Top 5 UK Cycling Destinations

Activity Providers Cycling Destinations

We have a number of Members who operate cycling and mountain bike trails and tours.  Many will be disappointed that the Tour De Yorkshire has been postponed from 2021 until 2022.  Here’s a look at the Top 5 UK cycling destinations to inspire you. We can offer providers cover for Public Liability, Employer’s Liability and equipment cover.  If your business is registered in the UK then we can assist. Please speak to us about a quotation.

Yorkshire Dales

Road cycling in Yorkshire is renowned for its wild scenery, tough riding but welcoming hospitality and the real sense of a cycling community. It has grown in reputation over the last 10 years to be known as one of the best areas of not only the UK but Europe to visit and ride a bike.

Climb the likes of the Cote de Buttertubs, Grinton Moor and Lofthouse fueled on the local delicacy of Wensleydale cheese and Fat Rascals.

Lake District

The Lake District in Cumbria is one of the most beautiful places to ride a bike in the UK, but it is also one of the toughest. Mention the names Hardknott Pass, Kirkstone Pass or the aptly named Struggle and you are sure to get a large intake of breath but also a look of excitement from any roadie mates.

Cornwall

Cycling in Cornwall offers a rider an overwhelming sensory sensation – sandy beaches, sunny weather, a soft sea breeze in your face whilst you roll through the quiet country lanes flourishing with wild flowers. The breath-taking landscape allows you to part forgive the area for the punishing inclines that you get on the coastal roads, as you ride into the pretty little coves and harbours, and inevitably have to clamber back out.

Peak District

The Peak District is England’s oldest national park, designated as such in 1951, and ever since then it has been a haven for cyclists.

Being named the Peak District, you won’t be surprised that there are quite a lot of hills to climb. You can still find some more ‘gentle’ cycling routes to do if you don’t quite fancy slogging up the hills all day, but if you are a bit of a mountain goat, then you definitely won’t be disappointed. Not only are the hills plentiful, some of them are also incredibly steep. Find yourself at the foot of Winnats Pass and you will have really earned your Bakewell pudding from one of the numerous tea & cake shops enroute.

Brecon Beacons

The Brecon Beacons national park, located in South Wales offers everything from charming and lively market towns, to high peaks with incredible views of the Welsh countryside and Black Mountains.

It is a microcosm of everything that makes Wales wonderful. Cloud-piercing peaks and high road passes look down upon the meandering rivers and waterways that pierce through the lush valleys.

Whether you are there for a full week or just a quick weekend break you will enjoy every minute of the famous Welsh hospitality and amazing countryside.

With thanks to https://www.bikecation.co.uk/.

Climbing, Belaying, COVID and Beyond

What do we know?

In our current COVID world, there has been a concerning sharp spike of ground falls in UK climbing centres post lockdown one.

In one seven-day period, in the latter part of 2020, we had reports of the equivalent number of these incidences that we would usually expect in a ‘normal’ year.

After extensive discussions, the authors of this piece decided that scrutiny of these Incidents and Accidents was prudent to learn lessons for the future.   The authors looked at the wearing of masks in climbing centres, and the accident data respectively.

About the Authors: Joby Maw Davis is a Full AMI member and holds the Winter Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor qualification.  He is a Technical advisor for a lot of the major climbing walls in the UK.  He is also a Technical expert for NICAS and the Association of British Climbing Walls as well as a provider for many of the Mountain Training National Governing Body awards.

Libby Peter is a Full Mountain Guide and a Member of the British Mountain Guides.  Between them their technical knowledge of rock climbing both indoors and outdoors is unsurpassed 😊. Neither of them “work” (i.e. are paid) by AMI.  This article and research was done independent of AMI but AMI both support it and back it.

Possible explanations could be:

  • Climbers who have taken a break from climbing may have rusty skills (Skills fade posh term)
  • The past year has been rough; we can all agree on that. More people may be mentally and emotionally exhausted than an average year.
  • People are excited to return to their hobbies, but are they prepared?

Observations:

  • All the noted accidents and incidents involved lead climbing (belaying).
  • They all resulted in ground falls of varying seriousness.
  • Climbers and belayers involved were not novices and had climbed at the centre they were in at the time of the occurrence numerous times since the end of lockdown one.
  • Accidents and incidents occurred generally in the first half of the route attempted.

What are the variables that have the potential to cause climbers / belayers issues?

Skills fade – quick confidence gains… then complacency.  These incidents have not involved novices.

Amplification of previously ‘just off’ good practice. For example, poor belayer positioning and slack management; this is especially important while the climber is around 2nd-4th clips as lead falls from here require very quick reactions by the belayer to prevent a ground fall.  There is a likelihood, if climbers and belayers were operating in a slightly sloppy fashion pre COVID (unconscious incompetence or conscious incompetence), that their skills will have slid somewhat.

