media release: 30/01/17

Written by Kerry O'Neill Photography by Secret Compass

Media release: 30/01/17

Armenia: Contours of the Caucasus expedition launched

Armenia is poised to become adventure travel’s next big thing, with the Transcaucasian trail underway and with incredible skylines dominated by 3,000m+ peaks. This 2017 adventure – newly renamed to reflect the physical challenges the expedition poses – offers more than meets the eye.

Tom Bodkin, Secret Compass founder, said, “Our expedition to Armenia aims to summit two southern Armenian peaks – Mount Khustup (3,206m) and Mount Aramazd (3,392m) to reach the historic city of Tatev.

“Politically, Armenia is poised between some rocks and hard places with many of its borders currently closed to its neighbours.

“Historically, the region is a cradle of Christianity. Home to the world’s oldest national church, Armenia was the first to adopt Christianity as its state religion in the fourth Century.

“Geographically, southern Armenia is perfect for this challenging Secret Compass trek. Its rolling, fertile valleys and striking, high-altitude ridge lines offer awesome trekking and photography opportunities.”

Kerry O’Neill, communications director of Secret Compass, said, “Our team expeditions achieve the extraordinary in the world’s wildest places, from Afghanistan’s Pamir Mountains to the jungles of Panama and the deserts of southern Sinai.

“This self-supported summer expedition offers an antidote to the Alps’ crowded trekking spots, with team members guaranteed a real sense of remoteness and isolation.

“The team will pick its way along Armenia’s southern ridge line, summiting two major peaks and passing precipitously perched monasteries and UNESCO-protected heritage en route to Tatev Monastery.”

Former team member Kellie Sommerville said, “There is definitely a reason Secret Compass runs expeditions not tours. You couldn’t feel further from being a tourist, it is such a genuine experience.”

A second team member Mark Soares said, “The potential for discovery and adventure on Secret Compass expeditions is hard to fathom, as if from some epic in literature. If I hadn’t experienced it with my own eyes, I might not have believed it.”

With its military background, expedition company Secret Compass is renowned for offering adventurous, exploratory and often world-first travel experiences to countries eschewed by most operators due to their remoteness, post-conflict reputations or inaccessibility.

Expedition fact box

  • Name: Armenia 2017, Contours of the Caucasus
  • Dates: 26 Aug to 3 Sep (over August bank holiday)
  • Duration: 8 nights
  • Group size: Maximum 12
  • Cost: £1,799 plus flights (from £280 return)

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Press Factsheet download

View or download our Factsheet (one-page PDF) outlining Secret Compass and its upcoming expeditions.

Notes for editors

Secret Compass redefines what is possible by creating pioneering projects in the world’s wildest places. Secret Compass is built around a team of trusted experts who combine a passion for exploration with industry-leading professionalism. Secret Compass reignites your primal need for adventure, providing the catalyst for you to come alive and achieve the extraordinary. Meet Secret Compass HQ staff and a selection of its expedition professionals.

Expedition Types include Epic, Cultural Immersion, Adventure Academy and Classics Redefined. Expedition styles include mixed-terrain trekking, jungle trekking and minimalist desert traverses, to mountain-biking, rafting and horseback expeditions. Secret Compass welcomes applications from anyone with a good level of fitness who’s keen to achieve the extraordinary in the world’s wildest places.

Secret Compass destinations

View current expeditions filtered by region here. Past, current and upcoming destinations include Afghanistan, Argentina, Armenia, Bhutan, Burma/ Myanmar, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Egypt’s southern Sinai desert, Ethiopia, Gabon, Georgia, Greenland, the Himalayas, Iceland, India (Arunachal Pradesh), Iran (Mount Damavand and the Lut Desert), Iraqi Kurdistan, Kamchatka, Kilimanjaro, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Malawi, Mongolia, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, North Korea, Panama, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Siberia, Socotra, South Sudan, Sudan (the Bayuda desert), Uganda, Uzbekistan, Venezuela and more.

Secret Compass TV and Film

Secret Compass TV and Film is trusted by production companies and brands to capture the extraordinary in remote and wild regions thanks to its unrivalled location and risk-management expertise. Credits include location-managing Channel 4’s Walking the Nile/ Himalayas and Americas series with Levison Wood, alongside projects for the BBC, National Geographic, Animal Planet, the Discovery Channel and more.

Secret Compass Brand Projects

Secret Compass Brand Projects works with brands on projects designed to create the extraordinary in the world’s wildest places. Unique branded content and other projects have to date been staged in destinations from South Sudan and the DRC to Greenland and Finnish Lapland. Clients to date include Mitsubishi, Sony, Nespresso, Giro, Xbox and Jagermeister.


For further information concerning Secret Compass bespoke and team expeditions, TV and Film, or Branded Projects:

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Terms and Conditions
  1. One entry per person.
  2. Closing date for entries is 12:00 JAN 19th.
  3. Entrants must be at least 18 years old.
  4. The prize includes: 1 ticket valid for one-day entry on either Saturday 20th or Sunday 21st January 2018
  5. Getting to the venue in London is the responsibility of the winner.
  6. The prize is only available from 20th – 21st August 2018.
  7. The prize cannot be exchanged for a cash alternative.
  8. The prize cannot be sold or used by anyone other than the winner.
  9. The promoter reserves the right to provide an alternative prize of similar value should the specified prize become unavailable for any reason.
  10. Neither the Promoter nor any other person or party associated with this promotion shall be liable for any loss or damage whatsoever suffered (including, but not limited to, indirect or consequential loss or damage) or personal injury or death suffered or sustained in connection with either participation in this promotion or with any prizes offered.
  11. The promoter reserves the right to cancel or amend the terms of this prize and without notice in the unlikely event of a major catastrophe, war, earthquake or any anticipated or alleged breach of any applicable law or regulation or any similar event or if circumstances arise outside of its control.
  12. The winner will be selected randomly by Secret Compass on 19 JAN 2017.
  13. Attempts will be made to notify the winner using the email address provided at the time of entry. If the promoter, having used reasonable efforts, is unable to contact the winner, then the prize is forfeited and further draw(s) may be conducted.
  14. The winner may be required to take part in reasonable publicity as specified by the Promoter.
  15. The Promoter cannot be held liable for IT system failures or delays or loss of entries.
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