Jump to content
We’re excited to announce the forum is under new management! Click here for details.

Personal Safety & Awareness

Recommended Posts

Mod note and Forum Policy on Off-line Meetings

We have been asked to make it very clear that any meet-up is not endorsed or officially organised by the forum.

 

This is due to obvious legal issues if someone was to go missing, be injured, etc. The forum's opinion is that people should never meet each other via this or any other web site.

 

In the event that people choose to ignore this advice, as already happens with the social drinking meet-ups, that is their concern and the consequences are their responsibility.

 

 

Hiya - I don't think the walk went ahead after I regrettably had to duck out of walk-organising duties today:( .

 

It's really for taxman or wendygs to give the official group standpoint (I don't want to tread on their toes, they being the organisers for this group) but I think the group's having a rethink about the security issues of arranging walks. Speaking personally, I know I am!

 

So, from my own point of view, I'm happy to post my own thoughts:

 

It's very different arranging a walk with people whom one doesn't necessarily know irl, to arranging an unofficial forum meal or pub meet. I personally would welcome the input of all interested parties into this....

 

1. What happens if the only people who want to join the walk are people whom one doesn't know? You're basically setting off to walk through woods or across moorland with precisely the people who your mother warned you against, ie, strangers!

 

2. What happens if people turn up whose company you actually wouldn't choose to have for four hours or so? You're stuck - and it wouldn't be polite (nor practical) to say, erm, sorry but I'm uncomfortable in your company so you can't come. It's different on a pub meet, for example - if anyone wants to leave at any point, you can just make your excuses and leave. It's a bit difficult to do that at the meeting point - or part-way through - for a walk.

 

3. Is the person who 'organises' (ie posts details about) a walk, the 'group leader'? Because if so, exactly what responsibility do they carry? If it's a walk through a local park it's not an issue, if it's a trek across inhospitable moorland in inclement weather, it's a vital point. There are two aspects to this -

i) I'm not a qualified 'leader' - if I were to set myself up as one, I'd want to have completed the relevant courses and obtained the qualifications before I would be happy to take the responsibility, because I'm all too aware of the possibilities of emergencies happening (twisted ankles, someone becoming ill, getting lost in fog/unfamiliar territory etc) (yes, it does happen!), and

 

ii) If there's NOT a group 'leader', then what happens when one person's idea of the correct route conflicts with another's idea? Dissent in the ranks is not good when you're out in the middle of nowhere - if no-one has the ultimate say-so, whose decision is carried out? He who shouts loudest? Or he who has the greatest experience? It's a tricky one if there's no designated leader.

 

4. Posting details of walk venues on an open forum is effectively advertising where specific individuals are going to be at a specific time - and out in probably lonely places. This is a public forum - we have no way of knowing how many axe murderers (I jest, but you get the drift) are watching but not posting. There ARE potential (unlikely but still possible) security issues here.

 

5. Anyone who has done much walking appreciates the importance of being properly prepared for the walk ahead. There is a big difference between walking up through the parks from Hunters Bar through to Forge Dam (trainers and a bit of cash for an ice-cream in the cafe and the bus back) and a hike across open moorland (worn-in boots, food, waterproofs/loads of water - dependent on the weather - and first aid kits and compasses etc). What happens if someone turns up who (obviously) isn't kitted out properly? It's not fair on the rest of the group for them to continue, but it would be awkward and seemingly mean to turn them away.

 

In conclusion.......

 

Taxman and I have already discussed only arranging the final details (venue and time) via PM with interested parties, rather than posting details willynilly on the forum. That covers some of the security issues, but doesn't address my concerns about the 'leader' side of things.

 

Maybe I'm making too much of it all, some of you may well think so! In which case, feel free to arrange your own walks, and invite me to join as a participant. I'd be pleased to come along! :)

 

I'd also be pleased to undertake some proper 'group leadership' courses, especially if there's someone else (or more than one?) who also want to take this seriously and join me. I've done an amount of walking in Snowdonia and know some of the mountain rescue people over there, and thus I've inside knowledge of the kind of pickles that unprepared (but perfectly ordinary people enjoying a walk in the hills) groups get themselves into. It's the unexpected that catches you unawares!

 

And finally:

 

Maybe one way round all of it is for seriously-interested people to arrange a get-together somewhere local (in a pub, for example, or for a coffee) to openly discuss what they're bringing to the table along the lines of:

 

- enthusiasm, but no real expertise just a desire to enjoy walking

- experience up to a certain degree

- more specialist experience and knowledge, eg mountain rescue, first aid, orienteering expertise, etc.

