SWWG - Walk Leaders
We really appreciate the time and effort that our walk leaders put in to provide the walks programmes. It might sound obvious but if there are no walk leaders there is no walks programme.
We would ask members therefore to consider becoming walk leaders. It does not need to be a new walk. It could be a walk that was previously led by a walk leader now unable to lead that walk. Should any member feel that they would like to lead a walk but feel a bit apprehensive then please contact a committee member and they will arrange for one of the committee or another experienced walk leader to accompany them on the first walk or two. We have listed below some guidelines to be taken into account when leading walks. Do not be daunted by the guidelines as most of it is just “common sense”. Probably the most important thing is to know your walk and to walk it before it comes up in the programme. We call this doing a recce & should you wish to have company when doing a recce you should be able to find a committee member or another member to accompany you when doing the recce.
Walk Leader Guidelines
Before the walk - check you have the following:
1 A charged mobile phone
2 A SWWG First Aid kit
3 Whistles, for self and back marker. Emergency signal is 6 one-second blasts
4 A suitable Ordnance Survey map of your area, to allow you to give a grid reference to rescue/ambulance services in an emergency
5 Hi–vis tabards or jackets for self and back marker. These are strongly recommended for leading walks on road and crossing roads. They are also very useful for locating back marker when leading large groups
6 A small notebook and pen or pencil
7. Bad Weather – if weather forecasts are very dire consider cancelling the walk. To ensure members get your cancellation message, talk in person to the Programme Arranger, Membership Secretary or Chairman before 12.00pm the previous day. Do not leave any form of message because it may not be acted upon in time and you may not know whether or not members have received your cancellation message
8. Hot Weather – consider carrying an extra bottle of water in case someone runs out and becomes dehydrated.
At start of the walk:
1 Introduction Introduce yourself and ensure any new members or visitors are made welcome
2 Weather If weather turns really bad, make decision as to proceed with walk or not. Note down weather conditions at start.
3 New members and visitors:
a) Check they have suitable footwear and/or clothing for route and seasonal conditions. If unsuitable advise them of risks they may face if they insist on participating
b) Ask them to write down their name, address and contact telephone number in your notebook
4 Describe Walk Outline route of walk, state distance, any foreseen difficult parts, any road walking, slippery mud, stiles, planned stops and toilet facilities, if none say so
5 Back Marker Appoint a back marker, give them a whistle and hi-vis. The back marker must wait for all persons who stop for whatever reason and ensure all opened gates are closed again
6 Middle Marker. When there are large numbers of walkers (25+) a middle marker should be appointed to ensure that the leader and back marker are in sight and to take appropriate action should that not be the case (use of whistle)
7 Check the number of walkers Count and note down the number of walkers
During the walk:
1 Dogs Ensure all dogs are properly supervised, especially in vicinity of livestock and close to roads
2 Keep a regular check that all walkers are still present and ensure that the whole group is together before a significant change in direction is made, particularly when there are alternative paths available.
3 Road walking. When approaching roads advise walkers which side of the road they will be walking on. The Highway Code advises that large groups should keep to the left side of the road but walk leader should use their discretion depending on location and circumstances.
4 Incidents If any walker suffers a fall or injury, or some other incident occurs, note down the time and place with a brief note of what happened. If emergency services are called and/or outside help is needed note down their arrival and departure times.
After the walk:
1 If any problems were encountered advise Secretary & Programme Arranger.
2 If an incident occurred or someone became ill and needed help, whether deemed serious or not, a copy of the SWWG Incident Report Form must be completed and forwarded to the Secretary for permanent inclusion in the SWWG incident file.
3 If there were any visitors e-mail or phone through details of their names and address to Chairman for recording/insurance purposes.