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Discover Sri Lanka

Spend two weeks exploring the delights of this diverse and inspiring island



At a glance

* 14 nights comfortable hotels, all en suite
* Travel by private bus
* Additional travel by train, bicycle and jeep
* Some long drives

Spend two weeks exploring the delights of this diverse and inspiring island

Lapped by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is a natural
paradise with a landscape of verdant mountains, rainforests, paddy fields,
tumbling waterfalls and sweeping gorges. From ancient Buddhist temples, the
fortress of Sigiriya, the towns of Kandy and Nuwara Eliya in the hill
country, the wildlife of Yala National Park (which has one of the highest
concentrations of leopards in the world), to the idyllic palm-fringed beaches
of the south coast, this small island offers incredible variety, made extra
special by its laid back atmosphere and hospitable people.

https://www.exodus.co.uk/sites/exod/files/node/itinerary/images/ail_2.jpg?t=1DSsdN

Type: Land Only

Flight prices available from NeenanCycling. Contact us for details

What’s included

* All breakfasts and 1 lunch
* All accommodation
* All transport and listed activities
* Tour leader throughout
* Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

Food:
All breakfasts and 1 lunch is included.

We suggest allowing about £15-£17 (approx. US – US.50) per day for
all other meals. Sri Lankan cuisine is a fascinating reflection of the
island’s heritage; there is a unique fusion of fresh local produce with
spices brought to the island over the centuries by Malays, Arabs, Indians as
well as the Dutch, Portuguese and English. Despite (or perhaps because of)
these influences, Sri Lankan cuisine is often referred to as simply ‘Rice
and Curry’. This is the staple dish in most restaurants and is usually a
serving of rice accompanied by assorted meat and vegetable curries as well as
various pickles, ‘sambols,’ and a handful of tiny poppadum’s – all
using the contrasting flavours of coconut, chilli, curry leaves, cinnamon and
garlic.

Vegetarians are well catered for but please inform us before departure of any
special dietary requests. Please note that in Sri Lanka the availability of
certain products is minimal or non-existent, for example wheat or dairy-free.
Please be prepared for this and you may need to bring these from home.
Spicier food can be avoided easily and lots of the hotels will serve Western
options alongside traditional food.

Start destination: Veyangoda

End destination: Colombo

Cycling profile

Day 1

The group flight arrives at Colombo’s Bandaranaike Airport and we transfer to
our hotel approximately 30 minutes away. Those not flying with the group will
meet us at the hotel.
*The Covanro or alternative accommodation in the area*

Day 2

We depart after breakfast for the drive (approx. 4 hours) through lush green
countryside (a mix of coconut palms, paddy fields and banana plantations)
through Kurunegala to Dambulla. Here we visit the magnificent Cave Temple,
for some, the most impressive sight in Sri Lanka. There are colourful, well
preserved paintings and statues of Buddha inside the caves, which date back
to the 1st century BC. After lunch we continue to Sigiriya where we stay for
the night. From our hotel we can see Lions Rock rising up from the plains
(occasionally we may stay nearer to Dambulla due to hotel availability).
*Hotel Sigiriya or alternative accommodation in the area*

Day 3

This morning we drive to the foot of the Lions Rock at Sigiriya. The imposing
5th century rock fortress of Sigiriya rises 600 feet from the plains
overlooking the surrounding countryside and giving far-reaching views. Used
as a safe haven from invaders, the route to the top goes via a series of
steep steps and gangways. From the base, where a moat surrounds impressive
water gardens, we ascend 200m, passing an overhanging rock under which superb
portraits of native maidens holding flowers and temple offerings still adorn
the rock wall. Crowning the flat-topped summit of the rock are extensive
remains of the King’s Summer Palace.
During the afternoon there is a chance to enjoy an optional game drive in
either Minneriya or Kaudulla National Park or the Hurulu Eco Park to see
elephants in their natural habitat. For those who don’t want to take part,
there is time to relax at the hotel.
*Hotel Sigiriya or alternative accommodation in the area*

Day 4

This morning we have a short drive to Giritale where our usual hotel
overlooks the scenic Giritale Tank. The island’s early inhabitants solved
the dual problem of heat and lack of water in this dry area by constructing
large tanks to act as reservoirs and cool the warm breeze. Nowadays they
provide an important habitat for bird life, particularly from August to
April. Today we take to bikes and cycle at a leisurely pace through a series
of small villages and lakes (if you don’t want to cycle you can follow the
group in the support vehicle). We should see plenty of bird life including
Egrets, Brahmany kites, Kingfishers and Bulbuls. Stopping for lunch in a
traditional village will break up the journey. In the late afternoon we
return to our hotel in Giritale.
*Giritale Hotel or alternative accommodation in the area*

