Route published by Pedro Pablo Uriarte ”19 circular walking routes around Gorliz”
DETAILS OF THE ROUTE:
Total time: 3 hours 5 min.
Distance: 16.28 km
Cumulative elevation gain: 505 m
Difficulty: Medium, due to its length
This route runs more within the town of Lemoiz than Gorliz, but it is certainly worth describing due to its accessibility and proximity.
It is an interesting route from the point of view of the landscape and, on top of that, the ascent of Urizarmendi from the Urízar neighbourhood of Lemoiz is quite physically demanding. The views walking down to Armintza are magnificent.
Follow the directions for Route 3 from Gorliz to the Berreaga neighbourhood, i.e., leave Plaza Ibarreta and go up Tribiñu Kalea, turn right onto Ageo Bidea, follow it, join the beautiful path through holm oak trees and you will reach the Saratxaga neighbourhood (14 min.). From there, near a white chalet, turn left and follow the same path that we took on the previous route to the end of the Larrakoetxea farmhouse estate, on the Orabille-Andraka road. Head towards Orabille and turn right at Berreaga towards Lemoiz, or rather towards the centre of Lemoiz, which is the neighbourhood of Urizar. This is the way back to Gorliz following part of the GR 280 Trail which we mentioned in the previous route, but we will briefly comment on it again to add a few more details.
Well, you are now in the area known as Berreaga (30 min.), which, curiously, is a kind of islet belonging to Mungia between the boundaries of Lemoiz, Gorliz and Plentzia. You will see a signpost with the name of the neighbourhood. Continue to the right, ignoring the road to the left, which would take you to Orabille. Walk along this road for about two kilometres until you reach the town centre of Lemoiz. As you can see, you are following the same stretch where you went back to Gorliz on the previous route, but in reverse.
A few hundred metres after the junction where “Berreaga” is signposted, you will pass several farmhouses and a chicken farm on your left, which often gives off a pestilent smell. I don’t know how the inhabitants of nearby farmhouses can live there. Large dogs behind the farm fence will remind you that they don’t like visitors with their aggressive barking.
The road is beautiful and quiet, with hardly any cars passing along it. After a gentle descent passing grassy fields on the left and right, you will reach the centre of Lemoiz (42 min.). As we mentioned, this neighbourhood is called Urizar and is where the town hall is located. The path we take comes out between the walls of two farmhouses on the main Armintza-Andraka road.
Cross it and continue straight ahead. On the other side of the main road there is a post with two red and white GR 280 Trail signs (Armintza-Andraka section). Let’s go that way.
This is an asphalted road that runs downhill, initially between a few farmhouses and a flat house with distinctive coloured balconies. Go past this house on your right and you will immediately see the old, remodelled Urizar washhouse under some imposing oak trees.
Keep going and, once you have gone past a wide open field, you immediately come to a junction with an old, damaged sign indicating the neighbourhoods that can be reached from the road ahead (46 min.). Another route option here is to turn left towards Armintza, walking along the road we came from following the route back to Lemoiz mentioned above. This is a section of the GR 280 Trail. You will reach Armintza (about 2.5 km from here) much sooner than if you do the full route up Urizarmendi, but this is our route today and it is time to climb it. Let’s get to it.
Go straight on at this junction next to the old signpost and, in about eight minutes, the road you are on under the trees and with vegetable gardens and orchards on your right, after crossing a bridge, comes to another road that leads towards Urizarmendi and which comes from the Armintza-Andraka main road, where the Bizkaibus that travels on the Armintza-Areeta route turns off and where the bus stop is located.
Carry on along this road to the left. You will pass the entrance to a large farmhouse on your left, which is secured with a chain. To your right you will see a building with concrete columns reminiscent of an old loading bay, with what could have been a lime kiln next to it. Keep going and you will soon see that the road turns off towards a distant farmhouse. Horses and the occasional donkey graze in the ample pastures around there.
But you want to continue along the main road, which suddenly starts to steepen considerably. Soon you will come out into an open area where eucalyptus trees have recently been felled. The road continues with a number of steep slopes and goes into a pine forest.
You will come to a somewhat clearer area with an electricity pylon on your left with a long firebreak underneath the power line. Not long after, when the road you are on turns slightly to the right, you will see a track that leads off to your left. Go that way and leave the road. You will enter a mixed forest with a predominance of eucalyptus trees and, soon after, when the path clears, you will come to the path that leads from Armintza and Urizarmendi to the Lemoiztarra district of Andraka, which we will discuss in more detail on another route.
