To give an idea how hard each of our holidays is, we use two scales:
(Terrain, and need for navigation and self-reliance)
(Distance and ascent)
|Green This easiest skill grade sees flat or gently-angled paths, often wide, with fairly smooth surfaces.||1 There is little or no ascent at this easiest fitness grade, and daily distances are modest.|
|Blue Venturing into the hills, at this grade we meet sustained climbs, rougher ground, and rocky steps. There is possible minor exposure to one side.||2 The fitness to walk half- or full-days in the hills is needed, with typical daily ascents of 600m.|
|Red Steep, rocky ground and some rough walking away from paths; the varied conditions of a mountain walk in the Scottish Highlands or a high trek in the Alps. There might be unavoidable sections with steep drops to one or both sides.||3 Good fitness in the mountains is called for, to tackle comfortably an ascent of around 1,000m in a full day's walk; it's an all-round day out in the mountains.|
|Black We keep this category for the hardest terrain on Alpine or UK walks; experienced walkers will be challenged by particularly steep and loose ascents and by wild rocky landscapes. Good balance on the feet is essential; steep drops might be present to one or both sides, with serious consequences of a slip.||4 Strong fitness is needed at this highest grade, to tackle continuous ascents of between 1,000m and 1,500m in height gain in the course of a full day of 7 or 8 hours or longer. Exceptional days can involve even more ascent and time than this.|
These two scales combine into an overall grade. We hope that using two separate scales allows finer accuracy than the combined rating that we used before 2012. Our colour-coding of the skill grade will also be familiar from skiing or mountain biking.