Day 5

After breakfast we take a short drive to the 10th century capital of Sri
Lanka; Polonnaruwa, the ancient capital of the Sinhalese. Here there are many
Buddhist relics and ruins dating from a thousand years ago when Sinhalese
culture reached its zenith. The city flourished in the 12th century after the
decision was made to move the capital from Anuradhapura, so it was further
away from incursions from Southern India. The ruins are therefore younger and
better preserved than those at Anuradhapura. We visit many of the temples,
palaces, huge dagobas (Buddhist stupas) and remarkable Buddhist sculptures.
After lunch we head into the hills to the picturesque town of Kandy. On the
way we stop at a spice garden near Matale where we can see various spices and
herbs growing, and there is a chance to stock up on massage oils, spices and
Ayurvedic medicines. This is a long but fascinating day and we arrive at
Kandy in the early evening.
*Hotel Thilanka or alternative accommodation in the area*

Day 6

Kandy is located by a small lake and we spend two full days in and around the
town. On the first day we will visit the Temple of the Tooth, which houses
Sri Lanka’s most important Buddhist relic. The Tooth of Buddha was taken from
the funeral pyre in 543 BC and only found its way to Sri Lanka in the 4th
century AD. There are literally hundreds of worshippers who visit the temple
each day and in August the most spectacular ceremony takes place. Some of our
trips in August should coincide with the Kandy festival, but the exact dates,
decided by priests, are not known until 5 months prior to the event. After
our visit we drive to a beautiful viewpoint over Kandy overlooked by a huge
Buddha, and visit a gem museum where you can see the products of the
traditional methods of gem extraction. Another highlight is the vast
Peradeniya Botanical Garden with species of orchid that are endemic to Sri
Lanka. In the evening we may have the chance to attend a performance of
dancing and fire walking.
The second day is free to explore this wonderful town. The surrounding hills
are wonderful, offering fantastic views of the town below and there are many
handicraft stores and antique shops in which to browse.
*Hotel Thilanka or alternative accommodation in the area*

Day 7

Leaving Kandy early, we have a spectacular drive through the countryside on
the way to Kitulgala. Here we have the opportunity of going on a walk through
the jungle or local villages followed by an optional white water rafting
excursion. The rafting costs extra (see the Optional Excursions section),
lasts a maximum of 1.5 hours and there is a choice of gentle or wild water
(grade 3 rapids) depending on your preference. Those of us who do not wish to
go rafting will be able to freshen up and relax by the water until the
rafters return in time for lunch. Afterwards we will drive to our hotel in
Nuwara Eliya.
(Please note that from the full moon day of December to the full moon day of
May it is possible to climb Adams Peak. This is optional and you need to be
very fit to attempt this. You would leave Nuwara Eliya at 11pm on day 8 and
drive to the base of the peak. From here it is a strenuous 4 hour climb to
the top in time for sunrise. We then return to Nuwara Eliya to join the group
for lunch on day 9).
*Hill Club Hotel or alternative accommodation in the area*

Day 8

This morning we will have free time to explore the beautiful town of Nuwara
Eliya. Nuwara Eliya was a popular hill station during the British era and is
situated in the cool highland air at 1890m. Known locally as ‘Little England’
it is dotted with British style houses and parks and features a golf club and
a racecourse! Following lunch we will visit a nearby tea factory and learn
about the process of tea production.
*Hill Club Hotel or alternative accommodation in the area*

Day 9

We have an early start this morning and take a 30km drive south to Horton
Plains, a large plateau over 2,000m high, overlooked by the second and third
highest peaks in Sri Lanka. The scenery is beautiful and the best way to
explore is on foot. We take a guided walk through the rolling grasslands
where we hope to see such as the Sambur and Purple Faced monkey. We also
visit ‘World’s End’ which is one of the most stunning sights in Sri Lanka
where the ground drops 1050m to the plains. Following this we catch a train
from the highest railway station in the country – within an hour and a half
we drop from 1889m to 1097m. The train travels through the cloud forest into
the tea plantations, with breath-taking views of the lush valley below.
Although the train can be very busy on occasion, this is still a great
experience. We get off at Bandarawela, a town relatively untouched by
tourism.
*Orient Hotel or alternative accommodation in the area*

