Our grading guidelines should give you a better idea of what to expect on your trip; how challenging the activity (or activities) will be. The grade applies to the overall intensity of the holiday, so some days may be a little tougher than stated and some a little bit easier.
You know your own capabilities best, so whilst we are all for challenging yourself, it is very important to consider your fitness and experience carefully while selecting a trip.
The activity grade will help you choose the right adventure, and enjoy it comfort and safety (whilst having a lot of fun). If you have any questions or concerns, we're always here to offer advice.
Daily Distance: 0-8km (0-5 miles)
Short distances on low level, relatively flat paths that are well maintained and easy to follow. Perfect for those with little or no previous experience of walking holidays, or those looking for a relaxing experience. Browse Easy Walking Holidays.
Easy - Moderate Walking
Daily Distance: 8-16 km (5-10 miles)
Some longer distances on varied terrain but mostly well-maintained trails, and/or quiet country roads and paths. Some ascent and descent but nothing too strenuous. Perfect for those with a relatively good level of fitness, browse Easy - Moderate holidays.
Daily Distance: 16-20 km (10-12 miles)
Longer distances on rugged and varied terrain with regular steep ascents and descents. Ideal for regular walkers with a good level of fitness or beginners looking for a challenge. Browse our Moderate walking holidays.
Moderate - Strenuous Walking
Daily Distance: 20-24 km (12-15 miles)
Long days with significant and consistent steep ascent and descents on varied terrain which is often rugged underfoot, requiring a good level of fitness. There may be some exposed sections that require a head for heights. Navigation could be more difficult in poor weather conditions. Browse Moderate - Strenuous walking holidays here.
Daily Distance: 24-28 km (15-17 miles)
Full days on challenging terrain, distances, ascents and descents suited for experienced walkers with a high level of fitness. Terrain is rough and could be Alpine or mountainous in nature and remote. Possibility of exposed sections and/or sections with cables/chains/ladders to aid ascent and descent, a head for heights is required. Navigation could be challenging in poor weather conditions and some trips may include higher altitudes. Browse Strenuous grade holidays.
Daily Distance: +28km (+17miles)
Designed for very fit hikers looking for their next challenge; a head for heights, a sure foot and experience required. Rough, mountainous terrain including narrow scree and rocky paths, light scrambling, exposure and use of cables/chains/ladders to aid ascent and descent. Navigation could be challenging in poor weather conditions. Location may be remote, with extreme temperatures, weather and high altitudes adding to the challenge on these Extreme grade holidays.
Daily Distance: Less than 30km (18 miles)
Ideal for beginners on their first cycling holiday, or those who simply wish to take it easy. There’s plenty of time to explore en route with daily distances under 30 km. Sometimes there will be an occasional longer day, on almost completely flat or slightly rolling terrain. You will either be cycling on dedicated cycle path/routes or on quiet country roads, coming onto busier town roads only to reach your accommodation. Browse Easy cycling holidays.
Easy - Moderate Cycling
Daily Distance: 30-40km (18-25 miles)
Perfect for occasional riders seeking to discover a region from the saddle, and comfortable riding up to 40 km / 25 miles each day over a few consecutive days. Shorter daily mileages allow time to stop and take in the scenery, visit wineries, museums or stop for a long lunch before arriving at your destination. You may be cycling on dedicated cycle paths or quiet country roads with very occasional stretches on busier roads. Terrain will be largely easy-going but may be rolling or include 1 or 2 short steeper ascents/descents. View more Easy - Moderate cycling trips.
Daily Distance: 40–65 km (25 – 40 miles)
Designed for relatively fit regular cyclists seeking an active holiday. Spend much of the day in the saddle experiencing a region and discovering its variety over longer daily distances. The terrain will be varied, and usually rolling with some longer or steeper ascents/descents on quiet country roads with the occasional short stretch on busier roads through towns. View Moderate graded cycling.
Moderate - Strenuous Cycling
Daily Distance: 65–80 km (40–50 miles)
For regular cyclists, looking for a sense of achievement at the end of the day. Comfortable with longer distances, taking in rolling and hillier terrain with occasional steep ascents/descents and some longer ascents/descents on largely low gradients. Cycle largely on quiet country roads while being comfortable on busier stretches where necessary. Browse some Moderate to Strenuous holidays.
Daily Distance: 80–100 km (50–62 miles)
Ideal for fit cyclists who relish hill climbs and look forward to snaking descents on switchback roads. Most trips in this grade are road cycling tours for experienced riders who enjoy consecutive days of long and hilly riding with up to approximately 1000 m per day. You should have a degree of bike handling skills and be comfortable on long/steep ascents/descents. Riding is on quiet country roads wherever possible but there maybe stretches of busier roads particularly as you pass through or cycle into towns or cities. Browse Strenuous grade trips.
Daily Distance: Over 100 km (over 62 miles)
For the experienced, very fit road cyclist keen to test themselves, comfortable on a variety of road types and has good bike handling skills – particularly on steep ascents/descents. Excellent stamina will allow you to enjoy consecutive challenging days in the saddle. Expect alpine cols and daily ascents which could be up to 2500 m; trips in this category include ascents of the iconic Mont Ventoux and road cycling in the Pyrenees on Tour de France routes.
Important Notes on Walking Grades
All walking grades are based not only on daily distances, but also on terrain, elevation gain and loss and altitude. Not all distances are exact within the grading system but are designed to be a guideline and best represent the trip’s level. For example, a trip with approximately 20km per day could be graded moderate rather than moderate to strenuous because the terrain is almost completely flat, or a trip with daily distances around 23km km per day could be graded as strenuous is there are some steep hill to negotiate along the way. Ask your specialist if you have any concerns at all about selecting the right trip.
