Explorer targets war relics

Bilborough College explorer Naomi Williams.
Bilborough College explorer Naomi Williams.

A budding Indiana Jones is swapping her job handling antiques to uncover relics as part of a First World War fact-finding trek during the conflict’s 100th anniversary.

Naomi Williams, 18, of Ivy Grove, Ripley, is flying out to the Slovenian capital Ljubljana in July, 2014, with a group of 24 other youngsters for three weeks in the wilderness.

The trekkers will spend five days walking in the mountainous 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 First World War bunker in the Slovenian town of Kobarid - home to one of the conflict’s most brutal battles.

Naomi, a student at Bilborough College, 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-years-old, to Spain with school when I was 15-years-old, 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 in Ernest Hemmingway’s novel A Farewell to Arms and is home to front-line bunkers built into the mountain.

But Naomi - whose ambition is to travel the world - needs to raise £2,000 to complete the challenge. So far she has raised £180 and gathered a further £745 from her part-time job at Heanor Antiques Centre.

But she is hoping DT 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 Bilborough College students cover more than 120km of mountainous terrain over the three weeks.

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 which have given a taster for what the expedition will be like. These have made me even more excited about the trip because my group is amazing – and I have really enjoyed the walks, challenges, reading maps and navigating.”