Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions for New Walk Leaders

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The following Questions and Answers supplements the information provided for Walk Leaders published by the Ramblers Association. Walk Leaders Check List

  1. I would like to find out more about leading a walk. Who do I contact?

ECR has a named coordinator for all the following programmes: Short Midweek Walks, Medium Midweek Walks, Weekend Short Walks, Weekend Medium Walks, Weekend Long Walks, Midweek Long Walks, Stroller Walks and Evening Walks. Each coordinator welcomes contacts from walkers who are willing to organise a walk. If you contact the Chair she will put you in touch with the organiser.

  1. Will anyone help me with my first walk?

ECR have a number of volunteers who would be happy to work with you on your first walk. Please contact the Chair, Jane Gay, and she will put you in touch.

  1. Do I need to be able to read maps?

Being able to read a map is useful but not essential. There are lots of walks which provide pictures and descriptions of walks which are a really useful source for walk leaders. The Ramblers do provide Map Reading training if you wish to attend. This is advertised on the website and via email.

  1. Where can I find a walk?

The Cheshire East Ramblers website under the Walks Planner Tab Walks Planner provides a number of ideas for walks. There are also a range of books and other websites which are also a useful source.

  1. Where do I find grid references and post codes for the start of my walk?

You can find this information on the ECR website under the Start Point tab. You can also look them up on the internet.

  1. Do I need to recce my walk?

Yes this is essential. It’s a good idea to ask a buddy to go with you. It gives you the opportunity to check parking availability, the accuracy of the walk description, spot any potential hazards, timings and distance.

  1. Can I ask people to use public transport for my walk?

Yes. Walks can involve trains, buses and or trams. Include the information in your walk description and suggest that walkers bring money, bus passes, and railcards.

  1. How do I advertise my walk and what information do I include?

You post details of your walk on the ECR website at LEAST TWO WEEKS before your walk. You click on the Notice Board Tab and click to post details of your walk. It is an easy programme to use. You need to include: the date, the length, the level of difficulty (easy, moderate, strenuous) the starting point including the post code and grid reference, parking costs if any, toilets if any, a brief description of the route and any specific points about gradient, mud, etc. It’s helpful to look at others descriptions before you write yours.

  1. Can people take dogs on the walk?

It is the decision of the walk leader. If you feel that it is safe for people to do so, no live stock on the walk, then indicate this in your information. If you feel it would be a risk then state this clearly when you post your walk on the notice board.

  1. Do I need a backmarker?

Yes you do need someone to walk at the back of the walkers to make sure the group doesn’t get lost. It’s a good idea to share phone numbers if you can. When you’re walking you need to keep the backmarker in sight. You may need to stop until they come into view. It’s essential to make sure the backmarker knows when you turn off the path or cross roads. If you have a large group 30+ it’s a good idea to have a middle marker too.

  1. Who do I ask to be a backmarker?

If the person who recced the walk with you is walking they are an ideal backmarker. If not then ask at the start of your walk. Someone will always volunteer.

  1. What equipment should I take on my walk?

Take a first aid kit, whistle, water, phone, map, walk instructions, plastic bag, emergency services contact numbers, the contact number for the Ramblers Association +44 (0)20 3961 3300.

  1. What happens at the beginning of the walk?

Walks usually start at 10am. It’s a good idea to get there early. Walkers generally gather well before the start time. Gather walkers together at 9.50ish and introduce yourself. Give a brief verbal description of where you’re going. Ask for someone to be a backmarker. Count the group before you set off!

  1. Should I have emergency contact numbers for all the walkers?

Walkers are encouraged to complete an In Case of an Emergency (ICE) card and carry it with them on their walks. You can have a set of these cards to give out at the beginning of your walks.

  1. What do I do if someone turns up who hasn’t walked with ECR before?

It’s always helpful to ask at the beginning of the walk if there are any walkers new to ECR. Please ask them to introduce themselves to the group and give them a warm welcome. It’s worth checking in with them when you stop at any point. At the end of the walk ask them how they are and that you hope they manage to come on more walks.

