I am always asked whether I would consider a hot expedition and it’s certainly been a long time since I’ve worked in such a climate.
Many years ago during my time in the Military and I was lucky enough to have to work in Africa. Over the years, like many people I have headed on to brief journeys in warm areas but in November 2015 I had the opportunity to do something very different for my UK education partners IGGY.net
Having had crossed Iceland and the Himalayas earlier in the year for IGGY I ended 2015 crossing the heat of the dry desert of Oman - but to make things a little bit more exciting for the students on their Global program I took my bike and three good friends with me who I had worked with on other expeditions.
With me I had Ruth Storm - who is a veteran of the North and South Poles, Paul Graves; who with his partner Sadie came with me to Everest Base Camp many years before and finally a good friend, Mark Kelly - who has supported my ventures for the past 10 years - guiding for me on occasions and strengthening the partnership with education along the way.
So a good team of friends cycled 1250KM (777 miles) from Muscat in the North to Salalah in the South. Along the coast we passed through remote villages and we slept rough under the stars. Cooking our dinner on the beach next to the Arabian sea I experienced a very different side of travel. We had to deal with the heat (something which is not usually a problem!), the mosquitoes and the odd inquisitive Camel peering into our camp. We weaved our way down the country for 12 days, arriving in the South 5 days before Christmas.
Surrounding Oman is a volatile area of war - but Oman is like the ‘Switzerland’ of the middle east - everybody I met was so friendly - we would have fresh water and fruit given to us by passing cars as we cycled through the heat of the day - nothing was too much trouble - which then in turn breeds the same compassion within yourself - they lead by example. I was sad to head away from the country without discovering more - but life has a strange way of drawing you back and who knows what the next path with take?