Review of the month
Weeeellllll - despite the best efforts of the Coronavirus, we managed the pilgrimage to Winchester. In the end, I cut the number of walkers down to six (including myself) which left a number of disappointed people. I apologise for this, but I do not consider our walking groups to be an 'organised sporting event with Covid secure arrangements'. I could not countenance the prospect of arriving at the bus stop in Bishop's Sutton with fifteen people, with all the risks involved. I have to balance my own social conscience and physical safety against looking for loopholes in the law.
I look at it this way. I try to could claim an exemption, as the Ramblers have done and take 30. Then I run the risk of someone in my group catching the virus and spreading it. The person who catches it from them might die - and that I cannot have on my conscience. Plus, should someone see us out in the countryside or on the bus, it does not give a good impression. I wish to BE SEEN TO BE DOING the right thing as well as ACTUALLY DOING the right thing. As a walk leader, I'm not a special case, nor do I wish to be. I can catch and spread the virus as anyone else can.
Warning - Rant following...
Not only that, but I strongly disagree with the Rambler's decision to allow groups up to 30. I will not be walking with them while the "Rule of Six" applies in England. Their exemption from it simply does not make sense in my mind. I saw a recent photo of a Rambler's group of 15, all bunched up together and thought it was plain foolish - and we're blaming the young for the recent rise in cases?
Avoid touching gates and stiles where possible - If you do – wash your hands as soon as you can. We recommend carrying alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
Follow the government guidelines on physical distancing.
SPACE - Stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings or increasing ventilation indoors).
When other walkers are passing, remember to stand back and give way.
I can honestly say yes to this last one, but not the other two, despite my best efforts. Do you comply with these while walking?
My decision is my personal decision. I'm not trying to influence you, just explain my new policy in the next paragraph.
OK Rant over!
In conjunction with the statement above, I have decided to SUSPEND all group walking activities for the next few months. I am still open to taking very small groups on private walks - please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone: 07496 169224) if you would like more information. However, I do not wish to run multiple walks each month (as we did in June, July and August) and trying to make a walk available to the first six people is not sensible.
I am also pre-empting the possibility that we might have another, stricter lockdown at any time.
Sorry, but in Bob Ross' words, it's my world and I can paint trees wherever I want. If you wish to book me to lead your walk, I have no problems. I'm also open to a social walk occasionally with any of you individually - once again, contact me.
So with that in mind, I am afraid there is no news. I will continue to email you monthly with updates and I truly hope things will pick up in the New Year.
One final thought, if you don't feel like contacting me, or maybe you think you are inconveniencing me (which I promise you are not) for a small group walk, I always have my catalogue of self-guided walks which you can follow: https://www.farnhamwalker.com/self-guided-routes
Have a good break. The weather's not going to be good anyway. Put your feet up and enjoy the log fire while it snows outside.