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Lockdown!

My annual leave entitlement at work runs April to April which means in March, my entire team battle to claim days to use up their leave.
Being sneaky (some may say selfish!), in December I booked a week off in March before anyone else did.
I planned to buy a 4 in 8 Freedom of North West Rail Rover ticket which can be used for travel towards Chester to the south, Leeds to the east and Dumfries to the north.
Leeds was a definite, I’d not been before and I was keen to see the armouries, perhaps combine with another Yorkshire town.
Carlisle was tempting too. A walk along Hadrian’s wall, sneak in a spot of camping….
…..
…..then came Covid-19.

My football Sunday league games had already been cancelled, my football and fencing training sessions soon followed. My hotel in Crawly cancelled the booking I’d made for April as did the campsite in the Lake District.
Things were slowly getting ready for lock down.
My big plans for the week off were becoming smaller plans.

For the time being at least, walking/hiking was still allowed. One idea was to use the Chester to Manchester line, get off the train at Delamere, walk back to Chester then, take the Merseyrail train back home.

4 in 8 freedom rail rover ticket

The ticket is in two parts.
The bottom part can be read by ticket machines, the top part is for writing in the day and month the ticket is being used (click on the image to expand).

After a pleasant journey on an empty train, I got off at Delamere station. From the station, it’s a short walk to the visitor centre (with it’s toilets!) and on to the Blakemere Moss lake.

Navigation is easy, follow the signs for the Delamere Way through the forest to the road running (almost) through the middle.

Unfortunately, this route does go along roads for a short while but they aren’t very busy.

I was now following the well signed Baker Way.
Just to the north of Ashton Hayes (which sounds more like a Hollywood actor than a village), I had a decision to make. I could continue on the Baker Way which lead to the south of Chester or I could turn right on to Gongar Lane. This would take me on the Longster Trail towards the north of Chester.
I decided on the Longster Trail.
This was a nice 12 mile walk, passing villages and crossing farmers fields before reaching the outskirts of Chester.
The route is available to download from ViewRanger.
Needless to say, I’ll be trying the other route soon!

I did get to Leeds as planned, but now all the museums including the armouries were closed. As I sat alone in PieMinister, the annouoncement was made that all pubs and restaurants would close that night.
Total lock-down was imminent.
I made me way very quickly to the station, I certainly wasn’t going to wait for the last train as more and more were cancelled.

I never managed to use the final day of my 4 day ticket.

I didn’t return to the office after my week off either.
I got a text message off a colleague saying that we would be working from home for the foreseeable future. Luckily I guessed this might happen. I had taken my laptop home and, more importantly, my stash of coffee.

Tree in the morning mist

Working from home wasn’t too bad.
The time I’d normally spend communing. I spent doing the government approved daily walk.
I would walk for a couple of minutes to the local woods then wander around discovering the various paths. For the most part, I was very lucky with the weather.
I’ll certainly miss these early morning strolls through when normality returns.

Eastham country park, Wirral


At the weekends, I’d get up early and head a little further down the road (still only about 5 minutes!) to the larger woods at Eastham Country park.
Leaving early mean I could easily follow the social distancing rules, only seeing the occasional early dog walking in the distance.

We work flexi time in my office, and I’d managed to build up enough hours to take a couple of days off.
When I booked them, I had planned a couple of days in the Welsh hills. When the time came, we were in full on lock down and were only allowed to go on one exercise a day.
The (short) list of permitted exercise included walking but only from where you live. I’m quite lucky, there’s several footpaths and quiet country lanes near my home. I drew up a couple of routes, both in a similar area. One 8 mile circular route from my house, the other about 10.5 miles.
I’ve added both to ViewRanger but tweaked both to start and end at the nearest train station.

Eastham Country Park Wirral

We’re now approaching the end of the third week of lock down.
Needless to say, we’re all missing seeing family and it’s tough missing usual activities…..but there’s quite a few walks and camping trips getting planned!!

Manchester Runway Trail

Today’s walk was something a little different, rather than majestic mountain ranges and vast vistas, the views would be of aircraft….lots of aircraft.

