Monday Tip - Walking As A Group
A few basics to keep you happily rolling along on a social hike.
Posted: 3 September 2012
This week's Monday Tip is about walking safely and happily as a group in the hills. We're not suggesting, by the way, that you apply some sort of draconian disciplinary code to your outing, but a few basic guidelines will help keep everything running smoothly.
1. Keep together generally, don't wander off on your own, which means keeping a steady pace with no-one being left behind or blasting off into the distance. The poorer the conditions, the more important it is to stick together.
2. Have an informal system of keeping an eye on the person directly in front of you and behind you so any minor problems are spotted quickly and no-one gets left behind. If one person stops, generally the whole group should wait for them. And if you do need to stop, tell the person in front of you right away.
3. Have one of the more experienced members of the group bring up the rear and make sure that no-one gets left behind. If you have inexperienced walkers with you, don't be afraid to help them out. It might be obvious to you that you should consider adding an extra clothing layer if you stop moving for any length of time, but it may not be quite so clear to a newbie.
4. In lowland areas with a lot of gates, consider running a system where the first person through opens the gate then holds it until the final person is through and then closes it after making sure everyone has gone through.
5. Even if you're just an informal bunch of mates and no-one is an official 'leader' make sure someone is responsible for navigation and ideally have a second person checking things are on course. It's very easy for everyone to assume that it's someone else's responsibility to navigate.
6. Consider carrying group kit like a larger first aid kit and an emergency shelter capable of holding the entire group. These are great not just for emergency use, but also as a morale-boosting lunch-stop refuge in bad conditions.
These aren't black and white rules that you have to follow, but they're a good starting point particularly in poor conditions.
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