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Posted On: 7 February 2016 12:14 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 01:55 pm

Desert explorer meets Doha College students

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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.

“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,” Dr Sommer said.

“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.”

The 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 camel-back 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.

““I feel proud, relieved and in awe of the 1930-31 Bertram Thomas expedition,” Mr Evans said.

“What they achieved without technology and the modern equipment we had is incredible,” he said.

“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 Celcius) and cold nights (.4 degrees) and battled over 300m sand dunes.

Head of Geography Mr Matthew Acton said the students were able to relate to the stories from Mr Evans having learnt desert survival skills as part of their coursework.

“Cool how he crossed such a big area. He has inspired me,” Ailsa, Year 8, said.

“It was great to hear all the facts about the desert and what they encountered,” Nadim, Year 8, said.