Travel / Bristol

Crossing the Empty Quarter: Talk with British explorer Mark Evans

By kate wyver, Friday Feb 24, 2017

In 1930, Bristolian Berthram Thomas was part of an epic exploration across the world’s biggest sand desert.

Thomas grew up in Pill and is one of the city’s lesser known explorers. At the time that he crossed Oman’s notorious Empty Quarter, The Explorers Club in New York described the area as “the broadest expanse of unexplored territory outside of Antarctica”. Today, the Empty Quarter is one of the hottest, driest and loneliest places on earth.

For 85 years, Thomas’ journey has been unrepeated. In 2016, Mark Evans took up the challenge.

Evans trekked across 1,300km for 49 days on foot and camel with Omani explorers Mohamed Al Zadjali and Amur Al Wahaibi. The area, called the Rub’ al Khali (literally “the quarter of emptiness”) encompasses most of the southern third of the Arabian Peninsula.

On March 13, Evans will be in Bristol to a talk about his expedition and the explorer whose footsteps he followed. He will also explain the psychological and archaeological data discovered from his work with scientists on the extreme environment in Oman.

The talk at Bristol Grammar School is organised by the Royal Geographical Society and Explorers Connect, who recently arranged an underground canoeing trip to explore Bristol’s caves.

For more information and tickets:


Read more: Bristol explorer’s desert trek recreated

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