“One of our Land Rovers isn’t coming back … ever”

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‘110’ in happier times 😦

One of our client instructors, parked a 110 Defender,  facing downhill, not in gear, didn’t turn the wheel. It rolled, then fell 450 m and is now caught in a tree, about 1,200 m above a popular white water rafting route, in Europe’s deepest canyon. Two of our guides have abseiled down to it , and checked that the fuel tank is intact, thankfully. The debris trail and the cliff above suggest that the car was airborne quite a bit. With fire season coming on, we had to notify the police who are happy for us to devise our own retrieval solution. ‘Good luck’ they said.

One suggestion was to anchor it now, then leave it free, for the winter snows to carry lower, it maybe possible to navigate a log raft closer to it, but that will mean pollution of the site. The 4×4 club of Montenegro have a plan to lift the lot, in return for all the salvage, its a good deal, on condition the site is left ‘pristine’.  Probably using some big machinery/tractor, we can create a safe working area, where a mechanic can double click on, then dismantle the best and most detachable parts, to lighten the eventual load.

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Its the way land rovers should die, not rusting behind a hobby shed.

I visited the site and saw his last ever tracks in the grass,  as he started downhill. I did worry that he managed to swerve through so many trees before reaching the cliff edge, it looked almost deliberate. I hope we didn’t overwork him too much this summer.

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Janko realises that much of his CD collection is inside.

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The car and mechanics will all have to be anchored to the rock before we begin to dismantle.


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Roll, Race, and Float through Mountains, Plateaus, and Canyons: This is Montenegro

Roll, Race, and Float through Mountains, Plateaus, and Canyons: This is Montenegro.

Piva Canyon Kayak Stage

Find yourself crossing over, through, and under every imaginable geological feature imaginable when you try Montenegro’s 48-hour Expedition Challenge.  You’ll raft the Tara Canyon (the deepest canyon in Europe) and do your best to avoid flat tires as you race through the Sinjajevina plateau.  Not to mention about 80 kms of trekking,15 kms of kayaking and other unknown surprises thrown into the mix.

Although these feats themselves are worth a few months of bragging rights they are almost incomparable to the raw beauty that each racer has the chance to experience up close through each kilometer that they cover.

Troy Farrar, President of the United States Adventure Racing Association (USARA), noted the growth in Adventure Racing, and took interest in Montenegro’s Expedition Challenge.  USARA has decided to award this year’s Number One Nationally Ranked team, free entry into next year’s challenge.

Adventure Races in Montenegro have been open to locals for a long time. The idea behind the sudden rise in recognition of these many races and challenges being issued out by Montenegro and local adventure enthusiasts is to bring together local businesses, tourism, and non-profits in a way that benefits the entire community and creates lasting value among all participants.

“I have long wanted to do something to protect Montenegro’s ‘big 5′ (Bear, Wolf, Lynx, Chamois and Wild Boar),” says Jack Delf, Director of Black Mountain and Adventure Race Montenegro. “All of the ARM directors wanted a strong conservation goal for the race,” funds raised from the race will fund the first scientific census of large mammals species in Montenegro and continue the work of promoting a national ‘Leave No Trace‘ educational program, dedicated to the responsible enjoyment of Montenegro’s pristine wilderness.

If 48 hours is 24 hours too many, take a look at Montenegro’s Coastal Challenge taking place September 25th around the Bay of Kotor.

These races are all a part of a yearlong Adventure Series taking place throughout Montenegro. Check out past events that have taken place this year and start marking your calendar to participate next year.

If you are interested in registering for the race or would like more information send an email to: info@adventureracemontenegro.com or contact the following people:

Hayley (English) +382 (0)67 268 971

Janko +382 (0)67 603 712 (Crnogorski).

To register online visit : Montenegro Expedition Challenge

From – ‘Off the Radar’ Online Magazine for Adventure Travellers

The value of cooperation and ‘adventure travel’ tourism in Montenegro.

Innovation at its simplest is the introduction of something new. New ideas, new products, or a new approach. In 2006, ‘Black Mountain’ was founded because we felt that Montenegro, as a tourist destination, was falling far short of it’s potential. Montenegro was marketing a homogenous product which was vulnerable to changes in demand. We believed that Montenegro needed new tourist offers to play to its strengths, to differentiate it in the market and to increase tourism revenue in a way that minimised harmful impacts for the country’s wild beauty and unique culture.

Official destination branding

In recent years the rise of ‘Adventure Tourism’ has created a new demand which Montenegro is very well placed to meet. Adventure Travel includes any 2 out of three aspects; nature based experience, cultural education and an activity. The sector now accounts for 25% of European ‘outbound’ holidays, and worldwide is worth 64 Billion Euros and growing.

