Author Topic: Why I think novice walkers can benefit from group walking  (Read 1218 times)

Dyffryn Ardudwy

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Re: Why I think novice walkers can benefit from group walking
« Reply #15 on: 11:25:17, 09/09/19 »
We were all novice walkers once in our lives.
The only way to become more experienced, is to go out adventuring by ourselves, so we can then learn by our mistakes.

If we go out walking in groups, then there is a possibility we pick up ideas and advice that may not be suitable for us, for after all their the opinions of others.

They may be full of merit, but the only sure way to become a better walker is to go it alone, and discover what works for you.

Imagine a total novice being taken by a good intensioned group of experienced walkers over the Cullin ridge on Skye.

I can remember reading a letter in an early trail walker magazine about such an incident, where a group of well intensioned experienced walkers decided to take a total novice over the Cullins, thinking they would enjoy the experience and take home some valued knowledge from more experienced walkers.

The walker soon realised that the walk was way beyond his comfort zone, and experience, but his fellow walkers would not listen, and soldiered on, resulting in the mountain rescue being called out to rescue him.

An extreme example i know, but the only person who can determine what is suitable for them, is the lone walker.

Being cohered into doing a walk that one is fearful of, is never a good idea, and few people are brave enough to admit their weaknesses to a larger group of people.

Ive been a member of a walking group, but much prefer to go it alone, then its only myself i have to answer to, and after all, some people enjoy extreme walks involving high grade scrambling, whilst others would avoid such situations.


Just try and explain to a group of fellow walkers who have chosen a particular route that they have been longing to do, that its not to your liking.


They may suddenly stop asking you out on similar walks.


Solo walking to gain experience on what works for you, and the occasional walk with a group, when the walk is suitable for everyone.
« Last Edit: 11:35:40, 09/09/19 by Dyffryn Ardudwy »

sussamb

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Re: Why I think novice walkers can benefit from group walking
« Reply #16 on: 13:01:31, 09/09/19 »
We were all novice walkers once in our lives.
The only way to become more experienced, is to go out adventuring by ourselves, so we can then learn by our mistakes.

If we go out walking in groups, then there is a possibility we pick up ideas and advice that may not be suitable for us, for after all their the opinions of others.

They may be full of merit, but the only sure way to become a better walker is to go it alone, and discover what works for you.

Imagine a total novice being taken by a good intensioned group of experienced walkers over the Cullin ridge on Skye.


I know you struggle to make sense at times but that advice is ridiculous. Novice walkers going out on their own are likely to end up in serious trouble.  Far better to go out with experienced walkers and learn from them, and they will know how far to push a novice walkers abilities. Novice walkers should go solo once they at least have some basic idea of how to plan routes, cope on the hills etc etc
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tonyk

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Re: Why I think novice walkers can benefit from group walking
« Reply #17 on: 14:20:56, 09/09/19 »
DA wrote
Quote
The only way to become more experienced, is to go out adventuring by ourselves, so we can then learn by our mistakes.
This approach is okay in rural areas were there is little risk of injury or getting lost but could prove disasterous in the mountains.In the mountains a mistake could lead to serious injury or death and you are not going to learn much from that.

Slowcoach

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Re: Why I think novice walkers can benefit from group walking
« Reply #18 on: 14:22:21, 09/09/19 »
You would certainly learn not to do it again
It's all uphill from here.

Islandplodder

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Re: Why I think novice walkers can benefit from group walking
« Reply #19 on: 15:36:46, 09/09/19 »

Actually, I think DA has a point.   You do learn more from your own mistakes than from other people.
At great risk of sounding a bit luddite, I think we sometimes make a bit of a meal of the business of "learning to walk".  It is something we could all do when we were 2 and within weeks were trying to scramble up things our parents would rather we didn't.  From then on it goes down hill, until it is something that involves training courses and expensive gear.  I know this is an exaggeration, but when I were a lass there weren't forums or courses or decent gear and we all staggered along quite well with our leaky cagoules and rubbish map reading skills, and I don't know the statistics, someone may correct me on this, but I don't think any more of us died.
Now don't get me wrong, I love my posh gear, and I once went on a very useful navigation course.  But then I am old, and my resilience in the face of being cold wet and lost is much lower than it used to be.  Is this the moment to admit that many years ago I went up Ben Nevis without knowing how many huge cliffs I could have fallen down?

