19-May-2009 -- On a recent scouting trip in South West Egypt for some new work, the singularly lonely point 27N 22E proved to be too much of draw and quickly became an addition to the 6-day plan.
A total of 5 trucks left the base camp to attempt to reach the scout area and the ultimate goal of Gilf al-Kabīr. Noel, Tony, Doc Mustafa, Fareed (confluence point novices) along with myself and a driver travelled to Asyūṭ and then al-Khāriga Oasis over a 2-day period. The road between al-Khāriga Oasis and al-Dākhila Oasis passed through a number of police check points where the nationality of the foreign occupants was re-affirmed at each, not necessarily with the same result. The combination of Welsh, English, and Irish accents created some confusion amongst the police and led to Noel eventually becoming a temporary citizen of Holland in order for us to continue on our way.
The following morning the military guide was picked up in al-Dākhila and with the desert passes at the ready, we checked through the main police checkpoint and the last area of green we would see for the next 3 days.
220 km south from al-Dākhila check point we turned off the tarmac road and headed west across the desert, travelling on sandy gravel plains and broken rocky ground. A few stops and a number of hours later we arrived at "The Black Rock", the first relief we had seen for 5 hours. Another rest for photos and we continued west, finally making camp at 19:30 that night following a spate of digging through the extremely unpredictable dunes, approximately 150 km from the road. It was incredible to see the number of stars visible from such a remote, unpolluted place.
With the confluence point a mere 36 km from the camp site, we broke early the following morning after coffee, cheese, and bread. The terrain was very similar to the previous day, flat sandy plains with areas of rolling soft dunes interspersed with occasional rocky outcrops, and at 09:15, after 3 days of travelling, we reached our goal, confluence point 23N 27E.