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HILLWALKING GRADING

Although hiking grades are subjective, we have tried to provide an overview of the overall difficultly of a hike that we grade as Easy, Moderate, Difficult, Strenuous or Challenging. Distance, ascent in meters and time taken to complete the hike act only as indicators of how difficult or easy a hike may be. Not all terrain types are as easy to navigate or hike through, thus we have broken down the different types of terrain you may encounter on our hikes, and we have included a rating (1-3 stars) for how often you may encounter that type of terrain.

In short, the more stars, the more of that type of terrain you may encounter on the hike. However please keep in mind that weather conditions can change the difficulty of terrain and our Mountain Leaders will adapt where required, this may include altering the route choice. The difficulty ratings below are for normal weather conditions. This, we hope will provide you with a greater picture of what we call an Easy, Moderate, Difficult, Strenuous or Challenging hike.

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Easy

Distance: 5 - 12Kms

Ascent: 250m - 500m

Time: 2 - 5 hours

Forest Track/Trail:

Narrow Trail:

Open Mountainside:

Boggy/Mucky:

Rocky:

Scree:

Steep Slopes:

Exposed:

Level of Fitness Required

Beginner level of fitness. Must be able to walk at least 2 hours at ease.

Sample Route

Ticknock, Diamond Hill

Moderate

Distance: 10 - 15Kms

Ascent: 500m - 800m

Time: 5 - 7 hours

Forest Track/Trail:

Narrow Trail:

Open Mountainside:

Boggy/Mucky:

Rocky:

Scree:

Steep Slopes:

Exposed:

Level of Fitness Required

Average level of fitness. Must be able to walk at least 5 hours at ease.

Sample Route

Derrybawn & Mullacor

Difficult

Distance: 12 - 20Kms

Ascent: 800m - 1000m

Time: 6 - 8 hours

Forest Track/Trail:

Narrow Trail:

Open Mountainside:

Boggy/Mucky:

Rocky:

Scree:

Steep Slopes:

Exposed:

Level of Fitness Required

Moderate level of fitness. Must be able to walk at least 6 hours at ease.

Sample Route

Lugnaqullia, Carrauntoohil

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Strenuous

Distance: 12 - 25Kms

Ascent: 800m - 1500m

Time: 8 - 10 hours

Forest Track/Trail:

Narrow Trail:

Open Mountainside:

Boggy/Mucky:

Rocky:

Scree:

Steep Slopes:

Exposed:

Level of Fitness Required

High levels of fitness. Must be able to walk at least 8 hours at ease.

Sample Route

Reeks Traverse

Challenging

Distance: 20 - 30Kms +

Ascent: 1500m +

Time: 8 -14 hours

Forest Track/Trail:

Narrow Trail:

Open Mountainside:

Boggy/Mucky:

Rocky:

Scree:

Steep Slopes:

Exposed:

Level of Fitness Required

Very high levels of fitness, stamina and endurance required.

Sample Route

Maumturks Traverse

One Star – Occasional amounts of terrain type.
There will be occasional amount of the listed type of terrain, for example on an easy walk there should be no steep or exposed sections of a route (no stars). There may however be some sections of a route that may occasional be mucky, boggy, slightly rocky with open mountainside where there are no obvious or established trails (1 star). An easy walk should also have plenty and regular (3 stars) amounts of track and trails which are well established and obvious to follow.

Two Star – Occasional to regular amounts of terrain type.
There will be occasional to regular amounts of the listed type of terrain, for example on a moderate hike there may occasionally (1 star) be small sections that are exposed (steep slope, narrow ridge with steep ground to one or both sides), however on difficult hikes (2 stars) there may be regular sections that are steep and/or exposed. Moderate to difficult hikes will have occasional to regular amounts of open mountains side, mucky or boggy underfoot conditions and some rocky sections that may need to be navigated.

Three Star – Regular to very frequent amounts of terrain type.
There will be regular to frequent amounts of the listed type of terrain, for example on an easy walk there will be frequent established forest tracks and trails. On a strenuous to challenging hike there will be very frequently open mountains side where there are no established tracks or trails with frequent rough, uneven, or even rocky terrain to be navigated. Equally on strenuous to challenging hikes there will be regular to very frequent amounts of steep and exposed terrain (steep slope, narrow ridge with steep ground to one or both sides).

NOTE: Our difficulty grading system is informed by the National Governing Body (NGB) Mountaineering Ireland. Mountaineering Ireland is the representative body for walkers and climbers in Ireland. See more details on hillwalking grades at Mountaineering Ireland.

HAVE QUESTIONS

If you would like to learn more or have any questions, we would be delighted to help you.