Route published by Pedro Pablo Uriarte ”19 circular walking routes around Gorliz”
DETAILS OF THE ROUTE:
Duration: 2 hours 15 min.
Distance: 11.57 km
Cumulative elevation gain: 289 m
This is a short route, without any difficulty and suitable for everyone, most of which runs through the town of Plentzia. However, despite being short (it can be done in about two hours), it has two truly wild and very mountainous sections that are well worth seeing. This route is also suitable for families.
Leave Gorliz from Plaza Ibarreta and walk down Itsas Bide Kalea to Gorliz beach and the PIE (Plentziako Itsas Estazioa – Plentzia Marine Station). We continue walking along the Plentzia beach promenade as far as the harbour (the old shipyard), which we skirt, and then follow the promenade to Plentzia bridge alongside the estuary, which is generally full of small boats for sport and small-scale fishing.
This “new” bridge was built in 1991 and designed by the architect Javier Manterola to replace the old one, which was irreversibly damaged by the River Butrón during the floods of August 1983 (25 min.). Cross the bridge.
From now until halfway along the route, you will follow the same route as in the final section of Route 10, but in reverse, as on the aforementioned route you go downhill and on this one you go uphill.
Go past Plentzia metro station and continue onwards, passing the entrance to the metro station along Ibiltokibidea. Shortly after, on the right, there is a pavement that runs uphill with a handrail. Take it and, without turning off, walk past two large newly built houses. A little further on you will pass two large red brick buildings with manicured lawns and a few birch trees, and the path becomes a grassy track. You are in Matrilune Bidea and walking next to a thick wall on your left separating you from a farm.
Once past these houses, the path turns into a pleasant tree-lined path which leads past a watercourse with young eucalyptus trees on the left and soon goes past a large, abandoned farmhouse on the right. There is a large pear tree by the side of the road, which showers the ground with fallen pears when it is in season. Once past this, shortly after you come to a road that climbs up from the Musaurieta neighbourhood, which is part of Barrika.
Turn left. You will immediately see a broken bench and a fountain on your right. The road climbs up a steep slope and after a short while turns sharply left before a half-hidden farmhouse. You should not go that way, as the road, which is in theory a dead end, soon ends and then continues on a narrow cemented track under dense trees and sinister farmhouses that descends very steeply to the main Urduliz-Plentzia road .
Watch out, as you need to turn right where the road turns sharply left along a track that starts there and turns left a few metres further on at a metal gate. You will pass the rear façade of a small rural house on your left, painted yellow.
Now comes the key point of the route: just after this house, an ascending path leads off to the right in front of two large pine trees with green markings on their trunks. The second of these has a half-hidden and rather blurred green arrow indicating the direction to follow. (40 min.).
If you choose to continue along the track without turning off, you can follow exactly the same route, but going down where you will now be going up. It doesn’t matter which way you go, but we chose to take the path that starts on your right.
The wide path enters and climbs steeply at first in a very humid, enclosed Cantabrian forest, which is interesting and pleasant to walk through. The ground is stony and mossy to start with, even in summer, so if you go downhill, take care not to slip on any of the moss. Skirt past a strange, thick holm oak branch that juts out from your right across the path (see photo of the route). The path soon turns into a trail and becomes less steep but there are some very muddy stretches which you will have to skirt round using paths at the side. Then you will come to a section with a pine grove alongside you. The last stretch is clear of trees and runs along a small path almost covered by low-lying plants, among them ineffable nettles and mint (which is called “batana” in Basque), meaning that you will end up with sore legs if you are wearing shorts. Nothing serious, though.
You end up on a small dead-end road that ends at a hamlet that you can see on your left. You will see that the path you are on is shown on a signpost next to a fountain indicating “Plentzia” (50 min.). Turn right and the road climbs a little, arriving at the Gane hill, with its summit of 162 m not far off, covered with eucalyptus trees and an antenna at the top. Carry on a little further until you start to walk under some trees next to a farmhouse and then start to go down until you reach a junction where there is a sign for a rural house marked “Gane Landetxea”.
Without turning off, keep going straight ahead, passing a water reservoir and, soon after, you will come to another junction. Right there is a facility with a couple of water regulation buildings with a high fence separating it from the road (1 hour). We should point out that the road on your right is the one you took on Route 10 when you came from the town centre of Urduliz and Butrón Castle.
But you should carry straight on along the wide track, following the fence of the aforementioned water installations on your left. The path twists and turns a little and you will soon come to a fork in the road. Choose the road on the left, which is now concrete. In two or three hundred metres, on your left, you will see that a clear path – now a somewhat muddy track in places – leads off towards the now more distant forest (or rather, towards what used to be a forest and which the inexorable, voracious forestry machines have devoured, leaving the paths destroyed and impassable) (1 hour 7 min.).
The first fairly long stretch of the route follows the new path opened up by the machines, which is not in good condition, until you finally get back to the old path and enter the forest you have always known, with eucalyptus, pine and native trees in a strange mixture.
The track is sometimes wide and sometimes narrower, covered with leaves, and becomes a single-lane path on which you have to negotiate the occasional fallen tree. It is a route which is fairly popular with hikers, the odd daring cyclist and joggers, so it is quite well defined. In any case, you can’t get lost on this route. The chirping of birds and the distant rumbling of the metro will accompany you along this stretch.
You will reach a clearer area where there is a sort of small underground reservoir that belongs to the Consorcio de Aguas (the water company) on your right. The path, which descends slightly, leads into an area where eucalyptus trees have recently been felled and the new ones are still young, meaning that the shadow of the path that accompanied us disappears.
Almost without noticing it, you will come to the key fork in the route you took earlier and where you turned off. You have come full circle. Walk a short distance along the path we climbed on the way up to the road, and then turn left downhill, passing by the broken bench and the fountain (1 hour 30 min.). But now you will not go straight towards Txipio but continue down the road until you reach the Musaurieta neighbourhood, passing by a number of chalets and farmhouses in a very quiet residential area where you can only hear the cooing from the odd hen house and the barking of a few dogs as you pass by.
The road will join the road we took on Route 15 on the less wild variant that runs along the GR Trail 280 (1 hour 40 min.). Turn right at the junction and, after a steep descent along the road, you will reach a junction where you had the two choices on Route 15.
You are now entering Txipio, leaving the town of Barrika, as indicated by a large signpost. From here, you need to go back to the metro station and cross the bridge to get to the old town of Plentzia. To get back to Gorliz, follow the same route you used on Route 10. Next to Batela bar, take the Escaleras del Cristo (Kristo Eskilarak) steps and street to the top and turn right to climb gradually up towards the chapel of Andra Mari. Go past it and carry on along the street of the same name before crossing Calle Axpe and continuing straight on along Arenabarri Bidea as far as the roundabout on the Mungia road. As you know, to get from here to Plaza Ibarreta (Plaza Iberrebarri), walk along the red pavement passing in front of the cemetery until you get to the roundabout with the little boat and Plaza Ibarreta (2 hours 15 min.).
As you can see in the map below, this is a tri-circular route, as you come full circle three times: the first time between Gorliz and Plentzia, the second time between Txipio and Musaurieta and the third time around the Gane neighbourhood.
This hike can be done in just over two hours at a brisk pace and without stopping and is almost 12 km long. It can be said that it is not difficult and is suitable for all types of hikers, although along part of the route between trees and bushes, you need to walk carefully to avoid slipping on the steep, wet, stony areas and skirt round some very muddy areas.