3 Route Planning – Timing

How to work out your timings, and keep to them

Naismith’s Rule and eDofE

You use Naismith’s Rule to calculate how long each leg of your journey will take.  eDofE helps you with this as you prepare your route card.

Depends onRulesIn eDofE mapping
Distance & SpeedSpeed – say 4 km per hourSet it at top of card
Height climbedAdd 10 minutes for 100 metres climbedAutomatic
RestsAllow 10 minutes per hour & 30 for lunchYou add this

As you walk

You need to be able to estimate how long it will take for each ‘leg’ of your route, even if it is not a separate line in your route card.   Your tools are:

  • Compass, which has rulers marked on it to help you measure.  Make sure you know which scale to use.
  • Watch, which is better than a phone for this.  It should measure seconds. 
  • A bit of maths, or this table.  You can download it and print it to take with you in your map case.

Measuring distance on the map

This table shows what certain distances measured on the map represent on the ground.

Table showing what distances measured on the map represent on the ground at different scales
Table showing Time taken depending on Distance and Speed

Note about contours

On most paper OS maps, the contour interval is 10 meters, so you add one minute per contour line crossed going uphill.

However, on some maps, the contour interval is 5 metres.  CHECK THIS before you start.


You should also know how many double paces you take for 100 metres.

See this video: Understanding pacing as a key navigational aid