Day 10

Today we continue on to Ella Gap where we have spectacular views of the
coastal plain nearly 1,000m below. Almost the entire southern part of the
island is in view and on a particularly clear day the shimmering silver of
the Indian Ocean is visible. Heading south out of the hills we travel to
Kataragama on the plains; this is our base for visiting Sri Lanka’s best
known national park, Yala. The park is popular for elephant, leopard, bear,
crocodile and Wild boar. At 97,800 hectares, this is the second largest of
Sri Lanka’s national parks. Its open undulating terrain made it famous for
elephants for many years, but recently the park has also become better known
for leopard. The park, which is primarily shrub jungle with several salt and
fresh water lagoons, has one of the highest concentrations of leopard per
square kilometre in the world. (Please note that the sanctuary may be closed
for 4-6 weeks from September to October allowing the park authorities to
check the welfare of the animals. We therefore go to an alternative area
close by, usually Udawalawe National Park).
*Mandara Rosen or alternative accommodation in the area*

Day 11

Today we leave for the coast, with its beautiful palm fringed bays. Stopping
on the way at Hambantota and walking to a nearby farm house where you be
offered tea in a coconut shell along with a local snack. We will mix with
real Sri Lankan life and take part in some traditional Sri Lankan games,
returning to our bus in tractors used by the farmers. We have the option of
enjoying lunch at one of the houses that we built for Tsunami victims; this
may be one of the best curries of your trip! Continuing on to Ahangama in the
afternoon we arrive at our coastal hotel and you can relax for the rest of
the day.
*Insight Resort or alternative accommodation in the area*

Day 12

Today is a free day to relax on the beach or by the hotel pool. There are
also optional activities during the day including a boat ride through
mangrove swamps to a cinnamon plantation or, from November to April you can
go whale watching off Dondra head, one of the best places in the world for
seeing Blue and Sperm whales. Huge pods of dolphins are also often seen
playing alongside the boats.
*Insight Resort or alternative accommodation in the area*

Day 13

We set off today and drive along the coastal road to the historic port of
Galle, which dates back to the 17th century, and now a UNESCO world heritage
site. On the way we stop at a small folk museum inspired by the local writer
Martin Wickramasinghe. The museum is a typical house from the Koggala region
and is set amongst beautiful gardens. We continue along the expressway to
Colombo reaching our hotel in the late afternoon.

*Hotel Mirage or alternative accommodation in the area*

Day 14

The trip ends after breakfast. Those on the group flights will be taken to
the airport in time for their flight home.
**

Prices & Dates

Date: 2018-07-012018-07-15

Trip code: AIL180701

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Customer Feedback

Amazing Sri Lanka

Summary:
It was amazing to discover this beautiful country. The locals, temples,
scenery, nature, smells… loved it loved it loved it!!

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Climbing Adams Peak, elephant safari.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Roshan was THE BEST! So helpful, knowledgeable, kind, funny. It was a
pleasure to spend two weeks with him and his team. Thank you Gamini, Nisha
and Roshan for such an enjoyable trip.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Just enjoy and be open minded.

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
No

Read full review

AIL 180415

Summary:
Amazing trip around Sri Lanka

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Seeing all the wild animals in the Yala National Park. We even saw a Lepard
with her babies having lunch. It was just amazing!

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Sujan was a great tour guide. He knows his county by heart, is sharing all
his knowledge (he was even teaching us some local words). He has great humour
and was always there to help if needed.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Bring a lot of sunscreen and insect repellant 🙂
The best is to change your cash at the airport. There are not that many ATM
possibilities during the trip

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
This trip is the best trip if you want to discover Sri Lanka in 2 weeks. Most
of the places we’ve visited were full of natives, giving the feeling that we
were not just visiting touristic places. The trip has a great balance between
temples, sportive activities, free & relaxing time. It’s an amazing trip to
meet people from different countries.

Read full review

discover sri lanka

Summary:
We had an amazing and enchanting tri to Sri Lanka everything was wonderful.
The hotels, the guide, the food and most of all the beautiful scenery.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Going on the elephant safari it was just magical

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Ruwan was a knowledgeable and patient guide and very proud of his country and
was delighted to show us around

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Be a Sri Lankan and enjoy yourself as if you were local dont look for western
stuff and you will enjoy yourself. Just muck in!

Read full review

Smiling Sri Lanka

Summary:
Smiling people, beautiful scenery, wildlife, culture, history, delicious food
and great company; our trip to Sri Lanka ticked so many boxes and we
absolutely loved it.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
We elected to climb Adam’s Peak. This was a highlight for me. It was
physically challenging, with beautiful views from the top, but to see all of
the pilgrims making their way up and down, many of them quite elderly and
infirm, was so inspiring.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Roshan was the perfect guide. He was friendly, knowledgeable, informative,
patient, helpful, funny and entertaining, He really added enormously to our
trip and we were very grateful for his services.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Travellers need to know that even more expensive items need to be paid for in
rupees. I had expected to be able to pay for these items (eg rafting and
whale watching) by credit card but this was not the case. Had we known this
in advance we would have changed a lot more money at the airport.

