HEALTH AND SAFETY
For the wellbeing of all, walkers should follow the Health and Safety rules included with each Walks Program.
Health and Safety guidance for walkers
Walking is generally a very safe activity, but mishaps cannot always be forseen or prevented. Each member of the group is responsible for their own safety.
The walk leader will carry a basic first aid kit, but will not necessarily have a first aid qualification. The Club has third-party insurance: this is not personal accident insurance. Any walker who requires personal accident insurance should make their own arrangements.
Responsibilities of all walkers
- Before the walk
- Read the walk description carefully. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are sufficiently fit and appropriately equipped (see appendix 2 for recommended kit). If in doubt, discuss with the leader.
- Inform the leader discreetly of any relevant health issue.
- During the walk
- Do not force the pace: the pace of the walk is that of the slowest walker. Expect the pace to be more leisurely on walks with an easier grading.
- Do not walk in front of the leader unless invited to do so: do not lose sight of the party, and do not walk on beyond any track junction until the leader arrives.
- If you need to lag behind for a comfort break or other purpose, inform the back marker.
- Follow the instructions of the leader and back marker. Comments and suggestions are usually welcome, but the leader’s decision is final.
- Do not leave the group without informing the leader.
- Be aware that a single blast on a whistle means “stop”.
- Show courtesy and consideration to fellow walkers, and respect the privacy and livelihoods of local residents.
Responsibilities of the Walk Leader
- Choose the route.
- Undertake a pre-walk to establish parking arrangements, timings, identify potential hazards, and alternative/ escape routes where necessary. If possible this will be undertaken with a companion who can serve as back-marker.
- Liaise with estate staff where appropriate to ensure there is no clash with estate activities such as grouse or deer shooting.
- Assess the walking grade (appendix 1), and prepare a descriptive paragraph for the Walks Programme which accurately describes any challenges and hazards.
- The day before
- Check and assess weather forecast (and for coastal walks, tide times): there are useful links for both on our Resources page. Consider alternative route or walk if necessary.
- Check personal gear and first aid kit.
- At the rendezvous point
- Identify and discuss with any member of the party who appears unfit or ill-equipped for the planned walk. If you judge that, in their own interests an individual should not participate, say so clearly. Should they choose to proceed, let them know this is at their own risk.
- Identify any member of the group with special needs.
- Remind the group of hazards and challenges.
- Take a register of those attending on the appropriate record sheet.
- On the walk
- Appoint a back marker at the outset. If there group is particularly large it may also be appropriate to appoint a middle marker.
- Take a count of numbers.
- Remain at or near the front. Set an appropriate pace with regard to the terrain and the composition of the group. Keep the back marker in sight.
- Pay attention to navigation. GPS navigational aids can be very helpful, but a map and compass should always be carried.
- Respond appropriately to any untoward incident. A single blast on a whistle means “stop”.
- Remain conscious of, and responsive to, developing hazards and members of the group who may be struggling. Take appropriate rest and refreshment stops, adjust pace and route as necessary.
- After the walk
- Check everyone has returned safely and can get home.
- In the rare event that an untoward incident has taken place during the walk, complete and submit an Incident Report Form.
Responsibilities of the Back Marker
- Walk at or near to the rear of the group.
- Be aware of any walker who has fallen behind, for example for a comfort break, and give them the opportunity to catch up.
- Check a head count periodically.
- Alert the leader if the group becomes too strung out, or in the event of an untoward incident (NB – a single blast on a whistle means “stop”).
- Make sure that any gates opened for the purpose of the walk are closed behind you.