The Surrey Six

"The Surrey Six" were composed following a challenge set by me as Chairman of the Surrey Branch.

Wondering how knotting was fairing amongst Surrey's Scouts and Guides, I set a recognition test of 15 easy scouting knots to the participants at an activity weekend called "Scoutabout", which is held every three years and has 5000 Scouts and Guides attending.

The results were that, on average, only 6 of these knots were recognised. This got me thinking about "The Six Knot Challenge" and whether or not the knots taught in Baden-Powells' time were still suitable for modern slippery rope. The answer was NO.

Because of this I challenged the Surrey Branch's members to come up with a set of six knots for general purposes which were suitable for use with today's rope, to replace the original six Scout Tenderfoot Knots.

The results, after much debate, were the NEW six Scout Tenderfoot Knots. To take this idea to Gilwell (the UK Scout's training HQ), and say "these are the knots we think you should teach and use" would, I decided, be a long and arduous task and could also upset many traditionalists. So, with the help of my colleagues in the Surrey Branch, we formulated a "cunning plan". WE would teach OUR groups "The Surrey Six", so named by David Monk because of the pride it would give us in years to come to say that they started in Surrey.

The response from Scouters and their young charges has been very good and everybody we have met, so far, has said these are a good set of "general use" knots. (We all accept that there are often better knots for more specialist applications; after all we have in excess of 3800 to choose from!)

Now, you ALL have an opportunity to better our Six. I challenge YOU to come up with six knots for general purposes for use in modern rope which may, or may not, include some of "The Surrey Six".

Please send your ideas to me by e-mail to and I will collate them and publish the results in Knotting Matters and here at surreyknots.

If you have any other comments about "The Surrey Six", good, bad or indifferent, please send them to me at the same address. I look forward to hearing from you.

HJD(Surrey Branch Chairman).