At 9.30am, I parked up in the Styal country park/Quarry bank mill car park. According to the website the car parking charges are £5*, however, when I arrived the booth was unmanned and I parked for free.

After a quick scout round in case there was a Pay and Display machine hidden away, I left  the car park the same way I drove in then, taking  a road to my left, headed North, with the Quarry Bank Apprentice House to the left.
IMG_1861I spent a little bit of time looking around this part of Styal which was built  in the late 1700s by  Samuel Greg for those working at his mill.

After passing the two churches,  I headed in to Styal Woods and on to  the North Cheshire Way.
I later discovered the North Cheshire Way is a Long Distance Path (71 miles) starting near my home in Wirral, past the airport and on to Disley Station in the Peak District. Might be one to complete in the future!

This part of the route is a pleasant woodland walk following and occasionally crossing the River Bollin. There is a fairly steep climb up the steps to cross the river at Giant’s Castle Bridge.
Emerging from the trees, passing a field of cows, I could here the distinctive noise of a couple of jet engines powering up. Up until now, it was difficult to visualise a large, international airport was just the other side of the trees.

I must admit my aviation nerdyness got the better of me and I did leave the path, waking up a grassy embankment to take a look over  Runway 2 05R/23L.  Unfortunately all aircraft movement was on the far runway, Runway 1, 05L/23R but I still got some great views of the departing aircraft (unfortunately, arriving aircraft were just a bit too far away).
Virgin 747 take off

Returning to the North Cheshire Way, I continued until I reached a roundabout.
To the right is a dual carriage way passing underneath the runway, however, the route continues almost straight across this fairly busy road.

Manchester Airport
The raised grass section just off the road looks over towards the airport and is a good spot for photos.
Continuing along part of the walk allows you to  get right up close to the runway, albeit from the other side of a high metal fence.
The path passes around one of the airport’s fire station and follows along the entire length of the runway.

I left the North Cheshire Way at the end of the runway, taking a right to towards the landing lights. Manchester airport landing lights

The path swings round to the opposite side of the runway. There are no views of the runway on this part of the walk but you do have departing aircraft fying just a few feet over head at the location marked ‘1’ on my  route map

The path  joins a quiet road which continues in the direction of the runway before crossing the River Bollin. I took a  right,  following the river through the tunnel , beneath the runway.
This brought me out near the fire station and I retraced my steps back towards the roundabout on the main road, however, rather than return following the river  I stayed closer to the perimeter fence, climbing an embankment to look right across the airport.

 

The runway path stopped at Altrincham Road which I followed in to Styal, a picturesque village with thatched cottages and cosy pubs.
After taking a right on to Styal Road, I took the footpath at the end of Holts Lane back to Quarry Bank Mill.

The GPX file for this 9.5 mile/15km walk is available to download

 

* Prices August 2016

Wet, wet wet

Wednesday 8th June
Today I was off to Pokljuka soteska, leaving Bed via Grajska Cesta to the West. Things didn’t start too well, the road I wanted to follow was shut for works so I took a detour around Kolodvorska Cesta. It was here I stopped to help someone who was very lost having gone some considerable distance North East  rather than North West . Buy a map and compass people!
Following the railway track, I took a left near an industrial area then passed a dairy farm on the way to Spodnje Gorje .
The route was mostly along roads passing through  Zgornje Gorje and Grabče.
Hanging corn to dryI finally left the road near Krnica. This appeared to be a  farming village. A very old couple went past, perched on the back of a tractor trailer. Further along, I passed houses hanging corn out to dry.
Opposite the bus stop, I took a path dropping down to the right. This took me on to another road which I followed round to the left before joining a path heading West.
The path comes out on a narrow but quiet road leading to the Pokljuka car park.
From the car park I headed right, climbing slightly through the woodland towards Stara Pokljuka. This was becoming a pleasant, quiet walk…. but I’ve come to realise during this holiday things don’t usually go to plan!

