Planning your walk
The main details required in a walk description are the start location and time, the approximate mileage and a summary of the area covered by the walk. If you have never led a walk before, why not have a go? It isn't as difficult as you might think and most people that do lead one for the first time go on to lead many more. Talk to someone who has already led a few walks and they can give you advice and moral support.
You can design the walk yourself or get it from a book. You do not need to pre-walk it before submitting details for the programme unless you wish to, as you do not need to specify the exact route in the walk description. However, it is important to check parking arrangements and public transport times (if applicable) before submitting the walk description.
Do you struggle to find a starting point when planning a walk?
If so take a look at the web site http://places.walkinginfo.co.uk. This site maps the meeting and starting places that all groups have used in the past for their walks. It may give you some new ideas.
It is advisable to pre-walk a new walk shortly before you lead it to familiarise yourself and to check that no part of the route is unsuitable. If during their pre-walk checks, leaders find paths which need clearing, they are advised to contact Neville on 01473 612350, in good time or report the problem to Suffolk County Council. This is so that an attempt can be made to carry out the necessary work before your walk. For more information on rights of way in Suffolk, see the Suffolk Public Rights of Way website.
When proposing to use a village hall, church or private land for parking, please remember to check with the owners that we may use it on the date required and if there is likely to be any charge. Your local library or Ipswich Library may be able to help you to find the person to contact for permission to park at village or community halls, or the hall may have contact details online. Wherever you arrange to park, bear in mind that there could be as many as 15 to 20 cars.
Accidents and Incidents
However minor please take full details of the accident/incident including date, time, place, weather, witnesses etc., and advise either the Chairman or Secretary, then if not available the Programme Secretary within 24 hours of the event. In this way it can be ensured that an accident/incident form is completed and that there is a correct entry in the Accident Book should a claim follow.
Insurance and Identification on Walks
The RA’s insurers have tightened up on the terms of the Indemnity cover which they provide for leaders and individual members. All fully paid up members are covered by the policy but as usual, they emphasise that we all have a duty of care towards one another. Non-members are entitled to walk with the Group on 3 taster walks, to see if it suits them and are covered by the policy. If a member brings a friend or relative, who happens to be staying with them on a walk, and that person is a non-member, then they are also covered. All leaders are now required to take a note of the name, address and telephone number of any non-member on a walk. The main reason for this is that if a claim is made at a later date, either against that person or by that person, it is important to be able to provide evidence that the person was on the walk in question.
The second point is that everyone on a walk should carry some form of identification and preferably a name and contact telephone number in case of emergency. This is really a common sense approach and I feel sure that you can appreciate how valuable this could be in case of any incident.