Whisky Galore!

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A compass, pacing and route-card treasure hunt loosely based on the 1947 book in which a group of Scottish islanders hide their salvage from the party-pooping english captain!


Per team (3-4 scouts per team):
Routecard - see attached
6-8 lunchbox drinks (e.g Fruit Shoot) - mark each bottle with the team name / number / colour
1 packet of sweets (ideally individually wrapped) - mark with team name / number / colour

For group:
Whistle / Airhorn
Trophy or prize
Large area - preferably wooded, preferably dark.


2017 is the 70th anniversary of Compton Mackenzie's wartime-based 'Whisky Galore', in which a group of heavily rationed and pretty thirsty Scottish islanders come to the 'rescue' of the shpwrecked SS Cabinet Minister and her 50,000 crates of whisky. Chaos ensues with the islanders trying to hide their bounty from the authorities. The story was based on the real-life incident of the SS Politician running aground on the Hebridean island of Eriskay in 1941.

In this game, the scouts take on the role of the islanders hiding their salvage and the leaders acting as the authorities.

1) Split the section into teams of 3-4 scouts per team. Each team has the following roles:
Navigator (skills: accuracy)
Pacer (skills: numeracy and being of average height)
Scribe (skills: accuracy and good handwriting)
Quartermaster (skills: remembering things)

Part 1 (25 mins)
From a central point in the woods, each team must create and record a route, hiding bottles along the way
a) Take and record the start bearing
b) Pace count to the next way point and record count and description of leg (remind scouts that a pace is two steps and to describe end point)
c) Take and record the next bearing (remind the scouts that the path can deviate from the bearing, but they must regard any junctions where they change direction as separate waypoints)
d) At certain waypoints, the Quartermaster should hide a bottle. Marke on the routecard that the waypoint has a bottle, and add a hint (e.g. under bush on left side of path). They must then visualise and remember the location.
e) Continue until an end point (they don't have to do all waypoints on routecard), where they can hide the final treasure (sweets), and add a hint to the routecard.

Return to central point on hearing the whistle / air horn

Part 2 (25 mins)
a) Swap route cards
b) Teams set off to follow route card to find bottles and treasure
c) On finding bottle, tick routecard
d) First teams back win extra points

Return to central point on hearing the whistle / air horn

2 pt per bottle found
5 pts for sweets
3, 2 and 1 bonus point for 1st, 2nd and 3rd teams back

Part 3 (10 mins)
If any bottles are still missing, original team must retrace route to collect bottle (extra point per bottle)

Depending on how evil you're feeling, leaders can either go out and pick up poorly hidden bottles, or you can turn it into a wide game with the teams having to hide from the authorities.
For more advanced scouts, replace paces with distance in meters


  • compass
  • Hike
  • navigation
  • route card

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