Guides and Rangers walking without a leader

Includes: Outdoors, Nature and the great outdoors, Land

Age:
10+
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Girls can lead their own walks!

Guides and Rangers can learn independence and team work by leading their own adventurous walks.

Overview

After training and practical experience:

  • Guides and Rangers may walk in easy and lowland countryside without an adult group leader as long as they have the permission of their leader.
  • Rangers or girls taking part in Duke of Edinburgh expeditions may walk in open, remote and extreme countryside without an adult group leader as long as they are supervised by a suitably qualified adult. A supervisor ensures the participants' safety and well-being during the walk, but does not have to be with the group at all times.

A Rangers who holds, or is working towards, the Lead Away permit can run an overnight hike or expedition for a small group of Rangers, as long as she has the approval of her leader. See Girl-led residentials for more details.

Approved: 5 May 2021
Version: 1.0
Content owner: Adventure team

Planning checklist

If you or another member of your leadership team is running the activity at an external venue/location, follow these extra steps:

  • Arrange for a home contact. Leave any route or other relevant details with your home contact and complete a home contact agreement form. Let them know about any changes to your plans.
  • Tell your commissioner.
  • Get a copy of the public liability insurance of the activity provider before you book.
  • Check you hold the relevant qualification (if one is needed) to run the activity and let your commissioner know you plan to run it yourself. If you aren't sure, speak to your local adviser to check.
  • Check with the venue that they have the correct equipment and, if needed, specialist clothing that will meet the needs of your group.
  • Get any specialist equipment or clothing needed to run the activity not provided by the venue, and make sure this is in good condition and fit for purpose.
  • Check that any equipment is suitably insured by the provider and agree what happens to the equipment if it gets damaged.
  • Ask for a copy of the venue's safety guidelines and risk assessment (if relevant).
  • Make sure you have the correct ratio of participants (girls, leaders and volunteers) to qualified adults (those running the activity if a qualification is needed). This is different to the ratio of leaders to girls.
  • Consider the ability and experience of the participants and any disabilities, access needs or health conditions and plan the session accordingly.

Some venues might ask for a disclaimer or waiver to be signed for each person taking part in the activity. This is something which parents/carers must sign on behalf of their child. You can do this along with the consent form. Parents and carers should be given sufficient information from the provider along with the waiver so they can make an informed decision to sign it or not. Leaders can only sign disclaimers and waivers for their own personal participation. 

If you're working with an external provider or external instructors to run this activity outside the unit meeting space, follow these extra steps. 

  • Arrange for a home contact. Leave any route or other relevant details with your home contact and complete a home contact agreement form. Let them know if you make any changes to your plans.
  • Tell your local commissioner.
  • Tell the activity provider about the ability and experience of the participants and any disabilities, access needs or health conditions that need to be considered when running the activity.
  • Choose a reputable and licensed activity provider (where applicable).
  • Check the qualified adults hold the correct qualification to be able to run the activity (see the information below).
  • Get copies of the instructor qualifications and public liability insurance of the activity provider before you book.
  • Ask for a copy of the providers' safety guidelines and risk assessment.
  • Make sure you have the correct ratio of participants (girls and volunteers) to qualified adults (those running the activity). This is different to the ratio of leaders to girls.
  • Check with the venue that they have the correct equipment and, if needed, specialist clothing that will meet the requirements for your group.
  • Source any specialist equipment or clothing needed to run the activity not provided by the venue, and make sure this is in good condition and fit for purpose.
  • Check that any equipment is suitably insured by the provider and agree what happens to the equipment if it gets damaged.

Some venues might ask for a disclaimer or waiver to be signed for each person taking part in the activity. This is something which parents/carers must sign on behalf of their child. You can do this along with the consent form. Parents and carers should be given sufficient information from the provider along with the waiver so they can make an informed decision to sign it or not. Leaders can only sign disclaimers and waivers for their own personal participation.

Guides and Rangers may walk without a leader in easy and lowland countryside as long as:

  • The group leaves a copy of their route and expected return time with a responsible adult who can be contacted by the group at any time during the walk
  • All those under 18 walking without an adult leader must have completed an Information and consent for event/activity form.
  • Rangers walking without an adult leader must have the approval of their unit leader.

Their leader must ensure:

  • Everyone taking part has had the necessary training and experience. This training needs to cover the skills and knowledge needed for the group to stay safe and deal with any eventualities. For example, unexpected bad weather, becoming lost or blocked paths. As a guide, follow the content of the Walking Scheme training syllabus for the level of countryside to be encountered. You can use Level 1 training for Easy and Lowland areas and Level 2 for Open. Alternatively, the DofE training framework can be used, appropriate to the level of countryside to be encountered: Bronze for Easy or Lowland, Silver for Open. If you are unsure what level of training is required, contact your walking adviser. 
  • They have appropriate clothing and equipment
  • If any girl is under the age of 14, there must be at least four, but no more than nine walkers in the group
  • The minimum number of girls in a group may be reduced to three if they are all aged 14 or over. However, a group of four is recommended as this makes it easier for them to deal with any emergencies.

A group of Rangers or girls taking part in Duke of Edinburgh expeditions walking in open, remote or extreme countryside without a qualified leader must be supervised by an appropriately qualified adult. This supervisor will ensure their safety and wellbeing during the walk. The supervisor does not have to be with the group at all times, such as when they are on a Duke of Edinburgh's Award expedition.

If Rangers are walking without a suitably qualified adult leader, the appointed supervisor must check that they have:

  • Appropriate clothing and equipment for the route
  • A way of contacting both the appointed supervisor and another responsible adult if they experience problems and an emergency plan of what to do if contact cannot be immediately established 
  • Left a copy of their route with the appointed supervisor and another responsible adult
  • The correct number of girls walking together, depending on their age
  • Had training relevant to the walk being undertaken, and have the necessary physical ability.

A Ranger aged 18 or over may lead other members in open, remote or extreme countryside provided she:

  • Holds the appropriate qualification
  • Has the approval of her leader, commissioner and the appropriate adviser
  • Appoints a competent deputy
  • Leaves a copy of the route and expected return time with a responsible adult who can be contacted by the group at any time during the walk
  • Follows all other relevant regulations for the type of countryside.

Each participant must:

  • Have had training relevant to the walk being undertaken, and have the necessary physical ability
  • Be suitably clothed and equipped
  • Carry a completed Health information form.

All other relevant regulations for the type of countryside must be followed.

Activity ratios

We advise that Guides and Rangers walk in groups of at least 4 people, but no less than 3.

Forms

  • An Activity Information and Consent form is required to participate in this activity - PDF | Word
  • A Risk Assessment form is required for this activity - PDF

Remember - you can use one consent form for multiple activities