Braving the outdoors

No goal was ever met without a little sweat, especially in Oman. Heather informs that climbing higher over the Al Amerat Hill, flagged off the winter season in November and is the best way to be outside and active

Fitness, adventure or exploration comes first to her. Her daredevilry sends shivers among her peers. A fierce mind and brave spirit coupled with chasing dreams, Heather Duncan, the Scottish expatriate, loves crazy adventures.
According to Heather, Oman offers many amazing adventure opportunities from mountains, deserts and oceans. From sunset kayaking in Qurum, paramotoring over Sawadi Fort or standing above Sur Fort, she has braved it all. The outdoors is definitely something she craves for every weekend or every weekday if she can manage it.
Her desire to be outdoors is exemplary. Even during summer months, Heather still manages to push to be outdoors and active. If it is not possible due to weather, she makes it a point to train in the gym to stay fit. Asides from weekends and spare time, it’s only mountains she dreams of.
“It consumes me and I know that it is my passion in life to push myself to keep achieving mountain summits and tales of crazy adventures and meeting new people,” she says.
However, Heather suggests that if Oman could follow in the footsteps of countries like New Zealand in terms of adventure routes and safety precautions, it could become something amazing on the world scale and bring much needed tourism to the economy. She says already companies are seizing the opportunities to take people outdoors and show them the hidden wonders.
The biggest hardship in Oman for outdoor activities is definitely the summer heat. She mentions how it brings a host of problems like sunstroke, dehydration, rocks which are too hot to touch and low water levels in the sweltering wadis.
While on adventure, she combines both fitness work and capturing them on GoPro, which is always on her rucksack in easy reach in case a great photo opportunity arises. Most of her daring pictures from her adventures with other people are shared both on her website and Instagram to hopefully inspire them to try things and see for themselves.
Her son Spencer, about four-and-a-half-years-old, is also hit by the adventure bug. He looks forward to the weekends away from school because he knows that his mom always comes up with new plans.
“I enjoy captivating his imagination and incorporating it into our adventures and fitness. Recently, he joined me on trips to Wadi Mibam village and Wadi Hoqain. These are locations that not all children and accompanying adults can handle safely but fortunate to have great support network, confidence and knowledge to make it happen.
“By taking him outdoors and allowing him to be exposed to situations, it helps Spencer to develop his strong character and love for outdoors. He is a tough and confident kid and I am fiercely proud of that,” confesses Heather.
This winter, as the water temperature drops dramatically, she will be spending less time in the wadi pools and more time on the hiking trails, most probably at Jabal Shams or scout new locations in Oman.
She still has many places which she would love to explore. These are mostly down south like the stunning beaches of Bar al Hikman and Masirah Island. The summit to Jabal Shams, she mentions, was definitely the most arduous climb ever attempted. Although she was well prepared, it was the mountain playing tricks on her brain that dragged the experience to frustrating limits. However, she spent good time hanging out with the hairy goats in Jabal Shams.
“As you approach what you think is finally the summit, it tricks you and you see another few kilometres to walk your tired body, and once you are there and think you are almost at the summit, it is just another false alarm. I walked to the summit and back down in just one day, so not only was my body exhausted but my brain too,” she reminisces.
No goal was ever met without a little sweat, especially in Oman. She informs that climbing high over the Al Amerat Hill, flagged off the winter season in November which provides the best way to be active.
She blogs on The Duncan Adventures, which actually began two weeks after she first landed in Oman, six years back. It was a strange time in her life where she felt alone and vulnerable. Writing her thoughts and feelings down became a form of therapy. It quickly grew gaining popularity from countries like Russia and America where other potential expatriates found it online and helped to reassure them that a move to the Middle East wasn’t as scary as they first thought.
Heather admits she hardly saw any of her own country earlier. Her love for outdoors grew after she began to live in the Sultanate. She has since travelled back to Scotland just to climb Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles.
Whether climbing rocks, standing on top of mountain summits or enjoying time outdoors, everything that calms her in life revolves around outdoors. Heather also spends time doing amazing things for the local community through the ub-cool. She also loves wakeboarding which is a relatively new hobby which she picked up a year ago. This, she says, is daring and gives the rider a sense of freedom and a kick of adrenaline.
“The country is blessed with some incredible talents in water sports like free diving, swimming and wakeboarding. With miles of peaceful coastline, Muscat would be an ideal place to open a proper wakeboard school for people who wanted to train professionally,” she enthuses.

HEATHER’S TIPS FOR THE DAREDEVILS

  1. Safety first before you explore
  2. Choose a good guide who knows the area
  3. Wear the right clothes
  4. Inform someone where you are going
  5. Stock adequate supplies