A Great Day Out in the Basque Country - Ascent and Descent of Ernio

Oct 6, 2015 at 4:59
by Ian Robertson  
A day on the mountain of Ernio

While holidaying in South West France last month, a stone’s throw from the French and Spanish Basque country, I took the opportunity to hook up with my riding buddies, Carlos and Jorge for a back-country Basque ride on one of the local classics, just outside San Sebastian. I was to bring my camera along so Carlos and Jorge could write a piece for their local mountain focused magazine. Having recently indulged in a new camera so I could get some decent snaps of my mountain bike trips, this would be a great opportunity to practice taking the photos and also developing them in order to make them hopefully look good enough to publish. As this is my first attempt, please don't expect pro level photos!

I have to say (as everyone does, but I mean it) this was one of the best all-around days I have had on a bike – a lot of climbing, but manageable. A fair bit of carrying, but all walkable. And an amazing 10-kilometre descent with a wide variety of trails thrown in – from steep sheer jagged rock to UK style woodland flow. I wish I’d got more pictures through the beautiful sun-dappled, dusty woodland singletrack, but, you know. All in all, a great day! I hope you enjoy the photos!

A day on the mountain of Ernio
The ride starts from here, a typical Basque hostel (venta) on a hillside – ideal place to fill our water bladders for the long day ahead…

A day on the mountain of Ernio
The first part of the climb is easy fire road with the summit always in sight, but seemingly a long way away. And a long way up!

A day on the mountain of Ernio
Stunning scenery is standard on this ‘ruta’!

A day on the mountain of Ernio
Carlos masters a tricky section

A day on the mountain of Ernio
Sharing the trails with friendly walkers is part of the MTB scene in Spain

A day on the mountain of Ernio
The climb dodges in and out of the woods, where roots and rocks lie in wait to push you off the line.

A day on the mountain of Ernio
A nice bit of easy singletrack before the hiking starts…

A day on the mountain of Ernio
And time to admire the view

A day on the mountain of Ernio
Then, it's up we go…

A day on the mountain of Ernio
... and up...

A day on the mountain of Ernio

A day on the mountain of Ernio
A brief respite to pass the cross’s lucky hoops over us before the final ascent.

A day on the mountain of Ernio

A day on the mountain of Ernio
Then onwards...

A day on the mountain of Ernio
Once at the top it’s time to drink in the view and admire our climbing prowess…

A day on the mountain of Ernio

A day on the mountain of Ernio
The Crosses at the the summit of Ernio.

A day on the mountain of Ernio
Time to start heading down?

A day on the mountain of Ernio

A day on the mountain of Ernio
One last view.

A day on the mountain of Ernio
The first part of the descent is a kilometre of uber-tech rock. I walked this particular bit. As ever, it’s harder, rougher and steeper than Carlos and Jorge make it look!

A day on the mountain of Ernio

A day on the mountain of Ernio
Wait for me guys

A day on the mountain of Ernio

A day on the mountain of Ernio
... and down...

A day on the mountain of Ernio

A day on the mountain of Ernio
And lo and behold after the toughest kilometre is done, a restaurant appears in the middle of nowhere, serving the most delicious home cooked food! Lunch is served. Bacon egg and chips (with basque peppers).

A day on the mountain of Ernio

A day on the mountain of Ernio
Yep, we've only done a kilometre!

A day on the mountain of Ernio
As we enter the woodlands we get a reminder of the remoteness of these superb natural trails. Sculpture by Carlos.

A day on the mountain of Ernio
The terrain changes to fast flowy, rock and root strewn switchback awesomeness!

A day on the mountain of Ernio
Finally at the bottom – a handily placed bar! As usual, it’s never tasted better (excuse the iPhone remote release!)

A day on the mountain of Ernio
Adios Amigos – for now!


MENTIONS: @captainian




40 Comments

  • 33 2
 Without a Fatbike?? How is that even possible
  • 13 0
 The skull he was holding was from the last guy who tried without a Fatbike.
  • 10 0
 Just moved in the Basque Country (Hendaye), couldn't be happier !! If anyone here read this, please contact me if you'd like to share some trails Smile
  • 8 1
 That's why I like MTB and mountain bikers!
In the past 2, 3 years somehow I ended up riding more and more my road bike and I'm more than ever convicted that roadies are (most of the time) just a pitiful group of people.
  • 2 0
 Aqui - send me a message and I will put you in touch with Carlos!
  • 3 1
 Doug at BasqueMTB.com always has guides available and runs great holidays based in Hondarribia or Ainsa. Worth getting in touch...
  • 7 0
 exceptional ride report, great photography
  • 1 0
 Thank you Smile
  • 5 0
 Really nice write up and photos!
Any chance of a GPS track for others to try it?
Cheers!
  • 4 0
 Fabulous, i need articles like this to find places to ride whilst the family lounge around or shop.
  • 9 6
 I wonder how all this face-funghus came to the mountainbikers these days..... Big Grin
  • 3 1
 I don't get the joke?
  • 4 1
 Me neither, not even when i badly translate it literally into german and back!?
  • 4 1
 I would presume He's talking about the beards. Would not want all that on my face slowing me down. But the people who do - props to. Them.
  • 4 1
 Wait, having a beard slow you down? Tell this to Brook please...
Also, calling a beard "face funghus" is kind of an insult imo
  • 4 0
 Thanks for all the kind words guys. Much appreciated Smile .
  • 2 0
 Carlos looks like Shel Silverstein with hair... Totally rad photos and story though, much enjoyed
  • 2 0
 Nice pics Ian! Nothing to envy to pros! What's the name of that magazine? I'd love to take a look at it!
  • 2 0
 I'll let you know when I get my copy. Interested to see it myself Smile
  • 2 0
 Great, looking forward!
  • 1 0
 Would it be Ziklo?
  • 1 0
 Magazine is - Errimaia - No 83 Smile
  • 1 0
 @captainian: Great thanks!
  • 3 0
 AMAZING! great photos, great scenery.
  • 2 0
 I really like these ride destination stories. Photos are amazing. Great job Ian.
  • 2 0
 Nice job Ian, all on the Fuji?
  • 1 0
 Thanks Cat. I upgraded to an XT1 but yes still on a Fuji CSC Smile
  • 2 0
 great piece Ian.... bit more elevation than the local trails Smile
  • 2 0
 Fabulous place! I miss that part of the world - thanks for sharing.
  • 2 0
 I miss Spain and the countryside everyday.
  • 1 0
 Cheers man. Looking forward to trying out the camera on one of our rides!
  • 1 0
 Looks fantastic Ian! Some stunning views
  • 2 0
 Awesome scenery
  • 1 0
 Spring can't come soon enough! So stoked now!
  • 2 0
 Fantasticall!
  • 2 0
 Trails looks great
  • 1 0
 Looks like it was a bit nipple-y.
  • 1 0
 Great work Ian
  • 1 0
 nice
  • 1 0
 the best of mountain !!!





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