(c) boomsbeat, Tatev Monastery, Armenia expedition


media release: 15/01/17

Photography by Secret Compass

Media release: 15/01/17

Armenian expedition supports Transcaucasian Trail

This August, Secret Compass’s 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 pioneering Secret Compass expedition teams in 2015 and 2016.

“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 teammates for their August 2016 expedition. Their per-booking donation – for every new teammate who joins the team – will go towards helping make the goals of the Transcaucasian Trail Association a reality.”

Armenia expedition highlights:

  • Dates: 26 Aug to 3 Sep 2018 (over August bank holiday)
  • Cost: £1,799pp all inc (except flights)
  • Trek in one of the earliest Christian civilisations
  • Summit Mounts Khustup (3,206m) and Aramazd (3,392m)
    Visit Tatev monastery dating back 2,000 years in the UNESCO nominated Vorotan Gorge
  • Pass old Soviet infrastructure – remains of Armenia’s turbulent past
  • Taste 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 ridge lines, 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.

Secret Compass expeditions

For further press information about Secret Compass contact the communications director via email or call 0207 096 8428.

For further press information about the Transcaucasian Expedition project, contact the Royal Geographical Society in the first instance via email.

Useful links

The Transcaucasian Trail Association.
The Land Rover Bursary supported Transcaucasian Expedition.


Press Factsheet download

View or download the Factsheet (PDF) from our Press page which outlines 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: