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On the hill

Once you are out on the hill, your main task is to enjoy yourselves! All the careful planning and preparation you have done should allow you to do that as safely as possible.

If someone in your party has more knowledge and experience than the others it's likely they'll fall into the role of 'leader', whether that is agreed explicitly by the rest of the party or not. You may find you have two or three 'leaders', which doesn't matter particularly unless they start arguing!

If you planned the route you'll probably find that you are elected leader whether you want to be or not. It does in fact make a lot of sense if you lead, as you will be the most familiar with the route you have planned.

If you find yourself as party leader it's important you are confident of your abilities to follow the planned route in the allotted time. If someone else is 'leader' and you haven't been out with them before, there's no harm in keeping them quietly 'under assessment'. If you are ever seriously unhappy about the way things are going it is better to say so, even if it means turning back, rather than regretting it later.

Out in the hills the best laid plans can easily go awry. Some members of the party may turn out to be slower or less confident than expected. The weather can change (perhaps in a way not suggested in the forecast). Someone may twist an ankle or start to feel unwell. The terrain may be more difficult than expected - boggier, rockier or over-grown.

The variables of hill-walking often just add to the fun. But it's important too to keep an eye on your party and to be prepared to change your plan rather than battle on against the odds. Doing the latter can very often lead to trouble.

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