The Spanish authorities have a system for marking certain paths within national and natural parks. There are two categories of officially-marked path, the GR (Gran Recorrido, or long distance) routes, and the PR (Pequeno Recorrido, or short distance) routes.
GR routes are indicated with red and white markers, and PR routes with yellow and white. To confuse matters, there are often other colours marking local routes.
In one review of my Picos de Europa book on Amazon, a reviewer has complained that I do not reference the “national” trails. There are several reasons for this.
- Very often the official routes do not take the optimum route. For example, in one area of Andalucia, the GR 249 follows a main road for several kilometres, ignoring an excellent (but more strenuous) footpath which follows a similar route at a higher level. These routes often take the easiest way from A to B, which may not be the most interesting route.
- One or two of my walks include a small amount of walking on surfaced roads, but only where there is no real alternative. The official routes use surfaced roads more frequently.
- Some of the official markings can be difficult to follow. For instance, only two weeks ago I followed a PR route in the Picos from Arenas de Cabrales to Tielve. The paint marks which were made a few years ago had in many cases almost disappeared.
- The routes in my books are intended to provide good geographical coverage and a range of easy to difficult walks, through the most interesting parts of the terrain. Although I do not often reference the official waymarks, I believe that my walks are more interesting, and often lead you to less popular places. The directions for my walks should stand on their own merits. If you find that they do not do so, feel free to let me know.