Leader’s Duties and Responsibilities
Nick Stephens (Chairman)
The Ramblers Walk Leader’s Checklist has been used to form the summary checklist below. (It can be downloaded from the Ramblers website, along with the ‘In Case of Emergencies’ cards) This list will be forwarded to walk collectors, who in turn can pass it on to their walk leaders. These lists will be available to anyone who requests them by contacting members of the committee.
Before the Walk
- Choose the route
- Consider the location, length and timing, whether linear or (usually) circular, and any points of interest.
- Consider season, terrain, climbs, likely ability and fitness of the group.
- Check car parks (any fees payable), available toilets & consider public transport.
- Recce the Route (with a friend, preferably your back marker, if possible)#
- Note critical navigation points, hazards and problems, adjusting if necessary, plus mobile phone coverage.
- Check timings, rest / toilet points, escape / alternative routes & access restrictions.
- Report any path or access problems to our Group Footpath Secretary.
Submit the Walk (this may have to be done before the route is actually recc’ed)
- To be covered by Ramblers insurance, a walk must be a recognised Ramblers activity.
- Submit your walk details to your Group Walks Collector, who will carry out all subsequent requirements.
The day before the walk / on the actual day of the walk
- Check weather forecasts: www.metoffice.gov.uk. Adjust the route or cancel.
- Recheck any public transport times, check mobile phone & GPS are fully charged.
- Check personal gear & first aid kit. For F.A. advice see www.ramblers.org.uk/advice/safety/introduction-to-first-aid.
- Be prepared to answer queries (eg, people phoning you beforehand).
Situations for cancelling / not cancelling the walk
- Conditions brought about by bad weather which means the walk could be dangerous.
- Where one or more attendees wish to do the walk, the walk leader must lead the walk, provided the conditions allow. Only under exceptional conditions can the walk leader refuse to lead the walk.
- Any walkers wishing not to do the walk must be allowed to drop out. However, anyone dropping out, who has been brought to the start of the walk in the walk leader’s car, must make alternative arrangements (eg, remain in the leader’s car) whilst the walk leader leads and completes the walk.
At the start of the walk
- Arrive early & be welcoming. Introduce yourself as the leader.
- Appoint a backmarker (if you don’t already have one) if there are more than, say, 10 walkers. Carry out a head count. Introduce newcomers.
- Make sure you know all the people who are starting out on your walk. Ensure you know how to access everyone’s emergency contact details.
- Those accompanying under 18’s / vulnerable adults must be told that they are responsible for direct care & supervision.
- Ensure everyone has the appropriate clothing & footwear. Be prepared to turn people away if circumstances demand. Advise if walking sticks are considered necessary.
- Give an overview of the walk & the estimated time of return. Give details of refreshment stops (eg, coffee & lunch stops), any points of interest along the route and any places where particular care is needed. Alternative easier routes should be provided where any of the walkers cannot manage any difficult sections.
- Outline your expectations of walkers. Invite anyone with concerns to speak to you in private, for example about medical conditions (eg, newcomers with, say, diabetes, a condition that you need to be aware of).
On the walk
- Set a pace to suit the party’s capabilities & advertised walk grade.
- Stay in sight or communication with your backmarker. Allow for regrouping & head counts as required.
- Regularly check your route, using a map and/or compass if necessary.
- Help the group across stiles, roads, gates and in poor weather as required.
- Keep an eye on the weather & change your plans if needed.
- Be alert to any problems with individuals & chat to newcomers.
- If there is an incident / accident or an emergency, assess the situation and be prepared to dial 999 or 112 & ask for police / mountain rescue / ambulance. If not too serious, the injured person may have to be accompanied by members of the group back to somewhere that they can be picked up in a car. It is the responsibility of the walk leader to assess the situation and make decisions as best appropriate.
- Refreshment breaks should be taken at appropriate times. Bear in mind that any diabetic walkers will need regular food / drink stops.
- On busy road walking ensure the group is in single file, walking towards the traffic where possible, or, on a right hand bend where vision is restricted, on the left side.
At the end of the walk
- Check everyone has returned & can get home. Thank them for coming.
- Encourage newcomers to join the Ramblers by giving them the Membership Secretary’s e-mail address & that of our Derbyshire Dales Group website.
- Report incidents / near misses to Ramblers Head Office as soon as possible via the Incident Report Form (see Ramblers website to print off a copy).