expeditions have included a 500-mile march retracing the British Army's 1808 retreat to Corunna in Spain and 700 miles by camel retracing T.E. Lawrence's journeys in the Middle East. He also spent 14 years in the British army serving in the Far East, Northern Ireland, Germany, Cyprus and Canada before leaving in 1993. He is the author of In the Footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia. But he is best known for leading the first successful expedition across the ferocious Taklaman desert in Central Asia from west to east.
One of the largest sandy deserts in the world and the harshest on earth, it is known by the Chinese as the "desert of death" or the "place of no return." Legend has it that its ancient cities. lost and buried beneath its dunes, are haunted by demons. The great explorer Sven Hedin made an attempt to cross it at the turn of the 19th Century, but had to give up before he reached its end.
But, after five years of planning, in 1993, Charles Blackmore together with a team of British, Chinese and Uyghurs and a caravan of thirty camels, set out to accomplish the seemingly impossible: they would cross the Taklamakan, west to east, directly through its unmapped centre. He later wrote about his success in his epic memoir Conquering the Desert of Death
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