Helping keep outdoor activities COVID secure

Posted: 02.07.20 by Dave Etherington

Helping keep outdoor activities COVID secure

Information for Outdoor Professionals Delivering Walking, Scrambling & Climbing Activities – UK and Ireland.

This document has been produced by representatives from the British Mountain Guides (BMG) and the Association of Mountaineering Instructors (AMI). It considers the practices evolving in various European countries as they begin to engage in professional outdoor activity.

These guidelines recommend a minimum standard and members may wish themselves to apply more rigorous behaviours, or they may find themselves working with and for organisations whose operating procedures require it.

Please be conscious of a possible difference in guidelines within your country of residence available through the links below.

The guidelines from the various governments of the UK and Ireland, along with those from other national bodies will continue to evolve. Please accept this working document as practical advice, helping you as outdoor professionals create the safest working environment that you can when practicing outdoor activities with your clients during this time.

Please lead by example by taking a measured approach, safeguarding clients, local communities and MRT as best you can from the transmission of Covid-19 and also protecting our industry’s professional reputation by your actions during this crucial time.

We are recommending that you take a responsible and phased approach, taking responsible actions now and then slowly embracing more complex outdoor activities over time.

It may be most appropriate to undertake the less complex activities at the moment given the current UK Government guidance for England. It is hoped that as the various UK governments lift more restrictions, we can phase in these activities at the appropriate time. It is likely that reduced ratios (compared to normal) will be necessary to enable social distancing to continue for larger group activities.

Initial key areas to consider

  1. Hygiene
  2. Social Distancing
  3. Travel
  4. Rescue and emergency procedures
  5. Community relations
  6. Mitigation advice from SAGE

Helpful links to help understand the various complexities around safeguarding clients in the outdoors:


Social Distancing:


Rescue and Emergency Procedures:

Community Relations:

Mitigating Measures:

Note – Please check other land owners for specific updates.

Outdoor professionals need to communicate a strong sense of responsibility in helping keep everyone Covid secure during any outdoor activity.

What extra precautions can we take as outdoor professionals (OP)?

Generic across all our activities:

  1. Where possible keep a minimum distance of 2 metres apart.
  2. At the beginning of any activities no-one involved should be in a position where they need to self-isolate either because of personal symptoms or contact with others. OPs should consider the use of pre-course screening questionnaires.
  3. Planning sessions preferably outdoors whenever possible
  4. Avoid sharing and all participants supplying their own:
    Drink, lunch and snacks.
    Face coverings if they feel happier wearing one and hand sanitizer.
    Basic first aid kits – appropriate protective gloves, blister kits, plasters alcoholic wipes etc.
    Sun glasses, sun cream etc.
    Outdoor clothing appropriate for any conditions.
    Specialist equipment if possible (map/compass for mountain days, harnesses, helmets, boots for climbing etc.)
  5. The OP should have a face covering for themselves and spares. It is recommended that client(s) bring their own.
  6. The OP should have a sealed communal first aid kit.
  7. Client(s) should understand rescue procedures in the event of an accident including the requirement for increased self-reliance as a party owing to limitations placed on the services of Mountain Rescue services at present.
  8. Clients need to take more ownership of any personal medical problems and the OP needs to be more considerate of these problems allowing for more of a net of safety again planning a day.
  9. When stopping for breaks or lunch, give thought to wind direction and the air born movement of Coronavirus particles.
  10. Restrict numbers in cars (unless household members) to a minimum to help with social distancing.
  11. The OP should ensure that their own clothing and all equipment used or provided has been cleaned and/or quarantined and stored appropriately since the last use.
  12. All communal kit should be labelled as when last cleaned and so ready for the day.
  13. Be mindful of potential honeypot paths, areas and parking – be creative.
  14. Where equipment is loaned or rented it should be issued at the beginning of the day and remain in the client’s possession all day. At the end of the day it should be sealed in a plastic bag until the OP can clean it appropriately.
  15. Social distancing, hygiene and risk management will all be aided by working to low ratios in all activities
  16. Operate comfortably within ones and the clients abilities/fitness levels and in optimum conditions.

Activity Specific guidance:

Hill Walking:

Roped Scrambling:

Same as the above plus

Ghyll Scrambling:

Same as the above plus


Top/Bottom Roped Climbing & Single-Pitch Climbing:

Multi-Pitch Outdoor Climbing:

Same as the above plus

We hope this helps in your planning and decision making as activities start to resume in areas within the UK and Ireland.

British Mountain Guides and Association of Mountaineering Instructors

This document has been compiled with assistance from Medical Doctors who are all experienced mountaineers and holders of the UIAA/IKAR diploma of mountain medicine including a member of AMI.

British Mountain Guides




Member Login