Our journey starts in Hemel Hempstead, a little town just north of London amidst a massive heatwave.
We have six camels and enough provisions of water for three days. The plan is to journey as far north as we can to try and find an oasis, then encamp there for a few days.
The desert can be unforgivingly hot in the day, but at night the temperature drops which will require us starting a fire or wrapping up in blankets.
We bid the friendly locals goodbye then march on north at dawn as the sun tortuously rises over the eastern sand dunes.
Slowly the haze of heat reaches us and we have to pull over our shemaghs over our heads, we are also dressed in a thoab, a long light clothed black garment. The summer heatwave has required the English to adopt Bedouin clothes to keep cool.
In case there is a sand storm, we are prepared to cover our faces completely.
At noon the temperature hits 130 degrees fahrenheit and we stop for a few minutes to give the camels some water. My camel, George, has started gasping, poor blighter, so a few drops of H2o for him does the trick.
Over the horizon of endless dunes, there must be an oasis somewhere and we are risking our lives to find and map it.
The night comes with eagerness as the heat dissipates, but there are now hidden dangers.
We have heard there are tribes of Chavs or as they call them in the north Neds in this area, and while we are sleeping they can come and rob us of everything including our camels. These tribes wear Burberry robes and ride on specially modified mopeds over the desert, their goal is to steal as much as they can from heatwave stricken locals and travellers.
Luckily we survive the first night unscathed, and we move on slowly ambling over the dunes the next morning.
Then all of a sudden, Billy, my scout shouts back, “Sand storm! Sand storm!”
We quickly rush to the only shelter available, a small group of rocks in the sand.
The story continues in the next episode….