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Before coming on your first walk with DYW, there are a few important things to know.
It's a myth that you have to be super-fit to join one of our regular length walks, and the pace we walk at is usually comfortable for most fitness levels. Walks going into the 11 mile and over range, or technically challenging and hilly walks might need some practise and conditioning first to avoid injury or blisters. We recommend most new members start out with our special New Member Walks, or walks distances less than 6 miles with an 'easy' to 'moderate' walks grading in order to have an enjoyable day.
What to expect when you turn up on a walk
There are usually a small group of us in walking gear waiting at the start of any walk. We are a friendly bunch so just come over and introduce yourselves and you will be made to feel welcome. The walk will come round and possible ask you to fill out your details if you wish to join the group, and they will go on to explain what the route of the walk will be and if there are any stops on the way. Most walks involve a lunch stop, numerous water breaks and very often a pub or tea room stop at the end of the event.
There might a 'backmarker' on larger walks, who will oversee the end of the walking group line. If you need to drop back to answer the call of nature for example, please inform the backmarker so he or she can keep track of the number of walkers so we don't leave anyone behind!
What to bring with you
For all walks there are some essential items that will keep you comfortable, dry and safe. Blisters and rubbing can occur even in walks of just a few miles in the incorrect clothing, and there is nothing worse than forgetting water on a hot summers day walk. Here are the most important items that you must bring to every walk:
Proper walking shoes or ankle boots - the most important item for any walker is good footwear. We have seen new members turn up for a 8 mile walk in designer heels and ended in extreme pain and had to take the bus home. Walking boots are the best investment you can make in your walking, and they should fit your feet properly to prevent blisters, rubbing or foot damage. If you decide to join us, as a Ramblers member you can gain a discount on footwear and outdoor outdoor gear in many High Street outdoor stores. Most walkers have normal shoes to change into after the walk as your walking gear is likely to get very muddy! A bag for your muddy boots is very useful if coming by car.
Waterproof jacket - walking in the UK our changable weather is the norm is please bring a waterproof jacket at all days, even on summer walks. Gore-tex or eVent fabric is recommended, but any lightweight waterproof jacket is better than nothing.
Warm layers - a warm fleece or Merino hoodie is ideal.
Water - you will need at least 1.5 litres of drinking water on all walks, and possibly twice as much on very hot days.
Packed lunch - most walks will have a packed lunch stop half way through, unless stated in the walk detials that there will a meal at a pub or cafe.
Sun screen and hat - walking outside in the sun all day you will need sun protection.
15 to 25 litre rucksack - to put your lunch, spare layers and water into!
Spare cash - there is often a pub stop on walks or you might need to pay another driver for petrol.
Mobile phone - very useful for contacting the walk leader in case of problems.
What NOT to do on a walk
Please do not rush ahead of the walk leader, or walk behind the back marker and please do follow the instructions the walk leader gives you.
If you need to go to the loo, please let someone know (preferably the backmarker) so we don't leave anyone behind. If you feel unwell, are too hot or cold, have foot pain or are not comfortable with the walk pace or terrain, please make sure you let the walk leader or backmarker know as soon as possible.