Guidelines for Tramping

The OFTC is committed to ensuring that all our activities are run in a manner that acknowledges the hazards that exist for the activity.

Responsibility for safety lies with all party members, under the guidance of the trip leader and the experienced party members.

This includes:

  • Being personally aware of Health & Safety and Hazards.
  • Ensuring that all party members are aware of hazards.
  • Ensuring that all concerns are communicated to the trip leader.
  • Negotiating hazards by appropriate collective group behaviour.
  • Ensuring all incidents are reported to the OFTC Club captain, or if not possible, the health and safety officer.

The club committee is committed to ensuring that there is open discussion of safety concerns and that incidents are reviewed and appropriate lessons learned.

The Tramp

At the beginning of the tramp the leader will explain the route and known hazards – e.g. possible snow/ ice etc. There are likely to be several members with a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB). Each tramper needs to know who is the leader, co leader, first aider and tail-end Charlie and at least one person with a PLB. (See description of roles)

Individual Responsibility

As with all outdoor activity, there is associated risk. Each member has responsibility for their own preparedness and safety (i.e. learn about the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and hypothermia and what to do to prevent it). It is up to you to ensure you have the correct equipment and are fit and able to undertake the planned trip. Refer to the minimum gear list in the club handbook.

You are expected to follow the advice of your trip leader. The trip leader has the right to advise people that the trip is unsuitable for them: e.g. insufficient gear, known issues, non-adherence to the club guidelines. Be familiar with Club rules and membership responsibilities as outlined in the handbook.

You must advise the trip leader of any medical conditions that could be a problem on the trip. You are responsible for carrying your own medication but at least one other tramper on the trip should also know where to access your medication.

The group should walk within sight of each other. You should stop at track junctions to ensure the person behind takes the correct path. If leaving the track for a toilet stop ensure someone is aware, alternatively leave your pack on the track.

Advise the leader, co leader or tail-end Charlie if you are not comfortable with any aspect of the trip, or if you notice another member is uncomfortable.

In the event of an incident or possible emergency, the trip leader will consider the safety of the whole group and make a decision as to how to proceed. The trip leader, in consultation with other members of the group, will decide if a PLB needs to be activated. (It may be several hours before a response arrives from the activation of the beacon.) Every effort will be made to resolve the situation, but the outcome cannot be guaranteed and there may be no absolute right or wrong way to handle the event. Find out how you can help – be calm, contribute ideas, listen to others and give the leader time to think.

In the event of becoming “Geographically Embarrassed” (lost), stay where you are. Blow your whistle. As for all emergencies, follow the STOP principle:

  • Stop, take a breath, sit down and remain calm.
  • Think, look around you, listen and brainstorm options.
  • Observe what is around you and evaluate the possible consequences.
  • Plan what to do, what is necessary to keep alive and then act. Water, shelter, warmth and the will to survive are the essential elements to your survival, but if in doubt STAY PUT.

If you feel unwell and want to go back early, advise your trip leader who will arrange for another club member to accompany you back.



Trip Leader

  • Responsible for overall safety of the tramping party.
  • Identifying hazards and alerting group to them.
  • Responsible for entering trip cancellation on website.
  • Obtaining PLB and Bothy Bag, if required.
  • Arriving 20mins before departure time.
  • Recording names of participants.
  • Welcoming new members and introducing to group.
  • Arranging transport with members.
  • Appointing first aider and tail-end Charlie.
  • Clarifying next meeting place.
  • Completing incident report if applicable.
  • Completing prospective members application form. (also see Club handbook “guidelines for leaders”)
  • Here is the Tramp Leaders Job Description.

Co Leader

  • To support leader.
  • To liaise with leader before trip if weather doubtful.
  • To lead trip if leader unable. Keep leader informed of tiring members.
  • Communicate between tail-end Charlie and leader.
  • A trainee role as prospective leader.
  • Here is the Co Leader and Tail End Charlie Job Descriptions.

First Aider

  • Minor event: supervise treatment with injured person’s own first aid kit.
  • Major event: (as per Red Cross scenarios) in conjunction with leader, delegate roles of other participants keeping in mind the safety of the whole group.

Tail-End Charlie

  • To remain at end of tramping group.
  • To support slower trampers.
  • To remain on track if someone leaves for toilet stop.
  • To be alert to trampers taking alternative routes.
  • To communicate with leader at stops or via co leader. (It may be worth consideration to have two tail-end Charlies – one for outward trip and one for return trip. Some people are not happy about being at the back all the time and wander off)