Walking should be an enjoyable and safe activity, and safety is always the foremost consideration when we venture into the hills.
Periodically, we arrange talks on safety issues and related matters, e.g. First aid, mountain rescue, sports injuries.
The club maintains a register of emergency contacts which all members are urged to keep updated.
The following advice is offered simply for general guidance and is not in any way intended as a substitute for more detailed information available in reputable guide books, or training under the supervision of a qualified instructor. For more information on safety issues, check the Mountaineering Council of Scotland website.
Common sense rules of walking
- You take part in the activities of the club entirely at your own risk.
- The leader has overall charge of the group. Make sure you know who he or she is.
- Try to keep the person in front of you in sight at all times. If for some reason you get left behind the group, use your whistle to attract someone’s attention.
- Ensure you are familiar with the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. Be aware of the requirement to behave responsibly and to consider the interests of other countryside users.
- If gates are closed when you approach them, make sure you close them behind you. Don’t always assume someone else will do it.
- If it is necessary to climb over a gate, do so at the hinged end only, and only one person at a time.
- When it is necessary to climb a dry stane dyke, take extra care not to loosen the stones.
- If you have to cross a fence, spread out and climb at different sections, so as not to weaken one particular part.
- Don’t trample over cultivated fields – always keep strictly to the edge.
- When passing close to farms and steadings, please respect the privacy and amenity of occupiers, and keep noise to a minimum.
- Take all litter home with you.
- Although AYR walks are under the control of an appointed leader, it is good practice to bring a map covering the walk, if you have one, and a compass, and to develop basic skills in using these.
Equipment and clothing
Listed below are suggestions of gear considered sensible for hill-walking. The Club does not insist you follow this to the letter. But remember you are taking part in a group activity, and if you do not have enough warm and waterproof clothing with you it can affect the safety and enjoyment of the whole group.
What you wear and what you carry in your rucksack depend on the weather and temperature at the time, but be sure to take enough to cope with the worst conditions. Putting on and taking off layers of clothing makes better sense than getting too cold or too hot.
Modern technical materials are often better than traditional cotton garments, and denim jeans should be avoided. On the private buses you can leave a change of clothing and shoes in case you get soaked on the hills.
A checklist of things to take, whether worn or carried, might include :
- Rucksack (these are never fully waterproof, so anything which must be kept dry should be inside a plastic bag or dry bag)
- Waterproof jacket (breathable fabric), waterproof trousers or overtrousers, waterproof gloves
- Waterproof walking boots that support your ankles, gaiters (especially in winter), thick walking socks
- Warm hat or balaclava, warm gloves in cold weather, and perhaps spare socks and laces
- Warm jacket (e.g. fleece), warm shirt, and spare woollen pullover, sweatshirt or light fleece
- Comfortable walking trousers (thick in winter), with thermal underwear in cold conditions
- Sun screen and insect repellent in summer, and maybe sun hat and sunglasses
- Basic first aid (plasters etc.), whistle, torch in winter, watch, mobile telephone
- Plastic sheet or bag to sit on, survival bag
- Food for two or three refreshment stops, and plenty of liquid
- Emergency rations (e.g. bar of chocolate, dried fruit)
- Money for bus or train fares (and ferry fares where advised); money for pub stops etc.
- Map and compass; waterproof map case.
- Possible extras include shorts in summer, walking poles, and a GPS device
Please note : For the comfort and safety of all passengers, we do not allow smoking or alcohol on buses. Also, we cannot allow dogs on walks as we frequently pass through farmland and we are keen to maintain our good relationship with those who live and work in the countryside.