Slovenia - Brda

Brda - To the top of the world and back - By Alan Garner

This walk will certainly stretch your legs and hopefully the views will be worth the climb. It's an out and back walk- there are slight variations on the way back, though these are difficult to pin point unless you know the terrain.

We start the walk at the  Sport Hotel Pokljuka which is deep in the heart of the magnificent high level plateau of Pokljuka.

This hotel is just off the road from Bled to the Biathlon centre and specialises in elite sports athletes training, though it is also generally open and offers toilets opportunity.

Take the short road back to the main road and turn left along it for 200 metres.

See on the right a track signed Planina Javornik. This is a wide track through forest, undulating. You reach the open space of the Planina Javornik, and in front of you is the expanse of the Triglav range with the ridge you are walking to in the foreground.

The planina usually has many cows with their bells ringing. Keep on into the forest and reach a broad track crossing your path. Carry on now along the same trajectory, beginning the climb through the forest towards Lipanca.

The track begins to become steeper, but manageable at a steady pace and keep on following the signs for Lipanca.

Within an hour after leaving the Planina, you reach the famous Lipanca mountain hut, rest here – refreshments all day- and book your lunch for your journey back.

Follow the footpath from the hut towards the bowl shape hollow, sometimes with water in, even sometimes in the early season it will have snow and ice.

Pick up signs for Brda and Debela Pec, you have  steep section soon after as the route winds upwards through limestone crags- be careful as underfoot can be tricky if you don't pay attention.

You reach a saddle – 40 minutes after leaving the hut. Scan the many footpath signs for BRDA.

For the next 30 minutes, your path now leads steeply upwards through fir trees and then reaches open ground where you zig zag along the side of a ridge - eventually bursting out to a wonderful view of the Triglav mountain and the Krma valley below you.  On a clear day this is a magnificent first sight in close up of the white/gray mountains of limestone that form the high peaks of the Triglav National Park.

Keep slightly right – good footsteps to guide you and after 10 minutes reach the rounded summit of Brda. Rest awhile.

Brda is 2009 metres high- the photos will show you the views from the grassy summit.

Two options. Carry on along the ridge to Debela Pec the next summit, or make your way carefully onwards – don’t re trace your way to the top, but continue over the top.

Eventually- after a careful walk- you reach the spot where you saw the signs for Brda, thus completing a circular route.

Two options here, you could simply return the way you ascended to the saddle, or a less strenuous way through the meadows to your left, following the red spot signs, slowly descending to Lipanca – if you are on the right track you come to a rather broken down building – this was Tito’s hunting lodge – and from here it is 20 minutes to the Lipanca hut

Do try the hearty soups they offer, with or without sausage, and walnut cake.

From the hut, retrace your steps downhill – there are a couple of shortcuts that take you down to the main forest track, and if you take these remember to turn left at the broad forest track.

Eventually after ten minutes flat walking you meet your original footpath which crosses the broad track.

But you can completely retrace your steps along your original outward route, and through the Planina Javornik, and back to the Sport hotel.

This walk is 13 kilometres, but you need 5/6 hours including lunch. The ascent 659 metres to from the start at 1350 metres and Brda at 2009 metres.

Lipanca Hut

Planina Javornik

Located in Triglav National Park, Pokljuka plateau measures some 20 km in length, almost the same width and sits at an altitude of 1,300 m. It offers an amazing experience regardless of the season and is the gateway to many mountain paths.

There are numerous old bear migration routes leading through the forests and the surface of the plateau is dotted with hidden shafts, sinkholes and small valleys.

Shingle covered wooden cottages are a distinguishing feature of the mountain pastures; once used as homes for shepherds and a place to make dairy products. In years past, beech tree forests covered the plateau. These were completely thinned during the 19th century for making charcoal, used to fuel iron ore smelters.

In winter Pokljuka is normally covered in thick snow, however, can still be accessed via Bohinj and Bled.