22-Oct-2003 -- The visit to this Confluence took two attempts and the assistance of several willing volunteers. After an initial map-reconnaissance of the area, it became clear that reaching the site by land would prove difficult, but not impossible. The area has many irrigation channels, some up to ten metres wide and several kilometres long, and not all of them are marked accurately on the map.
Attempt one was courtesy of Major Roly Angus KOSB and his "Rover group" which was travelling to the patrol base in the town of `Aliy al-Šarqiyy. This round trip saw him pass within a few kilometres of the Confluence and he kindly agreed to the detour on the return leg and an extra passenger. We got to within 1.25 km by desert track, but it became clear, after bogging one of our Landrovers in soft mud that the rest of the journey would have to be made on foot. Leaving the intrepid Rover group to dig our transport out, I set off accompanied by Lieutenant Jim Reid RHF. We managed to negotiate several irrigation channels, mainly by running to their ends, but eventually reached a channel with no obvious ends in sight. We were just 490 metres short of the Confluence, but it wasn't worth trying to swim to get to it encumbered with rifles, ammunition, camera, GPS etc.
Attempt two saw me taking a different, and more glamorous, tack. I managed to con myself onto a Gazelle helicopter reconnaissance trip to `Aliy al-Ġarbiyy which was to fly almost directly over the confluence location. We set off at 0800 hrs local time and flew directly to within 150 metres of the Confluence where the pilot kindly landed and let me alight. Success! This method of approach also allowed me to take an aerial photograph of the area.
As I've already said, this visit would not have been possible without the help of several individuals, all from the 1st Battalion, The King's Own Scottish Borderers' Battlegroup. Thank you to everyone!
Captain Malcolm Ross