Sunday 24th April Morella to Moli l'Abad

The plan was to stay at El Boixar but there isn't much accommodation there and sure enough when I tried to book on Saturday it was all gone. This was a real pain because just after El Boixar, at Fredes, things navigationally get a bit more complicated. So far the E4 has followed the GR 7 but at Fredes and it heads down to Ulldecona, near the coast, on the GR8. Couldn't find any accommodation at Fredes and the only accommodation I could find was at a place called Moli l'Abad which looked about 15 kilometres to the east of El Boixar. So I decided not to go to Fredes but go direct from El Boixar to Moli l'Abad, stay there for the night and then try and find the GR 8 again next day and continue to Ulldecona.

By the way the GR 7 carries on all the way to the Pyrenees. The E4, which travels along the coast to Tarragona, and through Catalonia to the Pyrenees ends up almost in the same place. I must admit I'm sorry to be leaving the GR 7 not least because I had the route well defined on my GPS. My E4 GPS route is very messy in Catalonia so I'm bound to get lost.

So I was a bit fed up when I left Morella, fed up about having to contrive a route and fed up about the weather which continues to be poor. Spending my time trying to find accommodation last the night (fortunately I had an internet connection) meant I missed the supermarket and all I had with me food wise was the last bit of my birthday cake and a lump of cheese.

After about 4 kilometres I left the road and headed up along a farm trail where I met a farmer who was rounding up his cows. Everything was very wet and I started to gingerly cross a stream. The farmer, who was in the middle of his cows and associated mud, and was wearing bedroom slippers, kindly pointed out the stepping stones.

The route follow the stream along a valley and then climbed fairly gently to the top of a ridge. The stream included some brilliant natural swimming pools. As you got higher you had some great views back to Morella spoilt a bit by the murky weather. The ridge walk itself went on for 2 or 3 kilometres before eventually descending through an oak wood, which has just come into leaf, to the town of Vallabona. It was now pouring with rain and at just before one o'clock I decided to stop for some lunch.

Lovely Swimming Opportunity

Spring growth
The next stage of the journey was up along a bottom of a dry river bed heading north. Although the heavy rain had gone it was still drizzling and didn't stop until just before El Boixar. Again a lovely trail which as you approached the top started to open up. It was uphill nearly way and by the time I reached El Boixar at about 5. 30, I had walked 35 kilometres and climbed over 1000 metres.

El Boixar
The sign to La Senia, at El Boixar, said 23 kilometres which I must admit was a bit of a blow much further than anticipated. Setting of and just outside the village I took the first left rather than the second and had gone about 2 kilometres before I realised my mistake. There were no GR signs to follow. To get back on track I could go back or head straight down the side of a gorge, through trees and get on the right route the direct way. I went with the second option and had to survive some very wet, very steep bushwhacking.

Once on the right road it was just a case of walking as quickly as possible. They told me I would need to be there by 7.30 to guarantee the room but it was nearer 9 by the time I arrived. This was the first time I had had to walk on the road in a prolonged way since Andalucia and my feet were very sore at the finish. The signs to La Senia were now reading 5 kilometres so I had walked 53 kilometres in total.


  1. Well John, so you are leaving the GR7 and taking the GR8, I can not guess which route it follows near the coast but the wheather will be warmer and dry for sure.

  2. Hi Juan, I certainly hope so. It's the hottest April on record in England and Christine has been swimming in the sea at Brighton. From tomorrow I'm on the GR 92' then the GR 172 and then the GR 4. The E4 is very complicated in this part of Spain.

  3. Lump of cheese and a bit of cake? Don't waste away Dad!

  4. John. I have a friend, Carles Danon, who is catalan and has walked the GR92, perhaps his maps and tracks would be of help:
    Even he has another GR tracks and maybe would help, also if you need help I could contact himself.

  5. Hannah don't you worry, have just had a really nice lunch, lots a fatty things. Will stock up my emergency rations in the morning, chocolate, chocolate and chocolate. Hope the Ginger Pig lived up to it's billing

  6. john
    your day sounds terrible. i can't imagine 53k in one day. please have a few short days and get more food down you. i showed the kids the photos on my camera and they all think you've got too thin - and you're not even through spain. you need lard, lard and more lard...

  7. Indeed, in Africa most people wear bedroom slippers when entering a bathroom and associated mud ...
    But for some reason even heavy rain does not fill river beds that are supposed to be dry. Is this another miracle to be ascribed to Pope John Paul?
    And avoid fat things like chocolate and lard. They make lazy and weak. Menno