I reached a crossroads of paths. A left here would take me towards the gorge, however, it would make the walk a lot shorter, besides, I was enjoying it so I pressed on.
The intention was to continue heading West until I hit a road which I would follow South then, take the path heading East from the road to the gorge….seemed like a good plan!

The path off the road was difficult to find, the steps down were just  about visible on the left hand side of a hairpin bend.
The route was rather over grown and followed a dried up river bed. Some basic scrambling was required to cross over the slippery rocks. Further along, a wooden bridge had collapsed.  It was becoming clear that this is a rarely used route.
Broken bridgeI soon hit a third obstacle.
As I didn’t know how long the path would be in this state, I did the cowardly/sensible thing and returned to the road.  If I was walking with other people I may well have continued,  but, I was on my own and had only seen one other person after leaving Krnica. This would mean missing out on seeing the gorge, the main sight  I had come to see on the walk but, better safe than sorry.
I only had two options now, go back the same way through the woods (in retrospect, probably the nicer option) or take the road  all the way back to the Southern part of Krnica. Not being a fan of retracing my steps too much I took the road.
Every once in a while, I glanced over to see if I could spot any signs of the path below….nothing. Strangely, this road seems to be the hog roast capital of the Gorenjska  region!

I stopped in the bus stop at Krnica to see if I could make a more circular route from here back to Bled and decided to take the next road to the right. I walked on to Zaboršt then followed a path from the South of the village. I passed under the railway track and eventually got to Camping Bled  on the Western side of the lake.
I have made the original route plan available for download. An alternative walk can be obtained from the Slovenian Tourism website.

Returning to the hotel as the rain started, I had dinner but soon started to get itchy feet. As the rain got heavier, the sensible thing would be stay in the room, have an early night but no, I have to explore the side streets. Despite taking a umbrella, I got drenched!
This was horrible weather stayed for the next 24 hours!

Thursday 9th June
The weather forecast today was the worst of the week and yes , it was bad!
I got all the wet weather gear on, put the rain cover over the sack and headed out. I took Ribenska cesta South out of Bled to Ribno continuing to the Bohinjka river.
Lake near Ribno, SloveniaTaking the path to the right before the bridge, I headed West passing a lake on the right hand-side. Ordinarily this would be a lovely place to sit and take in the views but the rain was so heavy I carried on  following the river.
Crossing at the next  bridge, the path soon moved away from the river, heading up hill through the trees to Kupljenik.

When I reached the small village of Kupljenik I was surprised to see a fire station complete with a large, modern fire engine. I concluded that every resident of the village must be a fireman.
The rain had been extremely heavy all morning so to get a few minutes break from the rain and fold the map correctly , I took shelter in the church of Sv Stefan. Within seconds of entering the church,  the  bells started to ring….continuously.
Perhaps a religious intruder alarm was alerting the locals of my presence, either that or it because it was midday……I’m going for the alarm!

It soon became clear the rain wasn’t going to ease off any time soon, so I left my shelter and returned to the road, walking towards a small car park on the left. The path starts at the opposite end of the car park heading roughly back in the same direction I came.
The intention today was to head to the caves at Babji Zob. It was well signed. So far so good.
20160609_140906_HDRAfter a fairly steep climb, I joined a track.
According to my GPS mapping I wasn’t on any recognised route, however, this wide track had a number of signed routes including one to Babji Zob. The red and white path markers were clearly painted every few hundred metres.
I followed the signs through the mist and rain. Despite being early June, I was wishing I’d packed my gloves.
I  came to the turn off towards Babji Zob. From the track it was a step few steps up on to the path through the woods. On the first attempt my feet slipped on the extremely muddy surface. For the second attempt, I hauled myself up using a branch…I slipped again. I noticed a large stick and used that for extra grip and stability on attempt number three and slowly made my way up.
As I rubbed the rain from my eyes, I glanced up at the muddy path that went up as far as the eye could see. There was no point checking my GPS, the mapping for this area was useless. My paper map contradicted GPS and, yet again, neither  matched the actual terrain. The only thing I was sure of were the contour lines between me and Babji Zob. This meant a lot of slippery, muddy climbing.
I mulled over the options. I felt I had ‘given up’ on a few of my walks this holiday and knew that in better conditions I would have continued but the rain was getting heavier, the viability was getting worse and I was getting colder.
Ultimately I wasn’t here to prove anything, this wasn’t a mission I was on a holiday; a time for relaxation and enjoyment.  With those thoughts, I turned round, carefully made my way back on to the track, leaving the stick for someone braver than me.
Getting mistyI decided to continue on the track a while, it was easy walking.  Relying on my compass, I thought I would continue and see if the track turned towards Bohinjska Bela, if  not, it would be very easy to retrace my steps.
As I wandered though the woods I saw a sign to Bohinj.  Was this just short hand for Bohinjska Bela or was it actually pointing to Bohinj, the lake 22.5 km (14 miles) from Bled?
By this point I decided that I’d been heading South East too long. I didn’t want to have to take my paper map out as it was slowly disintegrating in the wet conditions so, rather than chance seeing where the Bohinj route took me, I went back towards the car park near Kupljenik.

