⚠ WARNING: walking, hiking and associated outdoor activities can be dangerous. Please carefully read our safety disclaimer and all rules, as these form part of our duty of care to all participants and the terms & conditions of our events.
ⓘ The Club's Constitution can be found here and the privacy policy is here.

Safety & Club Rules

Yes, this page looks a little scary at first glance but fear not! While we strive to be an extremely friendly and welcoming Club whenever we can, we do have to have some rules, particularly in regards to our trips and leading walks. These rules are in place for your comfort, enjoyment and safety, as well as the safety of everyone in the group. If you choose to attend our walks, regardless of the walk length or location, we expect you to abide by the rules. If you need the rules clarifying, please get in touch or find one of the Committee at an event!

Safety Disclaimer

Like all sports and outdoor pursuits, walking/hiking can at times be dangerous. We are a very casual, friendly and inclusive Club, but at times we do need to issue instructions during our walks and events to ensure the safety of everyone involved. The SUHC Committee and selected Competent Walk Leaders (CWLs) CANNOT accept any liability for loss or injury to you or your property caused by failure to follow the Club Rules and the instructions provided by the Committee and/or CWLs during walks and events. The Committee and selected CWLs have complete control, and their word is final. By attending our events, you agree to this Safety Disclaimer and agree to abide by the Club Rules.

Walks may be adjusted from the published description of events, or cancelled at short notice, to ensure the safety of Participants and CWLs in the event of extreme weather events or other circumstances outside the Club's control (eg: disruption to the transportation network, natural and man-made disasters etc...). Whilst we aim to give as much notice as possible in these cases, please bear in mind this is not always possible. Participants are therefore advised to check their emails, our website and/or Facebook page on a regular basis before meeting with the group for alterations to the walks or planned events.

Please note that whilst we always strive to have all our walks lead by first aid trained people, we are unable to guarantee this as evidence of first aid training is not required to be a Committee member or CWL.

General Rules for all Club Events

1.1. For trips or events requiring sign-up in advance, you MUST provide the requested information. If asked for a "Next of Kin" or "Emergency Contact", you MUST NOT list someone who is present on the same trip.
1.2. To secure your place on a sign-up trip, you MUST pay by the advertised deadline. Failure to pay could forfeit your place (see Appendix 1 below).
1.3. You MUST carry the required kit as specified in the event publicity for your safety and the safety of others. Participants attending without the required or appropriate kit may be turned away by the Committee. In this case, refunds will only be given in extreme circumstances at the Committee's discretion. Please contact the Committee at the earliest convenience if you are unsure about required kit.
1.4. All Participants will follow and act on instructions given by the Competent Walk Leader (CWL - see Appendix 2 below) or the Committee members. If Members have any concerns about the activity/activities, then these should be expressed to the CWL.
1.5. No event Participant will be forced into any situation where they would feel uncomfortable or at risk.
1.6. While taking part in any club activity, all participants must respect others. We as a club are strongly against any form of discrimination and we expect all our members to treat others with respect. This includes not making inappropriate remarks at others, or making any jokes that have the possibility to cause offense.
1.7. Attendees must respect the environment and the general public, and follow the Countryside Code when on walks. All illegal or irresponsible acts will be referred to the Club's disciplinary process, the Students' Union and if necessary, the police.
1.8. It is STRICTLY FORBIDDEN to consume or be under the influence of alcohol or intoxicating substances on any of our walks or aboard minibuses. Alcohol may be consumed in bunkhouses/campsites or pubs/similar venues after walks have ended for the day. Alcohol may be consumed on socials if allowed by the venue and event organiser. Please rest assured that there is no expectation or requirement to drink during any of our events.
1.9. In trips requiring travel in a minibus or other road vehicle, you MUST wear your seatbelt if one is fitted. Please note: this is UK law and therefore any loss or injury sustained in the event of a vehicle incident whilst not wearing a seatbelt will NOT be covered by SUSU's insurance.
1.10. If you wish to leave a walk before it ends, you are free to do so, however you MUST inform a member of committee if you wish to do this. Leaving early is at your own risk, and the club is no longer responsible for you or liable if you do so.

2.1. The Club and it's Committee will ensure that risks associated with our activities are assessed and minimised where possible. A yearly review of the Club's risk assessment (available through our page on SUSU's website) is made as a minimum.
2.2. Participants will be made aware of any particular risks and kit requirements BEFORE (in event advertising material) and DURING events. As per Rule 1.3, the Committee reserve the right to revoke a Participant of their place on an event, for their safety and the safety of others, should they turn up without appropriate kit as advertised.
2.3. The Club will ensure that essential safety equipment and emergency supplies are carried suitable to the length and location of the activity. The Committee is responsible for the purchase, maintenance, storage and eventual replacement of Club-owned kit. A kit inventory is to be performed annually, with the quantity and state of each item recorded.
2.4. Each walk will be led by a Competent Walk Leader (CWL - see Appendix 2 below) and the Committee will ensure that there is at least one other CWL on the walk.
2.5. Where food is provided (such as during Away Trips and some Socials), every effort is made to accommodate the Participants' dietary requirements as communicated to the Club during sign-up.

