Safety

Everyone has responsibility for their own safety

Safe Walking Practice
The Club endeavours to ensure that your walking is an enjoyable activity. Safety of the group and the individual is of prime importance and we all have our part to play. Walking is a safe pastime, however, you will be more comfortable and secure if a little time is taken to prepare and follow a few simple rules.

Choosing your walk
Do you want an energetic mountain walk or a more leisurely lowland stroll? For how long do you want to walk? Don’t take unnecessary risks by tackling overly long or difficult routes. The Club operates a Walk Grading system and issues a Walk Brief to assist you select choosing your walk.

Be prepared

  1. Make sure you have plenty to eat and drink.
  2. Make sure you are adequately dressed for the length of time you’ll be out. You should have good quality boots, a waterproof jacket and trousers and layered clothing.  See the Kit List for more details.  Members enjoy a discount at Cotswold Outdoor in Chester upon presenting a valid membership card.
  3. Check the weather forecast a day in advance.. Rain, mist or fog, cold and strong winds are obvious hazards.
  4. Avoid blisters
    i) Wear comfortable, good-fitting, worn-in boots
    ii) Wear good walking socks; consider wearing two pairs
    iii) Keep your toenails trim
    iv) Act immediately you feel any friction or discomfort: blisters can form very quickly.
  5. On sunny days, consider taking a sunhat, sun cream and lip salve.
  6. Make sure someone knows where you are walking and when you expect to be back.
  7. Carry a personal first aid kit.
  8. Carry a survival bag or bothy bag.
  9. Carry a head/hand torch.
  10. Carry ICE details (see below)
  11. Mobile phones can be useful to take on a walk and can be helpful in emergencies. You should have the walk leader’s mobile phone number with you. Mobile phones don’t work in some locations, particularly in hilly and remote areas. Remembers that texts are smaller pockets of information and will often get through when a phone call will not.  Register for 112 emergency texting.  Remember that mobile phones are not a substitute for other safety precautions and the mountain rescue services stress they should be used to call for help only in cases of real emergency.

ICE (In Case of Emergency)
Since the club was formed in 2000, incidents have been very rare.  We have only had one incident where we have had to call in external help. However; this good fortune does not mean that incidents will not occur in the future. As a wise precaution you should carry ICE (In Case of Emergency) details with you to assist the emergency services provide rapid and effective aid in the event of an incident.
The ICE form details information categories that would be useful to others if you were involved in an incident. If you use this form it is suggested that you carry it in the most accessible pocket on your rucksack. Laminates to make it durable are available from Committee Members / Walk Leaders.
A company specialising in ICE products is Utagice.
The walking club recommend you carry ICE no matter what method you choose.

Medical Information
We ask that you tell the walk leader of any serious medical conditions and if you are carrying any medication.

Safety Considerations
In mountainous parts be prepared for extreme weather. Conditions can vary dramatically from valley to mountaintop, and even in summer the weather can rapidly turn cold and windy. “Wind chill”, where the combined effects of high winds and cold air dramatically lower the body temperature, is dangerous and potentially fatal. Be aware of the symptoms of hypothermia.

In warm weather, the principle hazards are sunburn, windburn and dehydration.
It is especially important to be sensible about not over-reaching yourself: don’t push yourself beyond your limits, or endanger your party. Immediately tell the walk leader if you are tiring, or the weather is worsening and you are not confident of your skills and equipment.

Getting separated from the group
If you become detached from the group STOP, call out; try contacting group by phone or text. If no contact return to the last place you were with the group. Wait 30 mins repeatedly trying to make contact. After 30 mins seek help and/or make your own way safely.  The international distress signal is a group of six loud blasts of a whistle, to be repeated at one minute intervals.

Follow the Highway Code
When walking on roads, follow the Highway Code. Use the pavement. Where there is no pavement walk on the right, facing oncoming traffic, crossing to the other side before sharp right-hand bends. Help drivers to see you. Take care on country roads with no pavements where traffic may be moving very fast.

Level Crossings
Take care when using “user controlled” level railway crossings. Always obey alarm warning signals and lights. If there are no warnings or lights, stop, look and listen, then look again before you cross, don’t just follow the person in front.

Follow the Countryside Code

  1. Respect the people who live and work in the countryside
  2. Respect private property, farmland and all rural areas
  3. Park carefully; avoid blocking farm gateways or narrow roads
  4. Use approved walking routes where they exist
  5. Avoid damage to fences, hedges and walls; use gates and stiles when crossing
  6. Leave all gates as you find them (open or closed)
  7. Do not interfere with machinery, crops or animals
  8. Protect wildlife, water sources, plants and trees
  9. Walk on the centre of tracks, don’t trample vegetation on the edges
  10. Take your litter home, even biodegradable items can take years to disappear
  11. Guard against all risk of fire and avoid making unnecessary noise.

Dogs – Club Policy

Dogs are permitted on Green Walks only and at the discretion of the Walk Leader concerned with prior permission. The Walk Brief for Green Walks will state whether a particular walk is ‘dog friendly’ and, if so, the maximum to be allowed. Dog owners are required to have the appropriate insurance cover and follow the dog walking code

Other animals
Treat un-tethered cattle and loose dogs with caution.

Walks in Snow & Ice Conditions – Club Policy
Winter walking carries a risk of encountering snow and ice conditions and therefore in planning such walks the following issues are considered:

  1. The club is not insured for planned walks where the intention is to take members into winter conditions in which they are likely to have to use ice-axe and crampon equipment.
  2. The validity of our insurance cover is based on the assumption that we make every effort to stay within the scope of that insurance cover by carrying out appropriate risk assessments prior to and during each walk. Therefore, if snow and/or ice are encountered during a planned walk in a mountainous area then, in the view of the insurers, it is expected that the walk leader would make every effort to minimise the potential hazard.

If club members want to experience snow and/or ice conditions and to make use of ice-axe/crampon equipment then they must make the necessary arrangements outside the framework of the club.

This statement is for the information of all members in order that there is a clear understanding of the issues to be considered in planning and participating in a walk in a mountainous area during the winter season.