Some of the finest walking routes can be found in Spain, follow Caesar’s legions in their quest for Spain’s Silver or choose trekking along routes in Andalucía, the Pyrenees or Catalunya.
- ROUTES IN ANDALUCÍA
Escape from the pressures of modern life, slow down and step back in history. Witness how the culture of Europe and Africa melted together in Andalucía.
If you like nature walks in countryside filled with deer and wild boar your best starting point is the town of Arcos de la Frontera, one of the Pueblos Blancos only 90 minutes by car or bus south from Seville.
Arcos sits along a ridgeline above the impressive cliff, Peña Nueva, overlooking the winding Guadelete River and its broad valley. It is a typical defensive hill village with cobbled streets leading up to a castle which was built in the fifteenth century on Moorish foundations.
Walking the area you will find it abounds in Roe and Red Deer, ancient oak trees, wild rhododendrons, strawberry trees and cascading streams.
- SILVER ROUTE
The Romans came to Spain not for pleasure but to get the silver out of the Sierra de Gata located in the north of the province of Extremadura. They left behind roads, aqueducts, temples and bridges.
This unspoiled province is the least populated of all of Spain’s provinces and therefore the wildlife is plentiful and nature still in its most pristine form.
Ideal hiking grounds are everywhere. More than 27 routes are marked out in the region. It has granite mountains and lush, peaceful valleys with plenty of olive trees and fruit trees.
The Iglesia del Buen Varón in Hoyos with its baroque retable is simply a must to visit, without forgetting the villages like San Martín de Trevejo, Gata, Torrecilla de los Ángeles, Cilleros, Robledillo, Hernán Pérez, Villasbuenas de Gata…
More info on walking routes in Extremadura: http://www.turismoextremadura.com/ingles/senderos/home.html
- ROUTES IN CATALUNYA
Here are some examples of walking routes in Catalunya. A good starting point is the city of Barcelona. All routes are easily accessible from there.There is a great variety to choose from so novices as well as experienced walkers can find something to their liking. You can have an easy walking route which takes about 2 hours to complete as well as a more serious trekking experience of 8 or 9 hours!
- Cadí – Moixeró National Park
- Parc Natural del Montseny
Some tips and tricks
Blisters: to avoid blisters you can wear nylons under your socks. This way there is much less friction and less friction means less risk for blisters. Other people swear by the use of Vaseline for the same reason: less friction
Mosquito’s: make sure your clothes are light in colour, insects are attracted to dark colours like black or dark blue, because they feel camouflaged by these colours.
Blisters II: once you do have blisters on your feet a good way to get some relief is to take a sticking plaster and fold it double with the sticking parts toward each other. Put this doubled tape on the blister and put another sticking tape across it. This way the pressure is of the blister.
Plan a route
As always a good preparation is everything. You need to consider length and duration of the walking route, places of special interest and of course the participants.
Everyone will agree that a too long or lengthy walking route is not pleasant, but the same thing applies to a walking route that is too short. Consider also that miles and miles on a sandy dusty road is not good for the moral of a walking group either.
Places of special interest: for instance ridges where the stunning views will be appreciated by the participants or the visit of caves.
The following scheme is a good help to estimate the duration of a walk in mountainous area’s:
- horizontal movement: 4000 meters per hour
- vertical movement up: 300 meters per hour
- vertical movement down: 400 meters per hour
- every hour and a halve a break is scheduled of about 15 minutes
Purpose of navigating is to arrive at a certain chosen point via a chosen route. In order to accomplish that several things must be considered: your present position, your target position and the walking route to follow.
Navigational aids are the compass, the GPS ( Global Positioning System), the stars, a watch and other navigational aids.Compass, stars and GPS are well known and documented but here are some of the alternative navigational aids:
A watch is a fairly easy way to get your direction: there are only two conditions: the watch must show the correct time ( Yes I know how this sounds, but as you will see an incorrect time can mean a lot of difference in course), and the sun must be shining.
Take the watch, hold it nice and flat and point the little indicator ( hour indicator) straight at the sun. Now take the exact middle point between the little indicator and the “12” on the dial ( 11 in the summer due to Daylight Saving Time). This middle point gives you the direction of the SOUTH.
Attention: this is the way you do it in the northern hemisphere, if you are in the southern hemisphere you point the “12” at the sun and take the exact middle between the “12” and the little indicator. This middle point gives you the direction of the NORTH.I don’t have to tell you you need an analog watch for this exercise 🙂
East and west is easily found if you take a stick of minimum 75 cm ( 30 inches) and put it upright in the ground. Mark the place where the shadow of the stick stops. Now wait about half an hour and mark the place where the shadow stops again. The imaginary line between the two points runs from east to west.ATTENTION: this method does not work early in the morning or late in the afternoon since at those times the position of sun is too much in the east or west.
A little word of warning about GPS
It is a bad idea to rely solely on a GPS. First of all a GPS only gives you your present position but it cannot plot a route between two points, you’ll still need a good walking map for that and work out the best walking route from it.
Another consideration is what happens if the batteries run flat, or you accidentally drop it and it breaks? If you don’t have the necessary skills to navigate on your own you might get into a lot of trouble…
This being said a GPS is a great additional tool for those walking routes where there are not much markings to set out the walking trail.