Walking Grades

Walking Women Goat Guide Infographic


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Walking Grades – use your goat instinct
We are here to guide you…

We design our holidays with independent adventurous women in mind. Whatever your age or ability we aim to offer a range of holidays to provide a level of challenge you can manage, exciting new experiences, alongside good quality, comfortable accommodation, so you relax at the end of the day.

Everyone is individual and our grading is to guide you to choose the right holiday for you. Our itineraries give more detailed information on what you can expect but we are on hand if you have any questions. We want our holidays to encourage you to come back for more and more.

We have 4 ‘Goat’ grades to keep it simple
The number of mountain goats reflects the challenge – 1 being the easiest and 4 the hardest. We do mention expected hours you will walk but it does obviously depend on the group and the speed you walk – it is a guide. As we develop our holiday range we will be listening to customer feedback and fine-tuning our Goat levels as required. Guides may change the itinerary depending on the weather and prevailing conditions,  therefore a certain amount of flexibility is always required.

We also expect you to be fit enough for the trip you choose: For Goat 1 ability you should be walking regularly on the flat, only needing a tea break after 2 hours. For Goat 4 ability there is no time for tea breaks and you can happily walk uphill for hours – chatting!

Be assured that our guides discuss each day’s walk with the group the evening before. If you ever feel it’s not for you or you simply want a rest day this is absolutely fine.


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Easy hikes that anyone with reasonable health can do.
You can expect to walk 2-4 hours a day on easy paths with few steep ascents and there is unlikely to be unstable terrain – typically 5-10km. Sometimes walks may take longer where the pace is slower, for example, one guide introduced more tea breaks on request, and the group was out walking for 6 hours. Please read the individual holiday information.

Our city walks are Grade 1 and focus on introducing you to the local area with plenty of refreshment stops. If you are rediscovering your walking legs these holidays could well be for you.


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Longer hikes.
We know many people enjoy a bit of challenge so these walks could include some hills and even mountains. Sometimes terrain could be uneven with loose rocks – this will be made clear in information about individual holidays. You can expect 4-6 hours of walking with regular refreshment stops. There may be ascents but they will be very steady and usually less than 600m.

One of our guides describes these as mountain tortoise-style walks – slow and steady. They require some fitness and our guides can adjust the pace depending on the group. You can expect a maximum of 10km per day but where we have longer daylight hours, they could be longer – always depending on weather conditions and the consensus of the group.

Our Cross Country Skiing for newcomers is usually graded as 2 goats. Whilst you can take part never having skied before, it does require a certain level of fitness.


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Longer hikes with more ascents and descents.
These holidays could include more challenging ascents of over 1000m. You can expect to walk for 6-8 hours over rougher terrain and with more height. Walks could be up to 15km but will vary daily.

If you are looking to challenge yourself and increase fitness these walks could be for you. You would need strong knees and ankles, stamina and a good level of fitness.


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Demanding hikes in more challenging terrain.
Ascents and descents could be steep and walks could be up to 10 hours. They are sometimes much shorter to allow for a steady pace where we are climbing higher. If we are hiking over 1500m these will definitely be 4 Goat walks. The terrain is likely to be varied and may be rocky and unstable in places. You need to be in good shape and have previous experience with tough walks.

Some would describe these as epic as they get you to more unpopulated places and into wilderness if possible. Our newer walks in Switzerland and Andalucia, Spain will typically be 4 Goats, as we explore more mountainous terrain with spectacular views from ridges and tops.

‘A bit of everything’

Sometimes we will run holidays with a little bit of everything so that couples or friends of varying abilities can join. You will be able to select the walk to suit you and then join up at the end of the day to share stories. These are known as our ‘bit of everything ‘ holidays .

We don’t like to be too prescriptive as your choice depends on what you feel ready and able for. Contact us if you feel unsure. The table below is a useful summary.

Goats Hours Up Down Distance Fitness Exposure
1 2 – 6 gradual gradual 5-8km Suitable for anyone None
2 4 – 6 600m 600m 6-10km Average fitness Little
3 6 – 8 900+m 900m 10-15km Good level of fitness Possible Ridges
4 8+ 1300m 1300m 5-15km Good level of fitness with great stamina. Walks may be less distance but will be steeper Very likely

Note: the above is guidance please read individual holiday descriptions

Exposure means the possible exposure to height especially cliffs, ridges or areas that some people may not feel comfortable with. We aim to avoid narrow or very exposed ridges.

Up and Down – this is very general. What goes up must come down – the thing to note is how steep the ascent or descent is, which we try to give in our more detailed itineraries. Some holidays will include walking ridges and staying in accommodation along the way. On these holidays the ascent is usually greater but once up you walk along steady ridge paths with spectacular scenery.

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