Why you should join a walking club

Why you should join a walking club

Although many people enjoy the peace and tranquillity of walking alone, walking can be a very social pastime. It is a great way to get fit whilst spending time with friends and family. However, you can also make new friends whilst walking if you decide to join a walking, rambling or hiking club.

There are hundreds of different walking groups across the country, some operating on a formal basis and some on an informal basis. These include local walking clubs and the National Ramblers association.

There are many different reasons why people choose to join a walking club with a few examples below.

Meet new people

Walking club
Walking club

A walking club is a great way to meet new people, especially if you struggle to talk to people in more formal settings. A walking club will put you together with like-minded people, in a setting which allows you to be as conversational as you want. Due to the physical nature of walking it is possible to walk without talking if you would prefer not to chat all of the time.

On the other hand, you are likely to see and do a lot of things on your walk which can inspire conversation if you do want to talk. A wide variety of different people join walking clubs, so you are likely to meet new people from all walks of life.

Try new routes

In order to keep their members interested, walking clubs normally try to come up with impressive new routes for their members to try. This can give you the opportunity to try out interesting new walks that you might never have considered if you were planning your own routes. What is more, walking clubs often arrange walks that are further out of your area than you would normally consider going by yourself. Taking these opportunities will give you the chance to visit areas that you might not have chosen if you were alone. Seeing the area as part of a formally organised route can help to give you a completely different experience.

Clubs will normally have a grading system for their walks, so that members can decide whether routes will be suitable for them. If you are unsure about whether a walk or trip would be right for you, you can speak to the organiser to discuss your concerns.

Bargaining Power

Walking groups are integral in fighting for improved rights for walkers. In the past, rambling groups have mobilised to lobby for the right to roam in certain areas of land. After years of government consultation, these groups were able to win improved access rights for everyone in Britain. Walkers in Scotland have even greater access rights, as long as they are exercising their rights responsibly.

Walking groups are currently fighting to protect national footpath networks, wonderful landscapes and long distance walking groups. If you have any ideas about how walking could be improved as a pastime, you should join a walking club so that your voice has the best chance of being heard at a national level. Formally organised clubs are regularly consulted by national and local government organisations about potential changes which may affect ramblers. Grassroots club members will normally get the opportunity to speak out.

Building skills

Joining a walking club can actually help you to build a wide range of different skills. Some clubs run courses to help members to develop their outdoor skills, including map reading, using a compass and navigating based on nature. Those who are willing to take charge of walks will also be able to develop their leadership skills. Alternatively, members who take on a specific role in the club may be able to develop other transferrable skills which can actually be used outside of walking as a hobby.

Get fit

Walking is a good way to get fit. It strengthens the heart and improves circulation by raising the heart rate to a safe level. Walking also gives people the opportunity to spend time in the fresh air and away from some major air pollutants, like cars and big factories.

If you are wearing well-fitting boots and take the right precautions, rambling will also improve bone and muscle-strength. In general, moderate walking in the UK countryside will not put unnecessary stresses and strains onto the human body, and there are therefore fewer accumulative health risks than those associated with high intensity sports. Being part of a group will help to give some people the additional boost that they need to go for a walk or do a healthy exercise even if they are not feeling completely enthusiastic about working out. The walking group helps to provide a support network that offers assistance and encouragement when needed. Some people are further encouraged to participate if they have had to pay a membership fee to join the club.

Insurance

Many walking clubs are also insured against damage to property, accident injury and financial loss, and may include member to member cover. If you’re in any way concerned about this, for example if you’d like to know can I claim compensation if you suffered a personal injury because a guide or another member was negligent, or you’re property is damaged by another member and you’re unsure what action could be taken you should check with the club beforehand.

First Aid supplies for walkers

First Aid supplies for walkers

When you set off on your next walk, hike or ramble, you must be sure that you have an adequate First Kid kit with you. A First Aid kit can help you to treat injuries that may occur during the course of your route. Without treatment, many of these injuries could easily become worse. Prompt treatment reduces the chances or infection or more serious damage occurring. It may also mean that the injured party is able to continue to walk on until they are able to reach further medical treatment. In the case of minor injuries, the person may even be able to continue with the route and fully enjoy the rest of their day.

Here is some further information about some of the components which should be included in a basic walker’s First Aid kit. Remember that if you are forced to use any of these components when you are out and about, you should replace them as soon as possible, so that you will have them available to you again next time that you are in need of them.

Antiseptic cleaning wipes

Individually wrapped cleaning wipes are used to clean the area around the wound to remove mud, dirt, blood and any other substance. Cleaning the wound helps to remove foreign bodies from the damaged tissue and helps to reduce the risk of the wound becoming infected at a later time.

Clean the wound gently, rather than scrubbing at it, because scrubbing can cause further damage to the area. If there are any larger foreign bodies embedded in the wound which cannot be removed with your antiseptic wipe, use clean tweezers to extract them before dressing the wound.

Pain relief

Pain relief, such as Paracetamol and Ibuprofen, will help to reduce the amount of pain that the patient is feeling from a wound, sprain or headache. Ibuprofen also contains anti-inflammatory agents which will help to reduce any swelling that has occurred. Some people are allergic to certain types of pain medication, so make sure that you check with the other person if you are administering them to someone else.

Antihistamines

Antihistamines are used to reduce the effects of an allergic reaction, including itchy, swelling and stinging. They can be used to treat light reactions if walkers have been affected by any allergens during the course of the walk, such as plants or pollen. They can also help to reduce the level of irritation caused by insect bites and stings.

Antihistamines are very useful when travelling through areas of Scotland where midges are present.

Assorted plasters and adhesive dressings

Plasters should be applied to open wounds to help to keep the wound clean until the tissue has healed or until the risk of contamination has been reduced. Breathable, waterproof dressings also prevent the wound from getting wet. When you are choosing an adhesive dressing from your selection, you should pick one that is large enough to cover the whole of the wound. Small wounds (scratches, grazes and light cuts) can be uncovered once you are home. This will allow them to breathe properly during the healing process.

Crepe bandages

Crepe bandages or tubular bandages seek to offer light compression to areas which have been strained or sprained. This helps to minimise swelling and offer additional support to the injured area in order to reduce further strain. They are normally reserved for knee, ankle, wrist and elbow injuries. If the sprain or strain is more severe, then you may need to seek further medical assistance onsite rather than trying to use one of these bandages.

Triangular bandage

A triangular bandage can be fold in various ways to enable it to be used as support for a broken, strained or sprained body part. The most common use of a triangular bandage is to act as a support for a broken arm or wrist. It can be folded up so that it ties around the neck and creates a sling which keeps the arm bent at a right angle.

Gauze

Gauze is used to help to reduce blood loss in people who have been suffered larger wounds. Applying pressure to the wounded area with gauze can help to slow or stop the blood flow.

Surgical Tape

Surgical tape is used to hold any non-adhesive dressings in place. It may be used to temporarily attach gauze to the wound site to slow bleeding.

Blister Packs

Blister packs are an important part of a walker’s first aid kit, because blisters are one of the most common types of injuries amongst walkers. Good blister treatments clean the affected area and then help to relieve the pressure in the affected area. This should reduce the friction as the walker continues on their path and can prevent the blister from becoming worse over time. It will also reduce discomfort for the walker.