Holiday Character & Difficulty Grades
How grades are established:
A walking and activity grade is a subjective concept, since its establishment relies mostly on the standards defined by the company responsible. Having that idea in mind, it’s important to consider that all grades can best be described as both comparative and indicative, requiring an individual assessment of the personal level of fitness and adaptation.
The criteria that defines difficulty grades:
Terrain – A low level walk in easy good paths will be graded easier than a walk with pathless sections and/or difficult terrain.
Cumulative height gain – Walks with larger demanding ascents will be graded higher than level walks.
Total distance – The longer the walk the harder the grade.
Equipment required – Easier grade walks can normally be completed with minimal equipment. In harder walks it’s highly suggested to assess the safe level of equipment that needs to be carried taking into account weather and route difficulty.
Navigation and compass skills – 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. In some walks the use of gps is highly recommended.
It’s important to have in mind that a grade is based on the assumption that the route can be completed in reasonable weather conditions. If not, remember that nature elements as fog and heavy rain can cause sudden disorientation, rivers and small streams can become all of a sudden too deep or hard and strong winds can make some ridges and mountainous areas very dangerous. Thunder storms put walkers at risk especially on high land. In these eventful situations map reading, compass skills and common sense may prove to be vital.