Friday, May 17, 2013

Walk Leader's Training Course

I've just completed my volunteer walk leader's training course, at Sandall Beat Environment Centre, located in the middle of the woods about two and a half miles from my home.

It was a nine o'clock start, but being an early riser I had plenty of time to walk there: because of the location I would still have had probably a mile and a half to walk anyhow if I'd caught the bus.

I walked along the dual carriageway, past the back of the racecourse stands and then along the road which runs right next to the 'Straight Mile', the furlong posts marking the distance as I walked towards the car park. From the car park it was still a fifteen minute walk through the wood to reach the venue.

There were nineteen people on the course, most of them being local government or NHS employees: I think the course was really meant for them and not volunteers such as myself. Most of the content seemed to concentrate on covering your back; doing the correct paperwork, risk assessments, registers, publicity, accident reports and cue cards. These are not my main areas of interest: I wanted to discuss subjects such as the correct procedure when leading a group along roads, how to deal with cows and horses blocking the way, mountain bikers speeding towards you, map reading, and how to correctly report your position to the emergency services. Fortunately there was another volunteer who was also interested in these issues and told me about some suitable courses which are held at Northern College which I'll probably be eligible to attend at no cost.

The session wasn't really what I was hoping for, or expecting, but it wasn't a waste of time; finding out about the more advanced courses in particular was very useful, but additionally all attendees were awarded a certificate, meaning that we are now covered by insurance to lead local walks. 


We also received a training manual...which I haven't read yet though.