Tuesday, 26 June 2018


Walk Summary
Gallarraga from dam at Embalse Lingorta
First day of extended bagging trip to Spain aiming to add a significant number of ascents to the four already done of the 185 Spain/Portugal Peaks with 600m of Prominence. Plan was to do three today; Ganekorgorta, Eretza and Oitz.
Usually dock at 2:15pm in Bilbao Ferry Terminal but scheduled stop at Roscoff to allow for crew change over gave an extra night on the ferry with a 7:30am arrival in Bilbao, more conveniently late 10:30pm departure from Portsmouth. The bonus was being amongst the first vehicles to disembark meaning I was parked and ready to set off walking from under the BI-636 flyover at 09:15am.
Planned route looked to be straight forward up an access road to Embalse (Reservoir) Lingorta then a 4X4 track virtually all the way to the 941m col leaving a gentle 450m amble on worn path and grassy ridge to the summit. Ideal to recover hill legs on first walk of the trip.
Mountain goats relaxing in the warm Iberian sun
around 986m spot height west of Ganekorgorta summit 
Calculating route statistics showed the distance walked and time taken was exactly half what Gina and I managed on El Carche back in April, thereby resulting in same overall pace of 1.77mph. So why did I feel exhausted at the end - knocking off any idea of going up Oitz during the ascent and being unable to think about Eretza by the time I arrived exhausted back at the van.
D…errr because it is too hot to go hill walking in Spain in June. Well I don’t agree. It is no more too hot than it is too cold to go Munro bagging in Scotland in February you just have to take account of the conditions and have the necessary kit.
In terms of kit I was prepared no warm weather gear or change of clothing, though a dry shirt might have been handy, but plenty of water, sun cream and fuel (energy bars, fruit etc). What I failed to recognise was lack of hill legs due to not doing any regular hill-walking since Ailsa Craig three months ago and as part of my enthusiasm to be back hill-walking setting off at too fast a pace, not to mention 1000m of planned ascent. The final mistake was to look for a more direct route down, thereby identifying an alternative ascent route and save a bit of time to set off for Eretza later in the day.

Although there was decent tracks and path for most of the descent a lot of the time particularly on the steeper parts these faded to almost nothing overgrown with either half grown fern, long grass and at times calf length thorn and broom which later in the summer would have made the route impossible without thick clothing.
Finally return to path at point where could have left vehicle
By the time I realised the error of my ways I was well committed and feeling the effects of the heat. Had I returned along the ascent route track I may well have succumbed to the heat but at least I would have been on easier ground more likely in shade and able to regulate effort not having to bash my way through undergrowth.
Lesson learned - stick to known tracks and paths (well until the next time) it cost me maybe one summit on the day. Three was never going to be possible. It also left me too tired with stiff hip and later DOMS setting in on my quads to walk the next day.
At least I found a decent campsite east of Bilbao taking me closer to two extra P600’s I had not planned (Mortillano and Castro Valnera) and given me time to edit photos and write this up, leaving Eretza to be done tomorrow rather than the higher more challenging unplanned Mortillano.
On the basis I manage only one summit per day looks like I will be here for another four or five days before moving on east of Bilbao and the Basque mountains I have bypassed on previous trips to the Costas. After that it will be south and the mountains north and west of Madrid where I suspect the heat will be a major consideration.

Walk Statistics
Walk Date - 26 June 2018
Walkers - Steve Smith
Start Point - Under BI-636 flyover near La Quadra do Arriba (N43°13'29" W3°1'1")
Start Time - 09:16
Finish Point Under BI-636 flyover near La Quadra do Arriba (N43°13'29" W3°1'1")
Finish Time- 13:53
Total Duration - 4hrs 37mins 
Overall Average pace - 1.77mph
Total Distance Walked - 8.15 miles
Total Height Ascended - 1014.00metres

Peaks visited
Spain/Portugal 600m Prominence Peaks (168S - 185
S&P - 2165E)
Ganekorgorta (4S - 5S&P - 33E)
Spain/Portugal 300m - 599m Prominence Peaks (1000+)
Spain/Portugal 150m - 299m Prominence Peaks (3000+)
Spain Autonomous Community High Points (19)
Spain Province High Points (52)
S: Spain
P: Portugal

Other walks on this trip
26th Ganekorgorta
28th Eretza
29th Mortillano
03rd El Cueto
05th La Cotorra
05th Cerro San Lorenzo
06th Campiña
09th Lobo
12th Pico de Peñalara
16th Cruces
25th La Rhune

More Photographs
Looking down on Embalse Lingorta from 553m col at base of Gongeda with Erteza beyond. The track right of pylon is not part of descent route
Click on photograph to view slide-show