3.1. Drivers of minibuses and private vehicles have a responsibility to everyone's safety on board the respective vehicle.
3.2. Adequate driving breaks and/or driver changes will be agreed before setting off, if required.
3.3. For trips involving transport by minibus, we use our own SUSU-approved minibus drivers. Minibuses, whether we use SUSU's own or external hire vehicles, will be driven under SUSU's DVLA Section 19 permit. Under the policy, minibus drivers MUST be 21 or over AND have held a full car driving licence for at least 3 years AND pass a SUSU minibus familiarisation test.
3.4. Any member wishing to use their own car for any Club events does so at their own risk. The Club cannot take responsibility for any wear-and-tear, damage or theft to the individual's property under any circumstances. In the case of Participants car sharing, the Committee will check and ensure that each Participant is happy to travel privately. The committee will use DVLA checks on driver's licences to ensure they are up to date and have no points on them. The driver will also be asked to prove they have a valid license for use in the UK and be expected to ensure their vehicle is road legal and serviced correctly. They are additionally expected to notify the committee if any points have been added to their license. SUSU vehicle insurance does not cover private vehicles.
3.5. Drivers MUST be under the legal limit for alcohol before driving, and are FORBIDDEN from consuming alcohol before a road journey if they are to drive for any portion of that journey. All other laws of the road must be adhered to.

4.1. We often make use of photography and filming from our activities for promotional purposes on the Club's website and social media. Individual Participants are also encouraged to upload their photos from Club activities onto private social media groups. The Committee will ensure that no embarrassing content is published without the individual Participants' approval and will remove content if any objections are raised. Please let the Committee or Welfare Officer know if you'd like photos of yourself removed.
4.2. Anyone who posts abusive, misleading, malicious, threatening or otherwise inappropriate content on our social media platforms (including but not limited to: inappropriate photos, images, links, comments and screen names), whether they are directed at the Club, Committee or other Participants, faces the offending content being removed at the first offence. Multiple incidents may see you blocked/banned from the Club's social media, and may lead to the Club's disciplinary process at the Committee's discretion, as per Clause 13 of the Club's Constitution.

5.1. ALL University of Southampton registered current students and Associate Members of the Student's Union are covered by personal accident insurance provided by Southampton University Student Union (SUSU). You MUST be registered as a Club Member (either Paid or Free) to be entitled to the insurance cover provided by SUSU, as the insurers need a written record of our members. We are covered by SUSU's "Platinum Group Personal Accident Policy" and public liability insurance. Personal belongings and travel/delay insurance are not covered. Policy documents are available via SUSU groupshub here.
5.2. Details of minibus insurance conditions are covered under rules section 3.3.

Appendix 1 - Event sign-up procedure, payments and membership requirements

Sign-ups for individual trips/events are organised by the Trip/Event Organiser(s). Instructions for signing up will be circulated in advance through event advertising via email and Facebook. Trips and Events are typically, but not exclusively, first-come first-served. You MUST complete the sign up and payment procedure in full to secure a place on the trip.

Payments for our paid events are taken directly by us: either electronically (via bank transfer) or in cash. Please see your successful sign-up confirmation email for full payment instructions, including a deadline.

⚠ WARNING: If you do not pay for a trip or event by the deadline set in the event sign-up confirmation email, you are liable to lose your place. If you repeatedly do not pay for trips you have signed up for, you are likely to be prevented from gaining a place on future trips and may be subject to the Club disciplinary process.
After payment, we can only offer a refund if we are able to replace you with someone else. In exceptional cases, we may be able to partially refund you but this is at the President's discretion as it would result in a loss for the Club (our trips are not run for profit and generally make a loss).

Membership for trips: All Membership payments are processed through the Student Union (SUSU). Day Walks and Socials require no formal membership to the Club. However, it is recommended (for insurance purposes) that all Participants register for our FREE membership: please see Rules Section 5 - Insurance and our Membership page. Certain trips, including all Away Trips and most minibus trips, require FULL (paid) membership. If this is the case we will inform you of the requirement in event marketing material and in emails sent to those who successfully signed up. Those wishing to go on Away Trips who are not Students or don't have the associate membership are NOT able to attend.

Appendix 2 - Competent Walk Leaders (CWLs)

A Competent Walk Leader (CWL) is a position in the Club assigned by the Committee and is required for leading Club walks. A CWL must:

A Mountain Training qualified leader (e.g. HML, ML) will automatically be a CWL for the terrain they are qualified in.

It is the responsibility of the CWL to see that individual walkers are properly equipped with personal kit and suited to the walk or event being undertaken. They are also responsible for ensuring Club-owned kit is taken as required and appropriate to the terrain and weather conditions.

2-way PMR licence-free radios (walkie-talkies) are used by Committee and CWLs to communicate with each other during walks, especially in areas with little or no mobile signal. Responsibility for distributing the radios is held by the Walk Leader(s) and/or Club President. A person (usually a CWL or other responsible person) given a walkie-talkie is required to abide by the walkie-talkie etiquette and either return it to the President (if requested to) or charge it before bringing it to the next walk.

You'll be delighted to know you have reached the end of that particularly dry and boring portion of our website! You should now be aware of both your our responsibilities in making every one of our events a safe, memorable (for the right reasons!) and enjoyable experience for all. As we said at the start, if you have any questions at all, please contact us via email: walking@soton.ac.uk, or come and find a Committee member at one of our events. Now, back to what we do best - WALKING!

CHANGELOG (major revisions listed):
V3.1 [Dec 2023] - Minor changes to updates
V3.0 [Nov 2023] - Rearranged and Updated
V2.2 [Oct 2023] - Removed COVID temporary disclaimer
V2.1 [June 2021] - Updated with the new SUHC Constitution
V2.0 [Feb 2020] - Reformatted edition with rule grouping/numbering. Introduction of COVID temporary disclaimers, with periodic reviews reflecting Govt/SUSU/BMC guidance.
V1.0 [pre Feb 2020] - Original page without rule numbering