Sunday 27th Puebla de Don Fadrique to Canada de la Cruz

Well it has been one of those days. Really frustrating and I'm still not quite sure what has gone wrong.

First things first, I knew Canada de la Cruz was going to be difficult for accommodation, all I had was a phone number for a Casa Rural, and although I've been lucky with these twice so far, their preference is to fill them weekly rather than have one person there for a night. Rang this morning and indeed they were booked for the week. Not the end of the world, I thought, it's only a 13 mile walk, I'll go there, see what's what, and might even walk back.

In the back of my mind was the thought that something would turn up.

I had a trail on my GPS which was based on a local walkers route, it didn't say it was the GR7 but when I was putting the trail together it was the only one I could find. Funnily enough I checked Wikilocs this morning and Bornem, a Spaniard who is walking the whole of the GR7, has recently published his trail for this section of the walk but too late for me to use. A glance at it confirmed that he entered Puebla de Don Fabrique the same way as mine left so that was good enough for me. He has also walked the route I did yesterday so he must be mad as well.

Set of down the A330 and sure enough at the designated point there was a footpath sign, not a GR sign, but a footpath sign and a trail. Carried on for at least three kilometres, the trail got a bit sticky, the weather was looking changeable but it wasn't until I met a two metre deer fence that I started to worry. Right across the trail, a trail marked on the map.

2 metre high deer fence

Walked up and down the fence to see if there was an approved way of getting through but nothing.

Should I climb the fence, would it hold my weight?

Thought about throwing my bag over but the image of my bag stuck on one side of the fence and me on the other was just too awful to think about so, after some hesitation, I made the dash for freedom. It did occur to me that where there is one fence, there ought to be another, and I might be breaking into prison rather than escaping. I put this thought behind me reasoning that it was perhaps the border between Andalucia and Murcia which had to be nearby.

Anyway was now back on my track making good progress in attractive and increasingly open countryside with ever longer views. Had to climb a ridge but yes in the distance I could see Canada de la Cruz (keep thinking Penelope). Walked for about 40 minutes and then had to descend a really steep slope with, you guessed it, a fence. A deer popped out of the trees, my side, looked at the fence and went back into the trees.

Cerro del Celar in the distance

At the bottom of the slope I climbed the fence again and walked on down the trail and all of a sudden GR signs were everywhere, even an E4 sign, on the same path as my GPS trail.

And then I lost them again. Not sure what to do, I stuck with my GPS trail, it was continuing to follow a trail on the map even if local deer keepers had a habit of blocking the trail with 2 metre fences.

The route, still heading towards Penelope got increasingly remote, eventually I really was wacking bushes and, despite the trail on my GPS, there was nothing on the ground to suggest that this was the right way. I studied the map decided to go the long way round and pick up a Camino, a Spanish cattle trail. It took the best part of a hour to get to it and it of course turned out to be the GR7 which I then followed, uneventfully into Canada de la Cruz. I also crossed the real border between the two regions.

The boundary between Andalucia and Murcia

Nothing by the way of accommodation in Canada de la Cruz but a really helpful barman organised me a taxi so I'm now back in Puebla de Don Fabrique. The taxi is going to pick me up in the morning for the next stage of the route which actually does look straightforward.

Slightly worrying is that when I looked at Bornem's route again, his route didn't go anywhere near the first lot of GR signs I came across, he was coming in the other direction and seemed to prefer a long road walk to the uncertainties of going cross country. In terms of the GR7, I feel none the wiser.


  1. Well John, that part of the trail I walked on the road most of the time as I thought it could be a losing track. By the way Bornem (aka Manuel Coronado) is a friend of mine, he uses to follow my steps. I you could read some spanish it could be of help reading my impressions on the GR7 that you are walking and mi experiences, for example, I went to spend the night to Caravaca de la Cruz where there are good hotels and a short distance from ¿¿Penélope?? Cañada de la Cruz. And the refuge of my friend Cesar Lillo near Calar de la Santa in the Rambla de la Rogativa where you most walk tomorrow.
    Anyway John, have a good day tomorrow, you will not have a problem with the waymarks untill Moratalla.

  2. Pleased to hear that Manuel is a friend of yours. I will be using his trails until the E4 leaves the GR7 and goes down to the Costa Dorada. I thought about going to Caravaca de la Cruz but it was a very expensive taxi fare, and as we say in English I am "tight fisted". Tomorrow night I staying at a very nice place just beyond El Sabinar.

  3. Hi John,

    I just wanted to say that I follow your amazing journey from Hungary. It seems to me that it will be much easier for you in Hungary than in Spain, but if you need any help, just contact me.
    I started to do the Countryside Blue Tour last year, this weekend I will walk on your very last stage from Piliscsaba (Piliscsév for you) to Budapest. When you come to Hungary I might join you on one or two stages near Lake Balaton or in the Bakony mountains.
    I have a lot to say and ask, but I think it's enough for a start. :)
    Have a good walk!

  4. Hi Zsolt
    Really pleased to hear from you. I have been to Budapest a couple of times, thought I was great, but have never walked in Hungary. Still a long way to go but would be great if you could join me when I get there.

  5. Apart from this blog - is it possible that you and Manuel Bornem and Juan combine notes to give us a good description in Spanish and English of the GR7 and E4? I plan to walk the Spanish E4 later (confining myself now to the Swiss, Austrian, Hungarian and Greek E4) and would be one among a grateful readership. Menno

  6. Hi Zsolt

    It would be great to get in touch. To be honest I'm a bit worried about booking accommodation in Hungary and any advice from you would be really useful. Perhaps you could send me an email direct.

  7. There is an an alternative route through a canyon after the abandoned village which involves a lot of rock climbing, totally worth it for the scenery. Also a dirt track through a pine forest about 20km into the road walk. Managed to avoid the road for the majority of this stage and shorten it to a 30km trek. I can send a shot of the trail if it helps! Maybe a little late for yourself John but may be helpful for these who are still viewing this as a guide like myself!