Turn left and you will immediately come to some signposts. One of them points the way we have come. Another, also yellow, shows the direction of Goikomendi and the district of Eleizalde (Maruri-Jatabe), and the so-called “English line” of defence of the Basque gudaris (fighters) during the Spanish Civil War. Two other GR route markers point to the left, one of them indicating the path we are on (Urizarmendi and Armintza) and the other indicating the path to Bakio and also to the Eleizalde neighbourhood of Maruri-Jatabe.
You want to turn left towards Urizarmendi and Armintza. The path climbs up a long slope to a green electric tower, which you walk round and after a few metres you will reach the summit of Urizarmendi, 294 metres high, with its charming mailrbox on your left under the eucalyptus tree that resembles a small house with a red roof and a broken triangulation station (1 hour 17 min.).
Descend from Urizarmendi to Armintza following the red and white GR 123 signs for the Bizkaia Trail. You need to be careful, as there are tracks that lead off to the left and right. At first it is easy: after the Urizarmendi mailbox the track is still flat. To your right you will see (if the recently planted eucalyptus trees allow it) Basordas cove and the huge structure of what was to be the reactor of the Lemoiz Nuclear Power Station but was never finished.
The wide path turns to your left and descends. Close to an electricity pylon on your left between trees and, shortly after the previous turn, the path continues to your right again. The route is obvious now. Carry on descending without deviating from the main path and after about 10 minutes from the summit you will reach a junction. There are red and white signs. Take the path to the right, leading into the eucalyptus forest, which descends along a clayey, uneven path full of furrows carved out by water, with a number of stony stretches, which in a short while leads to another track. Turn right again. In a few minutes you will reach two or three stretches of stone and steep downhill slopes that lead to the first houses in Armintza.
It is all straight from here. Follow the road that descends steeply between a few chalets and comes out onto the main Armintza-Bakio road next to the pebble beach where the Amorraga stream flows into the sea. Cross the bridge and go into the town centre. You will find a fountain where you can refresh yourself, and then a bit further along a street on the left, between recently built houses of flats, you will reach the car park and the roundabout at the entrance to Armintza (1 hour 48 min.). If you carry straight on along the main road you will come to the Bizkaibus bus shelter.
It should be noted that many mountaineers find it too little to go from Gorliz to Urizarmendi via Lemoiz and then go down to Armintza, so from here they are encouraged to go up to Ermua, either by the usual route or by the Etzandarri variant and complete the circuit by going down to Gorliz via Fano, the lighthouse and Astondo. This is a longer and more demanding circular route, as you would have to climb two peaks: Urizarmendi and Ermua.
In any case, if you are satisfied with having reached Armintza and want to return to Gorliz, taking a Bizkaibus is an excellent option. However, now you are going to complete the route we have prepared, and this means returning to Gorliz along the section of the GR 280 Trail that runs from Armintza to the turn-off to Saratxaga and Gorliz, where you have come from until you turn off to climb Urizarmendi.
Although we have already commented on this section, we will repeat it briefly: Next to the car park at the entrance to Armintza there is a beautiful little bridge under the trees. Cross it and immediately the path will turn to your right with a tall, well-cut hedge that runs alongside you. As you walk through the vegetable gardens and orchards, you will soon come to a country road that leads to the main road on your right. Turn left and continue along the road for a good stretch, passing a number of well-kept farmhouses. When it looks like you are about to join the main road after a farmhouse, there is a well maintained path to the left that runs parallel to the main road. Follow it and cross two wooden bridges. The GR 280 path is very well prepared for walking along this stretch. After a while walking under a beautiful native forest, you will reach a road between vegetable gardens, orchards and pastures that takes you to the junction where you turned off on the way up to Urizarmendi.
From now on the route is exactly the same as on the outward journey until just before entering Gorliz: from the Urizarmendi junction, you go to the Urizar neighbourhood in the town of Lemoiz (2 hours 23 min.), go back to Berreaga (2 hours 38 min.) and climb over the wire fence at Larrakoetxea. Today, however, instead of going to Gorliz via Saratxaga and Ageo Bidea, you will go higher up, via Orbeta Bidea.
To do so, take the path you came along, which starts a little further up from Larrakoetxea, and just before you reach Saratxaga, when the path turns sharply to the left, continue straight on, taking a small path that is difficult to see and runs through lush undergrowth that makes it almost impossible to see the path. But it is only a short stretch, and you soon reach the upper part of Orbeta Bidea which, if you continue straight on and up a steep slope without turning off at all, you will come to the upper part of Tribiñu Kalea. Turn right and you will soon come to the roundabout on the Armintza road.
Now just go down Itsasbide Kalea passing in front of the church. Walk down the street to the Plazuela de San Pedro. From here to Plaza Ibarreta (Plaza Iberrebarri) is just a short trip (3 hours 5 min.).