Here are some ideas to help you when leading a walk

Document Icon NEW: Download the Hike MK New Member Information Form.

Before the walk - Choose the route

  • Area, length / timing, circular / linear, consider terrain / season / fitness of party.
  • From map or guidebook or combination, research points of interest.
  • Transport options, check timings, lunch options, rest stops, bad weather alternatives.
  • Write route card or notes to support the map / book.
Note that Hike MK occasionally runs walks planning evenings, which you might find useful when planning to lead a walk. See the website for details.

Before the walk - Recce (i.e. test out the route, preferably with someone else who will join the actual walk)

  • Walk full route, note navigation points, assess risks (e.g. mud, nettles blocking path), adjust route if necessary, check timings, check rest and toilet stops.
  • E-mail walk description, date, starting point etc. to the walks co-ordinator preferably 4 weeks before the walk.

The day before

  • Check and assess weather forecast, review alternative routes if necessary.
  • Check personal gear and first aid kit.
  • Warn pub if you expect particularly large numbers.
  • Download and print copies of the New Member Form to give to non-members on the day of the walk (download here).

On the day - At the start

  • Be early, be welcoming, especially to newcomers.
  • Check fitness and equipment of party, identify anyone with special needs. If someone is inadequately equipped/does not appear fit enough/dog is not on a lead/children are brought etc., politely explain why but decline to take them on the walk.
  • Appoint a backmarker (someone who stays at the back to ensure everyone knows where they're going, closes gates).
  • Look after people new to the group.
  • Give membership joining details to non-members (download here).
  • Advise dog owners of group policy (we welcome well behaved dogs kept on a lead).
  • Advise smokers of group policy (We prefer people not to smoke or at least if they do, to do so downwind from the group and be careful not to start a fire).
  • Introduction: welcome, yourself, walk details, points of special interest, refreshment and rest stops, estimated return time.
  • Count party and signal the start.

On the day - The walk

  • Stay at or near the front, check regularly you can see your backmarker.
  • Set a suitable pace, check the pace is OK for everyone.
  • Concentrate on navigation, check timing against route card.
  • Manage: party remaining as a group / passage past gates and stiles / impact on countryside / rest stops.
  • Be alert to problems (individual, weather, road walking etc), involve others in party as necessary.
  • Enjoy the walk!

At the end of the walk

  • Check everyone has returned and can get home.
  • Report any incidents and obstructions to group officers.