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Our Trip Grading Explained

Our Trip Grading Explained

Whether you’re looking for an active but relaxed holiday, or a real physical challenge out in the wilderness, we have a trip to suit your needs.

Choosing the right trip, however, can be tricky as you need to consider the balance of physical challenge, technical skills and comfort level. That’s why we’re launching our new trip grading system for all of our trips.

Our trips are now graded either Green, Blue or Red, with Green trips being the most accessible and Red trips being the most challenging. Within the colour grades, there are 9-sub-grades, with1 being the easiest and 9 being the most challenging (so 1-3 = Green; 4-6 = Blue; 7-9 = Red). So, for example, a trip graded Blue 4 will be easier than a trip graded Blue 6 or Red 7.

We define the grade based on a number of factors with the most important being the level of physical challenge of the trip and the technical skill or experience required. The videos and text below describe how these grades apply to each activity that we offer, such as Wilderness Walking, Mountain Biking, Canoeing, Sea Kayaking and Road Cycling.

The videos are narrated by our friendly guides, who also describe what a typical day is like on these trips. Please scroll down to find the relevant video for the type of holiday you are considering. And, of course, if you have any questions about our trips or grading system, you can always call our office on 01479 420 020 and speak to one of our office team who’ll be delighted to help.

Comfort Grades

We decided to categorise the types of accommodation we use on each of our adventure holidays simply because they span a wide range from wild camping, through comfortable and friendly 3 star inns and up to luxury castles. It made sense to give you, our clients, more of a feel for the places you’ll be staying in.

  • Wild Camping – Camping under the stars in spectacular locations near the waterway/shore. Some camps are wild with no facilities while some have very basic facilities such as a toilet and cold running water. However this doesn’t mean we can’t pull out all the stops to cook up meals to remember and the wild swimming makes up for the occasional lack of amenities.
  • Basic – These simple rustic accommodations in breath-taking locations have a warm and cosy feel with shared bathroom facilities, warm showers and comfortable beds.
  • Classic – Staying in 3 or 4 star hotels, guesthouses and Highland inns, you can enjoy warm hospitality along with a hot shower, great food and a comfortable bed at the end of a day.
  • Deluxe – Staying in 4 or 5 star hotels you can enjoy superior comfort and the finest service.
  • Luxury – Selected castles in locations across Scotland, each have their own character and you will be exceptionally well looked after in each of them.


Walking Grades

Our Wilderness Walking trips vary in difficulty from straightforward low-level hiking to more challenging itineraries when you can expect to hike up a different mountain each day. Our Green-graded walking trips mean shorter days with less ups and downs, often combining coastal walks with hikes in valleys. Blue-graded trips will introduce some hikes to summits but with harder days generally followed by an easier one. Our most challenging, Red-graded, trips mean longer days on most days, with more elevation gain and steeper, rougher terrain (though not scrambling). All of these trips are hotel-based, meaning hot showers and the finest local hospitality to re-charge you each evening.

Open Canoe Grades

Our Open Canoeing trips vary in difficulty mainly by the level of fitness required and the comfort of accommodation, but also consider previous experience and skill level for some of the river trips. Most of our canoe trips involve wild camping, so on those trips, you need to be prepared for that. The easier graded trips reflect the fact that it is all about the canoeing but with minimal portages (moving the canoes overland) so the physical demands are lower. Our more challenging trips combine canoeing with wild country hiking, so these trips have a higher level of physical effort and often include some tough portages. Whichever trip you choose, it’s a great way to experience Scotland!

Sea Kayak Grades

Our Sea Kayak grades are based on the previous experience and skill level required, as well as the physical demands of the trip. Our Green graded trips are designed for those new to sea kayaking or with perhaps just a little experience. These trips are accommodation-based. Blue graded trips require some previous experience and a basic level of technical competence. The easier Blue-graded trips are hotel-based, the harder ones at this grade involve wild camping. Our Red-graded trips are for competent sea kayakers and feature more challenging days, perhaps with exposed crossings or difficult landings. Red-graded trips will involve some wild camping with no facilities, often far from civilisation – a real adventure!

Mountain Biking Grades

Our mountain bike grades are based on both technical ability and fitness levels required. Our least challenging trips will mean shorter days with less climbing, riding on generally straightforward trails. As trips increase in grade, you can expect more taxing climbs and more exciting singletrack descents. Our most challenging trips feature tough climbs and truly epic singletrack descents across some challenging terrain through wild backcountry. All of these trips offer the best in local accommodation for your legs to recover in luxury each evening.

Road Cycling Grades

Our road cycling trips are graded based on fitness level required and the overall length of the trip. Our more accessible trips mean shorter days with less ups and longer breaks throughout the day. Our more challenging trips will involve some long days with a fair amount of taxing climbs and sweeping descents.  Like our mountain bike trips, all of these trips include the best in local accommodation and hospitality.

Still Have Questions? – Contact Us

So there you have it. We hope this gives you a greater idea of what to expect and how to choose the dream trip for you. However, it may be helpful to chat to our friendly team who have experienced these trips for themselves and can answer any queries you may have.

Feel free to contact our friendly adventure consultant Rachael ([email protected]) or our guide turned office hero David ([email protected]) and they will be able to fill in any questions you have.