Ratings

The walk ratings are split into six areas. Taken as a whole these will give you a good idea of what to expect:

  1. Distance – The distance of the walk in miles.
  2. Ascent – The total ascent of the walk in metres.
  3. Time – The time taken to do the walk rounded up to the next whole hour (see below).
  4. Strenuosity – How much effort is required to complete the walk (see below).
  5. Technicality – How technically difficult is the walk (see below).
  6. Enjoyability – How enjoyable is the walk taking into account the above factors and adding in things like views, weather, is there an inn at the end etc.

In addition to the above ratings there are Ordinance Survey maps for each route (together with a downloadable GPX file) and an elevation chart detailing the walk profile.

Time

Walk time is calculated form the distance covered and the ascent made. Time is rounded up to the next whole hour. The equation used is as follows:

t =⌈(m ÷ 3) + (a ÷ 300)⌉

Where t = time, m = total distance in miles and a = total ascent in metres.

This means that a 6 mile walk that climbs 375 metres would have a time of 4 hours ((6 ÷ 3) + (375 ÷ 300) = 2 + 1.25 = 3.25 rounded up = 4). No allowance made for the type of terrain, though if this is particularly difficult or unusual mention is made in the walk description.

Strenuosity

Walk strenuosity is calculated from the distance covered and the ascent made. The minimum strenuosity is 1; there is no maximum. Strenuosity is rounded to the nearest whole number. The equation used is as follows:

s =⌊(m x 0.3125) + (a x 0.005)⌉

Where s = strenuosity, m = total distance in miles and a = total ascent in metres.

This means that a 6 mile walk that climbs 450 metres would have a strenuosity of 4 ((6 x 0.3125) + (450 x 0.005) = 1.875 + 2.25 = 4.125 rounded = 4). No allowance made for the type of terrain, though if this is particularly difficult or unusual mention is made in the walk description.

Once the strenuosity has been calculated the walks are split into five categories; Easy, Moderate, Difficult, Severe and Extreme.

Technicality

Technicality grades are calculated from 1 to 10 as below:

  1. No navigational skills required. Good paths. No scrambling.
  2. Navigational skills not normally required other than in exceptional circumstances, such as thick cloud/fog. Good paths. No scrambling.
  3. Basic navigational skills required. Good paths. No scrambling.
  4. Basic navigational skills required. Short sections of poor/no paths. No scrambling.
  5. Intermediate navigational skills required. Short sections of poor/no paths and/or some easy scrambling. May require ice-axe and crampons in winter conditions.
  6. Intermediate navigational skills required. Short sections of poor/no paths and/or some scrambling to grade 1. May require ice-axe and crampons in winter conditions.
  7. Intermediate navigational skills required. Longer sections of poor/no paths and/or some scrambling to grade 1. May require ice-axe and crampons in winter conditions.
  8. Intermediate navigational skills required. Long sections of poor/no paths and/or extended scrambling to grade 1. May require ice-axe and crampons in winter conditions.
  9. Experienced walkers only. Complex navigation and/or extended scrambling to grade 1. May require ice-axe and crampons in winter conditions.
  10. Very experienced walkers only. Long sections of complex navigation. Possibility of extended scrambling to 1. May require ice-axe and crampons in winter conditions.

By ‘navigational skills’ I mean either a GPS device or map and compass and the ability to use them. Some walks will not fit exactly into a grade; in this case the closet grade based on my experience will be used.


NB: The grades above are all based on the assumption the route can be completed in reasonable weather conditions. For example low cloud increases the difficulty of navigation; map reading and compass skills are essential. Heavy rain can cause rivers and streams to become too deep or dangerous to cross. Under ice and/or snow any hill or wild country routes should be attempted only by walkers with an ice-axe, crampons and the necessary skills to use them. 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. It is assumed that navigation equipment and suitable clothing will be taken on all walks above technicality grade 1.