Route published by Pedro Pablo Uriarte ”24 circular walking routes around Gorliz”
DETAILS OF THE ROUTE:
Duration: 2 hours (descending via the lighthouse)
Cumulative elevation gain: 310 m
Distance: 7.5 km
This is a new alternative ascent of Ermua Mendi, crossing the wide open meadows of the provincial council-owned farm, climbing to the small but charming summit of Lehorarriburu, which boasts breathtaking panoramic views. However, you must avoid walking across the pastures so as not to disturb the livestock, particularly when the cows are with their calves or when they are on the path.
To follow this variant, as with the previous routes, go to the lifeguard station at Astondo. Follow the route mentioned at the beginning along the road to the lighthouse and, after negotiating four sharp bends, to the left, right, left and right, but before reaching the turning that leads to the Azkorriaga fort, you will see a wide fence on your right with a path next to it that separates one of the fenced pastures from the provincial council-owned farm. Climb over it and go that way.
The clear, grassy path with stunning views continues gently uphill to another fence, a few hundred metres further on, which you have to climb over to the right. We recommend avoiding venturing down this path if there are cattle nearby, especially when the cows have calved and are with their calves.
Once you have climbed over this fence, the path flattens out and in a few dozen metres you will see a path to your left that is half covered by vegetation on the either side.
You will have to look carefully so as not to miss it. Take this path. It climbs steeply and is almost covered by tall grass, eventually joining the general path that goes to the lighthouse. But before reaching it, you will climb the small peak of Legorarriburu or Lehorharri.
To do this, you do not want to go all the way to the top, to the main path. Just before you get to the top, keep your eyes peeled and you will a small path that turns off to the left among the grass and ferns. It is not easy to see, but you can guess where it is because the grass is more trampled.
Soon, the path becomes more evident between the gorse. Follow it and after two or three uphill bends, you will come to a small summit with a mailbox and triangulation station, as we have said, with marvellous views over the bay of Gorliz. This is the summit of Legorrariburu, at an altitude of 217 m.
The path continues behind the mailbox and, after passing the remains of a stone wall, it leads into a tall fern grove and is practically invisible, so you will have to follow your instinct. After passing through the tall ferns, you will come back to the path leading to the lighthouse. Please be careful, as we said, because sometimes the ferns are so overgrown that the path disappears completely. We need to be very vigilant. Of course, this path changes a lot if you walk it in spring, with very tall green ferns covering the path, but in summer and early autumn the brownish ferns are more trampled down and the path is much more obvious.
From here, you follow exactly the same route as on some of the previous routes. Head to your right until you reach the fields of Fano and, once you have got past them, you will reach the ridge where you walk under the canopy of holm oaks with the sea far below on your left. In a few minutes you will arrive at the summit of Ermua de 292 m, which despite its low altitude is the highest peak in the whole mountain range.
It is time to choose the descent to Gorliz by one of the alternatives described in the previous routes:
- Take the path back to where you came from and go down to Fano, then to the lighthouse and along the road down to Astondo.
- Go down to the fields of Fano and then to Urezarantza along the paved track, which is accessed by a path that starts at the lowest part of the fields of Fano and leads to it. You can go from Urezarantza to Elizalde (Gorliz town centre) via the sports centre.
- Go straight ahead on Ermua and, once you have passed the stone hut at the summit and gone down to the signpost, turn right and go to Fanobidea (road from Orabille to Fano) and shortly afterwards to the start of the same paved track as before, which will take you back to Uresarantza. You can get to Gorliz via the sports centre.
- Or, once you are on Fanobidea coming down from Ermua past the stone hut, the signpost and the path on the right, when you reach the junction with the concrete track, you can go straight on along the old path, which will take you to the Haurtzaindegia and then to the road that takes you back to Gorliz.
- You can even go down to Armintza and go back to Gorliz along the GR 280 Trail section, as you did on Route 3. Or you can catch a Bizkaibus bus.