Climb up Maganik (2,001 m) 
Saturday, July 18, 2015, 8:00 pm
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One of the greatest barriers to climbing this mountain was access along the roads beyond the quarries, and working out which of many unmarked roads to take to get to the start of the walk, a shepherds’ settlement called Rekočica katun, although it would have been a better choice to continue another couple of kilometres to the katun of Maganik, which has a more clearly marked trail. Needless to say we lost any semblance of a trail and oriented ourselves by means of compass and instinct, arriving at a pass with a large rocky pavement with deep cuts between the flat karst “paving slabs”.

In front of us the valley where the village of Velje Duboko lies was just about visible in the distance, with the Mrtvica Canyon leading off to the right side.

View towards the Mrtvica Canyon
We turned right along the ridge which appeared to lead to Babin Zub (the location of a plane crash in the seventies). The going was difficult because the rock had so many crevasses, which required climbed down and up again, or changing route to avoid wider cracks. It happened to be the hottest weekend of the year, and we had rather too little water for those conditions, and we decided to stop short of the highest peak, settling for the near-by Kokotov peak, a still respectable 2,001 m above sea level, a total climb of around 500 m (the highest peak, Međedi vrh is 2,138 m).

Babin zub peak
The descent along a marked trail was a much easier route than the one we had conjured on the way up, and we were soon in Maganik katun, where fortunately we were able to get some water from shepherds. This mountain is significantly different from the other massifs visible from the top, much more like Orjen in terms of sharp karst rocks with lots of cracks, little water and only sparse vegetation on the exposed higher areas.
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Lola via Hobbiton 
Saturday, June 6, 2015, 5:00 pm
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I found rough directions to this mountain in “The Mountains of Montenegro – A Mountaineering Guide” by Vincek, Popovic and Kovacevic, which led along a road of dubious surface quality from Savnik to the village of Strug where we parked and walked along the macadam for a few kilometres before turning off the road right and heading up to a ridge and then over rolling hills, across a valley until finally arriving at a chain of peaks which grew in size to the left, stretching to the distant Kapa Moracka. Unfortunately the weather seemed to promise rain, so we didn’t make it to the peak of Lola, Veliki Zebalac, but enjoyed a wide view over the Krnovo plain from the Moraca Mountains on the left all the way through Zurim to the green valley of Bijela.
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Crvena greda (Red Ridge) - 2,175 m 
Saturday, May 30, 2015, 11:00 pm
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From Zabljak centre, we followed a road winding up between rows of alpine houses, following signs to Bosaca (Montenegro’s highest village). There was a place to park opposite some signposts to Jablan jezero. The walk up and along Crvena greda (Red Ridge) takes you through woodland, across pastureland, by the beautiful green Jablan jezero (Poplar Lake) which stands in front of the sheer cliffs of Crvena greda.

Even at the end of May, there was still enough snow to make parts of the ascent slightly hazardous with normal hiking shoes. The view from the top (which is covered mainly in scrub but dotted with the occasional remains of trees hit by lightning) is impressive – several lakes are visible and the ridges of Medjed in one direction and Bobotov kuk in another, both speckled with snow only half-melted.

The path from the top leads down the opposite end of the ridge, eventually arriving at a valley with shepherds’ huts, a place named Crijepulj poljana. Now on the flat, it is a short way to walk to the peaceful Zmijnicko Lake, surrounded by trees and then back to the car. It was a hard day’s walk, taking nearly 8 hours in all, with stops by the lakes and on the summit of the ridge.

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Zagradac (2217m) - gateway to the Moraca Mountains 
Wednesday, October 8, 2014, 10:00 pm
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After climbing Stozac for the first time, a whole vista opened up before us of mountains I had never seen before and which immediately drew me towards them. The whole area is frustratingly far away from roads that I would dare take my own battered Golf II, so the first foray involved parking the car near Lake Kapetanovo and walking along the trail at the opposite end of the lake from where the road approaches the lake. The area is full of valleys which involved a lot of climbing up steep banks, and then finding that one had to then climb down in order to climb up further. One interestingly shaped peak caught our attention, Zagradac, whose top looked like a UFO had crashed into it, but which presented a problem in finding a way right to the top. However, trusting that all would become clear once we reached there, we persisted until we got to a seemingly impenetrable cliff girding the peak. However, we found a path under a rock overhang where we were able to find a very steep, but accessible grassy area which led to the very top. The view was spectacular and joined up the area we had come from with the Savnik–Boan–Crkvina road. From the top of this peak there is a wonderful view along a ridge which stretches right from Vojinovac to the jagged peaks of Tali.
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Summer holidays on the Montenegrin coast 
Friday, August 8, 2014, 5:29 pm
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For anyone thinking of visiting Montenegro with children, I thought I would share some of the things I found for my nieces, with information correct at the date of publishing and with some idea of how successful the activities were.

Beaches – apart from Plavi Horizonti (near Radovici) which has a sandy beach (€3 for parking), most of the beaches that were not completely packed were rather disappointing. These were mainly on the Bay of Kotor, and scored low because they were dirty, slimy rocks or just had a concrete area for sunbathing. We were too far from Ulcinj, and were trying to avoid the crowds of Budva.

Swimming – the Aqua Park in Becici at the Hotel Mediteran (can’t remember the price www.hotelmediteran.info/eng/index-2novi.html) was a great hit, with plenty of water slides and a nice swimming pool. I think we could have done this several times without it becoming boring. Also my youngest niece loved swimming in Lake Skadar half-way through a lake cruise, (www.pelikan-zec.com/eng/lake_cruise.htm - €20 each for a two-hour cruise) due to the warm fresh water.

Activities – the Adventure Park in Ivanova Korita (www.nparkovi.me/sajt/np-lovcen/aktivni-odmor/biciklizam), with many courses with zip lines through the trees (€18 for adults, something less for children) was good fun although my nieces got physically tired relatively soon. We were thinking of doing some rock climbing (montenegroplus.me/), but the price of €40 for the day each was perhaps too much.
Kayaking on the Zeta (self-organised) and rafting on the Tara (for which we managed to get special prices www.rafting-green.com/) were also good fun, despite being a long drive from Kotor, where we were mainly based.
A couple of cruises on the Boka, one in a larger boat, the other in a speedboat at least kept the girls busy and mainly out of trouble for a few hours.

Towns – this proved rather boring for my nieces, not used to doing much walking around – however we did visit Kotor (attended the carnival, walked half-way to the Fortress of San Giovanni, the cat museum), Herceg Novi and Budva. Looking at cute stray cats on the streets was a recurring theme.

Monasteries – not high on the kids’ list, but my brother very much wanted to visit them. We went to the monasteries of Ostrog, Zupa, Zagradje and Piva, in the continental part of Montenegro (we used Niksic as a base for activities in that part of the country).

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