General guidelines for walkers
The Manx Footpaths Conservation Group (MFCG) takes the safety of all participants on its walks as a priority and wants to maintain the enjoyment of sociable group walking around our beautiful island. Here are a few general guidelines for members/potential members and visitors to achieve maximum enjoyment for your MFCG walk.
- All those taking part in club activities do so at their own risk. All walkers have a duty of care to ensure the safety and wellbeing of themselves and fellow walkers.
- Walkers of all abilities are welcome to join us. All walks have distance and terrain guidelines (see ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ on the website – manxfootpaths.org). Hopefully there is a walk for everyone so please choose a walk that you feel best suits your fitness level. If in doubt, the Secretary – Secretary@manxfootpaths.org – will be happy to assist or advise in any way possible.
- Some walkers may have minor problems seeing, moving, hearing, or other issues. Members of the MFCG are known for helping each other. If in doubt, please contact the Secretary – Secretary@manxfootpaths.org – who will be happy to assist or advise in any way possible.
- All ages of walkers are welcome. Walkers under the age of 16 who participate in a MFCG walk must be accompanied by a responsible adult.
- Generally, walks are risk assessed for their general safety, but all walkers walk at their own risk.
- The Walk Leader will inform you of the walk route and any safety concerns at a short briefing before the walk starts.
- Please wear appropriate clothing and footwear. The weather can change rapidly on the island, so layers and waterproofs are advised at all times of year.
- If you have medication that you could potentially require on the walk, it is your responsibility to carry and administer it if necessary.
- If you feel the Walk Leader should be aware of a particular medical condition, please advise them of this before the walk commences.
- Please do not walk in front of the Walk Leader or behind the Back Marker without agreement. If you require a comfort break, please inform the Back Marker.
- If you have any concerns during a walk, please speak to the Walk Leader.
- Where snacks, lunch and water are advised, please bring sufficient supplies for your individual requirements. Many of the walks are in more remote areas of the island where provisions cannot be purchased.
- When walking on roads, please walk in single file and on the right-hand side, unless advised otherwise by the Walk Leader.
- If you decide to leave a walk early, please advise the Walk Leader.
- No dogs are permitted on MFCG walks.
General guidelines for walk leaders
All members of Manx Footpaths Conservation Group (MFCG) are actively encouraged to lead walks, however there is no requirement to do so. Please read the following guidelines when planning a walk:
- Only fully subscribed members are allowed to lead walks.
- Walk Leaders are encouraged to attend one of the First Aid courses organised by the club and to carry a First Aid kit when walking.
- All Walk Leaders are advised to carry their own mobile phone in case of emergency. Please consider downloading a location app such as the ‘What3words’ app and OS Locate app if possible so that the emergency services can accurately identify a location if required.
- All walk days have guidelines for distance and duration and the walk should be based around these guidelines.
- Walk Leaders should design a walk that they feel comfortable to lead in terms of the distance and terrain. Stiles, gates, and the crossing of busy roads can extend the duration of a walk. Consideration should be given to the suitability of places for rests and lunch stops and ‘escape/alternative’ routes in case of an incident.
- Walk Leaders must undertake a reconnaissance (recce) walk to check the route for any unexpected alterations or diversions. Ideally this should take place as close to the walk date as possible but as a maximum, four weeks before the walk date.
- In exceptional circumstances where no recce has been possible and hence no risk assessment carried out (for example where the intended leader has fallen ill and another person has stepped in at short notice) the walk leader should make the situation clear to walkers who can then make an informed decision whether or not to join the walk.
- A Risk Assessment (RA) form must be filled out following the recce either using the interactive form on the website or manually. Please follow the guidelines for completing this form. The completion of a RA is a mandatory requirement. Non-compliance may invalidate the club’s insurance policy.
- Walk Leaders should take into account the weather forecast and consider alternative routes if necessary. The safety of the Walk Leader and walkers must take priority and the Walk Leader should cancel the walk if they feel it is not appropriate to undertake the walk. Please contact the Walk Coordinator for advice if necessary. The Walk Leader or a representative should attend the start point of a cancelled walk to inform those members who have not been notified of the change in circumstances.
- All walk Leaders have a duty of care to ensure the safety and wellbeing of themselves and fellow walkers.
- The Walk Leader should designate a Back Marker at the beginning of a walk. Both should agree the number of walkers taking part and complete checks at appropriate intervals during the walk. The Walk Leader and Back Marker should liaise regularly to ensure a comfortable and achievable pace is established for all participants. The Walk Leader and Back Marker should have each other’s mobile numbers.
- Walkers should not walk ahead of the Walk Leader or behind the Back Marker without agreement from either of them.
- When walking on roads the Walk Leader should adhere to the Highway Code unless it is not safe to do so.
- Walk Leaders and Back Markers are advised to wear hi-visibility clothing whilst walking on long sections of road. Walk Coordinators have a supply of hi-visibility jackets for use on walks.
- In the unlikely event of an accident or incident Walk Leaders must complete an Incident Form in a timely manner – ideally within 24 hours. This can be completed via the website or manually and sent to the Safety Officer and Chair.
- No Dogs are permitted on MFCG walks.
At the start of every walk the leader should conduct a short briefing to:
- Introduce themselves and any new members/visitors.
- Outline of the route and any potential hazards.
- Remind all participants that they walk at their own risk.
- Identify a designated Back Marker.
- Highlight any concerns about the weather which might impact on the walk.
Code of Conduct
LISTEN: It is important to follow the Walk Leader’s instructions. Do not deviate from the walk without his/her permission. This is for your safety and the safety of your fellow walkers. Walkers must please remain with the main party between the Walk Leader and Back Marker unless the Leader or Back Marker has agreed otherwise.
COUNTRYSIDE CODE: All persons taking part in club activities must adhere to the Countryside Code, such as not picking any flora and fauna, and taking your litter home. Leave only your footprints, take away only your memories.
GATES: Please leave gates as you find them.
BATHROOM BREAKS. Please be discreet and find a suitable place for your comfort break away from other walkers.
SMOKING: Please respect other walkers by not smoking or vaping in their company.
RESPECT FOR OTHERS: Respect the Walk Leader and all other walkers. Help fellow walkers who may be finding things less easy than you do. Support, respect and try to understand the needs of your fellow walkers.
AND FINALLY…MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL…
HAVE FUN AND ENJOY: Walking is all about the friendships, fresh air, and places that only a handful of people will ever see. Take the time to have fun with your fellow walkers, stop and smell the flowers, rest at the highest point, and make as many wonderful memories as you can.
Our Risk Assessment and Incident Forms can now be completed online. If you would prefer to handwrite these and post them please download the forms below. Please note that online completion is preferable