High Level Planning

High Level Planning

Estimating the time taken to cover a certain distance is one of the basics of route planning navigation

High Level Planning

A key part of planning your walking route is to estimate the distance to be travelled so that you can understand whether it’s within yours and the group's capabilities, and whether possible within the time you have available. There are a number ways to measure distance, all of which need a map. 

Some of these questions will have been addressed on the previous page.

Measuring Distance

  • Count grid squares as a broad measure, which will give a good indication distance to be travelled. Only good for a rough estimate, but a quick way of knowing whether an ideas for a route is worth planning in further detail.

  • Use a map measurer

  • Edge of piece of paper (marking the paper at each turn of the route)

  • Piece of string 

  • Roamer scales on a compass or standalone version scale


Apart from distance, what type of terrain does the route cover? Progress will be slowed by rough terrain, as well as snow & ice. Factor this into your high level plan.


How experienced are the people you'll be walking with? Is it within their ability and their level of kit? 


A quick look at the weather forecast should give an indication whether your chosen route is appropriate for the forecast conditions. For example, strong winds will slow you down. Be realistic about whether there will be winter conditions for your intended route, and adapt the route to avoid dangers, possibly by taking a completely different and lower level route.

Available Daylight

Know how much daylight you have to play with. Check the sunrise, but in particular sunset times, available from weather sites. Make a note of these times on your route card.