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the Degree Confluence Project
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Saudi Arabia : al-Madīna al-Munawwara

5.5 km (3.4 miles) NNE of al-Buwayr, al-Madīna, Saudi Arabia
Approx. altitude: 442 m (1450 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest Multimap world confnav)
Antipode: 25°S 141°W

Accuracy: 5 m (16 ft)
Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: Looking North #3: Looking East #4: Looking South #5: Looking West #6: GPS record

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  25°N 39°E (visit #2)  

#1: General view of Confluence

(visited by Mark Hardaker, Diana Hardaker, Jochen Gutschmidt and Regina Gutschmidt)

29-Nov-2009 -- Like previous attempts, we visited this point during the annual `Īd al-Aḍḥā vacation in Saudi Arabia, which in 2009 occurred in late November. Our plans for a weekend camping to the south of our "hometown" of Jidda had been washed out by very heavy rains the previous Wednesday, causing us to look for entertainment away from the weather. We decided on a camping trip to the Ḥijāz railway stations north of Madīna, about 400 km drive from home, combined with an attempt on 25N 39E.

A thorough study of the satellite images led us to believe that the previous attempt to visit this confluence point had failed by only a few hundred metres and that access from a point slightly further north would result in success. This proved to be the case.

Arriving in the late afternoon of Saturday, we pitched our camp about 9 km north of the confluence point, in the sandy slopes north of the village of al-Buwayr, high above the main 8040 road from Madīna. We first visited the disused railway station in the village with its rusting, fenced-off locomotive and old railway buildings, dating back to the first decade of the last century. It is a shame that access to these sites is restricted and that no museum has yet been constructed to allow people to enjoy these relics of Saudi Arabia's Ottoman past.

Driving roughly north through the village, we passed agricultural settlements and turned right towards the confluence point along a road initially metalled but which quickly petered out to a farm track and then disappeared into a wādiy. Here thick clumps of shrubs and trees were growing and camels could be seen grazing on the vegetation. On the other side of the wādiy and to the South and East, the fence seen by previous visitors could be clearly seen in the fading afternoon sun and we hoped we had come far enough north to miss it. Gingerly negotiating our way through the wādiy, still wet after recent rains, we emerged on the eastern side and headed directly to the confluence point, passing the north-eastern corner of the fenced area which appears to be poorly maintained in this area.

The point itself was on a salty sabkha, still damp from the rains but still offering good traction for 4X4 vehicles, and we were able to collect the necessary photographs before the sun set over the mountains to the West.


 All pictures
#1: General view of Confluence
#2: Looking North
#3: Looking East
#4: Looking South
#5: Looking West
#6: GPS record
ALL: All pictures on one page (broadband access recommended)