Mud Guides



Each walker is responsible for assessing their own fitness for a particular walk. Please do not attend a walk if you are feeling unwell, or are showing symptoms of an illness. Each member is responsible for assessing the fitness of any guests they may bring.  All come entirely at their own risk.  They should drop out after consulting the leader if they feel in jeopardy or are unlikely to finish the walk.  Parents are entirely responsible for their children.

The leader should have assessed each ramble and, in their circular, give the length of the walk and the type of terrain.  Any hazards such as mud, rocks or nettles should be mentioned, as should the availability of public toilets. It is preferable that they carry an Ordnance Survey map covering the walk. Copies of “A Guide to Leading a Ramble” are available from the Secretary.

Each walker should come with suitable footwear and clothing to meet the worst expected conditions, being aware of the weather forecast. They should also come with any drink and food they may deem necessary for the situation, and with hand sanitiser to use after touching stiles or gates.

Each walker should be close enough between the persons in front and behind to enable the party to stay in communication, whilst adhering to any government guidelines on social distancing.  Preferably, a back-marker should be appointed to bring up the rear, so that they can alert the leader if a person is in difficulty.

Any walker finding themselves slower than the majority of the group should make sure to leave any mustering point in good time and start near the front of the group. Similarly, it is inadvisable to walk significantly ahead of the leader. The leader should be aware of, and accommodate, slower walkers, and should bear in mind that lagging behind may be an indication of illness or injury.

When walking on roads without a side path the group should face the oncoming traffic unless a visual obstruction makes the sighting distance of vehicles too short, and keep in single file.  Scouts should be positioned well ahead and behind to warn of the approaching traffic and to ensure the party remains together on the correct side of the road for the situation.

On roads, paths etc, the first person to see traffic approaching should call out with its direction, “car”, “bike” “horse”, or other appropriate warning and this should be passed to each end of the column.

The leader should consider carrying a small basic first aid kit, including a sling if possible, especially on weekends and holidays. If an accident takes place, the leader must inform the honorary secretary, so that they can inform the BBC Club. A camera is also desirable to photograph any sites where an accident has occurred to a member or guest walker.    

The leader should know whether there is a telephone within a reasonable distance, in case of mobile signal unavailability.  Public telephones and buildings are shown on Ordnance Survey maps. 

Any excursions further afield such as the Lake District, Wales or Dartmoor are usually more demanding than walks in the Home Counties.  In such areas any walk leader needs to know how to use compass and map.  Each leader and walker should be aware of the greater hazards such as bogs, mist, rocks, wet and cold.  They should consult the weather forecast before setting off.

All members should have made themselves aware of the “Countryside Code” and be considerate of others and the habitat they walk over.

Use of walking poles: Walking poles may be helpful for balance and protection of knee joints, but may also be a hindrance to the party using them and to others, if not used correctly.

The following points should be considered when using walking poles:

1. When holding the top of the pole your elbow should be at a right angle. Adjust the length when going uphill (shorter) or downhill (longer) to maintain the correct position. Make sure that the poles are locked tightly in position, to prevent them collapsing under your weight.

2. Take your hands out of the wrist loops whenever you feel there is a risk of slipping, so that the poles do not cause an injury.

3. Store the poles when they are not needed and when hands are needed for holding onto rocks. Do not tuck poles under your arm as you may injure walkers behind you. Do not let poles dangle from your wrist, as they may be a trip hazard.

4. Do not walk too closely to fellow ramblers as they may trip on your poles.

5. Consider using rubber tips to cover spikes on the end of poles. If you prefer to leave them uncovered be careful not to spike other members of the group.

6. Replace poles when they become damaged.

Updated: 20/07/2020