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
No great trip. We will definitely be travelling with Exodus again.

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Discover Sri lanka

Summary:
This was a wonderful holiday experience
Beautiful lush country
Abundant wildelife
The locals were very kind and helpful- never felt unsafe
Sights and scenes were so varied and the itinerary so diverse each day
something new and exciting to experience
Cycle on local tracks to sample a village lunch – very tasty
Safari – elephants, leopards
Whale watching
Temples
Tea plantation
Train journey
Sandy beaches
The warm Indian Ocean
The food/ delicious
I could go on…
Our tour guide – neelaka – fabulous so knowledgeable and enthusiastic with
humour
This is a must holiday who loves to explore and sample new cultures and
environments
Can’t enthuse enough about it
Thank you exodus!!

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Experiencing a new cultural experience

Read full review

Good Trip With Lots To See With A Good Guide

Summary:
Great trip with a busy itinerary. But also a few hours free to do what you
want also. Well balanced trip.
Weather was very hot some days and the 5 mile bike ride was too hot for some.
Jungle walk was also very humid. Luckily Sigiri Rock was cool that am, but if
it had been high 90s weather that am, then that would also be a tough climb
for some. Whale watching was an optional extra but it was absolutely
brilliant, we saw lots of whales. Being a bird watcher, I counted 83
different species throughout the holiday. Along with 100+ elephants in
Kaudula National Park and the whales, the trip had lots of wildlife for
people like me to see and enjoy. All in all, a great trip, but if you don’t
like the heat, then be aware, that Sri Lanka is a hot country. There are a
few early am wake up calls, but was always worth it.

Lastly, the guide Sujeeva, was absolutely brilliant. He took us to some
amazing restaurants (and family homes) to eat every evening. The Red Snapper
on the beach was absolutely stunning. I would recommend this holiday for
anyone thinking of going to Sri Lanka.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
The whale watching. An early am start but worth it.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Absolutely brilliant!

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Be aware of the heat.

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
Only that the drive down through the Ella Gap was absolutely stunning and we
could have probably stopped for a walk to a really good view point as we
thought the drive down through the mountains was stunning.

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Sri Lankan Discovery

Summary:
I thought the trip was very well organised and our guide Ruwan was excellent

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Seeing a leopard in the wild . I also enjoyed The 3 visits to the houses of
local people and having the privilege of them cooking a meal for us.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Excellent could not have been better. He was kind thoughtful and very capable
with a very good knowledge of local history.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Don’t expect a relaxing holiday there is a lot of travelling on this trip
and some early morning starts

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
Personally I could have done without the trips to the gem factory and spice
garden. I also found the turtle hatchery quite distasteful. The turtles are
kept in very small bare tanks. Some cannot be released back 8nto the wild ans
so may spend the next 90 years in one of these awful tanks. I see a visit to
this place is not now included in your itinerary.

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Discover Sri Lanka

Summary:
We thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of this trip. It was very varied in
experiences from Buddhist temples to a taste of the local culture and life of
the villagers. The contrast of the busy noisy towns to the tea plantations ,
national parks & forest areas. The whole experience was made extra special
and interesting by our excellent guide’ Bob'( his Sri Lankan name is
impossible to pronounce), who explained clearly the history, culture & life
of Sri Lanka, illustrated by his own personal stories. Hotels were of a good
standard and the food & service were on the whole good. The train ride was an
experience, expect to stand for 2 hours, though some local women made a small
seating space for me and I enjoyed hearing their life stories and they
generously wanted to share their snacks with me! Yala national park was very
good and we did see a leopard however, the game drive in Kaudulla National
park was too crowded with other viewers.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Seeing a Leopard in Yala National Park, Seeing blue wales, the white water
rafting, and visits to local villages where we were served local food and
drank from freshly cut coconuts. As well as the Buddhist Temple of the tooth.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Excellent, the best we have had yet, so informative without being over
powering, always smiling and his own personal stories brought to life the
history, religion and culture of the Island. I would live to go on another
trip led by him.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Make sure that you have a light fleece for the hills of Nuwara Ella. Have
plenty of sun cream & after sun for the coast. Be ready for sudden downpours.
Trust your leader he knows the best time to arrive at attractions which might
mean an early start! Just enjoy all the different experiences

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
I feel on our last day we could have explored Galle for longer and It was a
shame that we had to end our holiday at the hotel Mirage in Columbo as it was
situated on a very noisy road and our last breakfast was very poor, which was
a disappointing note to what had been a fantastic experience.

