media release: 01/02/17

Photography by Secret Compass

Media Release: 01/02/17

Secret Compass Iran expedition hits headlines

Pioneering expedition company Secret Compass will take a team to cross Iran’s epic Lut desert in October 2017, following its 2015 trek to become the first people to have crossed the Lut on foot (in 2015).

National Geographic and Guardian recognition

Tom Bodkin, Secret Compass founder, said, “The aim of the expedition is to cross Iran’s central Lut desert from east to west. The Lut is home to one of the hottest recorded places on earth. Our first expedition featured in National Geographic as it was such an unusual undertaking, and the unique imagery from our 2016 expedition has just featured in the UK’s Guardian newspaper online.

“This coverage underlines the message that we aim to get across: our expeditions really are extraordinary endeavours in the world’s wildest places, they are not straightforward, sightseeing tours. If it was easy to get to these places, everyone would be there!”

Expedition highlights

  • Follow in the footsteps of Thesiger (1964) and Marco Polo (1271).
  • Trek the world’s largest kalut system.
  • Visit meteorite craters and the mountains of the moon.
  • Cross the infamous ‘plain of pain’ (named by Secret Compass).
  • Explore the region that’s home to the world’s hottest spot.
  • Pass through former Silk Road haunts.
  • See rare desert structures like salt marshes and polygons.
  • See Kerman, One of Iran’s oldest cities.
  • Discover Tehran after the expedition.
  • Dates: 4 – 18 November 2017, £3,499 all inc. (except flights).

Bodkin continued, “The team will follow in the footsteps of great explorers such as Marco Polo and Wilfred Thesiger through areas that were once part of the great Silk Road. With deadly high temperatures in the summer months and very little precipitation it’s a harsh but beautiful environment to explore.

“This ever-changing landscape of star dunes, salt plains and towering kaluts will provide the perfect backdrop for this challenging Secret Compass expedition, providing 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’s Darien Gap and the deserts of southern Sinai. This unique expedition will give team members a guaranteed and real sense of remoteness and isolation while experiencing the fascinating culture of this rich region.

“The Lut desert is criss-crossed by ancient caravan routes which snaked from Pakistan to Bam and then onto Zahedan. The team will begin in the east of the Lut, trekking west towards the ancient city of Kerman; Iranian culture on one side, with Pakistani influences edging in from the east.”

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, 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.

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Press Factsheet download

View or download our press Factsheet (PDF) on 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: