From a series of images I made back in 2012 – where has the time gone !
Sorting & checking backup files before I pack my dark-room & computer plus printer for its return to the UK. It’s been a great adventure, even if work got in the way sometimes.
I should not complain because it was through work that I did my first trip into the desert. Someone told me about an airstrip abandoned just after WWII, where Kittyhawk engines could still be found on the shore at the end of what was left of the runway. The Kittyhawk was famous for its ‘Shark mouth’ on the engine air intake: made famous by No. 112 Squadron of the Royal Air Force who first painted this on their aircraft during the North Africa campaign in 1941. They copied the idea from Luftwaffe Messerschmitt Bf 110’s which had been painted with similar markings.
Given a military ‘Ragtop’ Land rover & basic directions, with instructions that I could get fuel from any military base I passed (free) and not to get lost because it would be a long walk; off I went. Directions back then were rudimentary and consisted of things like “follow the sand track until you see a pole with a tin can on it” or “at the hill with 3 old towers, turn right”…… and so it went. I say this to people now and they stare at me in disbelieve, but anyone who had been here in the early days will confirm my comments on this. The only black-top roads were around Muscat.
I was away two days and although I got rather lost a couple of times, I did find it. Unfortunately the only engines were rusty and not really identifiable as coming from an aircraft. But I was hooked and eventually got my own Series 200 Discovery, two spare tires, tool kit, air-jack and a proper tent with lots of old Ordinance Survey maps. It has been non-stop ever since.
Still a couple of weeks left and I’m now in the ‘Where do I put everything & how have I acquired so much stuff !! stage‘ most of it being books & camera equipment that cannot be easily replaced, so must be shipped back.
I still have lots of negatives that need scanning, so am not about to close this blog, but there will not be much more than the odd image until I am settled back in UK.
I started this blog on the 21st May 2010 with this image:
Tomb Umm an-Nar period at Shir/Jaylah in the eastern Hajjar
Here we are 18th June 2017 and 2159 images later, more comments & likes than I ever expected, which made it all worthwhile and has been much appreciated: but enough is enough & time I put my feet up with a good book & the odd glass or two of Laphroaig. Well that’s the plan but, we shall see 😎
Rillenkarren – Erosion of rock during Oman’s wetter phase.
The technical description from my geology book says:
Rillenkarren.- Are forms of dissolution on the surface of the rocks that consist of small channels separated by sharp crests configuring a network of tight more or less parallel gullies next to each other. Its Genesis is linked to the dissolution of the rock by the sheet of water that forms on it as a local run-off.
The Ghubrah Bowl depression.
Jebal Ghubrah – part of the Jebel Akhdar range of mountains.
Part of Wadi Mistall and the Ghubrah Bowl depression.
A quick stop on my way to Birkat Al-Mawz (Birkat Al Mouz) this morning.
I’m afraid there are going to be more posts about ruined villages in the next few days: I spent this morning going around the three abandoned areas of Birkat Al Mouz.
These abandoned villages were important stopping places on the camel route between Muscat and Al Buraimi. A camel In caravan can make about 20 miles a day and Al Buraimi was at least 350 miles by dirt track from Muscat; a long trip of many days, needing plenty of rest stops en-route.
The village (now town) of Al Buraimi was an important juncture between Oman proper & the Persian Gulf ‘Arabian Gulf‘ for some – depending on which map you look at and its age.
Water erosion from when Oman had a far wetter climate.
This Juniper looks completely dead but; as can be seen behind, there is regeneration going on.
Some more from the Jebel.
Varied terrain – on the Shams ascent.
Stone Wolf trap: Jebel Shams.
These traps are quite common on the Jebel but very few are in perfect working order. This one on the other hand would only need the front drop-stone lifting and supported by a stick: it would then be ready for the unfortunate wolf.
In case anyone is interested: it’s at about 9500ft & unfortunately for most people, in the restricted area.
Into the unknown.
Nikon F4 with Nikkor AF f1.8D on Ilford HP5 plus.
Another village where the rain has washed away the summer dust.
It is just possible to see another smaller village high up on the jebel (upper centre of image).
View of the great ‘exotic’ Jebel Misht: “Comb Mountain” because of its jagged ridges.
Another route that I travel for work and during this time of year; camping trips so that I can get away from the heat.
Unfortunately with images made during the summer months, it is very easy to see the different layers of pollution, sand & dust that
get trapped due to the heat.
Dead tree – blue tone Jebel Shams.
Mountain road – when I drive this route it’s mostly work related: well someone has got to do it 😎
A rather wet village after a couple of days with prolonged heavy rain.
A trip cut short by heavy rains and a met-office warning of more….
But it was not enough to stop me making a few quick images of the rain-swept Jebel with all its contours & colours. Although I needed the protection of an umbrella – not for me but the camera 🙄 & yes I carry a small one in the Land Rover: even Oman requires me to use one occasionally.
A long weekend off work !! so yet another attempt to find a way of getting a hand on the ‘The Devil’s finger’ seen on the image of Jebel Akhdar below.
It’s the sticky-up bit seen at the end of the range of hills upper centre of this image; a long walk going from right to left.