For many of us, walking and climbing is about enjoyment, recreation and freedom from structures and regulations. These activities bring us to very special places, but our enjoyment of these areas brings with it a responsibility.
We need to be aware of our impact on the environment and take responsibility for our own safety.
We must respect the interests of others and act as responsible partners in the use and development of the countryside.
To ensure continued enjoyment of the hills and crags, we have to accept some guidelines for our activities. The West Clare Walking Club being totally committed to the safety of its members considers it good practice to operate in accordance with the following guidelines, which have been produced by the Committee.
It is hoped that all Club activities are undertaken within these guidelines in order to ensure the safety of participating members, that standards in all areas of the Club's operation will rise as a result of these guidelines, and that activities will not be curtailed.
It is hoped that personal activities outside the ambit of the Club will follow in the spirit of the guidelines.
- Be competent to lead groups and be appropriately equipped to ensure the safety of the group.
- Be trained in first aid and carry a small first aid kit.
- Know the route, the ability of the group members and ensure that they are all properly equipped.
- Be prepared to alter the route to meet the needs and interests of the group, and the weather conditions.
- Show a good example to the group, with regard to conservation issues and relations with landowners.
- Ensure everybody in the group knows what to do, what not to do, and why.
- Encourage group members to develop their walking and climbing skills.
The leader has the right to refuse anyone who is not adequately equipped or anyone who in the leader's opinion is unfit to walk.
The leader has the right to extend, curtail or alter the route from that described at the walk start. The leader sets the pace of the hike and walkers are expected to follow this pace.
All walkers have a duty of responsibility towards the leader and the group as a whole. This means that they must not do anything to undermine the authority of the leader nor the safety of the group. Walkers must follow all reasonable instructions from the leader.
For everybody's safety and security those starting out together must stay together during the walk. A group may travel no faster than the speed of its slowest member. If you are on a walk of a lower grade than your usual then you must slow down to the slower pace of that lower grade or else organise your own group and transport for that day.
By signing on the Walk Registration Sheet at the beginning of each walk, participants - both members and visitors - agree to abide by these guidelines.
The Committee of the West Clare Walking Club asserts that no walk leader can be held responsible for the welfare of individuals who ignore these guidelines.
The decision to divide a walking party into fast and slow groups rests solely with the leader. If you go ahead of the walk leader of your own accord, then you are no longer considered to be part of the group and you are responsible for your own actions and for those who follow you.
At the end of a walk no person should leave the rendezvous point until everyone is off the mountain. If a walker insists on leaving their group during a walk they must inform the leader and initial their signature on the Walk Registration Sheet It is vital that the walker later contacts the leader on their safe arrival. Failure to do so could result in an unnecessary callout of Mountain Rescue.
Inform the leader if you're feeling tired or the pace is too brisk for you. If a walker is unable to continue for whatever reason, the leader will appoint someone of sufficient ability and properly equipped with map etc. to bring him or her to safety.
MI (Mountaineering Ireland) Warning
The MI (Mountaineering Ireland) recognises that mountaineering and climbing are activities with a danger of personal injury or death. Participants should be aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions and involvement.
Each member is insured under the same insurance as all MI affiliated clubs. If you require further information contact the MI and ask them to send you out the summary document on insurance.
Guidelines For Walkers
- In an effort to respect the environment and landowners, the number of cars travelling to any start point should be limited and therefore car pooling and sharing is encouraged. Consideration should be given to the environment with regard to noise, access and cleanliness when parking at any start point.
- Don't obstruct or hinder traffic when walking along the road. Respect private property and observe The Country Code and The I.F.A. Farmland Code of Conduct.
- Participants in Club Activities should be aware that they are responsible for their own actions and decisions, especially if they choose to disregard the advice of the walk leaders.
- Walk leaders are members of the Club who have demonstrated that they have the experience and personal skills necessary to lead a group safely in the terrain they will encounter. Bear in mind that the leaders are all volunteers and should be respected as such.
- It is irresponsible to go on a walk if you are unwell or injured. You should select a walk that matches your ability and fitness level on the day. If in doubt, err on the side of caution.
- If you are on medication or suffering from any physical, mental, or other condition that might affect you or the group on the walk, then you must inform the walk leader of it before the walk starts.
- Don't assume that because it's sunny in West Clare, it will be hot in the Comeraghs. In general, temperatures drop 2-3 degrees for each 1,000ft climbed.
- Walkers should bring with themselves the following essential items: Strong walking boots, with good ankle support. A hooded waterproof coat. Waterproof trousers are also highly recommended. Suitable trousers. These must not be jeans, which once wet become very heavy and cold and do not dry out quickly enough. Plenty of warm clothing, including a jumper, gloves and a warm hat. Sufficient liquids appropriate to the grade of walk. Sufficient food appropriate to the grade of walk.
The following are useful and recommended
- Relevant map (preferably OS Discovery Series 1:50000)
- Torch with a battery, a back up battery and spare bulb
- Individual first aid kit to cater for personal conditions, e.g. inhalers
- Emergency rations such as chocolate
- Some form of personal identification and the name of someone who can be contacted in the event of an accident, e.g. parents, friends.
The MCI is committed to Leave No Trace, which is a nationally recognized outdoor skills and ethics awareness program. Its seven principles are guidelines to follow at all times:
- Travel and camp on durable surfaces
- Dispose of waste properly
- Minimize campfire impacts
- Be considerate of other visitors
Hiking: First Aid
Pack a first-aid kit whenever you hike. Make sure it’s fully stocked (restock it after every hike) and everything is clearly labelled.
You should have plenty of bandages, antiseptic, burn treatment, sun screen, insect bite treatment, and scissors or tweezers.
It’s a good idea for at least one person in your group to have first-aid training or equivalent.