Backup Only

This Week's Walks - Archive

Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

Blog Archive

Thursday, 2 July 2020

Resumption of a Walks Programme [Update 18/06/20]

The recent toning down in language about how and when to use public transport, combined with the general encouragement to start shopping again (and therefore use public transport), plus some somewhat encouraging written advice given to the SWC by the Government Office make the SWC Walk Posters reasonably confident that Group Walks can be posted again soon, possibly as early as this weekend (20/21 June). This requires an internal agreement on a set of 'rules' that walkers are expected to adhere to as to enable us to go walking in safety (for us and anyone we do encounter en route and in the countryside), but without cumbersome administration (ie w/o the need to pre-book a place), while staying within the Government Guidelines as we understand them.
In that case, walk posts will go up asap.

Update 18/06/20:
As the SWC’s ‘philosophy’ has always been one of leaderless/self-led walks based on freely available walk directions and downloadable digital route files, we are in a better position than most other walking clubs to start group walks again, as we can easily adhere to walking in small groups. But we have had to wait until groups of any size were allowed back into the countryside and restrictions on the use of public transport for non-key workers were relaxed enough to make organised walks possible again. Based on the latest advice and rules we think this point has now arrived.

The core statements from current advice given to the SWC by the Cabinet Office regarding Group Walks are:
“Groups of up to six people from different households are now able to meet outdoors in England, marking a step towards returning our social lives to normal. […] People should try to avoid seeing people from too many households in quick succession to avoid the risk of quick transmission between lots of different families. […]
Ultimately the decision of whether the walks are safe, and can conform to the guidance rests with you and the members of your walking club. We would advise you and your members to take a common sense approach, and to follow the issued guidance as best as you are able to.”

The core parts of the advice on the use of Public Transport as currently displayed in mainline stations are:
"Please keep your distance"; "Please wear a face covering"; "Travel during off-peak hours if you can"; "Can you travel another way?"; “Help us keep trains clear for those who really need them”.

With the above somewhat opaque advice in mind, we are now starting to post group walks again, using off-peak trains as usual, while aiming to choose routes with a low ratio of honeypot areas and of narrow paths with little ability to pass oncoming walkers at distance.

To keep everyone as safe as possible, walkers are expected to:
-      Stay at home if they have any symptoms of Covid-19 or have recently been in contact with someone that has them, are member of one of the high-risk groups or are living with someone that belongs to one of those groups;
-      Follow government guidance if using public transport (for details see above);
-      At the station at the start of the walk, immediately form small groups (no larger than 6) and stay with that group for the rest of the walk;
-      Share contact details with the other walkers in their group to facilitate contact tracing;
-      Start the walk with several minutes gap between groups (with the fast walkers leaving first);
-      Observe social distancing during the walk;
-      Show other walkers on the paths respect by standing back and allowing them to pass at a safe distance;
-      Be prepared for more than usual - and often inexperienced - cyclists out and about and provide them with polite guidance if they are found cycling on footpaths.


Anonymous said...

thanks, can you post the written advice so everyone can read it please?

Thomas G said...

Hi Anon. Sorry for the late reply, but it seemed more important to move the issue forward to a decision within the walk posters' group.
The walk post has now been updated and includes the key parts of the advice relevant to us. The rest of the advice was either irrelevant (meeting in private gardens etc) or formalities.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for resurrecting the amazing SWC.

Thomas G said...

Although it seems that consensus amongst the people who went on the weekend's walks is that everything went well and according to the agreed protocol (with a few minor refinements still possible), we also seem to agree that the only structural weakness is the automatic feed of our posts onto Meetup, potentially inviting people onto the walk that are neither familiar with the SWC's 'philosophy' nor with the agreed protocol and so are prone to not adhere to it as much as we'd like them to. Also, of course, they have no vested interest in the future of the SWC, so don't really care that much if we end up breaking the rules due to their actions.
As a result, walk posters seem in agreement that we can only keep posting walks if and when that Meetup feed is disabled. So we'll have to just wait and see.

Anonymous said...

Very sensible.

Anonymous said...

Is the meetup link really such a big problem if only one person turned up via that route at the weekend? The SWC website is very clear about how it works and what's expected. If a few people turn up, the majority of them probably will be prepared. COVID is likely to be with us for a long time and it would be a shame to deprive potential new members of the opportunity to join. I respect the concerns of walk posters and I'm really grateful for all the work they put into keeping the club going.
I hope it will be possible to start posting walks plagain soon.

Thomas G said...

Hi Frances.
Fair question. Answer: it depends.
If the person has read the walk post and our blurb about how the club works and also the Covid 'rules' and acts accordingly: no difference to anyone else, no problem.
If they haven't done most of that and then blindly follow a 'leader' while asking the occasional 'How long do we have to go?', 'What is this we're looking at?' or 'Which train will we catch?' then they just are a minor or major annoyance.
But if they do the above AND refuse to distance on narrow paths AND refuse to wear face coverings on trains AND plonk themselves in the row between other people that those people had deliberately left free for distancing AND then get up to pace up and down the aisle while doing their stretches, then that puts paid to anything all others are trying to achieve with this Covid-rules malarkey. That's then what I call a problem. And that type of thing we can only try to control if it's a person known to us that is likely to want to come back to walk with us. But only then.

Anonymous said...

moved here from the Hope Valley post...

Mike A, Wed 24 Jun 20, 11:51
Latest Ramblers Statement
I have just seen this from the Ramblers which summarises their view of the latest Gov statement

Margaret said...

Meetup are starting to advertise walks again. They have Seaford to Eastbourne listed for 18th July.

Marc Ricketts said...

What about a Walk in Essex on July 11th. Ether Walton on Naze to Clacton on Sea or Jaywick, Canvey island, Wivenhoe, Brightlingsea, Marks Tey or Sudbury?

Bill S said...

Good news! Is it worth including a message in the Covid 19 section of the Forum referencing this post for the benefit of those (like me) who have an alert set up to let them know of any new comments there about resumption of walks

Marcus said...

SWC Wednesday walks will resume on 15 July if my fellow mid-week walk poster and I think it safe to do so. Walk starts will be slightly later than before in order to avoid any travelling at the back-end of rush hour.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Marcus. Great news.