From 07-10.05.2021. the first exchange project meeting  within the Erasmus+ Sport project Green Line of Reconnection was held in Gospic, Croatia. Although this meeting was scheduled to be the third in a row, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the original plan, forcing partners to extend the deadline for the realization of the project and create a new schedule of project activities. The general comment from everyone present would be: “Finally!”

Although it was not easy to harmonize activities with the necessary testing and expiration dates needed for crossing the border, all partners, especially hosts from the Mountaineering Society Zeljeznicar, made an additional effort to finally start exchanging experiences and working together with sports experts and volunteers from three mountaineering associations.

The meeting began on Friday 07.05. in Gospic in the premises of the local station of the Gorska Rescue Service. Nenad Lecic, projectco-ordinator, addressed the attendees first, making a brief introduction and with pleasure, noticing that we have started to realize essential activities for the successful realization of the project.

Lectures on the history of mountaineering in Croatia and the Via Dinarica project were led by Alan Caplar, secretary general of the Croatian Mountaineering Association, while Mountain Velebit was presented by Mile Milkovic, partner co-ordinator of the GLOR project. After completion, a joint dinner and socializing of hosts and visiting participants was organized.

Activities related to technical mountaineering disciplines and the marking of mountaineering trails are planned for Saturday. In the heart of Mount Velebit, at the Beaver Hips site, a three-hour abzale course has been organized to descend the slope. As planned, the entire programme was led by members of HGSS Gospic with the support of mountaineers from PD Zeljeznik. Some of the participants had the opportunity to try this form of mountaineering activities for the first time and to gain new valuable knowledge in a safe way.

Afterwards, the host organized a traditional personal lunch on kuga’s house and then divided the participants into three mixed groups to do the decoration and marking on the Via Dinarica route. The host explained that part of the White Route Via Dinarica would be highlighted instead of the originally planned section on the Green Route, which stretches north of Gospic. Namely, there is a high concentration of migrants crossing the border from Bosnia and Herzegovina on the designated part of the green route, and the host’s assessment is that it is currently unsafe to carry out activities in thearea. Therefore, the decision was made for participants to mark and regulate part of the White Route Via Dinarica, and that members of PD Railways will mark the projected 12km next month and on the green route section so that the results are fully in line with what is envisioned in the project. The three groups were deployed to mark different parts of the track at the same time that make up one whole, and the end of the mark marked the joint rise of Laktin Vrh (1504mnv) with exceptional views of the entire Veneer, Seaside and Lika wreaths.

On Sunday, a mountaineering tour is planned and staged, leading part of Premuzic’s path to the top of Velinac (965mnv), from where views across the Croatian coast are stretching to Ancona on the Italian side of the Adriatic Sea. After a steep descent to the village of Budaci, the participants were further transported to Karlobag, where they toured the town and freshened up in cold seawater.

Since all planned activities were successfully performed, a farewell lunch was organized at the hostel in Baski Ostarijama, and all participants noted that the organization was at an exceptional level and that they look forward to the next gathering planned in Serbia for mid-July.