RECOMMENDATIONS

Parts of the Greenwich Meridian Route are not at all easy, particularly for those travelling on foot or by MTB. It is also important to know that water will not always be readily available on some sections of the route, so at least two large containers of water should be carried by those travelling by bicycle and around 4 to 5 litres by those travelling on foot; refills should be made whenever possible. Though, at times, we may only have drunk some of our water and not feel particularly thirsty, it is always best to fill up whenever possible in anticipation of unforeseen events.

We may well travel several kilometres without seeing another human being, passing through regions with extremely low population densities, that are among the most isolated areas on the whole of the Iberian peninsula. We should be aware of this and prepare for it, with a good level of physical fitness being advisable. It should also be noted that the vast majority of the inhabited areas that we will pass through offer no possibilities for accommodation. Sleeping arrangements should therefore be taken care of beforehand.

In the height of summer, high temperatures can be an important problem, particularly when travelling through the Guara mountain range. An appropriate physical and mental preparation is therefore a must.

It should also be noted that the final 100 km of the route are particularly demanding. It is important to remember that our strength will tend to wane as the days pass; it is therefore advisable to avoid consuming too much energy during the first few days or trying to cover too many kilometres in a single stage of the journey.

Clothing requirements will vary, depending on the season. Warm clothing will not be needed in the height of summer, though a raincoat should be taken for protection not only against the rain, but also to provide an extra layer of clothing if the temperature falls.

The first part of our route takes us as high as 2200 m, so even in the middle of summer we would suggest you take a long-sleeved jacket or, at the very least, something with sleeves.

If you have hired the luggage transport service, your other clothing can be carried in your suitcase.

We recommend that travelling by MTB not to take saddlebags as they will considerably hinder progress on some of the tracks.

Sleeping in appropriate accommodation is highly recommended. This is quite cheap, very welcoming and the food is excellent!!!

Stretches along which special care and attention are required:

  1. Torla – Nerín: though the route itself is relatively easy, there is a variation in altitude of 1200 m; this begins from the start and continues to the mountain pass. This stretch requires about 2 hours by MTB and 3 hours on foot. If it is foggy, those travelling on foot should follow the track to Nerín rather than take the PR to Fanlo because of the poor signposting.
  2. Sarsa de Sutra – Radiquero: though this is a recognised track, the first part is exceptionally difficult and the part that follows is long and leg-breaking.
  3. Peñalba – Mar de Aragón: this is technically easy and follows a track, but it should not be forgotten that we have to be at the shore by 19:00 to board the motorboat. This part of the journey will take two and a half hours by MTB so we would need to leave Peñalba by at least 4 pm.
  4. Lake Caspe – Valjunquera: this is the longest part of the route passing through uninhabited areas. It is technically easy, as it is all along a recognised track, but its length means that we need to take a number of precautions, particularly with the numerous ramps, some of which are very tough.
  5. Valjunquera – Herbés: though a couple of small settlements can be found along this route, the Matarraña area is very desolate and we will pass through abandoned crop fields and tracks that are rarely used.
  6. Herbés – Catí: perhaps the part of the route where we will have to pay most attention. A 60 km long section, with a net variation in altitude of 3,700 m. The forest tracks are technically complicated, with some very steep slopes and sections with a lot of gravel, which makes progress more difficult and slower than normal. Although this section is crossed by three roads (2 of which are local and have little traffic), it is possible to have problems if we have not taken the necessary precautions. It should also be noted that we will see virtually nobody else along the route and that there are parts along which radio/mobile coverage is very poor. In light of all of these special circumstances, we will break this section down in greater detail:

1) Herbés – the Castell de Cabres road: after the first few tarmacked kilometres, we will pick up a track which is initially quite easy but which soon, and for some 8 kilometres, becomes very hard. This will imply having to walk some parts and there are some particularly tough descents before reaching the road.

2) The Castell de Cabres road – the Vallibona road: the second part of this section is extremely demanding and often very lonely too. It is very rare for people to pass this way. After a few kilometres of ramps and a descent along a forest track, we need to follow, what is technically, a footpath which branches off to the right of a large abandoned house; we must then cross a ravine and climb to a height of almost 1,200 metres along a tough and tortuously difficult track.

