A £200 Young Persons Travel Grant from Skipton Rotary Club helped Lothersdale student Emily Jones complete a mountainous 'trip of a lifetime' journey in the Balkans with a group of young people - and similar grants are available to others seeking an adventure.

In September, the group of 11 young people walked long distances while their luggage was transported by pack horses and also travelled in 4x4 vehicles on mountainous roads, Emily told a recent meeting of the rotary club.

Flying into the capital of Albania, Tirana, the group was first driven to Shkoder for a visit to Rozafa Castle which had stunning views of the city, its lake and the Adriatic Sea, Emily explained.

The next day they had a three hour ferry trip on the river Drin from Koman to Fierze, then were driven along some very rocky roads on route to the start of their first walk over the mountains at a height of 1800m to Theth, for a two night stay. Unfortunately many of them were suffering from gastro-enteritis at this point.

Thankfully, said Emily, most group members had recovered by the next morning. They walked over the mountain pass to Montenegro filling their water bottles with pure, clean cool water from the mountain springs on route.

Emily described how the following day there was a violent thunder storm which delayed the start of their walk until the afternoon, but they continued on to Plev, passing through a thickly wooded area where they spotted several fire salamanders before having a very steep climb up to 1876m.

The trip continued on with a stop at a bitterly cold mountain lake which they decided to swim across. Once they had warmed up beside a camp fire they walked along a ridge to reach a point where they could stand in Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro - all at the same time.

The next day saw the group experience the worst weather of the whole trip, and the longest walk. They climbed to the summit of Gjeravica which at 2656m is the highest mountain in Kosovo.

Emily travelled a distance of around 1,200km - around 745 miles - and raised £1,400 in sponsorship for Unseen UK - a charity which helps victims of modern slavery.

A spokesperson for Skipton Rotary said: "Any young person who is enthused by Emily’s adventure and would like to take part in something similar can apply for a Skipton Rotary Young Person’s travel grant."

To find out more, email: andrew.forman@skiptonrotary.org