Route published by Pedro Pablo Uriarte ”19 circular walking routes around Gorliz”
DETAILS OF THE ROUTE:
Total time: 3 hours 45 min.
Distance: 18.35 km
Cumulative elevation gain: 543 m
Difficulty: Medium, due to the distance
Before starting this route, we should point out that, strictly speaking, it is impossible to go all the way round Gorliz due to the non-existence of paths or tracks that run as close as possible to the boundaries of the town. However, we have tried to get as close as possible, although passing through parts of neighbouring municipalities or straying relatively far away from the geographical boundaries of the town is unavoidable for the sake of the efficiency of the route.
I should also point out that on several occasions we could have gone even closer to the town’s boundaries, but unfortunately, fences, gates and wire fences on private or public land prevented us from doing so, despite the fact that there may be a right of way. We’re not too keen on the idea of putting boundaries on mountains… Anyway, it is a long walk along the various paths and trails that surround the municipality of Gorliz, although several sections of this route are part of other routes that have already been mentioned.
As in all the previous routes, you set off from Plaza Ibarreta (Plaza Iberrebarri), walk down Itsasbide Kalea to the beach and take the promenade to Astondo (18 min.) pasando delante del sanatorio. In order to keep as close as possible to the boundary between the land of Gorliz and the sea, logically we opted to take the most coastal route to Ermua Mendi (see Route 2), i.e., up the rustic steps of Astondo and then down even more rustic, but very convenient stone steps to the turn-off to the ruins of Askorriaga Fort (34 min.).
Climb the steep slopes that go up Larragan mountain, next to the wire fence that separates the pastures of the provincial council-owned farm, and then go back down to the road that goes up to the lighthouse. Head towards it and we will reach the lighthouse in a few minutes (55 min.). Then, turn right to get to the Fano fields, which you cross to take the summit route that will lead you to the summit of Ermua (1 hour 15 min.).
From the summit of Ermua, to get closer to the town’s boundaries, you would head towards Etzandarri, although this would take you out of the town through rough and difficult terrain that is part of Lemoiz. We opted not to make it so complicated and not to stray too far. On an orthophoto of the Provincial Council and on the official map of Gorliz, we found that there are at least two old tracks a few hundred metres from the junction of the road that goes down to Armintza, or rather paths that are very clearly visible, that went down from here to the Orabille-Fano (Fanobidea) road. Unfortunately, however, today all this land is fenced off and it is impossible to get through and, of course, it is not my intention to go jumping over fences at my age and trespassing on private land which is so zealously protected by the landowners.
Having said that, we decided to follow the classic route and go down our usual path through the trees, with the permanent presence on our left of the aforementioned wire fence to Fanobidea, passing close to the neighbourhood’s farmhouses, and the vegetable gardens for rent (1 hour 30 min.). Continue along Fanobidea to the end, to Orabille, the last few hundred metres of which follow the boundary with Lemoiz. (1 hour 50 min.).
Cross the road and go straight on along the Orabille-Andraka road to the end of the wire fence that separates the large, wooded garden from the Larrakoetxea restaurant and country house. At the moment you are travelling along the boundary between Lemoiz and Plentzia, whose municipal territory stretches in a narrow arm to this area.
A little further on there is a path that we have mentioned on several routes, and which leads down to Saratxaga. It is a very pretty path and very mountainous, with profuse vegetation on both sides that sometimes invades the path. Almost at the end the path turns sharply to the left (along the path to our right we would come out at the top of Calle Orbieta Bidea in Gorliz), and in a couple of minutes the path opens up and some houses with fences separating them come into view, leading to the Saratxaga bar and restaurant (closed at the time of writing) (2 hours 15 min.).
From the moment we took this path we were in the territory of Plentzia, as the whole area around Saratxaga is part of this town, although we are very close to the “muga” (boundary) with Gorliz.
Follow the little used road that leads to the Sagastikoetxe industrial estate, the fronnt of which you walk past until you reach the big roundabout on the road to Mungia and re-enter Gorliz (2 hours 25 min.).
From the Mungia roundabout, take the turn-off to the right approximately one kilometre further on, the so-called Botola bidea. There are two options: one is to go along the main road, which is very busy and has hardly any hard shoulder, with the danger that this entails, or, much better, the second option is to take a concrete track on the other side of the roundabout, which goes off to the left, towards some nearby trees. There is no chance of getting lost because it is the only country road that starts from the roundabout.
On the path we take, the cement soon disappears and becomes a road on which we can see that there is sometimes a car on the road, judging by the tracks. We walk gently uphill under the protection of the holm oaks, which sometimes cover the path with their small leathery leaves. Soon we reach a pair of gates on the right that close off, the first an area of greenhouses and the second a large, well-tended pasture. The path now becomes a very visible path, with the sound of traffic from the Mungia road close by. We enter a beautiful stretch of the path, now flat, which continues ahead under the trees and side vegetation. Shortly after, the path enters a forest of tall eucalyptus trees, soon reaching a large open and clear area on our right. As soon as you reach this area, the path turns to the left. We follow it and once again we reach another open area. There is a power line above our heads that more or less follows the direction we are walking in. This small hill is called Mandañuburu. The path, although at times somewhat obscured by weeds, is not difficult to follow, and soon begins to descend until it reaches Botola Bidea next to a sign indicating the Koala nurseries.
We take Botola Bidea downwards. We are now on a little road that is not very busy. The times we have walked along it we have not come across any vehicles. From now until almost the end of this route we will follow route 12, changing the end a little to follow more precisely the border between the municipality of Gorliz and Plentzia.
Walking at a fairly leisurely pace, you will come to a junction where there is a visible track to your right that heads towards the Zabale neighbourhood of Gorliz, but you should take the track to your left, along the road. Almost immediately you will pass the entrance to Koala nurseries and ahead you will come to the junction with the GR 280 Trail path that leads to Butrón Castle (on the left). A little further on there is a post with two signs, one indicating the GR Trail mentioned above and the other pointing in the direction of Gandia, which you reach after a detour (2 hours 50 min.).
Keep going straight ahead on a track carpeted with building debris that continues gently uphill. After a short while there is a turning to the right that you should ignore and carry on through eucalyptus trees.
The track you are on leads to a country road with farmhouses and chalets on your left that overlook the Plentzia estuary. Go past a stable and, after a small steep slope, you go down between houses until you reach Gandia Bidea and a stone fountain. There is a wonderful panoramic view of the estuary and Txipio from the steep slope.
Once you reach the fountain, turn left until you reach the end of Calle Gandia bidea, where it leads to the roundabout at the entrance to Plentzia. (3 hours 15 min.). We have managed to stay very close to the boundary between Gorliz and Plentzia. The areas on the right belong to Gorliz and those on the left up to the estuary belong to Plentzia.
At the roundabout, turn right onto Kautela Bidea and go up the pavement on the left. Halfway up the slope, you will come to Calle Bidegurutze on your left, which you take to climb up past the Osakidetza doctor’s surgery. Cross Andra Mari Bidea and keep going until you reach Mungia Bidea, where you turn left until you reach Calle Palankete. Go down Calle Palankete until you reach Calle Iturgitxi, where you turn left and walk down to Areatza. From Kautela Bidea to here, Gorliz has been on your right and Plentzia on your left.
Turn right and head along the main street which leads to the roundabout with the PIE (Plentzia Marine Station) and the large car park. Walk up Calle Itsasbide, the main artery of Gorliz, first going past the large car park and coming to the roundabout, before reaching Plaza Ibarreta (Plaza Iberrebarri) a little further up (3 hours 45 min.). We have come full circle after walking more than 18 km.