Stožac hike (2,141 m) 
Saturday, October 31, 2015, 9:00 pm
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During the summer the macadam/dirt track to Lake Kapetanovo is accessible, although a car with high clearance is recommended because of rocks on the road. The walk from the start of this road, if one decides to park there, to the lake across the valley (not along the road which snakes through the mountains) is about 1 hr 20 min and is a pleasant enough walk. The path from Lake Kapetanovo at the south-west side of the lake rises steeply to a rocky and stony pass, from where a goat trail up to the right leads over another pass to a mass of rock, intercut with deep cracks some of which contain snow. Following the line of the ridge on the left brings you to a grassy area where the peak of Stozac comes into sight, as does the more interesting rocky outcrop, Ilin vrh (Elijah’s peak) which is slightly lower.

There are some other peaks further on which afford a great view of Lake Manito and Lake Kapetanovo and a steep descent, although tricky with slippery grass down to Lake Manito, can be made so as not to cover the same terrain on the way back to Lake Kapetanovo. If you park by the asphalt road, count on a full day of hiking. During the summer a small café operates by Lake Kapetanovo, and there is also a spring there where you can fill up on water.

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Mali Žurim climb (1,965 m) 
Friday, August 21, 2015, 8:00 pm
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Of the two peaks called Žurim – the shorter, Mali Žurim, is the more interesting to look at and climb. The taller, more massive Veliki Žurim is less dramatic, easier to climb, but the benefit is that from its peak you have an excellent view of its little brother.

Mali Žurim consists of a steep, flattened cone with three distinct sharp peaks which separate just below the summits. The easiest way to climb is to the right-hand side, as you approach from the road from Bare Bojovića, going up a stony, zigzagging path to a pass which leads towards Ilin vrh, a peak further to the right. From this point just before the pass, looking up high to the left, there is a red arrow painted onto a rock near the top of the mountain, although this is very hard to spot unless you know it is there. The slope has a lot of movable material, but there are grassy parts which provide more stable footing. The rocky peak requires some clambering, but is not dangerous on that side. We decided to climb from the other side, from in between the two Žurims, and it was a very steep climb up a grassy slope, zigzagging all the way to the middle peak, which did not take very long, but was exhausting. From the middle peak, the climb to the highest peak was awkward and potentially dangerous because of two or so metres of vertical rock that needed to be scrambled up before starting a slightly more gentle grassy slope for the last ten or so metres to the top.

View of Veliki Žurim from the top of Mali Žurim
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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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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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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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