My Montenegro hiking feature in OE magazine won the Kenneth Westcott Jones Memorial Award for Best Transport & Specialist Feature, at the British Guild of Travel Writers Awards last night.

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There’s a new review of The Mountains of Montenegro on the the Daily News Montenegro website:
http://www.dailynewsmontenegro.com/the-mountains-of-montenegro.html
‘With a list price of under 15 Euros, you would be crazy to consider hiking in Montenegro without this valuable guide.’ (Will Spencer, Daily News Montenegro)

Komovi, Montenegro

More news on negotiations between Ryanair and the Montenegrin government – will flights be to Tivat on the coast (more sensible, from the point of view of most potential tourists) or the capital Podgorica (a less attractive option for most, unless travelling on business), will they be seasonal (again, makes sense for the majority of tourists and, almost certainly, for Ryanair) or year-round (even more competition for Montenegro Airlines, which has already had to reduce its number of flights to the UK due to low demand), etc – here http://www.dailynewsmontenegro.com. Arguably, from an outdoor/hiking perspective (greater proximity to Durmitor national park, Prokletije etc), Podgorica is a more convenient place to fly to, although hikers are unlikely to constitute the majority of visitors (much as I might argue that they should, and that the mountains and other inland areas are the best reason to visit Montenegro). In any case, it’s really quite amazing that a deal with a budget airline (Ryanair, easyJet, whoever) hasn’t been sorted long before now…. Five years after writing a guidebook to the mountains of Montenegro, the most attractive option for air travel to Montenegro is still via Dubrovnik, over the border in Croatia. Though perhaps, not for long.

Small tent pitched at Lokvice, in Durmitor national park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Montenegro

The word is that budget airline Ryainair is due to begin flights to Podgorica – which would make a very convenient (and cheap) route to the mountains of inland Montenegro such as Durmitor, Komovi and Prokletije. Watch this space for further info.

Bobotov kuk, the highest peak in Durmitor national park, Montenegro

I gave a talk on hiking in Montenegro at the Outdoors Show at London’s Excel Centre today. Quite a good turnout.

Montenegro article in current edition of OE magazine

Magic of Montenegro (OE magazine, September 2010)

New Prokletije map (scale 1:50,000), Skadar Lake map (scale 1:55,000) and Orjen map (scale 1:31,250) and guide, all available in the UK through Cordee (www.cordee.co.uk), and a new mountainbike guide available through Cordee or Amazon:

Cordee also stock the Durmitor and Bjelasica maps.

2009 saw the release of Montenegro guidebooks from Lonely Planet and Rough Guides:

There’s a lot more information now for the hiker or cyclist than there was a few years ago – see the Montenegro Tourism website, where there are a number of handy brochures, maps and fact sheets which can be downloaded as PDFs (www.montenegro.travel/xxl/en/Brochures_and_Maps/index.html).

The following articles on Montenegro’s Prokletije mountains were published in hidden europe, issue 20 and 22. Click on the following pages to enlarge, or click here to read the whole article from hidden europe 20 as a pdf:

Montenegro: accursed mountains, enchanted mountains (hidden europe 20, May 2008)

Edith Durham in Prokletije (hidden europe 22, September 2008)

Click here to read the whole article from hidden europe 22 as a pdf

Excerpt from a review by Richard Hargreaves (Climbers’ Club Journal 2006-2007):

‘This is a hugely welcome and finely presented walking guide to the mountains of a European country which not many British people think of going to. Montenegro, newly independent from Serbia in 2006, may have only 700,000 inhabitants and few natural resources but, inland from the relatively well known coastal delights of Budva and the Gulf of Kotor, lies a truly mountainous country with four National Parks already designated and another area, the Prokletije range in the far south of the country up against the Kosovan and Albanian borders, about to become one, and about time too! The Durmitor National Park in the north takes in both the Tara river canyon, 1600m deep, and Bobotov kuk, at 2523m not quite the country’s highest peak. That accolade goes, albeit with some controversy, to Maja e Kollatës, 11 metres higher at 2534m on the Albanian border. Durmitor is the most visited area and also a UNESCO World Heritage site.

This guide describes 15 waymarked walking routes in 7 different mountain areas, with suggestions for further exploration and for multi-day treks because these mountains are as attractive to walk through as to climb. The coloured sketch maps are clear and the whole book has a wealth of information on Montenegro itself: history, geography and geology, fauna and flora, language (a very useful section), travel to and within the country, food and drink, contacts and useful addresses. There is important advice on maps, which apart from those produced by the National Parks, are hard to come by. The photographs are highly seductive, but it is a pity that the author had bad luck with the weather when he was in Prokletije; atmospheric scenes of cloud-wreathed valley sides can’t do justice to the dramatic, saw-toothed ridges and peaks of this amazing area….

This is an important book, not just as an attractive and enticing guide but because Montenegro needs visitors to its mountains and valleys to climb, walk, kayak, mountain bike or study the environment, all ‘sustainable visitor activities’, bringing money into the local economy and leaving the mountains still unspoiled. If you glance at Rudolf Abraham’s book you too will want to go there.’