Once I reached the road, I took a left down to Bohinjska Bela.
As usual, the road was very quiet with very little traffic although I did meet a group of goats!
River near Bohinjska BelaAt the junction at the end of the road, I crossed over, following the river North on route 11 towards Bohinjska Bela. The rain had slowly started to ease, so I stopped for a while on a picnic bench over looking the river.
I really didn’t want to follow the same route back I took earlier in the week so I took this opportunity to get my map correctly folded and planned a route which took me on the road towards the Eastern side of the village, under the railway track then  a right on to route 5 through the woods.
At a junction of paths, I went right and joined the route I had taken yesterday,  back under the railway line towards Camping Bled.  Rather than take the direct route back around the lake, I took the road past Bled railway station. This road climbs and gives some lovely views over the lake for little effort. Well, it would do given better weather!
This is a residential area and there are some lovely properties there.

The  walk was a very wet 16.8 miles (27km) The circular route through  Kupljenik and Bohinjska Bela is available as a GPX file
No, it didn’t go as planned and the conditions were unpleasant. When I got back to the room I Googled the caves, it seems you have to book to pre-arrange a visit….maybe a good thing I didn’t get there!

After dinner I sat on the balcony and watched the torrential rain, surely tomorrow had to be better…..

Final part >>

Chasing Waterfalls

Tuesday 7th June
Ohh eggy bread for breakfast, been years since I last had that!  Put a couple of pieces on my plate along with bacon, omelette and, to complete the egg theme, scrambled eggs….a bit of protein overload!
Mlino, Bled, SloveniaThe plan today was go around the lake as far as Miinska Cesta (by the supermarket) then take the first road on the right, Prežihova cesta, seeing  the small village of Mlino.
Shortly after leaving the village, the road becomes a gravel track heading in the direction of the Kozarca and Obroč hills.
The path follows the river round to join  Cesta Svobode, one of the roads leading from Bled,  passing the military area on the way (plenty of shooting today).
Following the Sava (river) Bohinjka  to the road, I  crossed over, taking a slight left  to join route 5 towards the church of St sv. Marjete and the pleasant village of Bohinjska Bela.
So far so good…..

I continued to the Slap Iglica  (Slap being the Slovenian word for waterfall). Initially there were a few tourist signposts but as I made my way around town, I struggled to find any other signs. I decided the most sensible option was to follow a stream to the west of the village then find my  way from the bottom of a dead end street.
Iglica falls A small group of climbers had gathered near the falls but no other walkers and to be honest I’m not surprised. Unfortunately,  I didn’t  really think it worth the effort.
I’m sure the 18 meter narrow falls are lovely at the right time of year but today, despite all the rain, it was a slight trickle.
There is a rather rickety set of steps up the side. I didn’t climb them but apparently  there are great views over the whole area.

