A guide for leaders

The Club hopes that the advice and information contained herein will assist new leaders of walks as well as being a useful reminder to the more experienced.

PLANNING A WALK

Where?
Most walks are within 1 hour's drive of Cambridge; they can be further away, e.g. to the coast, in the summer.

How long?
This varies depending on which 'day' and A, B or C group you are leading , it is best to ask the programme secretary for advice.

WHAT ARE THE MAIN POINTS TO CONSIDER?

If your group normally meets at Harvey Rd the car drivers will need clear instructions on how to get to the start. If you will NOT be at Harvey Road, please organise a deputy to give instructions and arrange car sharing. There will need to be adequate parking at the start of the walk and you may need to ask permission if using village hall car parks etc.

Most walks have a pub stop at lunch-time. Many pubs serving food will not allow us to eat inside but may allow sandwiches to be eaten outside, providing we all buy a drink. It is best to check with the publican beforehand. Are there any facilities we could use in bad weather eg. bus shelters, church porches etc?

The actual route can be taken from a book of walks (see list on back page) or planned using a map. The new OS (Explorer) 1:25000 maps, which show all the rights of way, are ideal. These maps make it is easy to check that the proposed and actual distances walked are the same! Be aware that some paths on the map may not be visible on the ground. Try to include a variety of scenery and points of interest e.g. churches, country houses. Ideally arrange the pub stop more than halfway through the walk to allow for afternoon fatigue!

A walk may be planned and walked out months in advance so try to walk it out again a few weeks beforehand to check for any problems. Nettles and crops can grow quickly in the summer and bridleways can be very wet in winter.

When checking out your walk look for suitable morning and afternoon drink stops - which can offer suitable undergrowth for loo stops!

Members may well telephone the day or so before to ask for details of parking etc. if this is not printed on the programme card.

Finally, experienced leaders are very willing to assist new members in planning their first walk. The programme secretaries can help with contacts.

ON THE DAY

What equipment is needed? At the start of the walk

Gather people together, checking everyone travelling from Harvey Road or directly to the start has arrived. Give brief details of the walk, the pub stop and an estimated time of return. Do a head count, including your own, and if there are 12+ ask someone to be the 'back marker'. Ask walkers to keep a look out for those behind, particularly at turnings off the path, and let you know if anyone is delayed.

During the walk

YOU control the speed of the walk (in theory!). Try not to let the group get too strung out. If it does, stop to allow walkers at the back to catch up.

At coffee/tea stops

Give people some idea of how long the stop will be, 10-15 minutes usually. A 2 minute warning of departure is a good idea. Count heads before setting off - is anyone still in the bushes!!

At the Lunch-stop (Pub)

Make sure ALL the group know what, if anything, has been arranged with the publican and what time you want to leave - not everyone will use the pub. It is nice gesture to thank the publican on behalf of the group.

At places of interest

Allow a few minutes to look around churches etc, by all means point out interesting details but avoid a learned lecture!

It really will not be so bad - and the next one will be even easier!

BOOKS OF WALKS

From the Cambridge Group of the Ramblers Association

A walk from one of these is ideal as a 'Starter'.
Available from: Heffers (Trinity Street), Brownes (Mill Rd) and Cambridge Tourist Office and some from Saffron Walden Tourist Office. Mail order (please send a cheque for £4.50 per copy, payable to Cambridge Group, Ramblers Association) to Bernard Hawes, 52 Maids Causeway, Cambridge).

The Complete Fen Rivers Way (2nd ed).

Available from:
Steve Stevens, 89 Way Lane Waterbeach, Cambs, CB5 9NQ, price £4.00, payable to the Fen Rivers Way Association.

Tourist Information Centres, Heffers, Borders, Waterstones etc. have books of short walks available.