Explorer Belt 2023 – Galicia

Between: 22nd July 2023 - 4th August 2023 Location: Galicia Sections: Explorer Scouts Event Organiser: Josh Goodwin

Explorer Belt – Galicia 2023

Between: 22nd July – 4th August 2023 Location: Spain

Sections: Explorer Scouts, Scout Network

The Explorer Belt is the challenge of a lifetime

It’s a 10-day expedition that will bring you a deeper understanding of one of our European neighbours, their culture and way of life. It’s an independent exploration of a foreign country in a small team. The Explorer Belt is one of Scouting’s most challenging Top Awards.  Read about Galicia and some important pre-requisites below.  Then click the red link to register for an Explorer Belt Information Afternoon

Galicia in north west Spain is the location for the 2023 expedition

Galicia is a fascinating, autonomous region in the north west of Spain. With a diverse Spanish, Portuguese and celtic cultural heritage, Galicia is home to the UNESCO world heritage listed cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in the city of the same name. The region has a wild coastline with small, rural, farming villages inland. There are hills in the vicinity of Santiago and mountains further east. The Atlantic Ocean, which bounds two sides of the region, moderates the summer temperatures to a comfortable temperate climate. The area is a popular holiday destination for Spaniards escaping the hot regions of their peninsula. There are also many visitors from other countries, who come on pilgrimage to walk The Camino, which ends at the cathedral.

Your Explorer Belt expedition

You’ll travel through Galicia as a small team of 4 or 5 Explorer Scouts or 3 to 5 Network members for 10 days. You’ll meet local people, talk to them and complete a series of projects. During your expedition, you’ll select your own route and cover about 150 km on foot. After your expedition you’ll make a presentation to gain your Explorer Belt.

Previous expedition members have said the Explorer Belt is the best thing they did as part of Scouts.

Important pre-requisites

  • You must be either an Explorer Scout aged 16 or over before the start of the expedition, or a Scout Network member.
  • As a guide, you should have hiking, lightweight camping and expedition experience at Chief Scout’s Diamond / Silver DofE award level.
  • Ideally, you will have formed a team and will register as a team for the first training weekend in November. Explorer teams must have 4 or 5 members, Network teams can be 3, 4 or 5.
  • You must attend the two training weekends, on November 19th and 20th 2022 and March 18th and 19th 2023. They will be held in Surrey and south west London.
  • Between the two weekends, you will be expected to conduct specific training and team-building activities individually and in your team.

Start your Explorer Belt journey here

If you’re interested in the 2023 Explorer Belt, please read through the Information Afternoon materials at this link and / or watch the Information Afternoon video at this link.  Please then apply for a place at the first training weekend using the Form at this link


Key Dates

Saturday 24th September 2pm – Information afternoon, hosted online.

Sunday 9th October 2pm – Information afternoon, hosted online.

31st October – Cut-off date for teams to register to attend the first training weekend. See separate section below on Your team.

Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th November – Mandatory training weekend at Bentley Copse, Surrey

End November – Apply as a team for your Explorer Belt expedition place including an outline of your major project. See separate section below on Projects

Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th March 2023 – Mandatory training weekend at 4th Worcester Park HQ, south west London

Saturday 22nd July to Friday 4th August– Explorer Belt expedition

August or September 2023 – Explorer Belt team presentation and assessment

Saturday 16th September 2023 – Explorer Belt Celebration and Award event

Your Team

3 to 5 people You’ll carry out your Explorer Belt expedition in a small team of either 4 or 5 Explorers, or 3 to 5 Network members. As you’ll be living, eating, sleeping and working together in close proximity in challenging conditions for a long period of time, you’ll want to consider carefully who you team up with. People you’ve been with before on expeditions often work well as the basis for a team.

Forming your team It’s your responsibility and that of your fellow team members to form your team. We will provide advice at the Information Afternoons about forming teams, but we will not put you into a team or create teams.

Ideally, you will have formed your team ahead of the first training weekend. When you register for the training weekend, you should register as a team.

Differences between Network teams and Explorer Scout teams Teams must be either 4 or 5 Explorer Scouts (aged 16 or 17) or 3, 4 or 5 Network Scouts (aged 18 to 24). Explorer teams follow the under 18s Activity rules. Network teams have greater flexibility and operate under the Scouts’ adults rules.

We discourage teams with both Network members and Explorer Scouts. If you are an Explorer team, please consider carefully when each member turns 18 and whether this is before the expedition departs.

Why not larger team sizes? We have found that teams of 6 or 7 struggle to find accommodation. Team members in these large teams also have difficulty engaging individually and directly with people from the host country. That defeats the key idea of the Explorer Belt!

Who can apply? We welcome Scouts from all parts of the UK to join in with the Explorer Belt. Because the number of expedition places is necessarily limited, we give some preference to teams containing Surrey Scouts and / or Greater London South West Scouts.

Explorer Belt Projects

The essence of an Explorer Belt is a small team with a purpose on a journey that creates understanding and inspires. The key purpose is to gain a real understanding of a different country, its people, culture and way of life. The main way you do that is by meeting and talking to local people as you carry out your Explorer Belt projects.

