Safety Advice for Participants
There are limited risks associated with participating in our events however participants need to be aware of these risks and take sensible precautions. Weather conditions can change in minutes therefore participants need to be prepared and equipped to cope with changing conditions. It is advisable to be aware of pending weather conditions in advance. If you have internet access we recommend www.AccuWeather.com
You will need: Suitable footwear and clothing suitable for the outdoors. You should also carry spare warm clothes at all times. Jeans and cotton should be avoided (if they get wet they will not dry, causing loss of body heat and energy and possibly contributing to the onset of hypothermia). A waterproof jacket and over-trousers, warm hat and gloves are recommended, irrespective of the weather on starting out.
You should carry: A rucksack/pannier for spare clothing, food and a drink plus some spare high-energy snacks such as chocolate, glucose sweets or energy bars. A small first aid kit should be included as part of your kit. You should inform the stewards at any time of any medical condition, injury or medication carried (be sure to bring any medication required).
Additional advice for people cycling:
As a cyclist, you can reduce your risk of death or injury by following some simple advice:
- Never cycle in the dark without adequate lighting – white for front, red for rear
- Always wear luminous clothing such as hi-vis vests, fluorscent armbands and reflective belts so that other road users can see you
- Cycle helmets are required – no helmet, no ride.
- Make sure you keep to the left. Always look behind and give the proper signal before moving off, changing lanes or making a turn
- Follow the rules of the road, never run traffic lights or weave unpredictably in and out of traffic
- Maintain your bike properly – in particular, your brakes should work properly and your tyres should be inflated to the right pressure and be in good condition
- Respect other road users – don’t get into shouting matches with motorists; stop at pedestrian crossings; don’t cycle on the footpath
- Watch your speed, especially when cycling on busy streets and going downhill
- Steer well clear of left-turning trucks: let them turn before you move ahead
Additional advice for people walking on roads:
- Pretend you’re invisible. Don’t assume a driver sees you. In fact, imagine that a driver can’t see you, and behave accordingly.
- Face traffic. It’s easier to see, and react to, oncoming cars. And cars will see you more clearly too. If there is no footpath, walk/run/jog on the right hand side of the road, facing oncoming traffic and keeping as close as possible to the side of the road
- Walk no more than two abreast. And if the road is narrow or there is heavy traffic, walk in single file
- Make room. If traffic gets heavy, or the road narrows, be prepared to move onto the sidewalk or shoulder of the road.
- Be seen. Wear high-visibility, brightly colored clothing. When out near or after sunset, reflective materials are a must. (If you don’t own reflective clothing, a lightweight reflective vest is a great option.) And use a headlamp or handheld light so you can see where you’re going, and drivers can see you. The light should have a bright LED (drivers see blinking red as a hazard).
- Unplug your ears. Avoid using iPods or wearing headphones—you need to be able to hear approaching vehicles. If you do use headphones, run with the volume low and just one earbud in.
- Watch the hills. When they crest hills, drivers’ vision can suddenly be impaired by factors like sun glare or backdrops.
- Beware of high-risk drivers. Steer clear of potential problem areas like entrances to driveways, bars, and restaurants.
- Watch for early birds and night owls. At odd hours be extra careful. Early in the morning and very late at night, people may be overtired and not as attentive.
- Mind your manners. At a stop sign or light, wait for the driver to wave you through—then acknowledge with your own polite wave. That acknowledgement will make the driver feel more inclined to do it again for the next walker or runner. Use hand signals (as you would on a bicycle) to show which way you plan to turn.
Be careful about foot placement, as there is always the risk of concealed holes, rocks, slippery ground and soft bog. Be particularly careful when descending steep ground and when crossing streams and rivers. Streams in flood are deceptively dangerous. Remember you are responsible for your own safety. Most accidents happen on the way down, when people are tired, rushing or no longer paying attention. If you find the pace of the walk too slow, you should not attempt to force the pace. Use stiles where available rather than crossing walls or fences.
Leave no litter – even biodegradable items like banana skins, orange peel and teabags take years to disappear. Bring them back to the Base and deposit them in the bins provided. Avoid taking short cuts on zig-zag paths as this creates new lines for run-off of water and increases erosion. If you must use an eroded route, walk along the centre of the path if possible to avoid widening the damage. If this is not possible keep at least 10m away from the eroded route.
In cold, wet weather the greatest danger is hypothermia or exposure: this occurs where the body temperature is chilled to a life-threatening level, and is aggravated by wind chill. To avoid it make sure you have enough warm clothing and extra food and plenty of water.
In warm weather, the principle hazards are sunburn, windburn and dehydration. Sunhats, sun cream, and water can prevent serious sunburn or heatstroke.
Don’t underestimate the amount of water you need. Doctors recommend drinking 1.5-2 litres of water a day even for an ordinarily active lifestyle, and you will need more if you walking strenuously and/or the weather is hot. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Still mineral or tap water is adequate: fizzy drinks are not recommended as they take longer to drink, a problem if you need to rehydrate quickly. Avoid drinking un-boiled or unpurified water from streams.
Blisters are simply the result of friction, but they can make a walk a miserable experience.
To help prevent blisters:
- Wear comfortable, good-fitting, worn-in boots/trainers,
- Wear good socks in the right size;
- Keep your toenails trim
- Quickly remove any foreign bodies from your socks and footwear
- Ensure that the tongue and laces of your footwear are arranged correctly and evenly
- Check your feet carefully and regularly for any sign of rubbing and tenderness
- Act immediately you feel any friction or discomfort: blisters can form very quickly
If you feel a blister developing, stop walking, take your boots and socks off and examine your feet. Consider applying some material cushioning or padding, or a breathable waterproof plaster, or possibly some strips of surgical tape.
There is some controversy over how to treat blisters when they do occur. Some walkers prefer to burst the blister carefully and immediately apply a sterile dressing. Others argue this runs the risk of infection, and instead recommend keeping the blistered area clean and protected.
Chemists and outdoor shops now supply a wide range of foot care products, including blister kits with ‘second skin’ dressings providing cushioning from further friction. Use according to the manufacturer’s instructions.