Military Charity Walking With The Wounded has launched their latest expedition, The Walk of Oman, with Expedition Patron, The Duke of Sussex.
In partnership with the Omani Armed Forces and with generous support from the Royal Office of HM Sultan Haitham bin Tariq’, the ambitious trek pays homage to the legendary travels Wilfred Thesiger took across the Arabian Peninsula in the 1940s.
Starting on November 20th 2020 and ending December 11th 2020, the walk will also take the team across part of the Empty Quarter— the world’s largest sand desert, before bringing the arduous trek to a close on Oman’s Armed Forces Day.
Speaking about the initiative, The Duke of Sussex added, “At the end of this year, a year that has seen unprecedented global challenges, a group of veterans will be tackling a challenge unlike anything they’ve faced before. Facing searing temperatures and pulling a cart that weighs more than 3 times their own bodyweight, these veterans will need to summon incredible physical & mental strength.”
He continued, “I am proud once again to support them and support the veterans whose courage, determination and resilience is a credit to all of us who have served. To the men and women selected for this team, good luck! I know people all over the world will be cheering you on.”
Dominic Reid OBE, CEO of The Invictus Games Foundation, commented, ‘‘The Invictus Games Foundation is proud to lend its support to Walking with the Wounded and the ‘Walk of Oman’. This Walk not only shares a Patron with the Foundation, it shares its goals in supporting those injured in service. We look forward to helping establish further international endeavours in the future.”
Ed Parker, CEO of Walking With The Wounded (WWTW), added, “The charity has tackled the North and South Poles, walked the length of Britain and crossed the USA. The Oman Expedition creates a new challenge and sense of adventure. We are honoured to be walking across the Omani desert, a country so closely aligned in many areas with the UK, particularly with our military. The desert and intense heat of the Middle East is one environment we have not yet faced.”
He continued, “Oman was chosen because of the very close ties between our two nations. The UK supported His Majesty Sultan Qaboos during the Dhofar Conflict in 1972 and the UK and Omani military continue to train closely with one another today.
Our aims, as before, are to raise and maintain awareness of the challenges many face in the wider military community. The funds raised will support WWTW’s existing programmes -supporting those ex-service men and women who have struggled since they left the Armed Forces”
HE Ambassador Abdulaziz Abdullah Alhinai commented, “The partnership of the Sultanate of Oman with WWTW is a manifestation of the deeply rooted relationship that the Sultanate enjoys with the United Kingdom at various spheres and outstandingly between the Armed Forces of the two countries.
Empowerment is a key element during challenging times and will therefore be successfully established through collaborative partnerships such as this one. The welcoming of the Duke of Sussex lending his patronage to this important initiative was received with great respect and appreciation and reflects the close relations between the two nations. We wish this collaboration and collective endeavor much success.”
The team of ex-service personnel, all of whom have physical or cognitive injuries, will endure hunger, thirst and extreme temperatures to highlight the extraordinary courage and determination of the men and women who have been wounded while serving their countries and to draw attention to the support needed in their transition to civilian life.
Due to the hostile conditions and the nature of the injuries involved, the expedition teams will be followed by a support team, who will be on hand in case of emergencies.
Trekking around 20km to 22km per day, the team will endure temperatures as high as 95°F as they pull their custom-built cart, weighing in excess of 300kg, across the unforgiving Omani desert.
Before the final team is revealed, they will undergo a rigorous selection process in July to test both their physical and mental strength before preparing for this extraordinary challenge in the Middle East. Details of the selection process and expedition team will be revealed in the next couple of months.