Mrtvica Canyon (slightly amended route) 
Saturday, October 1, 2016, 9:00 am
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Firstly, just to say that I haven't included a picture of the more famous parts of the actual canyon, because this is about my tenth time to hike it and so I didn't take many photos. What was different this time is that we took a route that went on the left side of the river, rather than the more usual right bank. The starting point is about 40 minutes north of Podgorica on the main road to Kolasin. There is one asphalt road with signposts for Mrtvica Canyon and the village of Mrtvo Duboko, but we took the road leading to the village of Velje Duboko and parked almost immediately. One path leads across an iron bridge where we joined the asphalt road towards the village of Mrtvo Duboko, past several beautifully constructed houses, then down to a bridge made of thin planks, and further on to the bridge pictured above. Then we joined the familiar path along the canyon itself. For those reading who have never seen the canyon, it is breathtaking in its proportions. It is narrow (maybe 200m wide) by maybe 700m tall, with the River Mrtvica roaring in places below, but sometimes disappearing underground in other sections. In places the flow is interrupted by massive boulders that have fallen from the canyon wall. One part features a path carved into a sheer rock cliff about 100m above the river. This is an ideal hike for beginners, we travelled a little under three hours in one direction before returning. On the way back we took the more familiar, shorter route, which now bypasses private property where at one time we were charged several euros per person to cross a field. However, some slightly hilarious, but also potentially sinister, signs warn of needing to pay to cross this gentleman's land still remain visible.
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Tićjak/Božurni vrh (1,900m) Mala Lukavica 
Friday, September 30, 2016, 11:00 am
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With the desire to do some bouldering and perhaps get an interesting angle on Lake Kapetanovo, we drove to St Elijah's Church on Lukavica and decided to clamber up the hills/mountains on the right, instead of the left. I don't know whether these are part of Maganik, Zurim or neither, but they resemble Maganik by the rock formations - lots of bare karst, etched by water into picturesque shapes, but always characterised by smooth faces and knife edges. The ascent was not difficult, but we often fell through what seemed to be grass or shrubs in between rocks, but which just covered over a deeper void. I sustained bruising and scratching from one such fall. However, the view over the plain of Lukavica, combined with a panorama of Maganik on the other side and with the Mrtvica Canyon snaking away into the distance towards the Kom Mountains and Prokletije range, make this central part of Montenegro particularly beautiful, in a harsh, rocky way.
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In search of a lake / Mt Lola 
Friday, September 23, 2016, 11:00 am
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The previous time I had walked to the "Third Ridge" my idea had been firstly to see how far we could get in a day, and secondly to try to find a small lake I had espied from an Air Serbia plane flying overhead from Podgorica to Belgrade.
Although I had my usual morning work until 10.30, we arrived at Zagoricki katun by Zurim at around 11.30 and picked a slightly different route over the first two ridges. This involved picking the most dangerous, but doable routes up the cliff face. We got to the point we had ended up before and decided to press on further to see what was over the next horizon. It was then that we stumbled across a couple of natural arches eroded out of the mountainside, and from there we could also see the "lake" far below us (although it was hard to determine whether there was actually any water in it). On the way back we tried another new route straight up the second ridge, but I was starting to suffer from heatstroke and couldn't wait to get back to the car. In all we walked about 8 hours and it was a good workout for a Friday.
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Zupci in the rain 
Saturday, September 17, 2016, 10:00 am
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Usually, the weather is fairly predictable and as such we usually skip rainy weekends. However, I was desperate to get out into the mountains on a day which was supposed to be OK in Durmitor, but terrible anywhere more south. As it turned out, we weren't quite north enough and so the highlands were engulfed in cloud and rain. The idea was to go from Sedlo to the peak of Bandijerna, but the lack of visibility made it unwise to stray from the clearly signposted path to Bobotov kuk. So we ended up at Zeleni vir and nowhere along the walk did we get any view of the surrounding mountains, except for 10 seconds on the way back when the clouds momentarily parted. Of course, as soon as we got back to the car, it was beautifully sunny.
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Mt. Borovnik, from Vucje 
Saturday, September 3, 2016, 11:00 am
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Despite making a couple of attempts in the snow to reach the top of Borovnik, and despite never quite seeing it as a pretty enough mountain to climb when other options are available, I decided to find out how long it would take to climb it from the ski centre at Vucje. Since the road to Vucje is regularly cleared of snow in the winter, the ski centre is an ideal place to start hikes when nowhere else is accessible. The walk from the top of Vucje to the foot of Borovnik is quite flat, although in order to avoid private property we had to divert over some rocky outcrops, which slowed us down. It took over two hours to get to under Borovnik, but then the climb was interesting, not least because of the mix of karst crisscrossed with fractures and trees/bushes. We didn't manage to get to the very top, as we wouldn't have had time, but the descent was interesting, as I chose a 'route' down which from a distance looked like a sheer drop, and was not for the fainthearted. There are no hiking paths, but we did find an animal trail on the descent which brought us more quickly to the foot of the mountain. The two-plus-hour walk back was a killer, but at least we could stop at the ski centre for a coffee and breather before driving down to Niksic. The view from the 'top' included the new windfarm on Krnovo, Zurim and a rather featureless landscape in the direction of Niksic. Anyone wishing to pick wild pomegranate, rosehip and juniper should be advised that there was an abundance of these plants all over the area at the time that we went, although the former two are best picked as late as possible in the autumn.
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