The Frederyck Beckwater review system

When reviewing the different walks I use a five-star system with four categories. One (or even zero) star is the lowest, and five is the best.

Things to see

Beauty is pretty straigh-forward. A walk through a run-down industrial landscape with oil spills and rusted steel mills might garner a 0-star rating, while rolling green hillsides with quaint wooden bridges crossing small gurgling streams can garner five stars. A trail doesn’t need to be spectacular to get five stars. A small stream is as beautiful as a huge river.

Wildlife describes how varied and interesting the flora and fauna is on the trail. An abundance of species, the rarities of what you might encounter and how likely you are to spot fascinating lifeforms all meld together in this category. Again, species that you might encounter need not be spectacularly rare for this category to receive high ratings. Lots of different plants, insects and birds etc can do just as well. 

Things to see is a category devoted to how interesting the sights are along the trail. Old churches, spectacular waterfalls, rifts, canyons, deep forests, open sweeping plains, cool islands and deep lakes can all garner high ratings. I’ve tried to give this rating from a stranger’s perspective, ie as if you’re visiting this part of the world for the first time. 

The Overall category is a summary. This is not an average or median score, but rather a combination of how likely I am to recommend the trail to somebody else and how much I enjoyed walking it myself. Zero stars obviously means that it’s not worth the dirt that accumulates under your boots, and five stars means it’s a top destination in that country or part of the world. 

Bamboo forest along the Nakasendo Trail, Japan

I have no ratings for difficulty of a specific trail, as that is very dependant on a great deal of factors. Each trail post will usually have some form of description of which parts I think are difficult, and why. Steep inclines, bad trail markers, long stretches with no good rest stops etc can all contribute to difficulty, but it varies immensly, so I think grading them makes little sense.

 – Frederyck

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