Magazine article Geographical

Crossing the Empty Quarter: Recreating Bertram Thomas' First Expedition, a Team of Three Will Be Crossing the Empty Quarter, or the Rub' Al-Khali, the World's Largest Sand Desert

Magazine article Geographical

Crossing the Empty Quarter: Recreating Bertram Thomas' First Expedition, a Team of Three Will Be Crossing the Empty Quarter, or the Rub' Al-Khali, the World's Largest Sand Desert

Article excerpt

Mark Evans, Mohammed Al-Zadjali and Amour Al Wahaibi aim to walk the 1,300km from Salalah in Oman through Saudi Arabia to Doha, Qatar. Tackling labyrinthine dunes as high as 300 metres and days of empty wilderness, they aim to bring the story of its first 1930 crossing by Bertram Thomas and Salim Bin Kalut into the fore 'and to make better known Oman's rich history' according to Evans (pictured above, far right).

Evans, an explorer and Fellow of the RGS-IBG, says 'back in 1930, the heroic age of exploration was coming to an end. Exploration institutions considered the Empty Quarter to be the last great challenge. The world was obsessed with the romance of Arabia.'

Eighty-five years have passed since Thomas and Bin Kalut's crossing and in that time much of it has changed. During the 1930s, vast reserves of oil were discovered beneath the sands, changing the lives of the Bedouin who live there. 'The Empty Quarter is emptier than it has ever been,' says Evans. …

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