Girl Guiding Sir Walter Scott Challenge Badge

Welcome to the webpage for the Sir Walter Scott Challenge Badge! Use the resources below to help you complete the badge.

This special badge has been created by Rainbows, Brownies, Guides, Young Leaders and Leaders from Girlguiding Tweed Valley East in partnership with the Abbotsford Trust, the home of Sir Walter Scott, in the Scottish Borders.

The badge has been created to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Sir Walter Scott – one of Scotland’s greatest writers and proud Borderer. Get involved, have fun and discover more about the life, times and achievements of this amazing Scot!

What to do 

To achieve the badge, please complete at least two activities from the options below.

You can work on these activities as a unit or complete them at home with your family, but please let your unit leader know first.  

Some of the activities can be done during a visit to Abbotsford, but this is not a requirement and every activity can be carried out in your own local community, no matter where you live.  

If you plan to visit Abbotsford, please check our opening times and ticketing information before making a visit.  

All the activities are suitable for all sections, but you might need some support with reading and creative tasks depending on your age.  

Once you’ve finished 

When you have completed the challenge share what you’ve learned with a friend, family member, your unit or at school.

Don’t forget to take photos of the things you have made and your adventures. If you have permission, post them on social media and tag us @AbbotsfordScott on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to share!



Play Abbotsford bingo!

Sir Walter Scott built an amazing house at Abbotsford and filled it with artefacts and objects that inspired his poetry and novels. Play Abbotsford bingo and find out more about Sir Walter Scott’s weird and wonderful collection! 

How to play 

Download the Bingo Cards and print the sheets out at home. You can either play bingo during a meeting with your unit or on a visit to Abbotsford. 

Play with your unit  

1. One person is the bingo caller – download the Abbotsford Bingo Pictures cut out all the small pictures of the objects and put them in a hat or bag                                                        

2. Give all the other players a bingo card and a pencil

3. Start the game – the bingo caller draws out one object at time and shows everyone what it is            

4. The first person to get all the pictures on their card and shout bingo is the winner!  

 Play at Abbotsford 

1. Print out the bingo cards at home (you won’t need the bingo caller’s pictures)

2. All the objects on the bingo cards can be found inside the historic house at Abbotsford. Check to make sure the house is open when you plan to visit. Tickets can be booked online or bought on the day when you arrive at our Visitor Centre. Please also remember children and young people need to be accompanied by an adult at all times whilst at Abbotsford.

3. Take your cards and pencils with you to Abbotsford and give one to every person in your group. Look for the objects as you go around the house – you’ll need to look high and low in each room and very carefully to spot everything!

4. If you get stuck ask one of our friendly volunteers for help.

5. The first person to get every object on their card is the winner!

6. Remember to take a photo and keep your bingo cards to show your Leader to earn your badge. 

Be a Collector

Sir Walter collected weird and wonderful objects that interested him and inspired his writing. He called his house a “museum for living in” and designed it to look old and weather-beaten. It is full of artefacts and objects including paintings, weapons, animal skulls, jewellery, shields, swords and books. 

Curators look after collections of objects in museums, galleries and heritage sites like Abbotsford. They make sure the collection is well cared-for, displayed and explained to visitors. They may also buy or borrow more objects from other museums to expand a collection or to create a new exhibition.

You can do this activity on your own, with another person in your unit or as a whole unit. 

What to do 

  • Think about collections - do you collect anything? What do you collect? Some people collect postcards, shells, books, cuddly toys or things to do with their favourite film, book or band.  
  • Why do you collect things? What makes a collection valuable or precious?  
  • Can you bring some of your collection to a unit meeting and share it?  
  • How will you display it? 
  • What can you tell other people about it? 

Take it further… 

  • Work together as a unit to create your own mini museum! 
  • Think of a theme (for example memories, special people, friendship etc) and pick something at home connected to the theme. Bring the object to a meeting and curate (choose) a selection to display. 
  • How will you display the items? 
  • Can you write some labels explaining what each item is and who is belongs to?
  • Sir Walter wrote a short guidebook describing his collection – can you write a leaflet or short guidebook for your unit’s museum? You could include drawings or photos. You can download our guide how to write an object label and guidebook template to help you.  

Gruesome grinners!

Sir Walter salvaged carved stones from old buildings and ruins and used them at Abbotsford to give his house an ancient and mysterious appearance. There are gargoyles decorating the walls outside and grotesques (sculptures which look like gargoyles) on the walls inside as well. Sir Walter called these his “gruesome grinners!”.  

  • Can you research what gargoyles are and what the word means? 
  • Use clay or plasticine and to make your own scary gargoyle. Check our Gruesome grinners ideas for inspiration!  

Knight School

Sir Walter designed his own coat of arms. This is a special system of symbols - images, colours and shapes - that tells people who you are, what family you are part of and something about you.

There are many different coats of arms all over Abbotsford! 

This system is called heraldry and is thought to have begun in Europe about 900 years ago when knights began to wear helmets which covered their faces. Coat of arms were painted on shields, flags and clothing to make it easier to recognise people on the battlefield and during jousting tournaments. 

  • Look at Sir Walter’s coat of arms for inspiration – explore our ThingLink learning resource and click on number 2 to find out more about his coat of arms. 
  • Then have a go designing your own - don’t forget a motto! You can download our shield template.
  • You might have a coat of arms already – do some research into your surname! 

Make a Quill Pen

Sir Walter used quill pens to write his poetry and novels.  

  • Watch the video and learn how to make your own quill pen following the instructions
  • You will need a feather with a broad quill (like a turkey feather which can be bought online), scissors, thick paper and paper towels to blot any splodges of ink. Old clothes are also a good idea as ink can stain!  
  • How could you make your paper look old and worn?  

Secret Treasure Hunt

Sir Walter loved secrets, stories and hidden meanings! He also loved spending time outdoors in nature and knew how this helps our happiness and wellbeing.  

  • Go to or download the Geocaching app from the Apple store or Google Play (remember you may need an adult’s permission before downloading anything onto a device).
  • Can you find the Sir Walter Scott Challenge Badge geocache hidden on the estate?
  • Can’t get to Abbotsford? Explore your local area with the Geocaching app and discover secrets hidden on your doorstep! Maybe you could make and hide a geocache of your own?
  • Want to explore some more? There are 7 other geocaches hidden on the Abbotsford estate – can you find them all?