It is great to see how many new walk leaders are now stepping forward. This has prompted Paul and Mike to draw up a set of guidelines for new walk leaders and this in turn has made us review our insurance policy.
We run a system where our events are organised in a way that is as relaxed and informal as possible. Nevertheless it is necessary for us, the group, our volunteers the walk leaders and you to be insured in the event of something going wrong. It is quite clear to most of us that it would be an unreasonable risk to run the group without insurance. However to be insured we have to make clear to our insurers what our members can expect of each other; whether they are those who give up their time to be on the committee, those who lead walks and trips and those who go on them.
We do have a system of “Walk Introductions”, each walk leader is expected to make themselves available before the walk starts and give a brief explanation of what the walk is going to entail, how long it will be and what sort of difficulties it is likely to present. If the walk is going to be conducted at a brisk pace that should also be mentioned.
This is the opportunity for members to ask questions and then affirm that they are ready and fit to participate.
Whether it be an afternoon walk in the Chilterns or a challenging walk in the Mountains once we have agreed to go out as a group we will stay as a group and come back as a group. If someone chooses to leave for some reason then that is fine as long as they let the walk leader know. If someone is struggling we will rally around and encourage them, if someone is unwell or hurt we will do our best to look after them.
On occasions you may be asked to help out on one of our walks, the job of back marker is a bit of a thankless one but nevertheless helping to keep the group together is a very important job. Losing someone is not acceptable and having to wait while the walk leader doubles back to search can be very disruptive and can spoil everyone else’s day. Sometimes you may be asked to hold back at a fork in a path to wait for those behind you and help direct them. Sometimes those at the front will be asked to moderate the pace to allow those who are lagging behind to regroup.
You should be prepared to cooperate with and help support and encourage the walk leader when it becomes necessary. But then that’s what our members normally do and that’s what makes the boggies a bit special.