The plan now was to head to Slamniki, a small settlement 872 meters above Bohinjska Bela.
Heading West out of town, Slamniki was marked on a sign post but, this was the only sign I saw and trying to follow the tracks marked on the GPS and map was not easy. I headed up hill with with the stream to the left, loosing and regaining not only the path but also my footing in the mud. I trudged continually uphill until the woodland cleared near some houses.
I could see a track  to my left but I could find it on my GPS or paper maps?
My GPS had one potential route; heading South East before rejoining the path I came up on. My paper map had a road heading East towards the Northern side of Bohinjska Bela. I didn’t want to investigate too much as there was a large group of people gathered outside one of the buildings. I didn’t trust my maps enough to go boldly striding towards them!

The GPS suggested only one route, paper map two.
I was getting confused and the more I tried to compare the two maps with the actual terrain, the more confused I became. I didn’t want to walk one particular route to find it took me miles off course.
Views to BledI decided to take the ‘wimps way out’ and headed back the way I came. This is something I hate doing but, if I got back early, I could do another planned walk to Vintgar.
So, I turned 180 degrees and feeling rather deflated headed back. ….after taking  some photos of the view!

Once again, I made my way through the extremely muddy woodland. Maybe it was the ‘familiarity’ of Bohinjska Bela, but I started to got a spring in my step, I could find my way now even without a map and compass.

I  passed straight through Bohinska Bela, towards the church,  joining path 5 heading back the same way I came earlier.
Before reaching the road I noticed this brightly coloured  mobile bee hive.
Mobile Slovenian bee hiveBeekeeping is a traditional agricultural activity in Slovenia. In the past, when sugar was in short supply, almost every farm kept bees.  Virtually all hives  are painted,  many with intricate designs. These are mobile hives are used to move bee colonies between pastures.

After crossing  the road, I took the first road on the left rather than continuing around Obroc.  This road led to Lake Bled were I walked anticlockwise round to the hotel for a wash,  drink and plot the rest of the day.

Sadly I wouldn’t recommend the full 11 mile walk, however, I have added the route to Bohinjska Bela on ViewRanger as a GPX file.

It was 14.30 and I’d only walked 11 miles  so time for another walk this time in the opposite direction to Vintgar gorge.
The best way to the gorge is along the road heading North  East from Bled to Podhom. I followed Partizanska cesta crossing a bridge before  a fork in a road where I took a left up Cesta v Vintgar. I remained on this road, passing under a railway bridge before entering the village of Podhom whose name means ‘below Hom hill’.
There are plenty of signs through the town directing both walkers and vehicles to the gorge. The route is easy, just keep following the road until it crosses the Radovna river. Shortly after passing Gostilna Vintgar you’ll see the car park and then the entrance.
Entry is €4 at time of writing * and is paid at a small hut, there is one on both sides of the gorge. Each entrance to the gorgealso has a small snack bar, seating and toilets.
Slap Sum, waterfall Vintgar Gorge, SloveniaThe route follows a wooden walk ways  which can get narrow especially as it’s two-way.  The views are spectacular and I assume there were especially good today  following the large amount of rain that had fallen in the area recently.
The route passes pools and rapids  and at the end is the 13 m (43 ft) Slap Šum  (which translates as ‘noisy falls’). This is the largest river waterfall in Slovenia.
I walked down the steps past the pay booth and through the woods to the viewing area which is a great place to see this powerful waterfall.


I returned to the booth/snack bar to take the path back through the woods toward Sv Katarina church. Just ahead of  me in the woods was a man dressed in a t-shirt, cargo pants and trainers. His only nod to being in the great outdoors was a Craghopper hat. He had no map and stood in the middle of the woods looking confused.
“Is this the right way?” He asks, surely that depended on where he was going.
I told him to follow the red and white markers painted on the trees. He was wondering what they were for!
At the end of the woods  is the chuch, a restaurant (Pizzerija Jurček )and some beautiful views.I took a short break on one of the wooden benches to take in the vista.