Face mask issues

Even the neatest fitting facemask restricts lower peripheral vision. In other words, it is harder to see the ground just in-front of your feet. This leads to more frequent trips and falls (mostly in the elderly), but it also makes it harder to glance down and see what’s going on at your belay device, creating a number of potential problems:

1. Blocks the view of how much slack is out immediately in-front of the belay device. It’s possible to have a loop of slack out (i.e. too much slack) and not realise.

2. Less confidence in making quick adjustments to the amount of slack out (slack management). Some belayers need to look down at the belay device when paying out or taking in.

3. Can’t see trip hazards around feet (such as rope) so might result in the belayer moving around less to adjust slack, or an actual trip.

Poor fitting masks

4. Habitual readjustment of mask as it slips down over nose – means two hands not on the rope.

Belay glasses and masks

5. This combination definitely further limits lower peripheral vision leaving only a slim letter box view.

6. Moving belay glasses into place as leader reaches second or third clip could be even slower with mask on – and may knock the mask out of place leading to point 4 above.

Prescription glasses and masks

Glasses steaming up is a big issue for belayers and leads to a few scenarios, all of which have their own potential impact on effective belaying:

7. Leave steamed up glasses in place and have trouble seeing clearly enough to detect climber movements that might suggest an imminent fall, or to preempt clipping.

8. Take glasses off and, depending on quality of vision without glasses, have trouble seeing as above.

9. Alternate between glasses on and off resulting in two hands not on the rope.

10. Leave glasses on and pull mask down to prevent fogging – and reduce Covid safety.

Some real-life suggestions to help makes your first steps ‘back’, as safe as possible for your and your partner.

Climbers

Why not treat the first session back as a refresher of all belaying elements?

Take things more slowly than you would do ‘normally’. How about a top-rope before leading if haven’t climbed in a mask on for example?

Make no assumptions about belaying/climbing skills for you and you partners / s

Never forget the lifesaving PARTNER CHECK

Belay device/rope compatibility check, have you purchased new equipment?

Be extra vigilant; remember other’s actions could also impact on you and your partner’s safety.

Communication – revisit with your partner your communication routine, it may well have been some time since you climbed together!

Instructors and coaches

Expect to give more support than normal to your climbers and belayers, remember the operational changes in your sessions will be well drilled for you, but they will be new to your climbers.

Mask education – help clients to develop a mask system that is Covid safe and climb safe.

Have extra vigilance when backing up belaying, it is probably the case that in your centre / organisation you are dealing with this in a more socially distanced fashion.

Be prepared and equipped to intervene quickly if deemed necessary. Have these drills been well practiced amongst staff?

Frame of Reference

Minor Interactions :- Behaviours and or actions that can contribute to the increased chances of any of the above

Near Miss:- An event not causing harm, but has the potential to cause injury or ill health

Incident:- a set of conditions or circumstances that have the potential to cause injury or ill health and could result in damage to equipment and facilities.

Accident:- An event that results in injury or ill health

Many thanks to the authors Joby Maw Davis (AMI) Climbing and Mountain Training http://www.jobymawdavis.co.uk/and Libby Peter (IFMGA Guide)

Public Liability Claims – Defence success for Member

We think it is important to publish details of judgement’s in Public Liability trial cases so that the Mutual and Members can use this valuable lessons learned information.  It also demonstrates that the Mutual will try to defend liability claims where it feels appropriate.  The details below have been provided by our legal colleagues at Clyde & Co who successfully defended this case.

Overview

The claimant, aged 14, suffered from Laurence Moon Beidl Syndrome which affected his eyesight. He was registered partially blind. The claimant often attended Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind  (“SRSB” – 1st defendant) for after school club and activities. SRSB took the claimant for a bouldering session at the premises of (“the Centre” – 2nd defendant).

Circumstances of Claim

Once at the Centre the claimant participated in warm up activities and then climbed one of the junior boulders. He did so with minimal assistance though he needed some help to get over the top of the wall. The wall had an enclosed chute/slide, which was popular with children, and which offered a means of descent. The chute was known to be fast. The claimant was instructed to slide down the chute and upon reaching the ground, he injured his ankle.

It was the claimant’s case that the enclosed chute was not safe for him, as his condition meant that his eyesight significantly worsened in dim conditions and that in going down the chute he had become disorientated.

Outcomes

It was accepted by all parties that the specifics of the claimant’s condition were not made known to the Centre staff, though the Centre knew he had a visual impairment. Visually impaired clients had used the chute in the past with no incidents, though the number was small.

The claimant alleged that the SRSB – 1st Defendant’s risk assessment in relation to the activity was inadequate and that a suitable assessment would have shown that the chute was not safe for this particular claimant. The Court agreed. Furthermore, the judge held that had the Centre instructors known that the chute was likely to disorientate the claimant, an alternative method of descent from the boulder wall could have been offered. The Court held that the Centre was not obliged by law to proactively enquire about the claimant’s condition and that it was entitled to rely on SRSB – 1st Defendant to draw any specific matters to the Centre’s attention.

