Ramblers – Advice for walkers and leaders

It is good to see that some new walkers have joined the Ramblers and that the walks and craic continue to be enjoyed by both new and accustomed walkers.

It is also good to see that more members are volunteering to lead the walks giving the potential not only for favourite walks to be repeated but for some new routes to be added.

I will be in touch with the members of the Ramblers shortly seeking proposals for walks and Walk Leaders for the period February – June 2018.

For the benefit, particularly, of those who may volunteer to lead walks for the first time, I thought it appropriate to set out some advice and guidance not only for Walk Leaders but for all who walk with the Ramblers. These are detailed below and I trust you find them useful.

Best wishes: Eddie Bell


  1. As you may be aware, all members on U3A activity, which includes walking with the Ramblers group, are covered by U3A insurance for 3rd party liability to others. However, each walker on each walk is responsible for his/her own safety and security and for ensuring they do nothing to endanger any others on the walk. The questionnaire which each walker is required to sign before starting their first walk with the Ramblers is to ensure they understand their responsibilities.
  2. It is desirable that each walker on each walk carries a whistle and mobile phone (if they have one). These are useful for contacting the group if an emergency occurs. Each walker who has a mobile phone should ensure they have the mobile phone number of the Walk Leader.
  3. The U3A Ramblers group have a first aid kit which the Walk Leader should carry or endeavor to establish that it will be carried by someone else on the walk.
  4. Before the start of each walk the Walk Leader should establish the number walking and ensure all are accounted for at the end of the walk. The names of the walkers should also be noted to enable the U3A walking record to be kept up-to-date.
  5. The Walk Leader(s) is responsible for ensuring that the group walk proceeds at a pace that prevents members becoming detached and unsure of the route to follow.
  6. It is desirable that there are 2 Walk Leaders for each walk, that they both know the route and, desirably, have walked the route in advance. One should lead the walk, the other act as Back Marker. It is the role of the Back Marker to ensure that all members of the group are in front of him/her. This means that slower walkers will still be contained within the group.
  7. If there is only one Walk Leader he/she should appoint someone to act as Back Marker. If possible he/she should agree the route with the Back Marker. If there is any doubt about the Back Markers knowledge of the route, the Walk Leader should ensure that at every intersection where a choice or paths is possible, the path to be taken is clearly identified to the slower walkers. Examples of the way this can be done are; stopping at each intersection until the Back Marker catches up; leaving someone at the intersection to wait for the Back Marker to show them the way, etc.
  8. If any walker is leaving the group early please ensure that the Walk Leader or Back Marker is informed or someone is delegated to inform them.
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