View near Zasip Slovenia

Zasip near Bled SloveniaHeading in to the pretty village of Zasip with its distinctive red roofed church, a lady with presumably her husband calls out a cheerful ‘Dobrodensdki’ .
‘Dober Dan’ I reply almost exhausting my Slovenian vocabulary.
‘Dober dan’ they  both say,  beaming.
If only every village in the world was so welcoming!

Wandering through the Zasip I paused to watch a game of boules taking place outside Gostilna Kurej. The sun was shining and, despite the navigation issues in the morning, this had turned in to another good day!
Continuing on the road out of of the village, I soon reached the fork in the road and bridge where this circular walk to Vintgar started.

Some travel companies offer this trip for around €14 per person. Save €10 and do the trip independently. It’s fairly easy walking and far more rewarding! A copy of this walk is available in GPX format.

I retired to my room after a dinner  and sat on the balcony as the entire town plunged in to darkness for few minutes, the only lighting coming from the emergency lighting from various hotels. Never found out what  caused this, it was one of the few nights we hadn’t had sorms.

Part 4 >>

 

*Prices as of June 2016

  • Note – click on any image to view full size

Back to Bled

Saturday 4th June
For the first in a long while, I was flying out to my holiday destination at a decent time, I didn’t have to leave my house until 10 am. The traffic  flowed freely and I arrived at Manchester airport before check in opened.  It was interesting to see how many pairs of  shiny new walking boots I saw  in the check in queue, perhaps new to walking? During the course of the week it became worryingly obvious how little experience and knowledge of the outdoors some people have.

Adria airways view from window This would be my seventh time  to Slovenia. The first visit was when the former Yugoslavian country was still outside the EU and my old passport has a few Brnik stamps.
I was now returning to the area where my love for the country first started, Lake Bled.

So what’s changed?
Well flight wise, a lot. Slovenia’s national carrier,  Adria Airways  still have the traditional check in at Manchester i.e. no online check-in (although it is slowly being rolled out) The only seat choice you get is aisle or window.
I was sat by the window on seat 9A on the Airbus A319. The place between me and the aisle seat was free which allowed me to spread out a little.
Gone are the days of the free meal and drinks, the only free beverage now is water although various drinks and snacks were available to buy.
The airline’s ‘OnAir’ service is good. Connect with the WiFi on your phone or tablet to play games, read magazine articles, play games or chat with other passengers. The aviation section  of the magazine is a particularly interesting read and, when the views were lost beneath clouds, the 2048 game passed the time.
It was a nice flight with a smooth landing.
Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport is small enough to allow you to pass through quickly and, once outside, a number of shuttle buses to Lake Bled were parked up. .Despite the terrible weather forecast, we saw blue skies when we landed and remained as I made my way to the Hotel Jelovica in Bled.

Balcony view hotel Jelovica Bled Slovenia
Balcony view

I was told at check-in that the hotel has no single rooms so I was given a good sized double room (369) with views of the church and castle. As with most hotels in Europe, there are no drink making facilities in the room, but there is a vending machine on the second floor filled with soft drinks and a few snacks.

Dinner is an all you can eat buffet which included free drinks; wine, beer, water or pop. As I entered the restaurant,  I gave my room number and was shown to my table for the week then just got up and helped myself.
My meal started with the Slovenian staple, thin beef soup with noodles. The salad came with a choice of dressing (I went for pumpkin oil), then it was steak  in a porcini sauce with duchess potatoes. There was also an impressive array of deserts which were very popular with those with a sweeter tooth than I!

I took a leisurely  wander to the lake after dinner, returning to room at 9.30 pm  for a drink and early night. Luckily, the church which was a few feet from my balcony turns the bells off at night, however, the ringing starts again at around 6.

Sunday 5th June
Woke fairly early after a decent sleep.
After breakfast, I took a stroll to the shopping centre by Hotel Golf.
Bled hasn’t changed much over the years but the supermarket opening times certainly have! Gone are the days of the Mercator closing Saturday afternoon and staying shut until Monday morning. Supermarket wine
One supermarket just up the road from my hotel on Presernova Cesta is open 7am – 9pm Monday to Saturday and 8am – 5pm Sundays & holidays. It even has a 24 hour vending machine offering drinks, sweets, ham, cheese and sandwiches.  I think this shop also has draft wine for you to fill your own bottles, I’m not 100% sure of this but have seen something similar in Pescasseroli, Italy.

