Explorer recreates 1930s' Bertram Thomas desert trek
- 13 December 2015
- From the section England
An explorer has embarked on a challenge to become only the third British person in history to cross the largest sand desert in the world.
Mark Evans is retracing the same route across the Rub Al Khali, also known as the "Empty Quarter", taken by Bristol pioneer Bertram Thomas in 1930.
The 54-year-old Shropshire-born explorer is leading a three-man team to walk the 800 mile (1,300 km) journey from Salalah, Oman to Doha, Qatar.
The trek is expected to take 60 days.
The Rub Al Khali desert is considered one of the hottest, driest and most inhospitable places on earth.
Nearly two decades after Thomas completed his trek, British explorer and writer Sir Wilfred Thesiger crossed the Empty Quarter - mapping it in detail along the way.
Explorer Mark Evans' challenge
To cross the Rub' Al Khali desert
* From Salalah in Oman to Doha, Qatar
* Walking with camels for 1,300km
* Area nearly three times the size of the UK
Completed by explorer Bertram Thomas in 1930
Bertram Thomas, who hailed from Pill, near Bristol, received telegrams of congratulation from both King George V and Sultan Taimur, then ruler of Oman.
He went on to lecture all over the world about the journey and to write a book called Arabia Felix.
Unlike Mr Evans, Thomas did not obtain permission for his expedition.
He said: "The biggest challenges for Thomas were warring tribes, lack of water in the waterholes and his total dependence on his Omani companion Sheikh Saleh to negotiate their way through the desert.
"The biggest challenge for those who wanted to make the crossing in recent decades has been obtaining government permissions to walk through this desolate and unknown territory."