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Routes for Trekking

Batxikabo Crags (5800 metros)

Batxikabo (1,173 metres) rises up at the westernmost edge of the Sierra de Arcena, flanked by precipitous cliffs and encircled by pinewoods.

Introduction

The village of Barrio (701 metres) stands at the end of the short road leading out of Espejo. It fits snugly among the rocky outcrops and pinewoods of the Sierra de Arcena in a valley of the same name, once protected during the Middle Ages by the castle of Berbea that has now disappeared. The village is surrounded by the heights of Custodia (1,035 m), Castro Mayuela (1,208 m), Canto Pero (1,093 m), Bachicabo (1,173 m) and Los Castros (1,049 m). These are limestone crags with magnificent views and jagged crests that can be highly dangerous if one strays away from the path.

The peak most closely associated with Barrio is Bachicabo (1,173 m), a mountain that together with Los Castros (1,049 m) closes off the southern skyline of the valley. The first half is covered by a tangled pinewood inhabited by roe deer and wild boar, while the rest consists of sheer rock face with precipices dropping two hundred metres or more. Between the two peaks is the sole access to the heights via the Portillo or Pass of La Hoz (990 m). There is another way up from the village of Batxikabo, but it is long and faces south.

EPortillo or Pass of La Hoz

Going through La Hoz Pass is really the only way of reaching Batxikabo. The climb starts at the entrance to Barrio, where cars can be parked on the flat ground in front of a disused quarry, and where there is a fountain. It is a stiff slope, the path first cement then earth just after the church. The path quickly gains height and passes first over open country and then into pinewood

Carry straight on past open ground and a narrow pass (20’). The path is shaded by huge pine trees, the very damp undergrowth dominated by box. After numerous bends, the path opens out into another which is less sinuous and leads to the Pass without wasting any time (35’). This is the same trail that passes below the crags of Batxikabo, Castro Mayuela and on to the vicinity of La Mota

Those feeling fit could reach this point via any of several short cuts along the various trails through the pinewood left by the animals that graze there, but they can be very muddy and are not worth it in the end.

The trail to the pass (left) rises with the wall of Los Castros opposite, a peak that is difficult to climb because there is no path up, among other reasons. The summit (50’) is a flat, grassy area surrounded by a thick undergrowth of box through which the trail up (right) passes. The starting point for the narrow pathway to the top of Batxikabo is difficult to find. Although marked with paint and small stone cairns over some stretches, it is tight and hard to follow as it winds between rocks and shrubs.

Difficult crest

At first the climb is steep, but the gradient then changes and the path drops down for a while through the gully that leads to the village of Batxikabo. Unfortunately the path allows no views of the Sobrón dam or reservoir at any time. It then starts climbing again up to the peak, and in some places comes close to the precipice (1h10').

The summit marker (1,173 metres) is on the same edge. There is a magnificent view of the surrounding mountains and of Barrio from the summit, the village far below seeming tiny and nestling in a thick well-tended pinewood. The way down is by the same route as the ascent (2h20').

The trip may be extended to take in the peak of La Mota (1,315 m), after passing via the Canto Pero and heights of La Rastrilla. From this summit there is a perfect view of the Sobrón reservoir and Obarenes mountains, particularly El Umión.

Peaks

Batxikabo (1,173 m) and Los Castros (1,049 m), in Alava at its boundary with Burgos.

Situation

Jagged, rocky summit rising up above Barrio, on the edge of the Sierra de Arcena.

Dificultad

Ninguna hasta alcanzar el collado de La Hoz. Precaución en el recorrido del cresterío.

Difference in levels

475 metres between Barrio and the summit

Difficulty

None as far as La Hoz Pass. Be very careful along the ridge

Communications

Barrio is deep inside a valley, five kilometres from Espejo. The small town of Espejo is itself on the N-625 running between Bilbao and Burgos, situated after the mountain pass of Orduña and five kilometres before Sobrón.

Restaurants, service stations and hotels

Restaurants at Espejo, Villanueva, Angosto, Puentelarrá and Miranda. Guest houses in Salinas and La Lastra. Service stations at Osma and Puentelarrá.

Maps

Map 21-8 (137), Miranda de Ebro, edited by the Army Geographical Service (Servicio Geográfico del Ejército) and map B-7 covering Valdegovía and Tobalina from Javier Malo.



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