies team.

Everyone gets a certificate to show their achievement.

Even if you don't finish, you will get a certificate to show how far you got.

There are some prizes too - wait and see - watch this space.

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What happens if I drop out ?

We prefer you drop out at a checkpoint. However, we do have 4-wheel drive vehicles and a dedicated team of First Aiders.

The hike will run minibuses between checkpoints to collect retiring hikers.

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Do you provide food ?

We sure do - some of the best snack food in West Berkshire (so they say).

Sandwiches, crisps, fruits, chocolates for lunch and for those walking over 45km there's a hot dinner with pudding in the evening.

All checkpoints have either hot or cold drinks available.

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I don't eat meat. Can you still feed me ?

Kosher, Halal or just Veggie. Let us know what you require. If you have any food allergies, please tell us and we will do our best to provide an alternative.

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Will the hike ever fall over Easter weekend?

Easter is a variable feast, the date of which in modern times has not been based on calculations on the first full moons after the spring equinox, but has been based on the weekend of The Three Towers Hike. We therefore try to avoid the Easter weekend and the hike weekend colliding.

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