Etiquette for walkers

Cambridge Rambling Club – Etiquette for walkers – July 2015

Introduction

This leaflet summarises the ‘etiquette’ operating for anyone taking part in a walk organised by Cambridge Rambling Club. It is split into three sections: (i) primarily for people new to the Club, (ii) for all members on our local walks and (iii) for members taking part in a trip away.

1.0 New members – and those ‘trying the Club out’

Before coming on a walk for the first time it is advisable to phone the leader in advance to introduce yourself and discover if there is anything you need to know about the walk. For example, you can check out arrangements for parking as well as breaks and lunch. Advice on walking speed may also be useful as well as information on the terrain being covered. You should be aware that most walks involve using paths around and occasionally across fields; they can be uneven and muddy. In spring and summer you may have to cope with vegetation on and next to paths.
After coming out on a couple of walks as a visitor you will be expected to join if you wish to continue walking with the Club. This is essential for you to be covered by our public liability insurance. The easiest way to join is to submit the application form to be found on the website here, and then set up a Standing Order with your bank or send a cheque.

2.0 All walkers

Visitors to the Club are welcome to come on our walks – but local residents are expected to join after coming on a couple of rambles. Our membership fee is very reasonable!
Meeting/leaving
Generally speaking the time given on the Club’s Programme and on the website is the time a walk leaves. Anyone arriving after this time is likely to find that the walk has started. Anyone who wants to join the walk after it has started or who decides to leave it before it has finished should make sure the leader knows.

Parking

The Club encourages car sharing to get to walks – partly to cut down our carbon footprint and partly to ensure we can all park! Anyone who has spaces for passengers can let the leader or relevant Programme Secretary know in advance. Similarly, anyone wanting a lift should contact the leader or Secretary. We expect passengers to contribute towards the petrol/running and parking costs.
When parking on a street please check that you are not blocking a private driveway or causing a problem for through traffic.

Clothing/footwear

Anyone coming on a Club walk must be suitably clothed and wear appropriate footwear. A leader has the authority to refuse to allow anyone on a walk who is inappropriately clothed/shod. Members should be aware that many local outdoor clothing retailers offer Club members a 10% or 15% discount.

Food & drink and pubs/cafes

Practice varies from one walking group to another with respect to refreshment breaks! Some Wednesday walks frequently book lunch for members in a pub or café; if anyone wants to consume their own packed lunch on such walks this is fine – but invariably they will have to eat well away from the pub/café. On Sundays very few walks involve eating pub food; usually the group takes a packed lunch which is eaten as a picnic, although often there will be an opportunity afterwards to have a drink in a hostelry. Occasionally a pub will allow Club members to eat their own food in a pub garden. However, any such arrangements will be made in advance by the walk’s leader. On no account should any Club member drink from their own flask or eat their own food on a pub’s premises without permission.
Anyone wanting to make use of a pub or café’s facilities is expected to buy a drink. Club members should always check that their footwear is clean before entering a pub or café. If boots are muddy they should either be removed before entering or should be covered up with overshoes.
We cherish our village pubs and cafes and want to support them!

Churches

Club walks often make use of church porches and churchyards for mid-morning and lunch breaks. Many churches have covered seats in porches as well as benches outside. We often take the opportunity to explore the great heritage of the churches themselves. Please make sure that you don’t traipse mud into churches – and also help with the running costs by making a financial contribution.

Dogs on walks

Anyone wanting to bring a dog on an ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘B(M)’ Thursday evening or Sunday ‘C’ walk must always check in advance with the walk’s leader that this is acceptable. A leader can refuse permission; they need not give a reason and their decision is final. ‘Assistance dogs’ are the exception and are always permitted. In any event, all dogs on Club walks must be well-behaved and kept on a short lead throughout. When walking through livestock anyone with a dog should stay at the back of the group.
In July 2015 the Club’s Committee agreed that the Wednesday ‘C’ Group, which caters for a number of less agile members, will no longer allow dogs on walks. (Assistance dogs are the sole exception).

Accidents/incidents

All accidents and incidents occurring on a Club walk should be reported to the Club’s President. The Club maintains an ‘Incident Register’. The Club does not have ‘first aiders’ as routine, although some members do have qualifications and can assist in an emergency. You are responsible for your own health and safety on a walk. If you require regular medication, please make sure you carry it with you.

On the walk

It is important that we all play a part in keeping walkers in touch on a ramble! If you need to go into the bushes, please tell someone so that they can relay a message to the leader and backmarker. Leaders will usually try and ensure that mid-morning, lunch and afternoon breaks provide some cover for a call of nature.
It is also important that all Club members shoulder responsibility for keeping in touch with the group. Taking the occasional photo is fine – but we are not a camera club and you may get left behind. So please let someone know if you are stopping – for whatever reason! Please be aware of the walkers following behind you at path junctions, and ensure that they have seen you turn onto a sometimes hidden path between bushes.
The Club offers a wide range of walks so if you find a walking group too fast or too slow for your comfortable pace, please think about changing to a more suitable one.
Particular care should be taken when walking along a road without a pavement. You are advised to walk single file and follow the instructions of the leader with respect to the side of the road; generally we walk on the right, i.e. facing oncoming traffic, but may well cross over before a blind bend. Please also take care when crossing a road. Discipline can often be a problem on quiet, narrow lanes, when people tend to spread out across the road. Please keep well to one side (generally the right-hand side).
When using gates please make sure that any gate is left as found – and not left open when it should be closed.
When walking across a field and through crops please keep as close as you can to any obvious route – such paths should be ‘reinstated’ and clear to follow, but sometimes the leader has to rely on a map to guide the way! Please walk in single file where the pathway is narrow. And please keep close together and walk fairly briskly when using public footpaths which go through private gardens close to houses.
A farmer/land manager may have posted notices with instructions for walkers; please make sure you keep a look out for these.

3.0 Trips away from Cambridge

Please make sure you note the dates for paying deposits and final balances when booking a trip with the Club. It is a pain for the organisers to have to chase people up! The Club requires information about a ‘contact person’ for everyone on a trip. Details (name and phone number) should be provided to the trip organiser and should generally be someone who isn’t on the same trip.
And please make sure you are at the coach pick-up points on time!
You are responsible for arranging your own travel/holiday insurance in case of a cancellation. Once the balance has been paid the Club is legally bound by its contract with the hotel, hostel or coach company and cannot make refunds to individuals unless there is someone available on a waiting list. You are expected to be a Club member to take part in a trip away from Cambridge.

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