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Christopher Dunlop raises funds for AMRT

Christopher Dunlop recently embarked on a run / trek across the Sinai desert and mountains. At the same time raising money for AMRT.  We are very grateful to Chris and his efforts and want to say a big thank you to him for raising £537.50 for the Team.  

Summit St Katherines

On his return Chris gave us the following write up detailing his adventure:-

St. Katherine’s (8,651ft) and Mount Sinai (7497ft) are the 2 highest mountains in Egypt. In total, the ascent of both mountains is around 7,874 feet; I was very happy to have ascended and descended both mountains in less than 12 hours-albeit with a 5 hour sleep on the summit in between! There are clear pathways up both, but you do need to hire a local ‘guide’-my guide didn’t know what the hip belts on his rucksack were for and we needed to stop every 45 mins or so for a cigarette break-him, not me.

The whole area is beautiful; the deserts are very….deserted, a consequence of reports of terrorism. The area is potentially unsafe in some respects-I really didn’t see any security measures however which wouldn’t be quite easy to breach if determined enough. However, I did feel very safe. Unless someone speaks Arabic, it’s worthwhile hiring a Bedouin guide. The desert mountains up to around 5,000 ft. are far more challenging, interesting and awesome to look at. They are very difficult to navigate-there’s only 1 reliable map of the area and it’s an older Israeli Army map. If someone wants to risk entering Egypt with an Israeli Army map….good luck with that. The sandstone is really brittle, so it’s too easy to assume that a foothold is solid for it to give way quite easily, which I discovered to my cost. If someone goes here and uses a guide, sort out your own food; the hygiene standards are worse than non existent. Outwith large towns, sourcing food etc is incredibly difficult.

 

This is an incredibly beautiful area and well worth a visit. There are limited areas like that within a few hours of the UK. The isolation of the desert areas is truly immense and inspiring. However…..if you get lost on a mountain in the desert, you’re potentially pretty stuffed. Little/no phone reception, no MRT, military not interested. There is no back up and you are truly on your own beyond the skills you have, which in itself for me was one of the attractions. I used a belt, braces and elasticated waistband approach to navigating-GPS, compass and an intermittent bit of toilet paper under rocks! There was one point where finding the valley I came from was very challenging, it was getting dark. Just then, I saw the entry point on the mountain via the toilet paper-the last time I was so glad to see toilet paper was after a bad curry in Dundee.