The shopping centre contains a few bars and restaurants, the supermarket, pharmacy, clothes shops and the tourist information office.
Shopping in Slovenia is cheap – although compared to England almost everywhere is!  50p buys a half litre of Cola, 40p for a can.  80p gets a half litre bottle of beer.
Not that you go to Bled for the shopping!

After stocking up on a few drinks for the walk and for the room afterwards, I headed to the lake.
It was 9.15am and still reasonably quiet as I walked along the path on the ‘road side’ of the lake. It’s worth doing the lake walk early as it can get busy later in the day.

The 88 StepsNot far from the bottom end of the lake, there are three paths all heading to Osojnica, I took the third option.
Here came the start of the climb.
Although the path was through woodland and it was still early in the day, the temperature was already quite warm and humid.  I was glad of the drinks in my rucksack!

At one point there are 88 steps to ascend and some climbing, assisted with an iron rope and footholds but the views from the top are amazing!
Staza Hill dominates the right hand side of the lake with Bled directly ahead and Mlino on the right. I could also make out the mountains of the Karavanke range which mark the border with Austria.

Views over lake Bled

I continued on route 6 to Velika Osojnica. My map implied that once I got there I would need to retrace my steps a bit. The lack of markings past the view seemed to confirm that.
chamoisTo be honest, there are better,  unobstructed views along the walk but it’s another peak ticked off (756 metres) I returned to the junction of paths and continued straight on, passing some local wild life!

The path descends through woodland back to the Lake. I carried on around the lake until reaching a path to Visce. The route around the lake was getting busy and I was keen to get off the beaten track again.  (Continuing around the lake would make the walk five half miles in total)

SnakeIt didn’t take long to loose the crowds…. and come across  a snake doing battle with a frog!
Both went their separate ways when the sensed me coming, much to the frog’s relief! The masses on the lake path would probably have no idea of the types of wildlife just a few metres away.

I zig zagged around, passing the monument to Adolf Muhr, a merchant who once owned Bled castle.
The path eventually came out near the castle and from there I returned to the hotel to plan the next route.
This walk  was 7.45 miles/12km in total (starting and finishing at Hotel Jelovica)  and can be downloaded from the ViewRanger website

Given that it was early afternoon and the sun was still shining, I headed out again. I followed the single track roads through some villages to the South East of Bled.
It doesn’t take long to leave the centre of Bled and begin walking alongside fields with views of the mountains beyond.

Ribno
Ribno

This route took in the villages of Koritno, Bodešče and the larger village of Ribno.
Although I was  walking, I imagine it would make a nice bike ride which can be easily extended to include other villages.
I was walking mostly on roads but they are so quiet that it  never caused a problem. I also find the drivers in Slovenia to be extremely patient with walkers and cyclists.
This 5.8mile/9.44km route is available to download.

Dinner tonight was  tomato soup, salad, garlicky cray tails, venison ragu with 3 grains and mixed vegetables. Once again, very nice!

After dinner, at around 9pm I got my head torch and went for a walk round the lake. Initially I wondered if this was the best idea, lots of midges flying around but (unusually) none bothered me (perhaps it was the garlic) so I continued on for around  four miles.
Most of the path has some street lighting but it’s well worth taking a torch as it can get very dark in places particularly on the wooden walk way on the side furthest from town. It’s also worth taking a tripod, there are some lovely photo opportunities.

Lake Bled at night

This brings me on to something else, safety.
Despite being a female travelling alone, I am sometimes a little blasé  especially in Slovenia. I didn’t think twice about a night walk, however,  Slovenia is a very safe country, the World’s  10th safest in 2016 . Yes, there is a small amount of petty crime in the larger cities but the risks can be reduced by taking the usual common sense precautions.

Back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep….another walk planned for tomorrow!
Part 2 >>

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