Walking is not an inherently dangerous activity, however, when planning walking-Events, consideration is always given to potential risks to participants from the terrain and weather. And on the day of the walking-Event, ongoing risk assessments are made by the walk leader before and during the walk.
Such assessments also include the appropriateness of an individual’s clothing and footwear; the conduct and demeanour of individual participants; and any other relevant safety issues. To that end, the walking-Event leader has the right to cancel the event at any time or bar any individual deemed unfit to participate for whatever reason.
Health: It is the responsibility of the individual to decide if they are fit, or well enough, to partake in any Event and if in doubt they should contact their doctor.
DISCLAIMER Friends are reminded that if they take part in any Friends’ Event, they do so at their own risk and that FPCNP cannot accept any responsibility for any loss, damage or injury, howsoever caused.
Grading a walk is part of the dynamic risk assessment process but it will always be a subjective exercise and the following is provided only as general guidance to help individuals decide for themselves whether they are physically able to achieve and enjoy the walk. The walk leader will assess the grading of the walk and apply common sense and experience when doing so.
The grades should all based on the assumption the route can be completed in reasonable weather conditions. If the weather is inclement, the safety factor needs to be reconsidered and, if necessary, the walk re-graded before it is started.
With the above in mind, the following broad definitions of ‘Easy’, ‘Moderate’ and ‘Hard’ are offered as a general guide:
Easy – Reasonably flat paths/tracks and the occasional slope or steps. Generally suitable for anyone who does not have a mobility difficulty, a specific health problem or is seriously unfit. Family groups including children should be able to manage this grading of walk. Comfortable outdoor footwear, or trainers with a good grip, can be worn along with non-specialised outdoor clothing. However, walking shoes/boots and walking clothing is always preferable. This grade of walk includes the typical rolling stretches of the coastal path with occasional steeper sections.
Moderate – These paths/tracks may have more frequent climbs and descents and/or the surface might be quite uneven in places resulting in the going being more challenging underfoot. Some obstacles may need to be negotiated along the path. A moderate level of fitness will be required and some walking experience would be advantageous. Specific outdoor walking footwear, rather than trainers and warm/waterproof clothing is highly recommended. This grade of walk includes sections of the coastal path known to contain longer and steeper ascents and descents or where the path is known to be particularly tricky.
Hard – These are physically demanding paths/tracks, which will have frequent taxing ascents and descents and the going underfoot will be regularly extremely rough and may include many obstacles. Suitable for people accustomed to walking on rough ground and with a high level of fitness. Specific outdoor walking footwear and clothing is essential and walking poles would benefit some. This grade of walk would include the most physically demanding sections of the coastal path.