Running group walks safely in hot weather

A group of people walking along a footpath beside grasses and the coast 

Ramblers volunteers are real troopers, leading group walks throughout the year, helping everyone to enjoy walking, everywhere. However, with no end in sight to the heatwave in parts of the UK, we want everyone to be prepared for hot weather walks.

Here are our tips to help run group walks safely and smoothly in the hot weather conditions.

In the days before the walk

  • Check weather forecasts and adjust the route, or cancel as you feel necessary
  • Give particular consideration to very lengthy and/or difficult walks, and whether some adjustments might be prudent
  • Think about shady spots to rest, extra stopping points, and encourage participants to bring extra fluids and appropriate sun protection

At the start of the walk

  • Hold a pre-walk briefing and explain any adjustments to the walk as a result of the weather
  • Ask if walkers have plenty of fluids, and invite anyone with concerns to speak to you in private before you set off

During the walk

  • Allow for regular re-grouping and head-counts
  • Build in extra resting points and steer towards the shade
  • Be alert to any problems with individuals who might be flagging in the heat

At the end of the walk

  • Check that everyone has returned and is feeling OK
  • If there have been any problems on the walk, please report them to us as soon as possible via the Incident Report Form.

We have more guidance in the Walk Leader Toolkit and if you have any questions, please contact us.

Les Preston

I agree, the effect of prolonged heat with the more mature rambler can be more serious than cold wet weather. The maxim should be Stop often and Drink often. On a hot day you need to carry a good litre of water. If you are stopping for lunch the leader needs to remind all walkers to fill their water bottles again. Walk leaders need to carry a packet of rehydration treatment. Failing that a can of coke diluted by half is a good second alternative. Remind your group to bring hats prior to the walk. This advise needs to go to all groups and be on the leaders check list on the next print out.
Best wishes
Les Preston