For much of its trajectory in Spain, the 0 Meridian follows recognised tracks and walking routes; this makes it possible to physically follow this imaginary line with remarkable precision. In other words, whether travelling on foot or by bicycle, any deviations from the path of the line itself tend to be almost negligible. Travelling by road, on the other hand, will lead us somewhat further from the line and require us to cross the meridian again and again as we attempt to follow the straightest possible line.
The route begins in Torla, at the entrance to the Ordesa and Monte Perdido National Park. Those coming from France will have to come down through the Puerto de Bujaruelo before arriving at Torla where they will be given the Carta Magna by the Compañía de Guías de Torla (Torla Guide Company). Those following the Greenwich Meridian Route in an easterly direction on all-terrain (ATB or MTB) bicycles will then start the steep ascent to the Pista de las Cutas track, which offers spectacular views of Ordesa and Monte Perdido. Meanwhile, those travelling on foot will follow the trail directly to the Ermita de San Martín (Hermitage of St Martin). In fact, it is along this track that we make contact with the 0 Meridian itself for the first time. From this point on, we head southwards and continue in this direction until the end.
– Length: 490 kilometres following the normal route.
– Variation in altitude: 10,500 m accumulated net climb.
– 70% forest track; 25% tarmacked surfaces; 5% footpath (MTB)
– 70% forest track; 20% tarmacked surfaces; 10% footpath (trekking)
A map showing the main route and possible alternatives can be obtained from the publisher Prames.
Stretches in which the trekking and mountain bike routes do not completely coincide:
Road bicycles and motorbikes:
As you can imagine, there are far more dirt tracks, walks and footpaths than tarmacked surfaces that can be used to follow our imaginary line as closely as possible. In any case, the difference in terms of distance is not significant and it is often shorter when following the trials and criss-crossing the Ø Meridian.
Following the tarmacked surfaces is perhaps a little less demanding, but the route still runs through some extremely difficult mountain passes. One of the main characteristics of the route is that it repeatedly makes use of short passes and ramps, some of which have very steep slopes.
We will pass through narrow roads of exceptional beauty, some of which are largely unknown to the general public.
The total distance involved is about 510 kilometres.