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3000 ft of ascent? You’ve got to be kidding, right?
NO actually. The ascent figure we quote for a walk is not the difference between the lowest and the highest elevations we visit. It’s the TOTAL of all the ‘UP’ you will do on the walk. Why? Simply put, going up takes the most energy and will dictate the overall speed and how fatigued you may get. We use this as a ‘worst case’ scenario when working out how long a walk will take. It’s always best to look at the walk profile if you want to judge how steep it may get.
Lytham St Annes Rambling Club: Points Based Grading System
ALL WALKS ARE NOT EQUAL…
Our walks are ‘Graded’. But what does this mean? We generalise categories A, B, C, D etc., but within each band there can be a variety of walks some of which will be easy, some challenging. How do you choose the right one for your own abilities?
The Grading chart above shows the different grades and the degree of difficulty within each grade. Notice the overlap!
Many factors affect the difficulty of a walk. The terrain, the ascent, the distance, your fitness, even the weather, and above all, the pace. We have developed a system which looks at some of these factors and attempts to quantify them into a figure that walkers can relate to. Note that the system does not take account of your personal fitness or the weather on the day: you should use your own judgement in these respects.
We have come to realise that a simple A,B,C,D category system is too general to be able to help you decide which walk best suits your abilities. You will note that with this system there is significant overlap between the grades. With walks at the boundaries, you will get two classifications, i.e., a 180 point MED B walk will be the same difficulty as an EASY A walk. This means that if you want to take on more challenging walks and improve your fitness, picking one of these walks will allow you to try something more demanding without getting into difficulty. For many members, this is part of the reason for joining the club and we will do all we can to help. Of course, all walks are going to have different criteria so it's not possible to say a B walk in Glenridding will be same as a B walk in Kirkby Lonsdale. In giving you a rating for the walks we hope to give members better guidance when selecting their walk for the day.
What’s the difference?
Fitter, more experienced and stronger walkers can take on faster and more challenging walks, whereas the less able or those who are not as fit as they once were, or are recovering from injury or illness, will require a walk with a more relaxed pace. Inevitably, there will be overlap between the A,B,C,D categories. In some cases, a medium C walk could be the equivalent of an easy B walk, but the difference here will be the pace. Generally speaking, the C and D walks are more relaxed with plenty of rests and a pace of usually no more than 1.5 - 1.7 mph overall. The B walks tend to have more challenging ascents or greater distance but importantly will have a higher average pace, typically 1.9 - 2.0 mph. The A walks tend to exceed B walks in both distance and/or ascents, so this means a higher pace will be required to achieve the walk in the required time. This can often be in excess of 2.2 mph.
All walks will include at least a couple of 10 minute breaks for drinks, more if required, plus a 20 minute break for lunch. When it’s very warm we will take more rest stops. If the weather conditions get bad the leaders will have a plan to get you down safely, even cut short the walk where it’s necessary.
D walks can range from 10 - 80 points: 3-5 miles and taking around 4 hours to complete.
C walks can range from 40 - 160 points: 6-8 miles and taking around 5 hours to complete.
B walks can range from 80 - 280 points: 8-10 miles and taking around 5.5 hours to complete.
A and A+ walks can range from 180 - 400+ points: 10-12 miles and taking over 6 hours to complete.
Anything above 320 points is considered ‘extreme’. We would also consider anything above 280 points should only be attempted by the strongest and more experienced walkers.
The best advice we can give is that you should talk to the leaders. They will understand the walk and maybe your capabilities. In the interests of safety, the leaders may ask members to undertake a less challenging walk: please do not be offended by this. If you are considering making a transition to a more difficult walk then do check that the pace, weather conditions, distance and ascent profile is within your fitness capabilities on that day. Hopefully over time you will come to associate a rating with your capability and select your walk from that rather than the category.
IF IN DOUBT PLEASE ASK, your Leaders are always happy to advise.
In the above example, you can see that the longest single ascent is 2300 ft over 3 miles.
So it’s 1 in 7 (a lower number is steeper) or 14% (a higher number is steeper: confusing or what?) Just look at the picture, it’s easier to understand!