Frequently Asked Questions

What training do you provide for walk leaders?

We offer training at our Ramblers Roadshows which are held in England, Wales and Scotland throughout the year. These are available to Ramblers members and volunteers. If you are interested in attending, event and booking details can be found here. We also have resources within the walk leader toolkit which you can use.

What insurance cover is provided by the Ramblers?

The Ramblers provides liability insurance cover to give protection to individual members in the case of a claim being made against them by a third party such as a landowner, a member of the public or another Ramblers member. In the case of group walks, to be considered an official Ramblers walk and thus covered by the liability insurance, all walks must:

be brought to the attention of the Programme Coordinator
be publicised as a Ramblers activity in advance either via the Group Walks and Event Manager, a printed programme or on the group/area website
have a nominated leader who must be a Ramblers member. Ideally the walk would have a backmarker who must also be a Ramblers member to be covered by the Ramblers insurance.

All incidents on walks must be recorded and reported to the Ramblers using the incident report form which can be found in the walk leader toolkit.
 

How do I deal with obstructive/difficult behaviour on a walk?

The Ramblers helps everyone go walking. Difficult behaviour on group walks is rare but can occur. As a walk leader it’s important that you feel confident in dealing with situations as they happen. Leaders have an enhanced duty of care and are responsible for the enjoyment and safety of the overall group. Speak to the person in a calm and professional manner; explain calmly the impact of their behaviour on the rest of the group; don’t put blame on the person as other issues might be affecting their behaviour; be open and listen, but also be assertive. If you feel that the situation isn’t being resolved and there remains a risk to the safety or enjoyment of the group as a whole, you have the option to ask the person to leave the walk. If you need more support, please contact volunteersupport@ramblers.zendesk.com.

 

How do I contact emergency services if there is an emergency on a walk?

The majority of walks are incident free, but sometimes things can go wrong.

To contact the emergency services, call 999 or 112.  Depending on your location, you may need the assistance of Mountain Rescue: ask for the Police, then Mountain Rescue.

If you have reduced phone signal, try to use Emergency SMS.  This service allows you to send a text message to the emergency services, when there is not enough signal to place a call.  You must register your in advance, by texting ‘register’ to 999.  You can find more information at www.emergencysms.co.uk

If you can’t get a message through, you may need to send members of the group to raise the alarm.  Nobody should be left alone – it’s important to minimise group separation, and ensure that everybody is in a group of no less than three.

The International Distress Signal is 6 blasts on a whistle, or 6 torch flashes, at one minute intervals.


Can I turn people away from a walk?

Participation in all Ramblers activities is subject to their suitability for individual participants. On group walks walk leaders have an enhanced duty of care towards participants, and sometimes you need to make judgements that take into account the safety and enjoyment of the group as a whole. You can turn people away if you consider that their participation would result in danger to the individual or danger or major disruption to the rest of the group. This should be explained calmly and discreetly to the individual(s) concerned and such judgements need to be made on a fair and practical basis and without making stereotypical or unwarranted assumptions.  If you need more support, please contact volunteersupport@ramblers.zendesk.com.

 

What should I do if a child or vulnerable adult attends a walk?

Whilst we are experts in providing and supporting walking activities, we can’t provide specialist care, supervision or support for children or vulnerable adults (adults who are unable to care for themselves independently). Children under 18 should be accompanied by a responsible adult and vulnerable adults should be accompanied by someone who takes responsibility for meeting their direct needs (this can be a friend, family member or carer and they do not have to be a member). You are responsible for ensuring that accompanying adults are aware of their responsibility for supervision and direct care. For more information visit our safeguarding children and vulnerable adults toolkit.

 

Can children attend Ramblers walks?

Yes, but anyone under 18 must be accompanied by a responsible adult. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for proof of age if you think it is necessary.

What should I do if an unaccompanied child attends a walk?

If an unaccompanied person is under 18, it is best for everyone that they do not participate in the activity. Do your best to ensure that they are safe, for example by asking for a contact number and making arrangements with a parent or guardian. Under special circumstances, for example, if you are far from the young person’s home and no-one else is available to ensure they can get home safely, you may choose to include them as a one off. In this case: 

Keep a close eye on the young person and check they are accounted for throughout the activity
Keep a note, and complete an incident report form (found in the safeguarding toolkit) 
Make sure that the young person and their parent or guardian are aware that they will need to be accompanied in future

 

What should I do if I have concerns about a child or vulnerable adult on a walk?

If anyone is under serious threat of physical harm or in need of urgent treatment, dial 999 immediately. If there is no immediate danger but you have a suspicion or concern that abuse is taking place or when an allegation of abuse has been made, make a note of your concerns as soon as possible. Follow the process outlined in our safeguarding guidance. The Ramblers safeguarding officer is here to support you; find their contact details in the safeguarding guidance. 

Can I have a ‘no dogs on walks’ policy?

No. According to the Equality Act 2010 the wording of ‘no dogs’ on the walks programme is considered discrimination against people who require the assistance of dogs for hearing, guiding or therapy. If you do not wish to have dogs on your walks you must state 'assistance dogs only'. 

If you have concerns about the suitability of the walk for assistance dogs you can add the phrase “please contact the walk leader in advance to discuss your requirements”. If this is the case be prepared to have a discussion about the suitability of the walk for an assistance dog.  You should only say they can’t join the walk after seeking advice from the Delivery team, and on the grounds of genuine safety concerns. If this is the case, you should explore alternative options such as the walker bringing a companion (who does not have to be a member) with them. To contact the delivery team for further support with this issue, please email volunteersupport@zendesk.com.

 

Does the Ramblers offer first aid courses?

We’re working together with St John Ambulance to provide first aid training for Ramblers volunteers.

The half-day course will cover the essentials, to help give you the skills and confidence you need.  We hope all volunteers will find the course helpful – but it may be particularly useful for walk leaders and backmarkers.  You don’t need any prior knowledge or experience.

To find out more and book your place on a training session, please visit the First Aid webpages.

 

I’m under 18, can I lead a walk?

Yes of course! However, in order to ensure the safety of participants and you as a junior leader, you must be accompanied by a responsible adult member. The adult must be named and take overall responsibility for the walk, assisting you where necessary. The adult would be responsible for any incidents or difficult situations that might arise. 

Do I have to have a backmarker?

We highly recommend that all groups have a backmarker. Back markers are good to have, particularly if there are large groups. They can be of assistance if an incident occurs during the walk and can help take charge of the group. Backmarkers are also beneficial for keeping a count of the group, staying with walkers who might be struggling at the back of the group as well as identifying any issues on the recce. If you do have a backmarker, they need to be a Ramblers member to be covered by the Ramblers’ insurance.