Walking novice to take on epic trek

A Ripley teen is swapping her job handling antiques to uncover some hidden relics of her own as part of a World War One fact finding trek across Europe.

Billborough College student Naomi Williams, 18, of Ivy Grove, is set to fly out to the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana next summer with a group of 24 for three weeks in the wilderness.

The trekkers will spend five days walking among in the mountainous regions of the Adriatic coast before heading towards the border of Slovenia and Italy.

Along with renovating pathways in Robidisce, a remote village on the Italian border, the team’s mission is to excavate a World War One bunker in the Slovenian town of Kobarid - home to one of the conflict’s most brutal battles.

Naomi said: “I decided to sign up to the expedition because, since going to college and meeting people from all around the world, I have realised how ill travelled I am and how interesting it would be to travel and understand other cultures.

“I had been to Florida when I was eight, to Spain with school when I was 15, but I had never actually had my own passport, so this in itself was exciting.”

In 1917 Kobarid was the site of the battle of Caporetto - where Austro-Hungarian forces, reinforced by German units, broke into the Italian front line to rout the Italian army.

The battle, which took place between October and November of that year features heavily in Ernest Hemmingway’s classic a Farewell to Arms and is home to a network of front-line bunkers built into the mountain sides.

Much of which still lies uncovered.

But Naomi - whose life ambition is to travel the world - needs to raise £2,000 to complete the once in a lifetime challenge.

So far she has employed her cake baking skills to raise £180 and gathered a further £745 from her part-time job at Heanor Antiques Centre.

But now she is hoping News readers will help sponsor her by heading to her donations page www.gofundme.com/4smxr8.

As for training, Naomi confesses that she has never been on ‘any walks’ or competed in sports before signing up to the Slovenian trek.

The expedition will see the 24 Bilborough College students cover more than 12o kilometres of undulating and mountainous terrain over the three weeks.

But Naomi said: “I like the overall challenge and feel it’s a way to push myself into new experiences that I wouldn’t normally have the chance to.

“We’ve been on two training weekends in the Peak District, which have given a taster for what the expedition will be like and who we will be with.

“These have made me even more excited about the trip because my group are amazing – and I have really enjoyed the walks and challenges such as reading maps and navigating.”

Naomi went to Mill Hill School in Ripley before attending Bilborough College, where she is now studying the International Baccalaureate in Spanish, economics, biology, maths, English and film.

The expedition is for three weeks starting July 12, 2014.

Studying the International Baccalaureate - Spanish, Economics, Biology, Maths, English and Film

If there is anything else, just give me a call although it may be easier to email.