ON the 30th September 2014, pioneering expedition company Secret Compass launched its brand new adventure: a high-altitude trek across the southern highlands of Armenia to explore the fables, myths and legends of this formerly troubled region.
Tom Bodkin, Secret Compass founder, said, “The expedition aim is 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 4th Century.
“Geographically, southern Armenia is perfect for this challenging Secret Compass trek. Its rolling, fertile valleys and striking, high-altitude ridgelines offering awesome trekking and photography opportunities.”
Kerry O’Neill, marketing 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 (Afhganistan 2014) 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 (Sierra Leone 2014) 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.
Its upcoming adventure travel destinations include Panama, Kurdistan, Madagascar, Kamchatka, Sinai, Afghanistan, Arunachal Pradesh, Kyrgyzstan and Ethiopia.
Expedition Fact Box
Name: Armenian expedition: Fables, myths and legends
Dates: 28 Aug to 6 Sep 2015
Duration: 8 nights
Group size: Maximum 8
(Flights: £280 return at present, London airports to Yerevan, Armenia)