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Our Grading System

Our holidays have something to offer everyone, from those who enjoy a gentle stroll to keen, long-distance explorers.  Our grading system for our walking and trekking holidays ranges from Gentle to Expedition Grade and gives a general indication of what you can expect from the many different trips we offer.

More detailed information about driving times, hours spent walking and amount of ascent and descent is shown in our  PDF Holiday Itineraries (downloadable on our holiday pages). We often get asked about miles covered on our treks and walking holidays but, in mountainous regions with their ups and downs and zig-zag paths, we find it more useful to talk in terms of time spent on the trail. The walking times we give are based on a relaxed pace and an hour long lunch break. On all our trips you only need to carry a light day pack as your main luggage will be portered for you between overnight stops.

Tours

Tours may include any of the following activities: sightseeing, visiting local villages, exploring temples, game viewing, birdwatching, husky sledding, mountain flights, city tours and dramatic journeys by road, rail, or river. Occasionally there will be short, gentle walks so that you can properly explore the cultural sites you are visiting.

Gentle

Trips within this grade typically mix sightseeing with easy-paced half and/or full day walks. On these trips, walks will be on relatively low altitude trails, for a duration of around 4-6 hours. On all of our Gentle graded trips, some ascent and descent should be anticipated, and there may occasionally be a longer walking day. Holidays within this grade generally use hotels and comfortable lodges although a few do have some nights camping.

These holidays are suitable for people who enjoy easy-paced walks in the British countryside or exploring on foot rather than in a vehicle.

Moderate

Holidays in this grade typically involve 5 to 10 days of walking or trekking. They will often venture into more remote country and can cross mountain passes. Altitudes though are still relatively low, going no higher than around 4,300m/14,000ft. Accommodation can include simple hotels, tea houses, lodges and camping.

Vigorous

Typically these trips involve 8 to 14 days (occasionally more) trekking in relatively remote landscapes. High passes up to 4,900m/16,000ft may be crossed (sometimes snow-covered) and there may also be glacier travel and peak ascents. Walking days can be between 5 and 8 hours with considerable ascents and descents. This grade also covers some European treks of shorter durations. Overnight stops on trek could be in tea houses, mountain huts or camping.

These holidays would suit enthusiastic hill/mountain walkers.

Strenuous

Our strenuous trekking holidays can involve anything from 10 to 30 days on trek and are often in remote areas, far from ‘civilisation’. Rest days are interspersed but there may be up to 7 consecutive days of hard walking. Most treks reach altitudes of at least 4,900m/16,000ft and there will be a great deal of ascent and descent. The majority of our strenuous treks utilise camping, tea house or mountain lodge accommodation.

These holidays are suitable for fit individuals who have regular experience of mountain walking.

Expedition Grade

These trips all involve long, hard days on trek and may include nights spent camping above the snow line. Ice axe, crampons and safety ropes may be used. These high altitude trips provide a considerable physical challenge and some technical experience may also be required.

Suitable for those with strenuous trekking experience in high mountain environments.

New Cycling Tours

Our new range of cycling tours are graded from gentle to strenuous. Full details on cycling terrain, distances and durations can be found in the detailed PDF Holiday Itinerary.

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