Planning your daily distance

Conic HillIt is hard to predict how far you will walk comfortably in a day. Individuals vary enormously, and the same person walks at different speeds on different terrain, or if part of a group. The main factors affecting your average speed are:

  • group size and fitness
  • terrain and gradient
  • quality of the surroundings and the weather.

A group will travel at the pace of its slowest member, or a little less. Terrain is crucial: through a peat-bog, or on loose scree or stones, you will walk slowly and tire more quickly. Gradient affects progress, however fit you are, and even walking downhill can be surprisingly tiring. In splendid weather you may enjoy lingering, whereas in lashing rain, on the last stretch towards a hot shower, you may make astonishing progress.

A simple rule is this: if you are walking steadily long-distance on a flat path with a good surface, you may average around 2.5 miles per hour (4 km/hr) overall. If you are climbing or the going is rough, expect 2 miles per hour (3.2 km/hr) or even less. (These figures exclude stops: remember that the further you walk, the more certain it is that you will stop for food, drink and a rest.)