SCOUTS from across Wharfedale competed in the annual Torch Race up Otley Chevin.

The Torch Race is a fell race run in a relay from Otley town centre to the top of the Chevin and is competed for by Scouts and Explorers across Wharfedale. The winning team is the first team to ‘break’ the flag at the top.

Traditionally all sections are inspected in uniform with The 1st Ben Rhydding Scout Troop being declared the smartest and also Burley Explorers.

1st Ben Rhydding Scouts fielded two mixed teams of girls and boys aged between 10 and 14 years old and after climbing the steeply rising Chevin to a height of 280m above sea level they beat off the completion to win the coveted Torch. The winning group will now get to keep the torch for one year. Ilkley Explorers won the Explorers competition.

The Torch Race was first held in 1935 as part of the celebrations of the Silver Jubilee of King George V and Queen Mary. It was carried on that occasion by the Scouts of Otley from the Jubilee Clock in Otley to the summit of the Chevin. It was then used to light the Beacon on the Surprise View, which was one of a chain throughout Britain to celebrate the Jubilee.

After the 1935 celebrations, the torch was presented to the Scouts of Otley, and in May each subsequent year, the Scouts have arranged to hold a relay from the town centre to a flagpole placed on the site of the original beacon.

Scouts from Ilkley, Burley, Menston and Otley competed this year the photos show the winning teams in light and dark blue scarves. (1st Ben Rydding Group)

Dominic Dodson, the District Commissioner for Wharfedale District presented the trophies and said how wonderful it was to see so many teams and praised the dedication of the leaders who ensure the event goes from strength to strength. The weather was kind this year albeit slightly cold on the top but perfect for running up the Chevin.