Year 8 students have been inspired and enthralled by the adventures of a British explorer fresh from a 1300km trek across the desert. Mark Evans visited Doha College recently to talk about desert survival following the successful Crossing The Empty Quarter expedition.

The students, who had recently learn some basic desert survival skills, were captivated to hear about the trek from Oman to Doha across the world’s largest sand desert, Rub al Khali. Doha College Principal Dr Steffen Sommer said it was an honour to welcome Mr Evans and hear about the fascinating journey.

Dr Sommer said:

Congratulations to the Crossing the Empty Quarter Expedition team, who have successfully re-enacted the first crossing of the Rub Al Khali 85 years ago. Mr Evans and his team are only the second explorers to have attempted this amazing feat. We are extraordinarily fortunate to have him visit the college and I know the students enjoyed the story of the crossing.’

Crossing the Empty Quarter followed in the footsteps of 1930s explorers Bertram Thomas and Sheikh Saleh bin bin Kalut who battled fierce weather and warring tribes to cross the desert on foot and camelback in sixty days.

Mr Evans said the 2015/16 expedition, which left Bait Mirbat Salalah in Oman on 10 December 2015 to trek through the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Doha, paid tribute to the early explorers and was designed to enhance friendship between the neighbouring countries.

Mr Evans said:

I feel proud, relieved and in awe of the 1930-31 Bertram Thomas expedition. What they achieved without technology and the modern equipment we had is incredible.’

‘A crossing like this is a mental battle, there is zero tolerance for negative thinking you have to have self-belief that you will achieve this.’

He said his most memorable moment was touching the curved sword that was part of the Bertram Thomas expedition. During the trek, the modern-day adventurers dealt with high heat (38.8 degrees Celsius) and cold nights (.4 degrees) and battled over 300m sand dunes.

Geography teacher Ms Naomi Capewell who invited the explorer to attend Doha College said the students were able to relate to the stories from Mr Evans having learnt desert survival skills as part of their coursework.

Ailsa, Year 8, said:

It is fascinating how he crossed such a big area. He has inspired me.’

Nadim, Year 8, said:

It was great to hear all the facts about the desert and what they encountered.’

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