How are walks graded ?
Giving a walk a grade is a very subjective exercise and depends on the standards of the person setting the standards. Therefore the grades used through this website can best be described as comparative and are graded as follows -
Severe - Challenge Routes
The grade awarded depends on an accumulative assessment based on five main criteria -
Terrain covered by the route. Low level walks that can be completed on good paths will be graded easy whilst those including pathless sections and/or difficult terrain will be graded hard.
Total height gain in the walk. Thus a walk with a large ascent will be graded higher than a level walk.
Total distance covered by the route. The longer the walk the harder the grade.
Equipment required to safely complete the route. Easy routes can normally be completed with minimal equipment. However before attempting any route you should assess the safe level of equipment that needs to be carried taking into account weather and route difficulty.
Navigation and compass skills required. The use of a map, preferably at 1:25000 scale is recommended as good navigation skills can help with route finding if the instructions are unclear. In addition in more difficult terrain and in poor weather navigation skills and the use of a map are vital.
The grades are all based on the assumption the route can be completed in reasonable weather conditions. For example low cloud can cause problems on some moorland and mountain routes with map reading and compass skills essential. Heavy rain can cause rivers and streams to become too deep or dangerous to cross. Under ice and/or snow some routes may become impassable to walkers unless they are competent in the use of ice axe and crampons. High winds may make some ridges and mountain areas dangerous. Thunder storms put walkers at risk especially on high land. Finally remember combinations of adverse weather increase the risks substantially.
Estimated Time - an estimated time is given for each walk. This is based on a leisurely 2 miles an hour average walking speed. Additional time is added for ascent with 1000 feet of ascent having an hour added to the overall time. For example, a 2 mile walk with 500 feet of ascent will be calculated as 1 hour for the walk plus an additional 30 mins for the ascent. This calculation does not include rest breaks or other delays.