07-Feb-2006 -- Flushed with success following visits to the two confluence points in Laḥij, 13N 45E and 13N 44E, I thought I'd chance my arm with one more on the way back from `Adan to Ṣan`ā'. The maps and Google Earth were not encouraging: 14N 45E lies deep in the Ḥarāz mountains of al-Bayḍā' Governorate, far from any road or major habitation. However, it seemed sensible to at least scout out the region on the off chance that it might be possible to get close to the point.
Driving north from `Adan, one arrives at a town called Qa`ṭaba. I thought that a sandy track a few kilometres north of there might be the way forward, but a group of local tribesmen advised me that it would be more sensible to continue north to the hot spring town of Damt, and to go east from there. According to my maps, there was a complete absence of roads heading east from Damt but, deciding it is always best to trust local knowledge, I took their advice.
Sure enough, on arriving at Damt, I found that there was a part-asphalt, part-rock track that led off in the general direction of the point. It seems to have been constructed recently to serve the village of Juban. At one point, it reached the top of a mountain, from where it is possible to see for many miles around the area. Here, my spirits dropped slightly, as I could now clearly see the terrain through which I would have to proceed for at least 20 km to get to the Confluence. Shortly after this point, the road dropped sharply into a valley, and passed through a few tiny villages. At the last village, located around 11 km from the target, I turned off onto an horrendous track into the mountains.
But after crawling at a snail's pace over ever-worsening ground for what seemed like forever, I only made it to within 9.54 km of the confluence point. The track virtually ran out, and I was worried that there wouldn't be enough time left to get back to Ṣan`ā' before dark. Recalling that discretion is the better part of valour, I admitted defeat and turned back.
Of course, no point is 'impossible'. There may well be other tracks that I missed. Or some brave soul might wish to undertake a 19-km round trip hike across the fearsome tribal terrain of the Ḥarāz. But this point must certainly rank as one of the most difficult to reach in Yemen. I may well try again the next time I drive to `Adan, perhaps in conjunction with recruiting a local guide, but my expectations of success are not high...
For notes about confluence hunting in Yemen, or the involvement of the British Embassy Ṣan`ā' in the Degree Confluence Project, please see the report for 15N 49E.