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This August, Secret Compass’s 2016 expedition to explore the remote peaks of Armenia’s Lesser Caucasus mountains will support the creation of a hiking trail in the region, with a per-booking donation to the Transcaucasian Trail Association.

(TRAVPR.COM) BRISTOL - June 22nd, 2016 - The August 2016 Secret Compass expedition to explore the remote peaks of Armenia’s Lesser Caucasus mountains will support the creation of a hiking trail in the region, with a per-booking donation to the Transcaucasian Trail Association.

Adventure filmmaker, author and explorer Tom Allen is the impetus behind the Armenia section of the trail, having won the annual Land Rover Bursary in partnership with the Royal Geographical Society to explore and map the route of the future trail.

Allen said, “Our aim is to help create the newest long-distance hiking trail in the world. We are currently exploring new routings through southern Armenia’s Lesser Caucasus mountains, a region which saw the arrival of a pioneering Secret Compass expedition team in 2015.

“Secret Compass’s aims are to achieve the extraordinary in wild places. Our aim is to help more people experience Armenia’s remote and rugged wilderness via a long-distance trail that independent trekkers and groups alike will be able to follow for generations to come.

“Ultimately we share the goal of wanting to bring Armenia’s potential to more hikers and adventure travellers so have informally joined forces with Secret Compass as they seek new teammates for their August 2016 expedition. Their per-booking donation will go towards helping make the goals of the Transcaucasian Trail Association a reality.”

Armenia expedition highlights

Dates: 27 Aug to 4 Sep 2016 (over August bank holiday).

Cost: £1,599pp all inc. except flights.

Trek in one of the earliest Christian civilisations.

Summit Mount Khustup (3,206m) and Aramazd (3,392m).

Visit a monastery dating back 2,000 years in the UNESCO nominated Vorotan Gorge.

Pass abandoned Soviet infrastructure – the remains of Armenia’s turbulent past.

Feast on local delicacies like churchkhela and lavash bread.

Secret Compass expedition leader, Rob Kenning, said, “Armenia is a small country that packs a powerful adventure punch. It’s got remote and challenging peaks, endless ridgelines, precipitous monasteries and clear lakes…yet most can’t point to it on a map. Secret Compass and the Transcaucasian Trail team are trying hard to rectify this.”

Tom Bodkin, director of Secret Compass, said, “Secret Compass sent the first commercial teams to cross Panama’s notorious Darien Gap, to scale war-torn South Sudan’s highest peak and to film mountain biking in Afghanistan. We created this company to achieve the extraordinary and we’re not slowing down.

“Successful feats this summer include a world-first packraft adventure across Gabon’s Equator, and a first ascents expedition in Mongolia. Our local expert tells us that no-one explores the Lesser Caucasus in the raw, robust and self-sufficient way our teams do.”

Allen added, “There really are no clear trails, no trekkers, no infrastructure out here. It’s exploratory, cutting edge stuff and genuinely feels like a real adventure. It’s already brilliant and when more trekkers arrive to appreciate it all, boosting local economies as a result, it will be worth it.”

With its ex-military background, expedition company Secret Compass is renowned for offering expeditions and adventure travel to countries eschewed by most operators due to their remoteness, lack of existing tourism infrastructure or inaccessibility.

Other Secret Compass expeditions for 2016/2017

·       DRC (06/16): jungle, volcanic peak and gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park NEW

·       Afghanistan (07/16): high­altitude trek in the Wakhan Corridor National Park

·       Kamchatka (08/16): head to Russia to trek among Eurasia’s highest active volcanoes

·       Kyrgyzstan (09/16): bike­packing expedition to mountain bike (MTB) the Silk Road

·       UK (09/16): two mini­expedition styled weekend adventures in Wales NEW

·       Sinai (09/16): minimalistic, camel­supported desert trek with the Bedouin

·       Burmese Nagaland (10/16): first ascent trek to summit SE Asia’s highest peak NEW

·       Ethiopia (10/16): expedition to explore the Simien Mountains and villages by MTB

·       Iran (10/16): ‘Desert Stars and Solitude’: a Lut Desert traverse

·       Chad (01/17): exploring the Sahara’s volcanic heartland and highest peak NEW

·       Siberia (03/17): reindeer migration across frozen gulfs with the Nenets nomads

·       Bhutan (04/2017): trek to scale a 5,000m+ peak in this Himalayan Kingdom NEW

·       North Korea (2017): remote Nat. Park exploration in this ultra­secret state NEW

·       Gabon and Mongolia: both NEW and completed for 2016, 2017 dates pending

For further press information about Secret Compass contact communications director Kerry O’Neill on 0207 096 8428 or email on

For further press information about Tom Allen and Alessandro Mambelli’s project, contact the Royal Geographical Society in the first instance via email.

Useful links

The Transcaucasian Trail project.

Allen’s specific RGS/ Land Rover funded Transcaucasian Expedition:

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Notes for editors

The Transcaucasian trail

The Transcaucasian Trail organisation’s mission is to develop, promote, and maintain the trail to improve access to the region’s diverse cultural and natural heritage and encourage its preservation, benefiting local communities and trail users through the development of sustainable tourism.

Tom Allen

Tom Allen is a full-time adventure filmmaker, author, blogger, Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and Advisor to the Ted Simon Foundation. He has undertaken challenging and remote journeys in more than 50 countries on foot, by bicycle, by kayak and on horseback. He has conceived, filmed, directed and produced three feature-length documentary films (Janapar: Love on a Bike, Karun: Misadventures On Iran’s Longest River, and The Last Explorers On The Rio Santa Cruz). He has published three books, built two popular blogs ( and for sharing his creative projects and expeditions, and writes regularly for several geography and outdoor-focused publications in the UK. He speaks Armenian and Persian and lives in Yerevan, Armenia.

Secret Compass
Secret Compass redefines what is possible by creating pioneering projects in the world's wildest places. It’s built around a team of trusted experts who combine their passion for exploration with industry-leading professionalism. Upcoming expeditions destinations include Afghanistan, Armenia, Bhutan, Burma, Ethiopia, Gabon, Iran, Iraqi Kurdistan, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Mongolia, North Korea, Panama, Siberia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Chad and 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. Brand clients to date include Mitsubishi, Sony, Nespresso, Giro, Xbox and Jagermeister. TV 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.
Press enquiries: Kerry on +44 (0)207 096 8428


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Name: Kerry O'Neill
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