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Trail > NEWS: New Route On The Penas

The Penas is probably the mountain that I’ve spent most of the time on. In Basque it’s called Aiako Harria and it’s rocky head reaches only 826 meters. What this doesn’t tell you is the nature of the mountain, it’s sides are heavily corrugated and folded with deep valleys and sudden cliffs all coated in dense greenery. Trail finding here is a huge task, trails start and finish without warning and can leave you in a dead end valley with the only way out being the way you came. The hill also tends to be very steep and it’s pleated flanks discourage traversing so the trails tend to be steep too! That’s great for the way down but getting up and around takes a lot of effort! I have wanted to put together a circular tour round Aiako Harria for a long time but because of these difficulties I have failed. Up until yesterday! Using the road to provide uplift we start near the top of the mountain and traverse before descending the technical Season of the Witch, this is where the new trails come in, traversing round on singletrack we manage to hook up with an old aquaduct. This ancient waterwork clings desperately to the side of the hill, and for stretches it has literally been cut into a cliff with a big fall off to the side. It is wide though and well covered to make a safe, if spectacular, traverse with great views of the Pyrenees mountains. After resting on this section we drop down on an old path I have ressurected which is very steep with switchbacks and rocks which spits us out on a gentle fireroad. Climbing with spectacular views of the back side of Aiako Harria we arrive at the top of Reverse All The Way Home, one of my favourite trails which takes us all the way back to Irun and food! It’s a tough route, not because of the up’s but because the downs are very challenging; my arms and shoulders are stiff today. Definitely a ‘must do’ for riders who want a big technical challenge though.

PeƱas de Aya

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