Adventurer Alistair prepares for 1,000-mile desert trek

Craven Herald: Alastair Humphreys and Leon McCarron Alastair Humphreys and Leon McCarron

Airton adventurer Alastair Humphreys is not one to sit around.

Just days after he was forced to postpone his latest venture tracing the tragic journey of Captain Scott to the South Pole and back, Alastair has come up with a new challenge.

He will follow in the footsteps of another of his heroes, adventurer and travel writer Wilfred Thesiger, and walk across the Empty Quarter desert.

“In many ways it is very similar to the polar journey: it retraces the route of one of my adventurer heroes, it will be remote and difficult and it will hopefully make a great story. The only real difference is that it will be considerably warmer than Antarctica,” said 34-year-old Alastair.

He will be accompanied by Leon McCarron, a Northern Irish adventurer and cameraman, as he delves into Thesiger’s past to learn more about the man and the motivations behind the adventures recounted in the book, Arabian Sands.

Alastair said: “This is a journey that will also take us to the heart of the Middle East, to the Arabian peninsula, on an expedition deep into the fabled Empty Quarter desert as we attempt to walk 1,000 miles through The Sands, a journey following directly in Wilfred Thesiger’s legendary footsteps.

“Thesiger pushed himself hard to test himself. He lived ascetically and scorned modern convenience, speed and luxury. The harder the life, he believed, the finer the person.

“His prose is simple and measured, thoughtful and honest. His photography was superb, particularly when you consider that he took fewer photographs in an entire expedition than I do on a single day.

“And ever since I read Arabian Sands, I have dreamed of one day making a journey in Thesiger's footsteps.

“In the 60 years since Thesiger travelled from well to well that nomadic way of life has changed dramatically. The wells are no longer maintained by regular use and the unsupported camel journeys Thesiger took would not be possible today.

“Therefore we will be hauling a cart containing equipment, food and water. We will resupply with water at settlements every 10 days or so.

“As well as the adventure, challenge and desert experience, Leon and I are undertaking the journey to create a short documentary film about Wilfred Thesiger, our expedition, and the underlying motivations that see men seeking adventure in exactly the same way, generation after generation.”

Once again Alastair will be raising awareness for the charity, Hope and Homes for Children.

He first made the headlines when he cycled around the world - it was a journey that covered 45,000 miles and took four years to complete.

And earlier this year he rowed 3,000 miles across the Atlantic from the Canaries to Barbados.

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