European Summit Challenge
Slovenia - Triglav 2864m


Those who have seen the film, "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" may recall King Arthur's encounter with the fearsome, antler helmed, Knights that say Ni. Passage through their woodland domain came at a peculiar price, their demand, a shrubbery. As I squeezed past the dwarf pines that overgrew the path, stepping on one branch, leaning on another. and pushing forwards a third, I could not help but think that these men would have enjoyed it here in the Triglav National Park. Shrubbery grew everywhere on this section of my trek, including the path, making my pace slow and particularly unpleasant. Let me tell you from experience, that dwarf pines can be evil arse slapping, finger cutting sods.
The fact that the path was so overgrown did give me cause for concern. The map, and the red and white paint markings, indicated that I was walking on Slovenia's Alpine Traverse, one of the country's few long distance paths. Some small distance ahead of me was a hut, Kuca pod Bogatinom, where I planned to stay the night. Would the hut be open when I got there? It was nearing dark and having completed a strenuous day, I was in not mood for this amount of drama, and for your benefit I'll cut to the chase. Not only was the hut open but dinner was being served.

Kuca pod Bogatinom
Kuca pod Bogatinom.

Kuca pod Bogatinom was very different from Dom Planika where I had stayed the night previous. There, reception duty was maintained by two attractive young girls fluent in English and probably many other languages since the mountaineering clientele came from many different nations; walkers and climbers

eager to add Triglav to their list of conquered peeks. Here at Kuca pod Bogatinom, all were middle age Slovenes with few English skills between them. This did not make it an unwelcoming, exclusive club. On the contrary, the people were friendly and did their best, as did I, to convey a rudimentary conversation; my journey, where I was from, those kind of questions asked by all kind strangers you meet while travelling.

Dom Planika
Dom Planika.

Iate my dinner of spaghetti bolognese, drank a glass of Union Pivo (the Slovenian beer pronounced Oo-nee-on Pee-vo) happy in the knowledge that above me I had a small room with toilet and running water next door, all privileges after a night at Dom Planika. Meal completed, I pushed my plate to one side and studied my map of the National Park. I had walked further today than had originally expected. In fact, I had pushed myself hard for the last two days, always uncertain of my final destination at dawn and always pleased with my achievement by dusk. I had topped out on the 2864 metre peak of Mount Triglav

The summit ridge
On the Summit ridge.

earlier this morning, along with many others, and somehow avoided the

Standing at the summit
Standing at the summit if Mt Triglav.

traditional birchwood lashing given to Triglav virgins. I guess it was only fair dues that the dwarf pines caught me later. Having signed the summit log book, I then returned to the Dom, collected my backpack and hiked a hour before seeing anyone else. My route over the Hribarice

Heading towards the Hribarice Plateau
Heading towards the Hribarice Plateau.

Plateau took me into the heart of the mountains where, even though it was July, the snow had not yet melted. There were further short climbs before I descended into the Valley of the Triglav Lakes just as thick clouds darkened the sky and plunged the plateau behind me into a world of cold grey haze.

Ascent to the Hribarice Plateau

Ascent to the Hribarice Plateau
Ascent to the Hribarice Plateau.