Important Note on Cycling Grades
All cycling grades are based not only on daily distances, but also on terrain, elevation gain and loss and altitude. Not all distances are exact within the grading system but are designed to be a guideline and best represent the trip’s level. For example, a trip with approximately 55km per day could be graded easy to moderate rather than moderate because the terrain is almost completely flat, or trip with daily distances around 40 km per day could be graded moderate as it is particularly hilly. Ask your specialist if you have any concerns at all about selecting the right trip.
Booking was responsive and flexible. Accommodation was varied and generally of very good quality (the main exception being the Rowardennan Hotel which was below the standard of the rest - we realise there is no other option!). Background information was comprehensive and helpful.
One mix-up over the pickup point at Kingshouse, where the itinerary was wrong, apparently. Sorted out in the end, but initial response to query from Glencoe Centre was somewhat unhelpful.
For people of our generation, it was inconvenient to have everything electronic. Much prefer the little booklets provided by other companies in the past.
Could have provided better weather on occasions!
With COVID and a shortish window to organise the trip there were some challenges. However Mac’s did not update me within the 5 day period and I had to contact them to ascertain progress to discover the trip was not finalised. That said a lot of effort was made to get the planning over the line. This involved more input on my part than I would have hoped.
The trip itself was very enjoyable and Macs choice of accommodation excellent.
The trip was in a remote area and I am not sure all mapping was available for the route
All in all though a great trip and a decent effort from Macs.
Mr Chris Langton 23/09/2020
Walking holiday fully planned with only a week's notice.
All accommodation very good and taxis were reliable.
Able to amend booking to exclude baggage transfer with 3 days notice.
Phone calls answered quickly.
Only downside (small) was slightly optimistic view of time duration of one leg.
Mrs Carole Hathaway 23/09/2020
Great Isle of Wight walking holiday. Took a little longer to confirm the booking than normal and I had to chase. Would have liked better quality accommodation - B&Bs were very good but hotels much less so.
Mr Hywel Thomas Thomas 23/09/2020
The accommodation was excellent and the baggage transfer was seamless.
Mrs Jennifer McCabe 22/09/2020
The accommodation was really good, as were the walks. The GPS came into it’s own on the day we had poor visibility.
The holiday was great, had a few hairy moments, few drenchings and a few lovely days.
Great trip! Only one hiccup. One the hotels was unexpectedly closed due to covid. But Macs was awesome and had another room for us in about 15 minutes!
Mr John Baldwin 21/09/2020
Good daily walking challenges - some days quite demanding but nothing too excessive. The accommodation booked was all excellent and some really excellent particularly when you remember the additional difficulties Covid 19 has introduced.
My booking was last minute and there were a few issues with dealing with my request that there be no taxi transfers. I was also drawn to the itinerary by the advertised stay in the Kingshouse Hotel but was told when booking that this depended on availability. I had to pay the full amount before accommodation was confirmed even though I stated I would not be interested in the itinerary if there were transfers (too many bad experiences) and if I couldn’t stay at the Kingshouse. This took considerable time to resolve and exasperation as it seemed to me that too many Mac people were in and out of the booking. This seems to be the case with previous bookings and recent enquiries. I lost interest in my most recent enquiry.
They responded quickly to my questions, but it often took several attempts to elicit the desired response
We definitely got the worst room in two of our hotels/B&Bs, we assume because Macs Adventures only generally pay for the cheapest rooms. One taxi didn't show up and we had to ring to arrange. The Itinerary could easily be improved - eventually you realise they try to write it to cover a number of similar trips but it means some of it is not relevant to our trip, which isn't always immediately obvious and so confusing. It took quite some time before our accommodation and transfers were confirmed and I had to chase this on a number of occasions.
Mrs Erica Lee 21/09/2020
Arrangements all ok. Accommodation welcoming and comfortable apart from the Garrison hotel in Fort William-grumpy unhelpful staff, dreadful breakfast, broken shower.
Accuracy of the walk and general information could be better-some days were 2 miles longer than we expected. I think the walk should be a day longer, accommodation allowing.
Ms Sally Roberts 21/09/2020
Generally good but little information supplied
We have used Macs a few times and they are always helpful. All arrangements went to plan but unfortunately there weren't any trip notes for Hadrian's Cycleway. Finding the way was not a problem because the route is well signed but a few notes to highlight points of interest were needed. We phoned to ask whether anything was available and were directed to the notes for the walk. This was better than nothing but the walk does not follow the same route and is done in the opposite direction.
Organised a holiday for us last minute. Did a great job and then were very flexible when we changed the schedule to do other walks
Mr Jon McFarlane 20/09/2020
Well organised trip, really enjoyed it
Mrs Claire Wilcox 20/09/2020
On this occasion & unusually for Mac, the booking lines of communication were extremely poor (‘radio silence For days’). This meant that the holiday itself was compromised by the late decisions. Another group with the same itinerary experienced the same issue. Issue of a hard copy itinerary is essential & should have been arranged. I’ve assumed that the problems were a consequence of the lockdown situation, furloughed staff etc
They were very helpful, recommending different options to suit me. Also no problem when I then changes the date and added two friends to the trip! All the accommodation and bag transfers worked seamlessly and the App was brilliant with the downloaded maps just to check location. I will definitely use them again. This is not a luxury tour company, but they do sort everything out for walkers.
Have used Macs adventures many times. Always impressed with their service, friendly staff and great accommodation. Thanks x