Inland Montenegro -Black Lake

Montenegro is spectacularly beautiful, very mountainous, rugged and sparsely populated. Of the 660,000 population, more than 3 quarters live along the coast or in the three largest towns. In the winter 50% of Montenegro is uninhabited and during the summer 25% remains unpopulated. Local customs and a traditional way of life still exist,exist; many families move their flocks up to the high pastures and live in the Katuns, without amenities. Add to all this, the deepest canyon in Europe, numerous white water river courses, primary forest and surviving wild populations of large mammals including brown bear, 3 national parks and 2 UNESCO protected areas.

Despite this richness, the Tourist master plan for Montenegro until 2008 took no account of this potential. The stated aim of Montenegrin tourist development was to become ‘a high quality Majorca!’ The antithesis of innovation, to copy, not to develop a new approach.

We determined to make the most of this incredible potential and launched some very innovative products. For corporate and academic training we have developed unique programs such as a 3 day ‘earthquake survival exercise, titled “Escape from Mount Orijen” or the team building program on an offshore island, modeled on the TV show ‘Lost’. We have produced a range of unique hiking, biking and multi-activity tours geared for any level of ability. All of our activity programs contain authentic cultural elements, and we allow our customers to modify each itinerary to suit their own tastes.

'Escape from Mount Orijen'

In order to survive the private sector SME’s who wanted to develop new adventure travel offers had to cooperate to form clusters and to lead change themselves, to find ways to promote Montenegro’s unique offer and to develop their own product.To deliver new product, we needed local partners who are ready to embrace change, who were innovative and able to take risks. Motivation was the key. A number of aid sponsored ‘adventure travel businesses’ existed, but were motivated more by aid funding than the desire to generate tourist income. We discovered that the less vocal, more active businesses made the best partners. The number of customers they serviced told us most about their willingness to adapt. Many outdoor clubs and associations exist; their passion for their sport keeps them informed of the latest developments. They were less motivated by profit but wanted more exchange with international enthusiasts.

Adventure Race Montenegro - 'cluster'

We have sought to bring these two groups together, to form informal clusters which cooperate, share information, joint marketing initiatives and ultimately develop new product. We launched the Montenegro Adventure Race with the voluntary unpaid help of these organisations. This is a charity race has involved SME’s, sports clubs and municipalities. We have all learned through shared experience, and now offer tours based on events. We have been working to establish a leave no trace program and part funded the training of 24 educators among Tourism businesses, National Parks and clubs and clubs.

During the past 10 years Montenegro has been among the fastest growing tourist destinations, inward investments has poured in to the country to develop new hotels, marinas and villas and apartments. Tourism revenue is expected to be 620 million in 2010. But there are still problems.

The tourist season is extremely short,short; July and August account for 70% of overnights, June and September a further 20%. The wealth created by tourism was very localised, 95% of tourist visits are to the coast, one resort Budva, accounts for 47% of visits. The concentration of tourism into such a small area in a short season inevitably lead to capacity bottlenecks on beaches and in high end accommodation.

The opportunities to offer high end accommodation and spa retreats in the mountains are limited, journey times from the arrival airport are longer than in other hiking destinations like Portugal, or Italy. However adventure tourists will accept more limited tourism infrastructure if they gain a more authentic experience.  ‘Adventure travelers’ almost by definition are not seeking sunshine and beaches. They want to travel ‘off the beaten’ tourist track and away from the congestion which can be seen in some coastal areas in peak season.

Projected location of Hydro power station ?

And finally… by attaching an economic value to  un-spoilt natural beauty and traditional culture, Adventure travelers can demonstrate to legislators and locals alike that both should be conserved.

Jack Delf

(…Extracts from a presentation to the European Parliament Conference of Innovation in Tourism- 2010.)

ARMex 2011 is now an A.R.European Series event.

Montenegro’s ARMex 48 Hour Adventure Race has been accepted by the Adventure Race European Series (ARES). ARMex 2011 competitors will gain European Championship ranking points.

21.3.2011

For those of you who follow this blog (thanks Mum), and the projects which Black Mountain support.. This is a press release which we have just issued. After just one race the ARMex 48 hour challenge has now been accepted into the European Series. We have already been chosen as the USARA first prize for the US racing league.

ARMex 2011 is now an A.R.European Championship event.

We are very pleased that ARMex has been accepted by the AREuroSeries, now we can award rankings points as part of the European Championships. In 2010 we set out to create one of the world’s best adventure races in Montenegro. After just one race, we have received the approval of Europe’s Adventure Racing body, who are themselves partners in the Adventure Race World Series. We already have the support of the US Adventure Race Series (USARA) who are sending the 2 top ranked teams in the US to take part in our 2011 race. This is fantastic news for the development of Adventure Sport in Montenegro

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NOTES:

AREuroSeries

AREuroSeries manage and develop long distance adventure racing in Europe, including the AR European Championship and AR European Cup. ARES coordinate AR sport development together with AR World Series organizer. European Championship winners are automatically entered into the AR World Championship.

