Walk Organization

Organizer's Guidelines

Organizing a day's walks for the club is a challenging but very satisfying activity. To the person who hasn't done it before, it may at first appear to be a daunting task, capable of being undertaken by only the highest of skilled map readers and organizers. This is, in fact, not the case and can be undertaken by anyone who is a keen walker with a basic knowledge of map reading. Also, there may be people that would like to organize walks however are not sure of how to go about it. This guide is designed to explain the whole process.

There are, in the club, a number of people who regularly organize walks and will be only too willing to offer assistance when and where it is required. You will never be asked to organize a walk solely by yourself. An important point to bear in mind, is that although a walk organizer may arrange the walks for the day he or she will not be ultimately held responsible should things not go to plan. That responsibility falls to the committee who have previously met and discussed the walks and arrangements for the day. Should the weather be fantastic on that particular walk however, the organizer for that day will naturally take full credit for their excellent planning.

The following list is intended to provide guidance for walk co-ordinators that are interested in organizing a day's walks for the club. For simplicity, it is laid out in 10 logical steps to follow when organizing your particular walk.

Area

First, you need to identify the area in which you'd like to organize the walks. Remember to ensure it is not too far for a day's trip and is accessible for the bus. The area you chose might be one of your favourite walk areas that you know well

Finishing point

Determine the point where all walks will finish. This could be a town where refreshments are available. Walks may arrive back at the bus at different times so it is always convenient to have a pub and/or coffee shop for people to wait at. Although it is preferable to have these conveniences at the end of a walk it should not restrict visiting areas where none exist. Remember also access for the bus and where it can wait (e.g. car park, lay-by) whilst waiting for walkers to return.

The walks

Next, you need to identify 4 walks of differing distances that will end at the finishing point. The lengths of the walks will vary depending on the terrain and height involved. Naturally a days walks in the Lake District will be generally shorter than those along the Northumberland Coast. A good guide is to look at past walks in that area for determining the four different walks. Don't forget that the weather could be inclement and provisions should be made for escape routes should the walk party need to exit high ground quickly.

Drop off points

Having identified the four walks, the drop off points should be examined. This is where the bus will need to stop to let off the walkers. Again, bus access needs to be borne in mind, as well as the logical progression in which walks will be dropped off. Try to avoid having to stop the bus on busy roads or corners, and any routes that will involve country lanes and narrow or low bridges. Also if the bus needs to turn around at any point, bear in mind the length of the coach for it to be able to manoeuvre.

Morning and Evening stops

The next thing you need to decide upon is where the bus is going to stop in the morning for coffee and in the evening to take bookings and have a meal. The club has a list of regularly used stops on all major routes. If you have a suggestion for a new stop, which is large enough to take a coach full of people, then this too can be added to this list.

Reconnaissance

Once the routes and stops have been decided upon, it is generally advisable to visit the area and walk some if not all of the routes. This is particularly important if it is an area in which we have not walked before, one in which you are unfamiliar with or one that the club has not been to for a long time. This is important to determine that the rights of way match those on the map, and whether any features vital to the walk are actually there, such as bridges for river crossings. It is also a good opportunity to call into the morning and evening stops, especially if they are new venues, in order to inform the proprietors of the impending visit.

Walk leaders

When you have the routes finalised you can approach members of the club to lead the various walks. There are again several people within the club who are willing to do this.

Initial coach copy

One map should be prepared which shows all walks, including start and finish points, mileages and walk leaders. This should be handed to the Walk Co-ordinator at least 6 weeks prior to the walk date for scrutinising. It is important not to complete all of the maps at this stage as the Walk Co-ordinator may suggest changes to the routes based on past experiences in that area or walking time available.

Final maps

Once the routes have been approved, two coach copies showing all four walks, and one copy for each walk should be prepared. The two coach copies will be circulated around the bus on the day for members to select their walk. The other four copies will be given to each walk leader. It is usually a good idea to give the walk leaders their map copies well in advance of the walk to help them prepare for it.

Attend committee meeting

The walk organizer for the Saturday should attend the committee meeting the Wednesday before the walk. All six maps should be brought to the meeting, unless they have already been handed to the Walk Co-ordinator. The fortnightly meetings are held in a local hostelry, the time and location of which is announced in the minutes of the previous meeting. This is when the walk for Saturday is discussed at the committee and the organizer for that day has the opportunity to raise any further comments he or she may have regarding this. Incidentally, all club members are welcome at this meeting should they wish to see the walks before the Saturday.

Remember, help is always at hand and should you need assistance at any stage of the process, no matter how trivial it may seem, then please approach the club Walks Co-ordinator or any member of the committee. Of course the order of the items above do not have to be strictly adhered to, certain walk organizers may wish to do particular sections before others, they are merely guidelines for those unfamiliar with the process.

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