 

It would also give us the opportunity to meet each other and see if we fancy relying on and trusting each other if the need arises.

 

As I said earlier, maybe it looks to an outsider that I'm taking this all too seriously. I'm just speaking from experience! And it could be YOU who one day benefits from this caution.

 

:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

PS....there are 215 registered views of this thread, and only 8 posts. You surely wouldn't be looking if you weren't interested? So, come on in, the water's warm! Either post on the thread or PM one of us if you'd (secretly) like to come walking with a bit of company. Probably, once the group takes off, there'll be nice leisurely walks with dogs n' stuff around parks, as well as the scary stuff that I've posted about!

 

The point is, if you're interested, then register that interest, so you can meet up with people who like the same kind of thing that you want to do. Until you all post, you're all going to be outsiders looking in and wishing that someone would get something going that you could join in with, if only you dared. Go on, take the plunge. It's easier than you think - you're only using a nickname, no-one knows you, but you might get some fun and company out of it.

 

:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, here’s my take on things. I’ve done quite a bit of walking round the Peak District, but I’ve never learnt to map read, so although I occasionally have ventured onto the upper moorland past the Slippery Stones end of Ladybower, for example, in the company of others who can read the map, I tend to go largely for the Dales type walks further south. Although the upper moorland does have an impressive bleak grandeur all of its own, I just prefer the grassier or woodland areas more.

 

I think this sort of walk would be more suitable for getting the group off the ground and walking with each other: you don't really need any specialist equipment and if the weather was going to be good it wouldn't matter if people turned up in trainers, the areas are more populated, you're never that far from a road, you're not going to die from exposure if the weather does turn nasty. I don't think you'd need a leader and any route disagreements should be minimal if you're on well trodden footpaths with a route map to follow. Surely once the group has done some of these walks and got to know each other, then it could be time to go for the route march over the moors for those that want to, and that's the sort of walk where you would need a leader. By then people might know who would be the best leader to have and whether to trust them navigationally, for example.

 

I think it would be a shame if the group was paralysed into inactivity by security fears and fears about responsibility and litigation and so on. I went on some of the walks that were organised for the Sheffield Millennium Walking Festival, and I didn’t know anybody else on them; despite a leaderless sub-group with half a dozen middle aged women (and me as the only male) in it getting completely lost off the beaten track in a wood in Oughtibridge I don’t think anybody felt threatened at all!

 

In terms of organisation, if everyone signed up for it through some sort of PM system, and if there was a fairly firm commitment that you were going to turn up, then you would know roughly how many were going to do the walk and who they were. Participants would surely have some idea of the views of other walkers from their random wafflings on here and could pull out if they thought there was going to be someone they were going to have a violent disagreement with or be bored to tears by. If women are worried about ending up with a group of men then it might be a good idea if they went with (or maybe got a lift with) someone else that they already knew. In any case if they were going with a group of half a dozen or more it’s unlikely that they would all be axe-wielding maniacs. The details wouldn’t be posted on the open forum, just to those going on the actual walk.

 

Just my twopennorth - any comments?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In view of concerns raised by various SF users, myself included, about personal safety and awareness, it is worth mentioning that The Ramblers Association publishes walks, start times, group leaders contact details etc on their website.

 

Are we therefore being unduly cautious about such concerns and if not what precautions would SF users suggest we implement?

 

taxman and I have already agreed that we will put a Mod Note (wording to be agreed) at the beginning of each SF walk. Is this enough or is there anything else we need to consider.

 

Do you think we should have some sort of protection to ensure contact details and final arrangements are exclusive to SF Walkers only?

 

We'd like your constructive contributions and ideas to ensure SFusers feel comfortable going out for an enjoyable walk or hike in our glorious countryside in the Peaks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

just some thoughts:

Maybe before going on walk each person has to read a 'Code of Conduct' regarding H & S issues and that you are undertaking the walk at your own risk

lots of useful info is on the ramblers website regarding walking and possible 'issues' you need to be aware of.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My responses for what their worth....

 

1) If it would make people feel more comfortable, they could meet up in a pub on an evening beforehand as you suggested. Any axe murderers could be weeded out at this stage.

 

2) Grin and bear it and you never know, after 4 hours in their company you may feel differently about them.

