Land Rover image (c) Tom Allen, Armenia expedition with Secret Compass, joined by Tom Allen of the Transcaucasian trail3

Supporting the Transcaucasian Trail

media release: 12/04/17

Written by Kerry O'Neill Photography by Secret Compass teammates

MEDIA RELEASE: 11 April 2017

Armenia’s Transcaucasian trekking trail receives boost from Secret Compass

The Transcaucasian Trail – a pioneering new long-distance trekking trail across the Caucasus regions of Georgia and Armenia – will in 2017 receive a boost from UK-based expedition company Secret Compass. For every teammate who books onto the Secret Compass Armenia trek having discovered it through the Transcaucasian Trail, Secret Compass will donate £100 to the trail-building efforts.

Transcaucasian logo image, Armenia expedition with Secret Compass, joined by Tom Allen of the Transcaucasian trail2
Royal Geographical Society talk by Tom Allen, Armenia expedition with Secret Compass, joined by Tom Allen of the Transcaucasian trail4
Women on hillside, Armenia expedition with Secret Compass, joined by Tom Allen of the Transcaucasian trail11

British adventure Tom Allen is behind the transcaucasian.com project and he will be joining the Secret Compass expedition team in Armenia. A multi-lingual British adventurer, author and filmmaker, Tom secured the Royal Geographical Society and Land Rover’s 2016 Explorer bursary to commence his Transcaucasian Trail mapping project in Armenia, working alongside local partners and organisations.

“Partnering with Tom Allen and the Transcaucasian Trail organisation felt like a natural step to us,” said Kerry O’Neill, communications director with Secret Compass. “The Transcaucasian trail’s aim is to explore and to map the very remote, wild and often inaccessible parts of the proposed trail in Armenia, to enable more people visit the pristine wilderness regions and myriad unclimbed peaks and ridges of this vast region.

“This desire to explore unusual regions and to help more people discover some of the world’s tough-to-access and remote regions resonates with Secret Compass’s aim, to help ambitious adventure travellers achieve the extraordinary in the world’s wildest places.”

Armenia trek adventure: Fact Box

  • Trek Armenia in 2017 with Secret Compass and Tom Allen.
  • Date: 26 August to 3 September 2017.
  • Cost: £1,799 all incl. except flights and any visas.
  • Flights: from £294 London to Yerevan return (Aeroflot, source, Skyscanner).

Armenia trek expedition: Highlights

  • Summit Mounts Aramazd and Khustup.
  • Support an ambitious long-distance trail project.
  • Meet Tom Allen and learn about the Transcaucasian project.
  • Trek in one of the earliest Christian civilisations.
  • Visit a monastery dating back 2,000 years.
  • Explore Tatev monastery and the Vorotan gorge.
  • Visit Areni winery, said to be the world’s oldest.
  • Be among the first to trek southern Armenia’s high peaks.
  • Pass old Soviet infrastructure – the remains of Armenia’s turbulent past.
  • Feast on local delicacies like churchkhela and lavash bread.
Monastery, Armenia expedition with Secret Compass, joined by Tom Allen of the Transcaucasian trail10
Man on trek, Armenia expedition with Secret Compass, joined by Tom Allen of the Transcaucasian trail8
Group in mountainside, Armenia expedition with Secret Compass, joined by Tom Allen of the Transcaucasian trail6
Group on hillside in mist, Armenia expedition with Secret Compass, joined by Tom Allen of the Transcaucasian trail9

Secret Compass works with local mountain guide, mountain rescue expert and president of the Armenian Alpine Club, Mkhitar.

Mkhitar said, “I like working with Secret Compass. They ask the right questions and take the right precautions in attempting to capture the spirit of Armenia, way out in the wild. They don’t want infrastructure and facilities, which allows their groups to experience Armenia’s natural environment undistracted. Their ambitious, exploratory trek appealed to me from the outset: they really are pioneering commercial trekking in the Southern Caucasus.”

Mkhitar concluded, “Visitors to Armenia are often retired people, doing day hikes with light packs. This is great, of course, but it was also refreshing to see Secret Compass’s dynamic teams take on some of Armenia’s high peaks in an adventurous, self-reliant way. Arevik has great potential with its many unclimbed peaks and historic sites. I hope it begins to get promoted more widely and look forward to welcoming more Secret Compass teams and independent trekkers in the future.”

Allen has been working in a similar region to Secret Compass’s Armenia expeditions, and knows a vast amount about the people, the local history and the region’s potential trekking routes – not to mention a good deal of the Armenian language.

Allen said, “My career in adventure to date has revolved around large-scale adventures, which often then inspire films, books and speaking engagements. Due to my more recent specialism in Armenia and the Caucasus – I live in Yerevan, Armenia’s capital – I am now keen to get more involved in planning and running expeditions myself.

“It’s great that Secret Compass is getting behind the creation of the Transcaucasian Trail and that any bookings coming from interest in the Transcaucasian project will generate a £100 donation to the cause.”

Tatev Monastery, Armenia expedition with Secret Compass, joined by Tom Allen of the Transcaucasian trail7

Expedition kit and equipment

The 2017 expedition team will be equipped with expedition-strength tents and high-calorie dehydrated rations from Expedition Foods. Having the right kit and equipment and easily prepared, nutritious meals will help keep team strength and morale high in testing environments such as the cooler, higher altitude wild camp sites of the lesser Caucasus.

Expedition foods in action in the Mount Halgurd region of the Zagros mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan on an expedition with (c) Secret Compass 4

With its military background, expedition company Secret Compass is renowned for offering expeditions and adventure travel to countries eschewed by most operators due to their remoteness, post-conflict reputations or inaccessibility.

Expedition styles range from mixed-terrain trekking and minimalist desert traverses to packrafting, whitewater rafting and horseback expeditions.

Secret Compass expeditions are grouped into adventure themes. These are Classics Redefined, Epic Expeditions (such as this expedition to trek Armenia), Adventure Academy and Cultural Immersion styled adventures. Visit Expedition Basecamp to view all upcoming 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.

For further press information contact communications director Kerry O’Neill on 0207 096 8428 or via email info@secretcompass.com.

Notes for editors: Secret Compass

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. Upcoming destinations include Afghanistan, Armenia, Bhutan, Burma, Iran, Iraqi Kurdistan, Madagascar, North Korea, Panama, Siberia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Chad and the southern Sinai.

Secret Compass for TV, film and brand projects

Secret Compass is trusted by production companies and brands to create and 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 and Walking the Himalayas series, alongside projects for the BBC, National Geographic, Animal Planet and the Discovery Channel. Brand clients to date include Mitsubishi, Sony, Nespresso, Giro, Xbox and Jagermeister.

Apply to join the next Armenia adventure

To apply for the next expedition to trek Armenia, visit Secret Compass Expedition Basecamp now and select Epic Expeditions.

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