04 Apr 2012

I have posted a few times on this subject because it is absolutely fundamental to me and also in the past year there have been a number of hyper-inflated claims from some polar and other expeditions which have come under increasing criticism.

So for those who haven't previously seen my objectives and claims on the Footsteps of Thesiger expedition, a few repeats.

Footsteps of Thesiger was not a 'first' and we have never claimed it to be. Apart from Wilfred himself, Canadian's Bruce Kirkby, Jamie and Leigh Clark completed a similar route in 1999. I have been in touch with Bruce - who wrote the excellent book "Sand Dance" from their expedition - and referred to their great trip a number of times. My own book will also acknowledge and refer to their journey throughout.

Prior to this, former ITV news reader Sandy Gall along with former SOAF Armed Forces Officer Robin Hitchcock drove the route in 4WDs. Others have also done various parts in 4WDs.

We have also been clear that it is not a re-inaction because it is impossible to re-create in a living country conditions that existed in 1945. Rather an 'in the footsteps' journey to compare and see what it is like nowadays.

My use of just a map of Oman, compass and local knowledge - avoiding GPS and Sat phones apart from a few necessary occasions - was a choice rather than a stipulation and merely enabled me to get fully into the zone, energy and spirit of the journey.

Although it was certainly physically demanding, we have avoided any claims of it being longer, faster, bigger, harder and other superlatives that many trips claim.

And finally the journey was not done for any CSR purpose, charity or environmentaly concern, which, to me would have distracted from the purpose of the trip - a modern day remake of a historical great explorer's travels.

So what was it? I did the expedition because I have long wanted to do it having lived in the region so long; I love doing these things and because it presented a great commercial opportunity for an expedition, film and book showcasing the travels of Thesiger, the modern day adventure, the life of the bedu and the stunning beauty of the desert of the Empty Quarter. Simple as that. If only it were so simple organising these things - which took 2 years to come off! 

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