Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Mountain-High in the Balkans; Rudolf Abraham Joins a 120-Mile Walking Trail in Montenegro, Albania and Kosovo

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Mountain-High in the Balkans; Rudolf Abraham Joins a 120-Mile Walking Trail in Montenegro, Albania and Kosovo

Article excerpt

Byline: Rudolf Abraham

I'M HIKING along the Ropojana Valley, in Prokletije the so-called "Accursed Mountains", which make up the rugged borderlands of Montenegro, Albania and Kosovo. It's an evocative name but one that fails to do the area justice, since it's a spectacularly beautiful place jagged limestone peaks, rolling green pastures, high passes and wonderfully hospitable mountain villages.

The trail I'm following is the Peaks of the Balkans an epic, 120-mile trek through some of the finest scenery this corner of Europe has to offer. A circular route that almost joins in the middle like a figure-of-eight, it takes around 10 days to walk, with accommodation and meals provided by a scattering of village guesthouses.

Few parts of Europe are so little known, or so little visited.

At the head of the valley I pass the bed of an empty lake fed only by snowmelt, it has a habit of vanishing, phantom-like, without a trace. I leave Montenegro and slip across the unmarked border into Albania, following a path up through forest, to open pasture, then beside a narrow ravine, climbing steadily as the morning cloud gradually dissipates. The trail meanders past a couple of dome-like concrete bunkers some of the half a million built by the Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha across the country between the Sixties and Eighties long since abandoned and incongruous in the wilderness.

Four hours after leaving Montenegro's Ropojana Valley, I reach the 1,707m Peja Pass, overlooking the Theth Valley. The cliffs on my right plummet in a sheer, dizzying leap from nearby Mount Arapit to the valley floor a vertical drop of 800m but the path is a broad, well-engineered mule track that zigzags left below a towering rock face.

It's early evening by the time I reach the remote village of Theth, scattered along the valley floor beside the river, and find my way to the friendly Polia guesthouse. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.