- Getting started walking
- Tips for walking with diabetes
- How often should I exercise?
- How many calories will I burn?
- Is walking a good workout?
- Warm up for walking
- Walking for health
- Pregnancy and walking
- Walking can help our overweight youngsters
- Walking helps in fight against obesity
- Avoid travel chaos: walk to work!
- Diet Coke nutrition info
- 10 reasons to take up walking
- Walking facts
- Finding motivation
- How a good walk can help with stress
- A cliff with a view: New Quay walk
- St Nicholas, Vale of Glamorgan
- Bawsey Church near King's Lynn, Norfolk
- Walking Facts and Figures
- Rambling: how to get started
- Footpath Erosion
- Advice and Information for Leaders of Rambles
- An Introduction to the Hadrian's Wall Path
- An Introduction to the Pennine Way
- An Introduction to the Coast to Coast Walk
- An Introduction to the Cotswold Way
- Public Rights of Way FAQ
- A Guide to Walking in Britain
- More Than a Walk
Advice and Information for Leaders of Rambles
These notes are intended as a guide for those looking to organise and lead rambles. Even local walks demand careful planning and co-ordination, and it is wise to make sure that you have covered every eventuality.
In selecting a route, you should think carefully about the following:
a) The availability of paths or open country. As far as possible, your route should stay off roads; their metalled surfaces are always hard on the feet, and the constant need to be wary of traffic will diminish your enjoyment.
b) Start and finish points - are they convenient and suitable? If transport to the start is by car, can vehicles be parked without causing annoyance to landowners and other road users? Will too many people be excluded if no public transport is available? (Please note that the Ramblers' Association encourages leaders to plan walks using public transport wherever possible.)
c) Lunchtime halt - is shelter available should the weather be bad? If a pub is convenient, will it accommodate your party, and can it provide food? Or alternatively, will it allow you to consume your own picnic lunch if you agree to buy drinks?
d) Length - the distance should never be so much as to tax unduly the capability and experience of your party. Always assume a slower speed than your own. In particular, allow more time where stiles are numerous (invariably they can only be surmounted by one person at a time, and so they are bound to slow down the pace).
e) Terrain and weather conditions. These, too, will affect the speed at which you walk (obviously, you cannot walk as fast over hilly ground as you can over level, and muddy conditions will similarly slow down your speed). Across gently undulating countryside, a total of around ten miles a day is a reasonable distance for inexperienced ramblers, but where there is much ascent and descent, and the pace is accordingly slower, you will need to reduce this mileage or allow that much more time. Generally, distances for rambles in upland country should be more or less than your norm by one to two miles for every 1,000 feet of ascent and descent.
f) Newcomers - inexperienced ramblers should not expect to walk more than ten miles in a full day, or five miles in half a day.
It is advisable to walk your route well in advance of the planned ramble. Any obstructions or deficiencies encountered can then be reported to the highway authority (county council or unitary authority) in time for them to remedy the problem before your party walks the route.
There is also much to be said in favour of re-walking your route within a week or so of the planned ramble, particularly as this will refresh your memory and give you the opportunity to take stock of more recent changes.
Rambles for members
If you are asked to lead for any organisation that has regular rambles, you may well be asked to supply brief details several months in advance of your proposed ramble, so that this can feature in the programme for members. You should provide the following information:
1. Name/description of the starting point. Pin-point this, if you can, by giving a six-figure grid reference (the method for determining grid references is given on all 1:50 000 Landranger maps).
2. Mileage and expected time, including lunch stop.
3. Terrain - in this connection, it is usually useful to describe routes as 'easy', 'moderate' or 'difficult', and whether the route is basically flat, hilly, etc.
4. Time of departure from starting point (see also 6).
5. Lunch stop - should food be bought or can it be obtained along the way?
6. Transport to and from the ramble. If by car, and your organisation has an arrangement to meet at a central spot before setting out at the start of rambles, you will need to give participants time for this to enable the outward journey to be accomplished without due haste. Allow, too, an extra five minutes at both ends to provide for late-comers. If transport is to be by bus or train, state the assembly point, destination of bus or train and disembarkation point, bus number, and departure time.
7. Dogs - state whether or not dog-owners are allowed to bring their animals. (Some groups have a policy of 'no dogs at all'.)
8 .Own telephone number - to enable members to contact you for further details.
Rambles for the public
The above information should go out to the local press and radio well in advance of your ramble (preferably three weeks ahead, followed by a reminder two weeks later). In addition, attention should be drawn to features of special interest. Advise, too, on footwear and clothing requirements. Posters should be used to achieve maximum publicity.
The day of the ramble
At the starting point: Introduce yourself as the leader of the ramble, and - without appearing officious - make sure that:
- cars are parked tidily
- dogs are on leads, or alternatively, that their owners have some means of restraining them (if you have permitted dogs in the first instance)
- all party members are suitably equipped to cope with the terrain and the prevailing weather conditions. This will have to be a subjective assessment, but in extreme circumstances you would be justified in turning away someone if you thought that a lack of proper footwear or equipment could put that person at risk or might endanger the safety of others.
Before setting off, give a brief oral description of the route, together with details of the lunchtime break, and other occasional stops, and estimated finishing time. Also, give instructions on a code of conduct if there is any road walking involved (in general, walk in single file, and on the right side of the road to face the oncoming traffic, crossing over when you are about to approach the inside of a bend). Likewise, your party will need to be asked to walk not more than two abreast when crossing fields that are ploughed or in crop. If sheep and cattle are likely to be encountered, dog-owners should be advised at this stage, and should be prepared to put their animals on a lead when asked to do so.
Finally, appoint a back-marker (preferably, someone who knows the route as well as you) and make sure he or she is known to the party, and that both know what function is served by the back-marker (i.e. to close gates and to ensure that the rear of the party does not fall too far behind or otherwise lose contact with the front of the party).
On the ramble: The party will soon become spread out. In many respects this is preferable to having everyone bunched together, but try to avoid large gaps occurring by (a) slowing down the pace, and (b) making frequent stops to allow those at the rear to catch up. Don't move on just as the back-markers appear, since their need for a short rest will be, if anything, greater than those at the front.
In reasonable weather, lunch ought not to be a rushed affair (for many, eating out of doors is one of the most enjoyable aspects of rambling). Even so, 45 minutes should prove ample. Use the lunchbreak to give out information, such as details of future rambles and events or RA membership. Before vacating your lunch site, ensure that the ground is litter-free and nothing has been left behind.
At the end of the ramble: Check that everyone is accounted for and give out information about the next ramble.
Finally, on your return home and before dropping into bed, write a brief description of the ramble for the editor of your local newspaper (numbers attending, itinerary, unusual happenings, etc). Alternatively, telephone the details through to your organisation's publicity officer to deal with. Make sure you do this immediately - newspaper editors will not use out-of-date copy.