Our grading system is there to help you choose a trip appropriate to your ability and requirements
Our walking and trekking trips are designed to be accessible to all who are in good health and enjoy the outdoors, but fitness levels are important and you should consider carefully which trip is right for you.
For harder trips the correct preparation can vastly enhance your enjoyment; stamina building aerobic activities such as regular cycling, swimming, jogging and walking beforehand will make a noticeable difference.
Everyone has his or her own comfortable pace and we always strive to accommodate this. All Walking & Trekking holidays present physical demands, so expect to feel some tiredness even after a leisurely, days walking. Grades are only a guide.
Experience is not necessary; anyone fit and healthy enough to complete a weekend walk can manage a Leisurely grade.
- Length of walking day - Short, often optional walks of between four and five hours duration
- Conditions underfoot - Good, well maintained paths or tracks
- Altitude - Low altitude, with little daily variation
- Weather and temperature - Generally good with no extremes
- Remoteness and comfort - Comfortable with easy access to local amenities
Again, no experience is necessary; those who take weekend hill walks in areas like the Peak District or Cotswolds at home should manage these treks; good health and reasonable fitness are important. These Moderately graded departures are either fairly easy medium-duration walks or harder, shorter walks.
- Length of walking day - Occasional longer/harder days. Average five to seven hours duration
- Conditions underfoot - Generally good paths, but some rocky terrain
- Altitude - Generally no extremes of altitude or ascent/decent. Max ascent approx 800m
- Weather and temperature - No real extremes
- Remoteness and comfort - Mainly good facilities, with access to local amenities
Fitness is important and you may have to improve yours before departure. Most treks at this grade compare to extended walking in mountainous terrain such as the Lakes of Snowdonia, but usually at significantly higher altitudes; climate and remoteness can also play a part. Previous trekking experience is desirable, but not vital if you are confident of your physical condition.
- Length of walking day - Six to eight hours with occasional longer days on peaks or passes
- Conditions underfoot - Expect some difficult terrain underfoot, including loose scree
- Altitude - Some trips may reach high altitudes, with occasional significant daily ascents. Max ascent approx 1000m
- Weather and temperature - Expect some extremes of hot/cold, and changeable weather patterns
- Remoteness and comfort - Possibly remote areas with basic facilities on some nights
Those experienced in trekking for a number of consecutive days in the Scottish Highlands, will understand how tough treks at this grade can be. Stamina is essential, as walking days are long. We recommend previous trekking experience, preferably at altitude; you need complete confidence in your physical condition and the ability to trek for many days over difficult terrain.
- Length of walking day - Long, hard days of around seven or eight hours (or longer) duration
- Conditions underfoot - Difficult terrain including snow or scrambling sections. You may need ice axe and crampons
- Altitude - Expect extremes of altitude, and long days of ascent/decent. A number of days over 1000m of ascent
- Weather and temperature - Be prepared. Expect the unexpected!
- Remoteness and comfort - Remote, wild environments with few facilities, perhaps for extended periods. Be prepared to rough it!
This grade tour combines all the elements of our previous grade, tough itineraries, but adds extra difficulties such as tricky river crossings, very high or difficult passes, glaciers or peaks that require basic climbing skills. Often specialist equipment, like ice axes and crampons will be needed and you must have experience of them.
- Length of walking day - Numerous long hard days with early starts
- Conditions underfoot - Some technical terrain...ice, snow or rock
- Altitude - Our biggest and most technical trips. Prolonged periods over 3000m
- Weather and temperature - Real extremes of cold can be expected for prolonged periods at high altitude, except high summer
- Remoteness and comfort - Remote itineraries well away from any amenity