  1. What happens if no one turns up?

You can go home. Let the walk organiser for the walks know.

  1. What happens if one or two people turn up?

You do the walk unless everyone else wants to go home.

  1. Do walkers need to be members?

We don’t check membership cards. Members may bring a friend to try a walk or they can bring a visitor. The general rule of thumb is new walkers can try three walks before they join.

  1. Do people take refreshments on a walk?

Leaders usually stop for coffee for 15 mins an hour after the start of the walk. Long and medium walkers take a packed lunch. Build in a stop at a suitable place for each when you recce your walk.

  1. Do I have to organise lunch for walkers?

Medium and long walkers take a packed lunch. Traditionally, the midweek short walkers like to go for a pub lunch after their walk. If you can identify a pub as a starting point that’s ideal. Contact the pub to let them know you will be bringing a party in at lunchtime. Check either at the beginning of your walk or at coffee time who would like lunch and phone the pub with the numbers.

  1. What happens if someone needs a comfort break?

If a walker needs a comfort break they need to let the backmarker or leader know when they step off the walk and return to the walk.

  1. What happens if someone is ill on the walk?

If the person feels able to walk back to the beginning ask another member of the group to go with them and ask them to call you when they get back to the car. If someone is seriously ill contact the emergency services and report back to the walk co-ordinator.

  1. What happens if I am ill on the walk?

You will have many experienced walkers on your walk who would be willing to lead the rest of the walk for you if they have your map and or written directions. It would be a good idea if someone walked back with you to the car or, in the event of a serious illness, calls the emergency services.

  1. What happens if I have to cancel the walk on the day?

Log on to the ECR website – Notice Board Tab – click on the date and post cancelled.

  1. What happens if I have to cancel the walk well ahead of the date?

Contact the walk organiser for the walk programme and they will try to find someone else to lead a walk.

  1. What happens if I have to change the walk?

It may be necessary to change the details of an already posted walk,  maybe due to snowfall making road travel risky or because the leader is ill.  In this case a new message should be posted on the notice board making it clear that it replaces the original posting for that walk.  The programme coordinator will get an automatic email notification of the new posting and he will then liaise with the webmaster to alter the programme on the web site to indicate that the walk is either cancelled or changed and include the new details.

If midweek walk is involved the new details should also be emailed to appropriate walks coordinator, short, medium or long, so that they can circulate the message to their address lists.

  1. What happens if someone has an accident on my walk?

Notify the ECR Secretary as soon as possible and complete an incident form within a maximum of 10 days. The form is sent to the ECR Secretary and they send the form to the Ramblers Association.

  1. What do I do if someone leaves the walk?

Occasionally walkers may wish to leave the walk. They must let the walk leader know. If they walk on ahead of the leader they may also be deemed to have left the walk.

  1. Who is insured on the walk?

For detailed information about insurance please visit the Ramblers Association website Insurance Toolkit

  1. What do I do if I lose someone?

It is very rare to lose someone on a walk. The requirement to have a backmarker, and middle marker for a large group, should ensure that no one gets lost. If you do lose a member of your group you could ask for volunteers to walk back to the start to try to find the individual while you stay with the main party and continue with the walk. Ensure you have shared mobile numbers with the individuals who have agreed to walk back.

  1. What do I do at the end of my walk?

Ensure everyone gets to the end and thank people for coming. Text/email the walk organiser the number of people who attended your walk.

  1. Can I share my experience with anyone?

ECR encourages walk leaders to do a ‘write up’ for the local press and the website. Colin Park manages this process and his email is available from one of the committee members. The article needs to be 250-350 words with a photograph taken on the walk in a JPEG format. If you are unable to attach a photograph or if no photographs were taken Colin Park can add one from my library of pictures.

  1. How do I access training and what is available?

Training events are provided by ECR and the Ramblers Association. The events are advertised on the website and circulated via email.

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