3) The Vallibona road – track to Catí: after a short climb, the descent to the N-232 (road) is very difficult and there is a lot of loose gravel, so extra care is needed! This long track runs through the Vallivana mountain range and takes us to a track which will lead us to Catí; this is a noticeably easier section, though we need to be careful if we meet any cattle along the way. Here there are two options:

c1: once we reach the N-232, we can climb for a couple of kilometres, following the road itself, and then turn to our right (west) and take a track which leaves the road and climbs slightly to the left. Once at the top, there is a 2 km descent, but it is too difficult for MTB and should be done on foot.

c2: we can head downhill for some 2 km and take a turning to our right (following an old road) and then a forest track. This will take us to the highest part of the range. Once there, we must turn left (eastwards) and follow a narrow track over ramps (some of which are very tough) and always skirting the mountainside. When we reach a water tank, we can begin a sharp descent to the road that will take us into Catí.

Advice: the same time is required for the two options, with both requiring slightly more than two hours. Though the first option is wilder and more beautiful, it should be remembered that we will have to walk for some 20 minutes along what can, at times, be a very muddy path. We would suggest that those with less strength left, or who see that it is getting late, continue down to the left and along the N-232 (heading eastwards) until they reach the Catí crossroads.

7.Albocàsser – Serra d’Engarcerán: although this is the penultimate climb along this stretch, this does not mean that it offers a moment in which to relax; this is an extremely difficult climb which will again take us above 1,000 metres and in terrain in which it is easy to get lost and found our path blocked by dead-end ravines.

Recommendations for those who do not hire a luggage transport service:

Do not forget your sun cream or detergent for washing your clothes.

Trekking:

Those who prefer to do the whole route unsupervised should carry with them a tent, a sleeping bag and sufficient food and drink. There are long stretches (up to 60 km) along which no accommodation is available. At times, you can be two or three days from the next inhabited area.

The longest stretches with no villages or towns along the route are:

  1. Torla – Fanlo: 18 km.
  2. Fanlo – San Felices de Ara: 32 km.
  3. St. Felices de Ara – Radiquero: 47 km.
  4. Villanueva de Sigena – Peñalba: 33 km.
  5. Peñalba – northern shore of the Sea of Aragón: 31 km.
  6. Southern shore of the Sea of Aragón – Valjunquera: 62 km.
  7. Herbés – Catí: 57 km.

Minimum clothing required, without including sleeping gear:

  •  Short/long trousers or leggings
  • Short-sleeved T-shirt
  • Socks
  • Comfortable footwear for trekking
  • Sun-glasses
  • Headgear
  • Socks containing copper particles: www.couredor.com

Backpack with:

  • Short or long trousers
  • Spare T-shirt
  • Spare underwear
  • Sandals or shoes for normal wear
  • Swimming costume
  • Warm jacket
  • Raincoat
  • Toilet bag
  • Greenwich Meridian Route map
  • Water container (2)
  • PowerBar

MTB:

  • Cycling shorts
  • Short-sleeved cycling jersey
  • Socks
  • Biking shoes
  • Helmet
  • Gloves
  • Sun-glasses
  •  Socks containing copper particles: www.couredor.com

Backpack with:

  • Short trousers
  • Short-sleeved T-shirt
  • Long-sleeved, lycra polo shirt
  • Spare underwear
  • Swimming costume
  • Raincoat
  • Top with sleeves
  • Sandals or normal footwear
  • Toilet bag
  • Greenwich Meridian Route map

By bicycle:

  • GPS
  • 2 x 750 ml water containers (minimum)
  • Basic tool kit

Handlebar mounted bag (optional):

  • 1 special PowerBar for each day
  • 1 protein PowerBar for each day
  • 2 PowerBar gels for each day
  • Inner tubes for punctures (we recommend tubeless inner tubes those containing liquid)

Remember that on some days we will not find anywhere to eat, so it is recommendable to take these snack bars which weigh little but are highly nutritional.

Why have we given the name of this particular brand? Because it gives the best results for the type of effort required.

Socks containing copper particles: we will be giving our feet a lot of work for several days. This is the best option to avoid sores, fungal infections, etc. These socks are also antibacterial and consequently help to control any unwelcome smells.

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