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Mr. Ken Garrod

Summary:
An absolutely wonderful trip. Full of enjoyable activities and varied,
excellent and interesting hotels. Would definitely recommend.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Walking up Sigiriya Rock Fortress with the very knowledgeable tour leader.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
The best – well planned, knowledgeable and fun

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
We did all the optional activities except Adams Peak and really enjoyed them
all.

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
One of our best holidays

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Discover Sri Lanka

Summary:
A superb trip with so many varied experiences and one which although most of
the major sites were visited also included chances to see day to day Sri
Lanka and meet the people whose ever smiling personalties are one of the
hallmarks of this beautiful country.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
There were so many inspirational moments that prioritising some of them
proves rather difficult. The temples, climbing to the top of Sigiriya Rock,
the ancient site of Polonnaruwa, exploring Kandy, especially the ceremony in
the Temple of the Tooth, but above all seeing a wild elephant emerging from
the forest of the Kadulla National Park and then seeing such large numbers of
elephants, many with young, on the open plains of the park. Also, seeing a
leopard, all be it for only a few seconds, and the other wildlife in the Yala
National Park. The whale watching was also another highlight.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Roshan has won many awards for running this trip and it is easy to see why.
He was able to remain calm at all times, his instructions were always very
clear and he drew the group together so that although we were all strangers
at the beginning, by the end we felt we had known each other for years!
His hidden talent of singing on the penultimate night will always be
remembered!
He was able to rearrange things at a moments notice, for example when it was
obvious that doing the Horton Plains trek was not really feasible in the
thick mist that we encountered at the start, he managed to still get us the
train ride(well worth it), and a walk to Little Adam’s Peak which was at
lower altitude and so therefore meant we did get some excellent views.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Most of the general advice has been given in previous reviews but one useful
extra we did was to extend our stay by 2 nights to include Colombo which
wasn’t on the itinerary. Roshan, however, was very helpful to us by changing
our extra 2 nights in Colombo to an excellent hotel resort called the Suriya
just north of Negombo and getting our transfer there to include a Colombo
City Tour. A relaxing way to end a busy tour!

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
Contrary to some of the reviews, we did enjoy our stay at the Hill Club and
eating in style on the first night there. It is quirky but the whole
experience is to relive a bygone age and shouldn’t be missed. To find your
room prepared for retiring with a hot water bottle in the bed was truly
retro! On our second night we had an excellent Thai meal at the Grand next
door.
There was some excellent food on this trip. The curries prepared by the
families we visited in the villages were so varied and tasty and many of the
hotel buffets similarly had a wide variety of curries available as did some
of our lunch stops.

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Activity Levels


Activity Levels range from Leisurely to Tough, the grading takes into account the daily cycling distances and terrain, as well as any technical riding skill required. We also consider the number of cycling days as there can be a cumulative affect from tiredness on a longer trip and the type of accommodation used, as this can also influence your day to day recovery.

If you are in any doubt, please give us a call on +353-1-607 9900 or email us.


Activity level 1 - Leisurely Activity level 1: Leisurely

If you can ride a bike and enjoy gentle exercise, these are an ideal introduction to a cycling holiday. No routes are entirely flat, so expect some short climbs and descents. Maximum daily height gain is approximately 250 metres and daily distances rarely exceed 50kms (32 miles), any longer days are often optional.


Activity level 3 - Moderate Activity level 3: Moderate

Most people who enjoy a weekend riding at home will enjoy a Moderate trip. You need to be in good health and reasonably fit. Ideal for occasional cyclists, or as a more relaxed trip for fitter riders. Moderate off-road trips require no previous experience. Distances rarely exceed 70kms (43 miles) per day.


Activity level 5 - Challenging Activity level 5: Challenging

For any ride at this level, fitness is important. Challenging trips require confidence in your ability and physical condition. They are equivalent to an extended period of cycling at home. Previous mountain biking experience is essential for Challenging off road trips as they will involve some technical riding.


Activity level 7 - Tough Activity level 7: Tough

Previous experience of the cycling style or surface is a must as these routes have long cycling days and tougher terrain on both road and off road trips. You need complete confidence in your fitness and technical ability to cope with difficult or steep terrain, rough surfaces and longer distances. Ideal for those seeking a challenge!


Split grades

In order to provide more accuracy, where a trip falls between two grades we use an intermediate or ‘split’ grade, for example 2: Leisurely/Moderate.


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