Health & Safety - NICS Ramblers

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Health & Safety

Health & Safety

The Civil Service Rambling Club recognises that walking, and hill-walking in particular, is an activity which carries with it a danger of personal injury or death.

Participants in these activities should be aware and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions and involvement.

The Club gives the opportunity for members to gain experience of walking in many types of terrain, from a Sunday stroll to winter conditions in mountainous areas. All pre arranged walks are graded from easy to very difficult and participants should be confident that they have the necessary level of fitness to complete the walk, otherwise they may endanger other members of the group.

Remember, to ensure the safety of individuals and the group, participants must at all times, follow the route selected and be bound by the leaders instructions.

The following has been compiled as a guide so that you know what type of equipment you will need and to outline the leaders role and responsibilities.


Footwear: Walking boots, providing ankle support, are essential. Not trainers, basketball boots or DMs. A good pair of walking socks can help comfort in a big way and can prevent blistering.

For wet weather conditions: Good waterproof jacket, and if possible gaiters and trousers. Jeans or cords are not suitable.

For protection against the cold: Gloves,warm hat, fleece, base layer (t-shirt but not cotton), etc. Remember to take spare clothes. In NI, what seems to be a warm day at sea level can be extremely cold on top of a mountain.

Refreshments:The majority of walks take up to five hours to complete and some can cover often difficult terrain. Therefore, adequate food and both hot and cold drinks should be carried. Emergency rations such as chocolate or mintcake may also be included.

Day rucksack, preferrably with waterproof inner liner are necessary to carry neccessary food and clothing.

Other useful items: Personal first aid kit containing plasters, bandages, antiseptic cream and any other medication you require. In warmer weather sun cream and sunglasses.

Walk leaders role and responsibility

The role of the walk leader is to explain to all participants the route of the proposed walk, together with terrain and expected weather conditions. The best way to prevent accidents in the first place is to make sure that everyone knows what to expect.

The leader has the right to cancel or change the route, if weather conditions deteriorate or if major problems arise which might affect the safety of the group.

The leader will have the navigation skills necessary to follow the planned or alternative route regardless of weather conditions. In mountainous areas, the leaders should have plenty of experience of walking in that type of terrain, and preferably should be familiar with the area. Routes should be planned and walked using a map of a suitable scale, preferably 1:25000. Leaders should also have a basic knowledge of first aid or, failing that, ensure that someone in the group has first aid skills.

On routes or with groups where there is a possibility of the group having to split, there should be enough experienced people to lead each new group.

The leader should ensure that everyone has the correct clothing, etc. before the walk begins and that there are enough compasses, first aid kits, etc.

The leader must lead at the pace of the slowest in the group. Leading from far ahead is highly demoralising for those left behind, and it also heightens the risk of people getting lost. Should anyone, for any particular reason be unable to complete the planned route, it must be arranged for someone to lead him/her back. If this is not possible ,the leader must take the whole group back by the easiest route. Should anyone have an accident and be forced to remain out on the hills until help is obtained, someone must be mandated to stay with the casualty, unless this would put the uninjured person at risk.

It is important that individuals attending each walk remember their limitations and take notice of the grade of the walk as specified in the programme of walks.
Grade A = Very difficult
Grade B = Difficult
Grade C = Medium
Grade D = Easy

If in doubt always contact the walk leader named on the Walk Flyer.

Non members who participate in walks do so at their own risk.

Sample of Clothing Equipment

Base-layer: Anytype of T-shirt as long as its not cotton.Brand names like Lowe-Alpine or North-Face do a very good layer and range from £20-30.

Fleece: Yet again the more you pay the better quality you get and warmer you stay.Brand names like the two above are excellent and also Crag-Hoppers & Spray-Way.These range from £60-120.

Wet-Proof: Gore-Tex is the ‘Bees-Knees' of jacket to buy but is very expensive, from £150 to about £300+ . This material is breathable and keeps you 100% dry and is also windproof.Other jackets like Dry-Flo are also excellent and cost about £100-180.Brand names are same as above.

Leg Coverings: Rohan trousers are great but expensive about £50-60 but again they are comfortable and dry very quick if they get wet.Others like Ron-Hil lDXB Tracksters make good outdoor leg coverings about£30. Shop around in sales, it pays off.

Boots: There are stacks out there like Solomon priced around £80 includes a Gore-Tex lining, a great non-slip sole and plenty of ankle support, one of the best on the market.It's a matter of looking around and yet again look for items on sale.Boots with a Vibram sole are great as well, whatever suits the pocket.(Proper hiking SOCKS are also essential, Bridgedale or 1000 mile socks are good –around £10-12).

Shops: Surf-Mountain in Bangor is great for gear. Some Belfast shops include Discover Outdoors(Scout Shop), Jackson Sport, and Cotswolds.These places will all help you out, but watch the prices(use your UFRC discount card).

Bags: You will need a DAY-SAC, 25-30lt would do.Lots of makes out there, shop around and see what's comfortable on your back. Look out, particularly, for day-sacs with waist and/or chest straps. You will find these of great benefit.

The above summary is only a guideline, the secret is to shop around. Further information is contained in the following documents.

What To Bring On Walks

Ramblers Health and Fitness

Ramblers Safety Precautions

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