Anyone can lead a walk. Well almost. There is one very important qualification that every walk leader needs. You must for insurance purposes be a paid up member of The Ramblers. You can see details of our insurance cover here Insurance Details On this page you will see a download " incident report form " print one off & keep it in your rucsac. Don't let that put you off. In 10 years I've never had to use one.
So what else do I need to know. Not much really. Leading a walk is fun. Know the way. That helps. But if you go astray don't panic. Fellow walkers are usually very supportive.
Pick a good lunch stop. That always goes down well. A "restaurant" with a view. A good pub or cafe at the end is even better.
Stick to proper public rights of way. Remember that as members of The Ramblers we should set an example & not trespass
Safety is of course important. Be prepared to stop the group & warn them of any dangers such as crossing busy roads, slippery stiles etc. Walkers are responsible adults but when led are often too engrossed in conversation & unaware of dangers. A wakeup call is often needed.
As the walk leader it is up to you to set the pace. If you have a small group that isn't usually a problem. A small group tends to be of like minded people. A large group can be more difficult. Firstly you may want to appoint a back marker. if you can see the back marker then hopefully all walkers are safely between you and the back marker. One of the main duties of the back marker is to see that all gates are shut behind us. If you are the back marker then it's usually safe to assume that any gate should be shut unless the leader signals otherwise. Ideally the back marker will have walked the route out with you but usually that's not possible.
Be wary of faster walkers who will try & get you to speed up. They will need to be told to slow down, most will be happy to do so. Those at the back will almost certainly say you are walking too fast. So! slow down a bit. But! only a bit. Slow walkers must make some effort to keep up with the group. You would think that if you slowed down then the slower walkers would keep pace. No! the slower walkers will slow down even more & still complain you are too fast. For some walkers there is no such thing as too slow.
When you stop the group to allow slower walkers to catch up it's a good idea to give the slow walkers a few minutes rest. if you don't the faster walkers will have had a rest & be raring to go & the slow walkers never get a rest.
Leeds Ramblers have a walk on a Saturday afternoon with occasional extra mid weeks walks on a Wednesday. This is tradition not rules. if you want to lead a walk on another day then please feel free to do so. Our walks are usually between 5 & 10 miles but again if you want to do a 3 mile walk or a 15 mile ( don't expect many takers !! ) then feel free do do so. The rule is that as long as safety isn't compromised there are no rules. Why not do something different?
Although I've said there are no rules it is commonsense that in Winter you would want the walk to start early enough to ensure it finishes in daylight. In Summer that's not a problem. The time you start a walk is up to the walk leader but late morning or early afternoon is normal.
Why not team up with a friend or friends. Leading doesn't have to be solo effort
This is well worth reading it takes you to The Ramblers main web site Walk Leaders toolkits
So give it a try It's both fun & a sense of achievement