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Desert Exploration


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  An expedition of twelve, including six young cadets, left Sandhurst for the summer break to explore Gebel Archenu, a mountain in south east Libya. 

Being the hottest time of the year great care was taken to avoid heat exhaustion, and lessons were learnt for later expeditions.  The party, under the leadership of David N Hall, found a number of rock paintings, and with the help of the cadets Martin Williams completed a geomorphological survey of a reconnaissance nature.

For a full account - an extract from Hall's memoir

Preparing to leave Sandhurst by road and
 sea to Libya in David Hall's Land Rover.

The whole party meets up in Benghazi, collects further Land Rovers and heads south

The second day sees us onto the Calanscio Serir - hundreds of miles of flat featureless gravel plain.


Find six palms and dig a metre or two to find good water.  Bir el Harasc.

Then on south into the sand sea.
The first seif dunes could be seen in mirage from Bir el Harasc.

Troubles in the soft sand.  Best to cope with that in early morning or evening.


Gebel Hawaria in the background, and rough ground before arriving at the oasis of Kufra.

Tibu and Arabs meet in the market at Kufra.

About 260 miles onwards to Archenu seen here from the air.


A track had to be built to get the Land Rovers into the massif.

Within the massif was like being in a separate world.

Some of the rock paintings we found.


Recording the rock paintings.

A small group went over to Gebel Uweinat where there was good water among the huge boulders.

Then back north, crossing many different types of desert.


Flat sand approaching seif dunes.


Beighton and Hall find an old landform still standing.

Back to Kufra with its gardens and palm trees where petrol had been dumped for us by a Greek trader.


Then the long journey north back to Benghazi.
The famous Archenu tree on the outside of the massif.  It had probably been hit again by lightning.