ARMex 48 Hour Adventure Race

The ARMex Race was launched in 2010. An international field of experienced racers from Montenegro, Serbia, Greece, Poland and the United Kingdom competed over a grueling 240 km route through Montenegro’s Northern Mountains. The race included; Kayak, Mountain Bike, High Ropes, Rafting and Orienteering sections. The race route passed through; 2 national parks, some of Europe’s last Old Growth Forest, Mount Durmitor, The Sinjajevina Plateau, the highest town in the Balkans and Europe’s deepest Canyon.

In 2010 only one team was able to complete the race without seeking outside assistance, for that reason the event is already getting lots of interest from Adventure Racers. The positive comments from competitors in 2010, show that ARMex has the right mix of challenges, hardship, adrenalin and fun.

  • “Montenegro is an incredible location for Adventure Racing, the best we have seen” Team 360 – Poland.
  • “ARMex 48 Hour Challenge is a very professionally organised Adventure Race” Team Xamos – Greece.
  • “In the world’s toughest races, like the ARMex, only a third of entrants complete, this is the hardest race we have seen and will attract many racers in future years” Team SAT –Serbia
  • “Adventure Racers in the UK are asking why they have not heard of this race before and how can they join in 2011, this is going to be a big race in the calendar” Team Toyi Toyi – UK

In 2011 ARMex will cross through a similar areas, (the route is always a closely guarded secret), but will include new and more spectacular challenges for competitors. Rafting, Mountain Biking, Kayaking, High Ropes challenges and Orienteering will all be included.  The race is open to teams of 4 and 2, mixed or same sex. There are no entry qualifications but be advised this event is for experienced adventure sportsmen and women. Anyone interested in applying should register at http://www.montenegroexpeditionchallenge.com.

The United States Adventure Race Series

The United States Adventure Racing Association (USARA) has selected Adventure Race Montenegro (ARM) as part of the “Grand Prize” awarded to the USARA’s League Champions in 2010.
“Growth in the sport of Adventure Racing is exploding,” says Troy Farrar, President of USARA, “and not just in the United States, but around the world. Which is why we’re happy to support this professionally organized event in Montenegro.”

Adventure Race Montenegro and the Balkans Large Mammal Conservation Project

ARMex is a non profit event, all proceeds will go to support the Balkans Large Mammal Conservation Project, another initiative from ARM. To find out more about ARM’s conservation aims and how you can help, go to: http://www.facebook.com/Adventure.Race.Montenegro#!/Adventure.Race.Montenegro

ARM Foundation

The race is organized by Adventure Race Montenegro (http://www.adventureracemontenegro.com), an NVO set up in 2006 to stage a one day 40km adventure race in the Bay of Kotor. The one day ‘Coastal Challenge’ race takes place every year at the end of September (24th September in 2011). The popularity of the coastal challenge race inspired the organizers to launch ARMex a 48 hour endurance race through Northern Montenegro. They wanted ARMex to be Europe’s toughest and most spectacular 48 Adventure Race!

CONTACTS

UK & Montenegro

Jack Delf

Black Mountain Montenegro

Setaliste Pet Danica 21

Herceg Novi

Montenegro 85340

Mobile: +382 (0)67 640 869

USA

Robert Cosentino

Black Mountain, USA

6224 Nelway Drive

McLean, Virginia 22101

USA

Mobile: +00-1-202-641-4208

Email:robertcosentino@gmail.com

Web Sources

Webpage: http://www.montenegroexpeditionchallenge.com

http://www.adventureracemontenegro.com

Facebook: Adventure Race Montenegro

Twitter: A_R_Montenegro

Latest news about ARMex Adventure Race

ARMex 2011 Press release.1
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“Between 16 – 18 September 2011, Adventure Race Montenegro is hosting
the second ARMex 48 hour endurance race in Northern Montenegro.

ARMex is a 250km plus, Expedition Challenge which includes Orienteering,
Rafting, Mountain Biking, High Ropes, Kayaking and Running stages. The race
crosses some of the most spectacular terrain in Europe, the BioGradska National
Park, Mount Durmitor and the Tara, Europe’s deepest canyon.

Europe’s newest 48 hour Adventure Race is one of the toughest. In 2010 only one
team managed to complete the course without seeking assistance. The race is
already attracting the interest of international adventure racers. Entry into
the 2011 ARMex Race was one of the prizes awarded to the 2010 US Adventure Race
(USARA) League Champions.

ARMex is open to mixed or same sex teams of 2 or 4. Registrations have just
opened for competitors at http://www.montenegroexpeditionchallenge.com. Already
teams have registered interest from the US, UK, Greece, Poland, Germany,
Kazakhstan, Switzerland, Serbia and of course Montenegro.

ARMex is a non profit event which raises money for a conservation project
to study the large mammal species in Montenegro. You can find out more at the
facebook fansite: adventure race montenegro:
http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/Adventure.Race.Montenegro.