Forth Valley, Fife & Tayside Area use a Local grading system to indicate the difficulty of walks - a full list is shown on this page. Most of our walks are covered by the grades D to A. Grades E and A+ are rarely seen.
Walks are infinitely variable and it can often be difficult to decide exactly which grade should be allocated to a given walk. The equation of distance and ascent must be considered of course, but is the ascent gradual and spread across a large part of the walk, or does it come in just one or two steep sections? What is the terrain like? Even level ground can be tiring if there is no path, as in open moorland. Walk leaders are human and will have their own opinions. It is quite possible to see virtually the same walk listed twice in a programme - once as grade C+ and once as grade B.
Why are there two grading systems?
The printed Area Joint Programme [AJP] has long been the main source of information about walks for members in the Forth Valley, Fife & Tayside Area. The local grade system has been the only system used in every edition. All area walks are also featured online in The Ramblers Walks Finder. In September 2014 Ramblers completely changed the system for uploading walks. This new system does not accept entries that do not include a National Grade [whether or not a Local Grade is shown]. This means that all online listings drawn from Ramblers database show both grades, with the National Grade being the choice for uniformity across all groups and areas.
All walks listings on this site are feeds from Ramblers database. This means they are automatically updated when walks are added to the database and any alterations to walks made in the database are shown on this site within minutes. This gives faster and more accurate results than manual updating could achieve. Additionally, walks are automatically removed at the end of the day they take place. Currently the price for this is the inability to filter walks by Local Grade. [It is hoped that it will be possible to filter walks by Local Grade at a future date.]
How do the two grading systems compare?
The Local system has more divisions than the National system and the grade descriptions give an indication of how they relate to the National system.
To look at it from the other side.
The National Grades 'Easy Access', 'Easy' and 'Leisurely' correspond to Local Grades 'E', 'D' and 'C'. 'Moderate' will normally encompass 'C+' and 'B' Local Grades. 'Strenuous' will normally include 'B+' and 'A' Local Grades. I say - normally - because that is the default . WPCs  can override these correlations if they, or the walk leader, think that a 'C+' walk should be labelled as 'Leisurely' or a 'B' walk should be 'Strenuous' or whatever. 'Technical' is equivalent to 'A+'.
-  WPCs use a bespoke computer application to compile the walks programme for their group. This provides one file [showing only Local Grades] for processing into the Walks Diary of the AJP and another different type of file [including both grades] for upload to Ramblers Walks & Events Manager.
-  Walks Programme Coordinator or Walks Secretary.