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General Information
If you are an experienced walker join us any Sunday for an exploratory walk to see if you enjoy being with a group. If you are a beginner then you may prefer to start with one of our shorter walks. The most suitable might be a Sunday Welcome Walk, or a Midweek Walk, which are of approximately 5 to 6 miles in length. Non-members are welcome on all our walks. However, after you have taken part in three of these on a trial basis the Ramblers expect you to become a member if you wish to continue. Contact the Walk Leader if you need more information on a specific walk, or contact the group via email (use the Contact Us Form) if you need further general information.


What Do I Need?
The Ramblers website gives information on the equipment you need. Underfoot conditions can be muddy and weather conditions variable so, for most of the year, you need a comfortable but robust pair of boots, warm clothing and a set of waterproofs. On full-day walks you need to bring with you a packed lunch and an adequate supply of drinks. To carry these items you need to have a day rucksack of suitable size which is comfortable to wear throughout the walk. In addition, it is essential to have a change of footwear for the return journey. It is the Walk Leader's prerogative to refuse to allow a person who arrives unsuitably equipped to take part in the walk.

Safety When walking
For safety, walkers must always follow the instructions of the Walk Leader. Each walker is encouraged to pack a basic First Aid Kit for personal use. The Ramblers has a Public Liability Insurance Policy. This does NOT cover accidents resulting in personal injury or loss which may occur during a walk.

Where and When Do We Meet?
For Sunday walks, we meet at BL9 0AR which is the car park at Bury Interchange in time to depart promptly at 9.00am. For a number of walks, however, the departure time is different, and this is indicated on the Walks Programme. Car-sharing is arranged at the Interchange, and there are normally sufficient seats available for those without transport although, of course, this cannot be guaranteed. Some members travel directly to the start point of a walk in cases where it is not convenient for them to travel to the Interchange. The starting time of a walk is dependent on how long the journey to the start point takes but, when everybody is suitably attired for the prevailing weather conditions, we start the walk.
If there are two walks departing from the Interchange it is the responsibility of every walker to ensure that they leave at the specified time with the correct group.

For our half-day Welcome Walks we meet to start the walk at the time and place indicated in the programme.

For the summer Wednesday evening walks, we meet at the advertised start point, and start the walk at 7pm.

For Coach Trips there are a number of pick-up points and you choose where you wish to board the coach when you purchase your ticket. (If a meal is included you also make your meal selection at the time of booking).

What Time do we Finish our Sunday Walks?
This is variable, of course, and depends on what time we started and how far we have walked.
As a general rule, Sunday all-day walks finish between 3.30pm and 5.00pm, although some of our longer summer walks may finish later. However, in the mid-winter months walks would be finished normally before 3.30pm. Post-walk, a number of our walkers adjourn to a convenient pub for some refreshment and conversation!
Welcome Walks and some other walks, especially those involving a bus/train/tram journey, may start later or may finish earlier.



Wednesday Walks
Wednesday summer walks start at 7.00pm and aim to finish at around 9.00pm. Every effort is made to finish in daylight - although the finishing time is determined largely by the speed of the group. The programme of summer walks runs from early May to about the middle of August. Outside of this range, insufficient daylight is available.

  • Non-members are welcome on all Wednesday walks and welcome walks.


Walk Classifications
In grading walks, distance and ascent are taken into account as follows:

  • STRENUOUS: 16 miles and above (or have a total ascent exceeding 2000ft)
  • MODERATE/STRENUOUS: 13-15 miles (and have a total ascent not exceeding 2000ft)
  • MODERATE: 9-12 miles (and have a total ascent not exceeding 1400ft)
  • EASY: 8 miles or less (and have a total ascent not exceeding 750ft)
As an example of how to determine a grading, take a 10 mile walk which has a total ascent of 1600ft. Its length places it in the ‘moderate’ grade but, because the total ascent exceeds 1400ft, its grading would be moved up to ‘moderate/strenuous’.


Dogs on Walks
Dogs are generally allowed to be present on walks although a Walk Leader has discretion in this matter. However, an owner is expected to be in complete control of his/her dog at all times, including situations where other animals are encountered. On certain areas of 'Access Land' dogs are not permitted at any time. Always check with the Walk Leader beforehand.

GPX Files

Some walkers record the track on a GPS device. (GPS stands for Global Positioning Satellites).
At intervals, the device stores the location (latitude and longitude), time (UTC) and altitude. This is sometimes stored in a file named “current.gpx”

If you then connect the device to a computer, probably using USB, you can copy across “current.gpx” into your computer, and you can then view the track you have stored, by using a mapping application.

You can also create a new route on a mapping system, by putting a series of dots on the map, and then by saving it as a GPX file, e.g. newwalk.gpx If you load the GPX file into your GPS device, you can then follow the route around.

A track is a series of grid points that you have already walked. A route is a series of grid points that you may walk in the future.

In general, a route will only have latitude and longitude, and possibly altitude, whereas a track will also have time, date stored.

Each track point stored in the GPX file will probably have a format similar to the one below.

<trkpt lat="53.63954" lon="-2.19152"><ele>234</ele><time>2016-11-27T10:01:07Z</time></trkpt>

The latitude and longitude are shown first. As many of our walks are around the north of Manchester, the latitude is usually between 53 and 54 degrees north of the equator. You will notice that the format is degrees and decimal of degrees rather than degrees, minutes and seconds, as I suppose it makes the maths easier.

The minus number for longitude indicates that near Manchester we are about 2 degrees west of the Greenwich Meridian. Longitudes west of the Meridian are negative, whereas numbers east of the meridian are positive, and this continues up to the International Date Line.

Next is the elevation (height above sea level) in metres (234 in the above example), and then the date and time (Z for Zulu), indicating that the time is always stored as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), even in summer when local time is British Summer Time. (Zulu is also referred to as Coordinated Universal Time).

It is not recommended to rely on GPS devices 100%. Walkers are advised also to carry a paper map and a magnetic compass as a backup, in case the electronic devices let you down, just as you are advised to keep a road map in your car.

Many mobile phones also have GPS capability. However, the benefit of a separate GPS is that you can keep your phone for emergencies. The advantage of using a smartphone is that you can have many functions in one device, such as telephone, email, text, GPS, still and video camera. However, specialist GPS devices for walkers are often waterproof, but for a mobile phone, you will probably need a waterproof and transparent case for inclement weather, and possibly an extra battery pack, as most phones do not allow you to put in a pair of AA batteries, but have to be charged from a USB-type cable.

Technology is useful, but it would be a pity if the art of navigation with paper map and magnetic compass were to die out.
 
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