The claimant was therefore successful in his claim against SRSB – 1st Defendant but unsuccessful against the Centre.

If you have any questions or queries about Public Liability cover and or the way the Mutual handles claims please get in touch.

Details of Clyde & Co : Leanne.conisbee@clydeco.com

 

 

AIM’s guide to the Hardening Insurance Market

We are aware of the financial issues that many of our Members are still facing. At the time of writing, we will also be familiar with the new dates for easing of the lockdown and hope that this brings comfort that businesses can start to reopen and once again our Members can provide their much-needed activities.

Unfortunately, over the last 12 months the insurance market has hardened considerably and some insurance customers are finding that prices have increased across a range of different covers.

What is a ‘Hard Market’?

A hardened insurance market usually affects customers in the following ways:

  • Higher insurance premiums
  • Fewer insurers
  • Reduced choice of products
  • More restrictive cover

What causes a Hard Insurance Market?

Like other financial markets, the insurance market also changes depending on supply and demand.  The insurance market usually follows a cycle which fluctuates between a hard market and a soft market. There are many factors that can lead to changes in the insurance market.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, several underlying market factors were contributing towards the insurance market hardening, including:

  • extreme weather events such as Storm Dennis and Ciara affecting property claims
  • interest rates staying low
  • a general rise in insurance claims (particularly in the home and motor insurance sectors)
  • changes to the Ogden rate, the rate used to calculate future losses in high value compensation claims, which also have an impact on the levels of compensation payments made to claimants.

When coupled with pressures arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, these factors have inevitably reduced insurers’ appetite for offering extensive cover or charging low premiums.

How is AIM Supporting Members?

AIM is doing all it can to provide the best, tailored, cover for Members, at the most competitive price, because we fully appreciate that many of our Members continue to face ongoing financial difficulties.

Therefore, when your renewal is due, the team will ask you to provide up to date information on your business so they can provide your quotation and ensure that it is accurately meeting your needs.  This will include details of your annual turnover and wage roll figures and any other information about the activities you provide.  If you are no longer offering or providing a particular activity, please let the team know as you don’t need to be paying for cover you no longer require.   We will always try to be as competitive as possible on prices so please do chat to the team if you have any queries.

We are committed to providing the best service for our Members and if you have any further queries or feedback please do come back to us. 

How to Identify Risks and Write A Risk Assessment

James Willis Retires

James and our Chairman Andrew Gardiner in the Cairngorms

James Willis has been a very valued member of the AIM team at Regis since AIM’s inception and we are truly sorry to see him leave.  He will be enjoying a very well deserved retirement from the end of January 2021.  We did not wish to let this event pass without recognising the tremendous impact and contribution which James has made to the Mutual.

James was instrumental in recognising the difficulties facing activity providers in obtaining liability cover back in 2004.  To address the “high risk” image insurers had attached to the adventure sector at that time, he conducted a risk assessment survey of all AALA licenced providers which provided the data  for insurers to take a more fact based approach to the sector and as a result, the AIM project was born!  James moved to Regis in 2008 once critical mass had been achieved and AIM was established as a fully functioning mutual.

He has been a very valued member of the team here and is well known to many of the Members, having been a regular visitor to Members’ sites for visits, renewal discussions, claims investigations and to meet Members.  His role has allowed him to enjoy and participate in a wide variety of activities and we hope that he will find time to carry on enjoying these, as well as finding new challenges.

We will all miss him but wish him the very best for a long and happy his retirement.   Thank you James!!

Protected: AIM Member Zoom Meeting on Refunds

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On Target Autumn 2020 Newsletter

Each year we publish our Autumn Newsletter, we love putting it together, and this year we’ve given Members the chance to tell their stories and share what’s working for them. We’ve heard from The Climbing Hangar, The Outdoors People and BeVenturesome.

Sam Sutton from New Forest Activities has offered some great marketing expertise on how providers can improve their services. Ben at BXM Expeditions has also provided us with a really great piece on mental health awareness.

We’ve also heard from Save Your Outdoor Centres, Save Outdoor Ed and from the ABC on the Climbing the Walls campaigns and we hope that you can support these.

As we have been unable to hold any member events this year we’ve included a section on our Team and Directors of the Board so you can put faces to names.

Plexus Law have provided a update on safeguarding of children, young people and and vulnerable adults in organisations.  This feature also gives some case updates where vicarious liability is discussed.

We hope to see all of you soon at one of our Member Events when we can finally get together safely. In the meantime we will continue to offer the Zoom get togethers that many of you have enjoyed.

Please provide any feedback or questions you may have to cathy.watson@rmml.com

 

Rockley Watersports

Save Outdoor Ed – RYG Centre