ORGANISING A SUNDAY RAMBLE
Should allow for several walks as per the grades in your diary.
The coaches should have no difficulty in getting to the destination or parking at the destination. Check for any height, weight and width restrictions on your planned routes in and out. Liaise with Hattons if you think there might be an issue.
There should be a toilet stop en route unless it’s not too far to the destination and there are adequate toilet facilities at the start of each walk. Motorway services offer the best option for two coaches. Remember that people have been up and out of the house since well before 8 o’clock so Chester Services, when we’re heading to Wales or Shropshire, is not such an odd idea.
Drop off points for all parties should be safe and legal - clearway and double white lines need to be checked for.
All parties should be off the coach and walking by 11.00 a.m. at the latest.
It is preferable but not compulsory that there are toilets and refreshment facilities at the end of the walk.
The latest time to be leaving in the evening is 6.30 p.m. From the last Sunday in October when the clocks go back until mid-February the leaving time should be 5.00 p.m. at the latest - the shops and cafes will have closed and it’s dark by then. If there are few or no facilities at the destination try and make sure that the walks will leave no one waiting around for too long. If it is a nearby venue parties could be off the coach and walking well before 10 o’clock so take that into account. Of course if there is a special event worth waiting for then a later departure might be acceptable - a firework display in November or a hog-roast on a sunny Sunday evening in May!
Usually 5 walks are arranged - always with one at the C grade.
Arrange leaders for each walk - a list of leaders is available from the Rambles Secretary.
Agree a route with your leaders either from your suggestion or their ideas. We do have an archive of coach sheets and Shamble entries from previous rambles. These are available on our website - https://shdrc.co.uk/coach-sheets/ or ask the Rambles Secretary for a copy.
Take account of the time of year - a table is at the back of these notes showing when it gets dark.
Try to spread the walks evenly across the grades.
Do keep control of the walks and routes. Avoid a lack of choice across the grades of walks - we have had B1s harder than A2s and even a B1 and B2 been exactly her same route but in reverse. Avoid extended coach journeys for dropping off. Swapping people across coaches at the toilet stop is best avoided - even with the best will in the world it usually causes some confusion and extends travel time.
Organise or co-ordinate reccys to allow for car sharing or for lifts for linear walks. Ask any car drivers if they want to claim expenses and fill in the form.
You should have the Club’s emergency phone number - 07513424101 - and you should have registered your mobile phone number on the emergency phone. Where possible get mobile phone contact numbers from other members of the Club as mobile phone reception varies from place to place and by service provider.
Paperwork - Part 1.
Try and have the information needed for Shamble ready in good time.
This includes toilet-stop, map numbers/names, coach leaving time and ETA in St. Helens.
You should receive a set of documents from the Rambles Secretary a month or so before your walk - booking list, tick off list, coach sheets, paying in slips and expenses sheet. There is also a cheque to cover the drivers tips for two coaches.
If you need to restrict the outing to 1 coach then consider making the ramble telephone only bookings rather than risk getting too many bookings on the coach.
The bookings for the walk are normally taken on the walk a fortnight before.
If you cannot make it arrange for someone else to pick up the bag.
In the bag will be the charity money. Count it and bag it up (or write out a cheque and keep the coins) ready to pay in to the bank.
Fill in the booking list from the coach bookings. Check for junior members on the reverse of the cheque as they go for free. Don’t forget to add the leaders and your own names to the list.
Phone bookings should be made between 6.00 p.m. and 8.00 p.m. which should be added to the list subject to receiving payment. Ask members to post you the cheque rather than wait until the Sunday - you have enough to do on the Sunday without having to collect cheques and keep them safe.
Once people have booked over the phone they are expected to pay for the seat. If someone does not turn up on the Sunday and has not paid this should be reported to the Treasurer.
Make sure the cheques are correctly filled in.
If the coach(es) are full then offer the caller a place on the reserve list and ask them to ring back nearer the walk to see if a cancellation has freed a seat. If this reserve list gets well into double figures consider another coach only if you are OK with this and, if it is a third coach, only if the destination is suitable for parking an extra coach and providing extra walks. If in doubt, check with the Rambles Secretary.
Once the coaches have been booked then any guests or visitors can be offered any spare seats at a surcharge to the normal price of £1.
Just prior to the Sunday transfer the names from the booking list to the checking in list.
Also make sure the walk description routes are filled in and make members aware if there are likely to be rough, steep, scrambly or exposed sections of the walk.
Normally done on the Tuesday prior to the Ramble.
