Last week me, 3 friends & Daisy Marmite hiked to the magnificent fortress Tvrdava Vranovo Brdo, perched high on the cliff tops above Perast.
I knew nothing about the hike before I embarked on it. Probably best. If I had read the full description in the hiking guide, I may have faltered… 9 kms up to a height of 720 ms above sea level seems a lot.
Despite horrendous weather the previous day, Friday dawned dry and bright and unfolded into the perfect day for hiking – sunny but not hot, mostly clear skies with enough cloud in the distance to make the mountains look interesting & dramatic and a light mist hovering above the sea to make the Bay look magical (or rather, ‘mistical’?!).
We had a minor false start when after walking for 5 minutes or so, Berni commented on the fact that we were not going ‘up’ and she definitely remembered the path going up quite steeply, quite quickly. Plus there were no marks to follow and this trail is well marked. We re-traced our steps and found a path connecting with the one we should have taken. From that point if we couldn’t see the marks, we found our way by following the edge of the stone path that was usually visible to some degree and realising that the path was a consistent series of switchbacks.
Half way up there’s a ruined church:
The path was moderately difficult – there were some jagged rocks and it wasn’t exactly ‘easy’ on the legs & feet (my calves ached the next day and I had a slightly bruised foot from the uneven terrain); in places the path had fallen away and we were walking very close to the edge of the cliff; and there were a few obstacles to traverse (piled up brash to make an animal barrier). But the view was consistently stunning and improved the higher we climbed:
Sometimes the path wound through wooded, shaded areas and it felt nice to be in dappled light and out of the sun’s glare. Mostly though the path was very exposed – this is not a hike to do in summer with the full force of the sun beating down on you.
Over 2 hours into the hike & still no sign of the fortress – we weren’t flagging exactly, but we were beginning to wonder exactly how much longer the upward stretch was, always mindful of having to come back down. At last the fortress came into view!
The fortress (aka Sveti Andrija) was extensive & impressive.
This sign, with other great hikes marked on it (including THE biggie – the Coastal Transversal (KT) that runs from the Orijen Masif all the way down to Rumija near the Albanian border and beyond) indicates height as 719 m but by the time you get into the fortress itself we’re at 743 m.
On reaching the summit we congratulated ourselves with a snack break. Daisy got treats too and plenty of water. Hayley generously shared with us chunks of cheddar cheese and Green & Black’s chocolate! What a treat. Suitably fuelled, we began the downward hike, but not before a triumphant group shot:
Now we were not focused on looking up and getting a glimpse of our destination, we noticed some beautiful flora & fauna.
I personally find descent more difficult than ascent – it’s a killer on the knees and my ankles feel weaker taking the weight of my body on the downward slope… We did manage the ascent in around 2 hours so it was slightly quicker but I’m sure this was a lot to do with our confidence in knowing the path, not getting lost and not stopping for photos as much!
Back at our starting point, 5 hours later and we were very pleased with ourselves! Daisy was happily panting and couldn’t believe her luck at getting such an extended walk. We enjoyed food and hot drinks at Conte, in Perast and watched the sunset. A perfect end to a perfect day…
Bernard Sullivan’s great little book has full details of this hike, entitled “High Over Perast”…