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The capabilities of your party

One of the biggest variables in planning your route is the capability of your party. You need to bear in mind that you will only be able to travel at the speed of your slowest member. Unless there are enough of you to safely split up should the walk become too much for one or more members of the party, the route plan will need to be geared to that person.

Of course, you cannot always tell in advance what the group will be like. You may not even know some of the members, in which case you should try to get some advance information on the type of walks they usually undertake and how quickly they walk them. It is better to have too much information than too little.

It's also worth asking questions that can be answered objectively. When some people say they do a 'long walk' each weekend they mean anything over 3 miles! For others a 'long walk' might mean 15 miles or more; it's a very subjective term. The same goes for equipment; don't just ask if they have 'proper gear' for hill walking, give them a checklist.
Being ambitious
Considering the party's capabilities is not the same as demanding super-fitness or great ability. Hill walking is open to many many people, including those with disabilities and advanced years. It is just a matter of making suitable plans.

If you have an ambition to climb a mountain but need some assistance don't hold back from asking for it. Kirkby Stephen Mountain Rescue Team members, for instance, have guided people up to summits and helped them to achieve their dreams. If you have such a challenge in mind please get in touch and we may well be able to help.   

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