On our tour of Montenegro, we stayed in the town of Žabljak so we could enjoy “Durmitor National Park”:http://nparkovi.me/en/map-of-parks/ with its 39,000 hectares, 27 peaks over 2,200 metres, 18 glacial lakes, canyons and dense pine forest.
From the “Hotel SOA”:https://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/review/accommodation/198444-review-hotel-soa, it was a 15-minute walk along the road to the park entrance (fee €3) and a further 15 minutes along a paved road to our destination, the Black Lake (or Crno jezero).
We’d read that we could walk around the perimeter of the lake in an hour. However, Lorenc who’d driven us to Žabljak from Bosnia and Herzegovina, had helpfully checked conditions beforehand. He told us that the route was blocked halfway round because of a spring which was now impassable due to recent heavy rainfall.
On arrival at the lake, we did as Lorenc had suggested and started with the clearly marked right hand anti-clockwise path. Although it was relatively good walking, we needed walking boots and poles. The huge lake was spectacular: surrounded by tall pine trees with snow clad mountains as a backdrop. At 9.30am, there were only a couple of other walkers around. I stopped to take a photograph at a viewpoint and jumped when I realised a fit young man had crept up behind me without me noticing. He joked he was glad he wasn’t wearing black, as I might have thought he was a bear.
In the distance we saw three waterfalls gushing into the river, and assumed they were the ones which would block out path. However, before we got to them, we encountered another, which from a distance was unremarkable, but was far too deep and fast flowing to cross and so we retraced our steps.
Back where we started, we stopped for coffee in a lovely modern pine restaurant with both indoor and outdoor seating, although it was too cold for the terrace. Refreshed, we tackled the left-hand path. By now, it had started raining, the path was steeper, the stones were slippery in the wet and tree roots were a trip hazard. We reached a set of steep stone steps with rope handrail. Lorenc had warned us these could be treacherous and so we cut our losses and retraced our steps once again. The visibility was now poor, and the snowy mountains were shrouded in mist.
Back at the café, we enjoyed beer and chicken soup before walking back to the hotel in the sun – our leisurely trip had taken us nearly 5 hours.
If someone suggests you can walk right around the lake in an hour, do not believe them. Also, although we’d carried binoculars with us, we did not see or hear a single bird.