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Girlguiding UKThe Girlguiding Climbing and Abseiling Scheme covers anyone wishing to take members of Girlguiding rock climbing (indoors or out) and abseiling, or on related activities such as scrambling and mountaineering. Please note that this scheme doesn’t cover walking.

This website is intended as a source of information for Guide Leaders and will be updated regularly. Please let us know if you have any useful information or queries via the contact page.

– The ‘Outline’ page gives a general picture of the scheme

– To view regional lists of crags, climbing walls, abseil towers and other locations that have been inspected for use by Girlguiding members look at ‘Regional Listings’

– To view local qualifications that are approved as equivalent to the Girlguiding qualifications, click here

– The site is continually updated as new information arrives. We value any local information that you might have and would welcome your contributions – please email steve@trekco.com

Weaselling in the Peak District and elsewhere

‘Weaselling’ is the local name in the Peak District for rock scrambling. This has been a very popular activity for many years in the area with outdoor groups.

Weaselling is classed as a climbing related activity as it: a) requires the use of helmets, spotting and climbing techniques; b) can involve considerable drops and work near cliff edges (e.g. Higger Tor); c) is usually undertaken in areas recognised as climbing crags.

Therefore the qualifications for weaselling are:  – A National Governing Body outdoor climbing qualification: SPA, MIA, MIC, British Mountain Guide. (NB Not Climbing Wall Award)  – OR a competent adult in possession of appropriate First Aid certificate who has been trained by a holder of the MIA or MIC. The assessment must be carried out directly, and signed, by the MIA/MIC holder. This training will be site specific. The training will normally be valid for a period to be decided by the MIA/MIC but not more than five years.This information will also appear in the ‘Equivalent Awards’ section.

Visits – an explanation

We have many questions asking us to ‘inspect’ and ‘approve’ sites. The listings on this website give basic details of sites and whether they are suitable for use by Girlguiding Level 1 or other instructors to use. It is important to realise that our visit is not an ‘Inspection’ – it is a fact finding exercise to determine where climbing and abseiling are available. We do not ‘approve’ sites in the sense of giving Girlguiding’s blanket approval for everything that happens there – it is your responsibility to check out the current situation and use the right instructor. Your instructor should operate at every site within the limits of their qualification and in a safe manner.

It is not possible or necessary for Girlguiding to visit sites regularly, or to inspect the management procedures, climbing equipment, insurance etc. of a site. Our visit is a general information finding visit which gives us information about where Girlguiding groups may be climbing, ensures simply that a site is basically sound for an instructor to work at, and that there are no clear obstacles to safe instruction at the site. We also establish whether, at the time of the visit,there are qualified staff available, whether the site are familiar with the Girlguiding Climbing Scheme, whether there are any special conditions for working at the site and any obvious issues connected with safety. Most sites are okay to use; some have conditions or special notes indicating that Girlguiding instructors should operate in a certain way -for example ‘instructors must belay participants up the tower as the ladder is very steep’. This condition will apply to Girlguiding participants – it may be in addition to the site’s own operating procedures. Some of these will be recommendations and will be at the instructor’s discretion according to weather conditions or the ability of the group.

Please note that the management of a site might change, new structures may be built, and we rely on the membership to bring this to our attention.

Therefore a ‘Yes’ listing on this site indicates:

– The site is suitable for your own Girlguiding Level 1 Instructor or above to use – i.e. the facilities meet a basic standard and the general layout, anchors etc are suitable to use provided that the instructor judges on the day that they are in good condition and they are happy to use them, nothing has changed, conditions are good etc.

It does not indicate:

– That the onsite staff are suitably qualified – so if you are using instructors from the site itself, you must make sure that they are qualified using Girlguiding Level 1, better (SPA, MIA), or an equivalent (see ‘Equivalents’ page)  – That the site is the same as when it was initially visited – if there are changes then you or your climbing instructor should contact us and inform us.  – That the site have Public Liability insurance, suitable operating procedures, comply with Health and Safety legislation and so on. Should you wish to check these factors you could see whether the site is an AALA Licenced body (see www.aala.org.uk ), holds the Adventuremark Badge or Learning Outside the Classroom Badge, is a member of the British Activity Holidays Association, or other body. For guidance on this a useful resource is the Department of Education website.

We do not check:  – The site’s own instructors’ qualifications – this would be impossible. We will ask whether there are usually any suitably qualified staff available for Girlguiding members to be instructed by;  – Public Liability Insurance, Building compliance, Structural integrity, or onsite operating procedures for the site’s own staff.

So if a site has been visited, what can I do there?

– Take your own qualified instructor there with a Girlguiding Level 1 Qualification, equivalent or better, and they can instruct your group at that location if the rules of the site permit it;  – Use the site’s own staff if they have a Girlguiding Level 1 Qualification, equivalent or better.

You will need to ask the site themselves whether they accept instructors from outside and whether your instructor will need familiarisation. They may want to see your Piublic Liability insurance, the qualification of your instructor and their First Aid certificate.

High Ropes, ‘Go Ape’ and associated activities

Please note that these activities do not come under climbing regulations. Please refer any questions to James Etheridge at CHQ (activities@girlguiding.org.uk).

There has been a recent growth in the number of activities offered involving high ropes, high wires etc. These include (but not exclusively):

Zipwires, crate challenge, ‘coconut climb’, tree climb, various traverses, trapeze jumps, giant swings etc.

Girlguiding is currently working on a policy towards these activities – this is likely to involve a questionnaire to be completed by centres operating these activities, to ensure that they are compliant with national standards.

Please note that:

a) The SPA climbing award does not qualify holders in the use of high ropes activities. The SPA is a climbing specific award.

b) Auto belay systems are not a ‘cure-all’ and still require fully qualified instructors to operate them. Any suggestion that this system does not require a qualified instructor is incorrect.

c) Schemes such as ‘ADIPS’ are not a substitute for instructional qualifications. This is a scheme which inspects the structural properties of a device, not its operation or instruction. It is not therefore relevant when asking about instruction of an activity. Some of these activities have training approved by the manufacturers, and this is acceptable to Girlguiding. Where this is the case, please contact the Technical Advisor who will verify this training is appropriate.

If you are in any doubt about these activities please contact James Etheridge (see ‘Contacts’ page).

Renewals

Please note that renewals are every five years. For further information about renewals please contact outdooractivities@girlguiding.org.uk.

Site Visits

We are trying to visit all sites on our lists as soon as possible.Please remember that you DON’T NEED TO BE VISITED before continuing to use sites that you have regularly been using, because our visits are not an inspection.

Please send us information on new sites or sites that are missing from our lists. We can only include sites if we know they exist!

If you are involved with any of these sites and have useful information please contact us at:steve@trekco.com

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