In July 2016 we took journalist and film-maker Ashwin Bhardwaj on a nine-day jaunt through the mountains of eastern Albania and Shebenik-Jabllanice National Park in the footsteps of an ill-fated British Special Operations Executive mission codenamed SPILLWAY. Ash, who wrote the story up for the UK Sunday Telegraph newspaper, was joined by our former client Martin Sheward – you can read Martin’s comments on the trip here.
“I came to Albania in September 2015 on a Drive Albania 4×4 tour and drove a Land Rover through fabulous countryside unspoilt by development and industrial farming, and decided that a walk in those woods was a must.
“I joined Ed and the Drive Albania team, and writer Ashwin Bhardwaj, in July the following summer for a nine-day Albania walking holiday in the footsteps of the British Special Operations Executive in the Second World War. The SOE aspect was only of passing interest to me, but the terrain and countryside was of great interest. What we experienced was a multi-day walk, camping, and cooking on an open fire. This was punctuated by visits to local villages and hamlets for restaurant-grade lunches and dinners provided by local families and friends.
“None of us had any food-sick issues at all on the trip (an important consideration for me). We also drank from springs, streams and rivers the whole week. The walking was through a mixture of hot grassland, hot riverbed, warm woods and glades, cool hilltops on good through to nonexistent paths. We met only a few people on the way (shepherds, honey collectors and farmers with scythes), but not a single other tourist or walker. Everybody we met was friendly and hospitable. The level of flora and insect life was spectacular. Butterflies, moths, grasshoppers, lizards, the occasional snake and lots of evidence of larger beasts such as wolf, bear and deer. Despite all the insect life, I came away with few bites.
“The night sky, unspoilt by light pollution was good, but made great by fireflies, moths, bats and owls spotted hunting. The camping was sublime. Nobody about. No noise. Just us and our campfire.
“The walking was not overly long or arduous, but was challenging enough to satisfy my need for a good day. Would I go back? Definitely. Would I recommend this Albania walking holiday in Shebenik-Jabllanice National Park to anybody who enjoys walking in unspoilt countryside teaming with flora and fauna? Defiantly.”
Martin Sheward, July 2016.