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STAFF REPORTER THE Council of Majorca's Environment department is planning to complete a 126 km hiking trail between Arta and Lluc by 2012. The route will link the Tramuntana range with the Llevant mountains in the east of Majorca.

A spokesman for the Council confirmed yesterday that the excursionist trail will be set up in five main stages and have four alternative diversions. The cost of completing the route and ensuring its upkeep will be 10.5 million euros.

The outline of the route has longed formed part of a recognised “grand cross-country walk” officially registered by the Spanish Federation of Mountain and Climbing Sports. In compliance with Balearic law, the project has already been put up for public scrutiny as part of a regional Territory conservation plan.

Environment councillor Catalina Julve said yesterday: “If we link the Arta to Lluc to the already existing Dry Stone Route (Pedra en Sec), there will be 409 kilometres of mountain trails for people to enjoy hiking and excursions. In fact, the project will link Andratx with Capdepera.

The five stages of the trail will have a “refuge” on each one - these simple stone buildings provide overnight shelter and areas for holding barbecues and are already in place on some of the stages. Others are yet to be built. Setting off on an excursion from the Arta end of the route, 17.2 kilometres of walking will bring trekkers to the refuge of s'Arenalet des Verger. Also on this first stage are alternative offshoots to Cala Rajada and Capdepera. From here, a complete second stage will pass through Llevant Nature Park. Walkers will reach Betlem after 14.1 kilometres. Signposts are already up and excursionists can enjoy the route.