 

3) Good point this one, though in my experience there's no guarantee that the designated group leader will be any less of a knobhead than the person who shouts loudest.

 

4) Don't get this point, aren't we going as a group?

 

5) No I don't think you can turn people away because, in your eyes, they are inappropriately dressed. All you can do is to let everyone know the type of terrain, expected duration and recommended clothing/supplies and let the individuals kit themselves out as they see fit.

 

In addition is there some walker's/rambler's code which we could undertake to adhere to?

 

And finally: Though I may appear on reflection to have been dismissive of the points you have raised, I think they are good points which DO need to be ironed out.

 

And more finally, I too would be interested if there are any courses to raise competence levels.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SHsheff, you have some good points, and we at SF are really big on personal safety warnings where people meet IRL., so here's my 2p.

 

I think that you really need to start the group off slowly with perhaps a few of those walks up through the parks or over regular (busy) routes around Derwent and the like, perhaps having a beer and a pie at the end of it. That way you're not overly worried about being on your own with strangers, the walks aren't too long and you can leave that first aid kit at home ;) Upshot - no real need for established 'leaders' in the early days.

 

It won't be long before you establish a group(s) of like minded people and you'll soon buddy up and feel comfortable to go onto more taxing things if you want to .

 

Remember it's a walking group not a yomping group. Some folks will only want to do the regular stuff and won't be want to know the first thing about gaiters and Camelbaks, while others will naturally feel more adventurous. Some people start off in wellies and end up on Everest. :thumbsup:

 

I'd give it a bit of time to find its feet, and walk before you run (ahem) :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To address some issues raised, Sheffield Walking Group has a page with advice on What to Bring which should provide useful guidelines for anyone in any doubt. We also intend to create a sticky thread with similar advice/guidance which will be linked to in our Mod Note at the beginning of each formally announced walk.

 

It is also always possible to use the PM system to contact a few SF friends to meet up and go for a walk/hike etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good grief. How did all this get so complicated? :confused:

 

I was going to address all the concerns raised in the original post to this thread, but as we are regular walkers, and it's all starting to look like too much hassle to some people, I suspect we'll carry on as we were, and save the stress ;)

 

Can I still be a member of this group by posting stories of walks we've been on, in case anybody else fancies re-tracing our steps at a later date?

 

*disappointed* :(

 

*Polishes axe with sleeve and returns it to shed*

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Good grief. How did all this get so complicated? :confused:

 

I was going to address all the concerns raised in the original post to this thread, but as we are regular walkers, and it's all starting to look like too much hassle to some people, I suspect we'll carry on as we were, and save the stress ;)

 

Can I still be a member of this group by posting stories of walks we've been on, in case anybody else fancies re-tracing our steps at a later date?

 

*disappointed* :(

 

*Polishes axe with sleeve and returns it to shed*

 

I've been giving this considerable thought throughout the course of the day.

 

On the one hand you are right and on the other oh so extremely wrong.

 

It's great if you've got a ready made walking companion but spare a thought for those who dont have that luxury.

 

Perhaps now you've had your rant about the unwarranted complexities please try and suggest some constructive solutions to resolve an issue for those of us less fortunate than you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh hey, I'd be the first to admit that I've made this look complicated! That's possibly because I happened to be the first to try to organise a walk on the thread, then I got thinking how it was maybe a 'lucky escape' after a family commitment made me duck out of the organising and no-one else took up the reins.

 

I've come to my own conclusion now which makes things nice n' easy for me: I'll happily arrange to go on walks with people who I know (or have a good feel for because of their long-standing posting on the forum) via PM, but not commit to 'leading' a group of strangers via posting an 'organising' thread.

 

So, anyone who thinks they'd like to spend a few hours with me sometime out in the fresh air, feel free to PM me (or make yourself known to the thread, so other people know you're interested in a walk sometimes too) :).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On the one hand you are right and on the other oh so extremely wrong.

 

It's great if you've got a ready made walking companion but spare a thought for those who dont have that luxury.

I'm not 'wrong' Wendy. The only statement I made was that we would continue to walk as we do :confused:

 

I have spared a thought for those who don't have walking companions, and have made the offer for other forumers to join us on our frequent hikes, but I've been stomped all over.

 

We have met forumers privately for walks before this group started, and if walks will only happen via PM invite, that's no different to before :confused:

 

I'm looking forward to reading the threads about walks people recommend, and any about new gear people have tried, but please don't resent me for getting out there and doing it instead of moaning about not venturing out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.