Sleepy

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Re: Why I think novice walkers can benefit from group walking
« Reply #20 on: 16:30:43, 09/09/19 »
I agree..... But, there's always been an element of "rules" that make a lot of sense


Be able to navigate with map and compass; that's not to say you have to be perfect but know reasonably well where you are and be able to figure out a "bug out" route and know which direction you're facing - enough to get by shall we say


Carry the essentials; first aid kit, warmer clothes, waterproofs, torch, batteries, emergency rations (a couple of choccy bars) a bivi bag (orange bin bag kinda thing, doubles as a mat to sit on and a sledge in snow  ;D ) and a whistle - read up on emergency signal.


Let someone know your route and when you expect to be back - they're there to raise the alarm if you're not back so not the guy next door who couldn't tell you what day they last changed their underpants.....


I think a couple of weeks "swatting up" and then start simple on ground that you either know or can see is very unlikely to kill you and it's perfectly reasonable to teach yourself.


HOWEVER, If you're more comfortable in groups and feel you're learning from it - that's great! Stick at it, there's no right or wrong really as long as you apply a bit of common sense

ninthace

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Re: Why I think novice walkers can benefit from group walking
« Reply #21 on: 16:40:34, 09/09/19 »
And make sure your mobile phone is registered with the emergency services. See https://www.emergencysms.net for more information.
Solvitur Ambulando

Rob Goes Walking

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Re: Why I think novice walkers can benefit from group walking
« Reply #22 on: 16:42:41, 09/09/19 »
We're all different. I've only made a few mistakes out walking and learned far more from research, other people and going out there and doing it without making mistakes than making mistakes. I'm not afraid of making mistakes or admitting to them either.

I could have learnt everything I've learned about walking so far from walking with the Ramblers apart from navigation because I don't have to worry about it with someone to follow. You're still out there doing it you just have examples to examine and think about that you can compare to what you'd have chosen and think "is this superior? If so, how could I have planned to do that?"

I think I chose the wrong words with "blindly copy", what I really meant is my focus was on a very small area and how the leader selected his footholds rather than planning the route ahead.

People who do things better than you are a helpful learning aid IMHO.


fit old bird

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Re: Why I think novice walkers can benefit from group walking
« Reply #23 on: 16:53:24, 09/09/19 »

I think a lot depends on what you have been doing at work. Some people work in a team, and some like me have worked alone. There was no one to show me how to go on once out on the road, it was up to me to work it out. I had the licence, I was given the keys to a lorry and told there you go, get on with it. No phone in the cab, given the delivery notes, read the map and find the way.


I was a nervous wreck for a while until I built up some confidence. This has held me in good stead for walking on my own. Start simple and learn as you go. This is why I am not keen on groups.


ilona

WhitstableDave

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Re: Why I think novice walkers can benefit from group walking
« Reply #24 on: 17:02:24, 09/09/19 »
We were all novice walkers once in our lives.
The only way to become more experienced, is to go out adventuring by ourselves, so we can then learn by our mistakes.
...

I agree with DA too, but then again I've done a couple of excellent walks near Dyffryn Ardudwy so I'm probably biased!  :)

I walk with my wife once a week, but otherwise I walk solo and have absolutely no desire to go with a group. For me, walking is about going at my own pace and doing my own thing.

I've only considered myself a 'proper' walker for about three years. I began by taking cross-country routes that I knew from my cycling days and then started exploring all those interesting-looking little footpaths that headed off into the woods or across fields. As time went on I went further afield and as my wife began to enjoy walking as well, we started to do walking holidays in those parts of the country that some people seem to think are the only places where 'real' walkers walk ( ;) ).

I really don't think what we do is rocket science. Of course crossing high narrow ridges can be dangerous as well as tricky, but that surely comes under the heading of 'special case' rather than the norm. It might simply be that a forum such as this has a disproportionate number of rugged hillwalkers while, in reality, the great majority of walkers don't spend a lot of time going up and down mountains!

If something other than plain common sense and a desire to explore the country on foot is required for solo walking, then I think it might be a preparedness to overcome natural anxieties - such as trying those twisty-turny trails through the woods, or getting to the other side of a field occupied by scary-looking cows, or walking through a farmyard that you hope is a right of way.