Your major project

You will be doing two types of project. Your Major Project is developed by you and approved by the Leader Team. It should take you between 10 and 15 hours to complete with these hours spread over the 10 days of your expedition. The Explorer Belt Projects Download explains how to develop your Major Project.

Ten minor projects

The other projects you’ll do are ten Minor Projects. These are set by the Leader team. There’s a list of sample Minor Projects at the end of the Explorer Belt Projects Download. With each Minor Project expected to take you between 45 minutes and 1 hour, your project work usually occupies between 2 and 2 ½ hours per day of your expedition.

Preparation, training and mentors

We expect you to have hiking, lightweight camping and expedition experience at or equivalent to Chief Scout’s Diamond / Silver DofE award level. Network members, especially, may have experience of independent travel in Europe.

Your training plan

During the training weekends, we will explain the capabilities you need for success in your Explorer Belt expedition. We will train you in specific competencies. You and your team will train locally, both individually and together, in the other competencies you need. We will explain the standards you should aim to achieve. You will need to gain a First Response First Aid qualification or equivalent before the Explorer Belt expedition.

Your mentor

We will appoint a mentor who will support you in your preparations for your expedition. They will provide you with advice on how to prepare and help you develop a plan. They can also help you find resources you may need for your preparations and provide advice about the kit you will need to take on the expedition.

Explorer Belt Payments

The first training weekend will cost £40.

We will ask you to pay when you register for the training weekend.

The expedition, including the second training weekend, will cost in the region of £800.

We will ask for payment for the expedition in three amounts.

£300, due when you apply for a place on the expedition immediately after the training weekend in November.

£300, due by end January 2023.

The balance of the expedition cost due by end March 2023.

Explorer Belt Leader Team

The expedition will be led by an experienced team of leaders who have run seven successful Explorer Belts in the last 16 years including a previous Explorer Belt to Galicia. The leader team will be in-country during the expedition. They will remotely supervise you and be able to assist you if needed.

Josh Goodwin

Explorer Belt Leader (Surrey Scouts)

Josh is the overall 2023 Explorer Belt leader. Josh was a member of the leader team on the 2022 Explorer Belt expedition to Luxembourg and recently carried out our reconnaissance visit to Galicia.

Josh is also the Group Scout Leader of a Group in Surrey renowned for its outdoors and adventurous programme. He has been a leader on many camps and Explorer expeditions in the UK and to Kandersteg, as well as the 2022 Luxembourg Explorer Belt.

Josh says that “the Explorer Belt is different from the other Top Awards in Scouting. Participants engage with the residents of the area they are visiting and they find out a lot about themselves as well as about the people and places they visit”.

Chris Dean

Explorer Belt Leader (Greater London South West Scouts)

Chris Dean has been a member of the GLSW Explorer Belt Team on seven Explorer Belt expeditions over the last 16 years to Lithuania, Italy, France, Sweden, Luxembourg (twice), and Galicia. More than 200 Scouts from England, Wales and Northern Ireland have participated in Explorer Belts led by Chris.

Chris says that “the Explorer Belt really allows participants to get under the skin of a country and is the perfect antidote to the package holiday”.

Tony Crackett

Explorer Belt Leader (Greater London South West)

This will be Tony’s second Explorer Belt in Galicia, his fourth overall and his 21st Scout visit abroad. Tony is a member of the GLSW Explorer Belt Leader team.

Amanda Doran

Explorer Belt Leader (Surrey Scouts)

Amanda is an Explorer Scout Leader from East Surrey. Amanda was a member of the leader team for the 2022 Explorer Belt expedition to Luxembourg. She took part in our reconnaissance visit to Galicia.

Jon Emery

Explorer Belt Leader (Surrey Scouts)

Jon is an Explorer Scout Leader from Surrey Heath. He was a member of the leader team for the 2022 Explorer Belt expedition to Luxembourg. Jon took part in our reconnaissance visit to Galicia.

Andrew Carvell

Assistant County Commissioner (Explorers) Surrey Scouts

Andrew is a hill-walker, mountaineer and canoeist, who has led expeditions for young people to Scotland, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland among others.

He is supporting Josh to organise the 2023 Explorer Belt expedition.

Organisation, Safety and Covid

The Explorer Belt is being organised by Surrey Scouts in partnership with Greater London South West Scout County.

Surrey Scouts is the lead county and is responsible for the governance and approval of the Explorer Belt training weekends and the expedition. The training weekend and expedition will be run in line with the Scouts’ safety policy and rules.

Covid-19 The Explorer Belt Leader team continue to closely monitor the impact of Covid-19 on Scouting activities.

Further Information

You can find further information about the Explorer Belt on the Scouts website at including the Reach Out and Explore guide to completing the Explorer Belt.



Nature and the outdoors are languages that can be learned. Once you identify a beech tree, tie a clove hitch or cook a simple meal over a fire that you’ve built yourself, you’ll never forget it.'
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls