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SINAI: SCHOLARS, SCIENTISTS AND A NEW SECRET COMPASS EXPEDITION
Industry: Expeditions       

In September and October 2015, expedition teams from adventure travel company Secret Compass will set out to cross the southern Sinai desert in minimalistic, Bedouin style. To mark the expedition’s pending departure, Secret Compass investigates previous expeditions into this 60,000km2 peninsula.

(TRAVPR.COM) UK - July 16th, 2015 - In September and October 2015, expedition teams from adventure travel company Secret Compass will set out to cross the southern Sinai desert in minimalistic, Bedouin style.

Sinai has historically been Egypt’s first line of defence, of interest to scholars, scientists and explorers alike. To mark the expedition’s pending departure, Secret Compass investigates previous expeditions into this 60,000km2 peninsula (see below).

Teammate and Secret Compass operations advisor Bryony Balen said, “This 220km, camel-supported trek between the Gulfs of Suez and Aqaba eschews the hi-tech trappings of post-Millennial exploration. 

“Modern kit is banned: we will be given bare essentials such as a Bedouin cloak and water bladder to help us feel truly immersed in this harsh, nomadic world.”

Local expert and expedition leader Dave Lucas said, “Few if any outsiders have attempted this crossing in this manner before. As part of our original caravan, we’ll locate water and barter for food en route, swapping camels periodically and sleeping beneath the stars.”

Concerning unrest in the north, a local travel organiser recently said in the New Statesman, “The Sinai narrative is framed by journalism and government travel advice. Unfortunately, that takes away that ability of the local people to represent their own land.”

Musallam Faraj is Secret Compass’s local leader and part of the ‘Sinai is Safe’ campaign. Faraj said, “We are working with tourism so we feel responsible for everyone that comes to this area.”  He believes that a strong governmental response and tribal protection will prevent troubles spreading to the south.

Expedition Fact Box

·    What: A unique trek across 220km of the southern Sinai desert

·    Method: A minimalistic, camel-supported, Bedouin-styled approach

·    When: 19 Sep to 4 Oct and 10 to 25 Oct 2015 (15 nights)

·    Price: £1,999 (all incl. except international flights)

Historical Sinai expedition timeline 

c. 1700 BC: Rock inscriptions
The Hyksos people from Western Asia cross the Sinai to take over the eastern Nile Delta, temporality shutting off the turquoise mining in the Sinai. Rock inscriptions left by ancient Egyptian miners can still be found in southern Sinai detailing day-to-day life such as changes in weather, working conditions and praise for the Gods. 

c. 1400 BC: The Exodus
Recorded in the Bible and the Quran, the Exodus from Egypt takes Moses and the Israelites through the Sinai, where they wander for 40 years. Many still make pilgrimages to the region and to Mount Sinai, where it is believed God revealed the Ten Commandments to Moses.

639 AD: He had 4,000 men…
Amr ibn al-As, an Arab military commander most noted for leading the Muslim conquest of Egypt, crossed the Sinai with 4,000 men in order to invade Egypt and spread the message of Islam, still the dominant religion in Egypt today.

1798: Napoleon and the Rosetta Stone
Napoleon Bonaparte crosses the Sinai while retreating to Cairo during his campaign in the East. Bonaparte travelled with over 160 scientists and scholars to make a complete encyclopedic survey of Egypt, resulting in the discovery of the Rosetta stone.

1878: Arabia Deserta
English poet and traveller Charles Montagu Doughty explores the Sinai and other Arabian deserts, returning to write Travels in Arabia Deserta, which documents his time with the Bedouin nomads. This book is still considered a benchmark for ambitious travel. 

1892: The Sisters of Sinai
Twin sisters Agnes and Margaret Smith travel to St Catherine’s in Southern Sinai and uncover the Syriac Sinaiticus, a 4th century manuscript containing translations of the New Testament into Syriac, just one of the 12 languages the sisters spoke between them. Agnes and Margaret returned to explore the Sinai repeatedly, becoming known as the Sisters of Sinai.

1913: Lawrence of Arabia
T. E. Lawrence and British archaeologist Leonard Woolley join a six-week British Military survey of the Sinai to map an area they believed would prove precious to the war effort. 

2012: Project New Horizons
The British Exploring Society completes the largest group crossing of the Sinai in British history. The 33 strong team, made up of 16-25 year olds, travelled for 15 days from the Gulf of Aqaba to the Gulf of Suez as part of Project New Horizons. 

Sep 2015: Secret Compass arrives
This Sinai expedition team will set out on a 220km long, camel-supported crossing of the southern Sinai, with 12 amateur explorers navigating by the stars, buying supplies from nomadic herders and wearing traditional Bedouin clothing.

Secret Compass team liaison Kerry O’Neill said, “Our first Sinai team filled up in record time, with people drawn to its simplicity and the chance to experience a fascinating desert in authentic style. 

“Our second team has spots remaining and we welcome applications from anyone with good general fitness levels, a sense of adventure and a robust attitude.”  

With its military background, Secret Compass is renowned for offering adventurous, exploratory and often world-first travel experiences to countries avoided by most operators due to their remoteness, post-conflict reputations or inaccessibility.

In 2015 and 2016, the adventure travel company will also run expeditions to Afghanistan (the Wakhan Corridor), Madagascar (Pic Boby), Panama (the Darien Gap), Siberia (volcanic Kamchatka), Armenia (the Lower Caucasus), Ethiopia (the Simien Mountains), Kyrgyzstan (the Talas Ranges), Namibia (the Kalahari), Iraqi Kurdistan (the Zagros Mountains), Burma (Nagaland), Malawi (Mount Mulanje) and Iran (the Lut Desert).

Find full details for the Secret Compass expedition to Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula

For further information contact Secret Compass marketing director Kerry O’Neill

ENDS

----------Notes for editors ----------

Secret Compass Expeditions

Secret Compass is a pioneering expedition company creating world-first experiences for teams of like-minded adventurers. Through group and bespoke adventures, Secret Compass helps each team member achieve the extraordinary in the world’s wildest places. Founded by ex-British Army Parachute Regiment officers Tom Bodkin and Levison Wood, its expeditions reach the planet’s most remote regions in the spirit of exploration’s earliest pioneers.

www.secretcompass.com
info@secretcompass.com
Press enquiries: 0207 096 8428
www.facebook.com/secretcompass
www.twitter.com/Secret_Compass

Secret Compass TV and Film 
Secret Compass provides expert pre-production and in-country location management services to the TV and film industries. Clients to date include the BBC, National Geographic, Animal Planet, Discovery and Channel 4, in countries from Afghanistan to Uzbekistan and South Sudan to Siberia.

www.secretcompasstv.com
www.twitter.com/SecretcompassTV  

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CONTACT INFORMATION
Name: Kerry O'Neill
Company: Secret Compass
Phone: 0207 096 8428
Email: kerry@secretcompass.com
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