Dyffryn Ardudwy

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Re: Why I think novice walkers can benefit from group walking
« Reply #25 on: 18:04:11, 09/09/19 »
There"s absolutely nothing daft about somebody new to walking, just heading off in the car, say to the Lakes or Snowdonia, and walking to their heart's content, by themselves.


Your talking total nonsense Sussamb, your obviously an advocate of group walks, i am not.


I agree it can be valuable to learn from a far more experienced walker, but what if no walker can be found.

Most of us can see the potential danger ahead, and make up our minds on whether the terrain is safe or not, you do not need an expert to point that out to us.

I dislike exposure, so avoid routes with possible technical scrambling involved, i learnt that by myself, by getting into tight scrapes, and self rescuing myself.

When somebody new to walking the great outdoors, invests often considerable money in the right walking kit, one would think or hope that they do some background research on their intended route, their obviously keen to learn their new walking skills.

How long is that walk ? what if i need to make a hasty retreat in poor weather, and if one uses their own transport, where is it safe to leave my car.

You do not need the company of others to gain walking experience, and depending on the persons fitness, walking in a group may not be suitable, having to adjust your walking speed to that of the slowest person.

Its my personal choice, but i much prefer to go it alone, and decide on what i feel comfortable with, be it a ten mile Cwm Eigiau Horseshoe, or a gentle walk around the Southern Rhinogs.

Having to adjust my walking pace  to suit others, who may be getting tired when i am still getting into my stride, is more than annoying.

Stopping for a rest break, or for lunch, when it means the walk will have to be arranged to cater for those who must stop for a bite to eat, that's not my thing.

Ive experienced group walks in the past, and if all the participants are of equal fitness or fitter than myself, then i would join in, as i like the challenge it represents.

The thing that i find most satisfying about going it alone, is that i am my own master, if i decide to extend my walk into something far longer and challenging, then its my own decision.

In a group, you always walk at the slowest persons pace, and to suddenly extend a five mile walk into a twenty miler, simply would not happen.

Some crave the company of others, and would never think about going walking by themselves.

To gain experience as a walker can be done solo or in a group, which ever you choose is personal choice.
« Last Edit: 18:10:17, 09/09/19 by Dyffryn Ardudwy »

Slowcoach

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Re: Why I think novice walkers can benefit from group walking
« Reply #26 on: 18:38:15, 09/09/19 »
I walk with a Ramblers group and thoroughly enjoy the company and sociability but also walk with a group in the hills who are all of a similar standard, and on my own. It depends on who, where and when.
I do think that a good level of map reading skill is necessary before you go solo in the mountains where as you know white outs can appear out of nowhere. The other thing i think is essential is a good basic knowledge of first aid whether solo or in a group.
It's all uphill from here.

Rob Goes Walking

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Re: Why I think novice walkers can benefit from group walking
« Reply #27 on: 18:44:32, 09/09/19 »
Actually agree with most of what you said DA. I just pointed out benefits of group walks. There are negatives and benefits to both group and solo walks.

Mel

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Re: Why I think novice walkers can benefit from group walking
« Reply #28 on: 18:56:43, 09/09/19 »
I wrote quite a lengthy reply and forgot to "copy" before I clicked "post" and got logged out so, in a nutshell...


Walking in a group is first and foremost a social thing for me.
I have learned lots of little handy hints by walking with a group, not necessarily related to navigating.
Walking in a group has given me the confidence to try walks I might not otherwise have the confidence to do.
I disagree with DA suggesting that a novice walker should attempt the Cuillin Ridge alone.



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sussamb

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Re: Why I think novice walkers can benefit from group walking
« Reply #29 on: 19:04:15, 09/09/19 »
Your talking total nonsense Sussamb, your obviously an advocate of group walks, i am not.


You clearly don't know me or even follow this forum closely, I'm very much a solo walker and have been for many years, but I learnt first how to remain safe on the hills from fellow walkers a long while ago.  To suggest as you did that a novice walker should simply head out on their own and expect to learn how to navigate, select safe routes, stay safe on the hills as weather and terrain changes etc etc by somehow absorbing it from the air around them is reckless in the extreme.  You may benefit from reading this:


https://www.thebmc.co.uk/five-steps-to-starting-hill-walking
Where there's a will ...