Hattons Coaches number is - 01744 811818 - Select Option 1.
Hattons will ask for numbers out, the time the coaches will be heading back in the evening and also the time you need the coaches to be at the destination should they have gone elsewhere during the day.
Hattons give us a discount against a second coach if the total numbers out is 80 or less. They don’t seem to publicise it but they still have 53-seater coaches should you need one that size - however it has no toilet and is probably only suitable for shorter trips. They now have a 73-seater coach which is available at a 50% premium and so cheaper than 2 49-seaters even with the discount. On Friday ring or call in to confirm the final numbers. Don’t assume that we will get 2 49 seaters and thus have plenty of spare seats - they may hire in a 31-seater to match the number confirmed on Friday. Anyone wanting to book on after Friday morning needs to be aware that there may not be a seat. Be aware that Hatton's coach fleet can change over time.
It’s best to arrive for 7.45 a.m. to allow you to “set up shop”. If there is only one coach then it’s usually OK to wait until the coach arrives and “set up shop” on the coach.
Tick off members as they arrive and report in, collecting any late cheques.
Give First Aid Kits to your leaders. Offer them an emergency shelter.
Ask someone, preferably a leader who knows what is planned, to take the coach sheets and envelope for the next outing’s cheques onto the coaches. Ask one of the leaders to “steward” the second coach. This should ensure that the coach sheets are passed around and that the drop offs are actioned successfully and hopefully that we won’t leave anyone behind at the toilet stop or when returning in the evening.
If anyone is not ticked off on your sheet check on the coaches.
Make sure the drivers know where they are going at least as far as the toilet stop. If there is no toilet stop then give them the full rundown on the route, drop-offs, parking, what time you need the coaches to be parked and open at the destination. Also give them their tip.
It is up to you to give the coach drivers the word to leave.
You are entitled to leave at 8.15 even if some people have not arrived. Guidelines for members ask them to arrive at least 10 minutes before then. Also if they are running late they could text or ring the Club’s emergency phone.
Toilet stop (or first drop off).
Make sure the leaders have the list of members signed up for their walk.
Don’t be afraid to kick people out of any cafes or car park chats to get the coaches back on the road but allow more than the usual 15 minutes if the toilets are limited.
If not already done so let the coach drivers know the drop offs, parking and departure details. If the coaches have to find the destination parking after everyone has got off the coach make sure they know how to get there - draw them a map and maybe give them a postcode for their sat-nav.
Hattons pay any parking charges. Sometimes the drivers will want to avoid the full day charge and park elsewhere. As a Club we would prefer the coaches to be in a known and accessible site all day so you can ask them to stay at the car park - we have agreed with Hattons to cover excessive car park charges. If you are OK with the coaches returning later then give the drivers a time to get back well before the earliest likely arrival of any party - two hours before departure is a benchmark.
Again it is up to you to give the word for the coaches to leave the toilet stop - make sure everyone is back on before leaving.
Make sure that the drop offs are announced and checked (if available use the coach microphone).
After The Walk.
Put a charity box on the front of each coach.
Check that everyone is back and, again, it is up to you to let the coach drivers know that it is OK to leave.
At Central St. make sure that all the coach boards, the charity boxes and the bookings are in the coach bag and that the next organiser, or appointee, picks up the bag.
Paperwork - Out.
The charity money from the previous walk and the cheques from your walk are paid in to the Yorkshire bank. You can pay in the charity money any time after the previous ramble. The cheques for your ramble are only paid in after the walk has taken place. You can either wait whilst the cheques are checked or you can put them in an envelope, with the paying in slip and leave them to be checked later.
The charity money and the ramble cheques should be paid in under separate slips.
Fill in the financial summary as far as you can - the Treasurer completes the form. Add a note if there are any oddities to report such as people paying too much and not wanting a refund.
Forward all checking off lists, paying in slips, financial summaries and expense claims to the Treasurer.
Appendix A - When Does It Get Dark?
These are the sunset times for St. Helens as of 2018. It’s not too much different at our Sunday ramble venues and anyhow light at the end of the day varies as much with weather as time.
Dusk is about 40 minutes after sunset.
January 1st : 16.05
February 1st : 16.55
March 1st : 17.50
November 1st : 16.40
December 1st : 15.55
In March sunset is 18.30 or thereabouts after the clocks go forward and during British Summer Time there is no issue until October. It is about the 8th of October when sunset gets early than 18.30 and when the clocks go back sunset is about 17.45 on the Saturday and 16.45 on the Sunday.
Sunset and dusk times for a specific date and place are easily found on the internet at