The Activity Level dial offers an immediate illustration of just how challenging the trip will be, ranging from Leisurely to Tough +. Our trips are designed to be accessible to all who are in good health and enjoy the outdoors, however fitness levels can be important and you should consider carefully which trip is right for you. Our grading system is there to help you choose a trip appropriate to your ability and requirements. There is no need to worry about not walking fast enough or holding back the group; all you need to focus on is your ability to complete the route. Everyone has his or her own comfortable pace and we always strive to accommodate this. However, it is essential you read the trip profile on the relevant trip notes, these will give you further details to help you pick your perfect trek.
How we grade our Walking & Trekking holidays
When grading a trip the following factors are considered:
- length of trek and walking day
- trail conditions underfoot
- level of porterage and support
- average altitude, maximum altitude and average gain/loss per day
- likely prevailing weather conditions and temperature range
- remoteness of local services and general level of comfort
1 - Leisurely
Experience is not necessary; anyone fit and healthy enough to complete a weekend walk can manage a Leisurely, Level 1 departure. Walks are often optional; but trails are seldom flat, so expect a reasonable amount of ascent and descent. You would normally walk for two to five hours during the day and daily ascents will likely be around 300m to 500m, perhaps with the odd day ascending around 600m.
3 – Moderate
These Moderate, Level 3 departures are either fairly easy medium-duration walks or harder, shorter walks. No experience is necessary, but good health and reasonable fitness are important. Some walking at higher altitude and occasional longer/harder days may be involved, but general underfoot conditions will be fair. A walking day is normally five to seven hours and daily ascents will likely be around 500m to 800m, perhaps with the odd day ascending around 900m to 1000m.
5 – Challenging
Fitness is important at this grade, which compares to extended walking in mountainous terrain such as the Lakes or Snowdonia. High 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. Walking days are usually between six and eight hours, although they may be longer for passes or peaks. Daily ascents will likely be around 900m to 1000m, perhaps with the odd day ascending around 1100m to 1200m.
7 – Tough
We recommend previous trekking experience, preferably at altitude, at this level. You need complete confidence in your ability to trek for many days over difficult terrain. Extremes of altitude and weather may be encountered, as may the use of ice axes and crampons. Stamina is essential as walking days last six to nine hours or more on occasional days and daily ascents will likely be around 900m to 1000m, perhaps with the odd day ascending around 1100m to 1200m.
9 – Tough+
An Level 9 tour combines all the elements of our Level 7, tough itineraries, but includes climbing a glaciated mountain peak. Specialist equipment, like ice axes and crampons will be needed and you should have experience of them. Please check the Trip Notes carefully to ensure that your experience and equipment meets the demands of a Tough + trip. When climbing, the peak days can be very long and you may be on your feet for eleven hours or more.
Split and optional grades
In order to provide a more accurate grading system, where a trip falls between two grades we use an intermediate or split grade, for example Leisurely/Moderate. Occasionally, there are optional ascents available en route, in this case the optional grade will be highlighted below the dial.