How modern adventurers put cart before the camel in 'crazy' desert crossing

Story highlights

  • Two British adventurers attempted to cross the Empty Quarter of the Arabian peninsula
  • Tracing the exploits of British explorer of 1940s Wilfried Thesiger
  • Duo could not afford camels so pulled a home-made cart
  • The area has been transformed beyond recognition in many parts since Thesiger's adventure
Hot, thirsty, frustrated and exhausted, British adventurers Alastair Humphreys and Leon McCarron were already feeling despair set in.
At this early stage of their expedition to trek across the Arabian Peninsula's forbidding and desolate Empty Quarter, however, the pair had got no further than the wet sands of the English seaside town of Margate.
Humphreys had hit on the idea of dragging their 300 kilograms of water and supplies for the 45-day 1,000-mile (1,609 km) expedition on a homemade steel cart, but as the pair labored to heave the heavily laden cart through the boggy sands of Margate on a test run, doubts were starting to set in.
"The purest way to have done the trip would have been camels but we couldn't afford it, so that ruled that out," Humphreys told CNN. "I liked the aspect of the cart because it made it a physical challenge which appeals to me.