Thursday, 22 May 2008


Nipped up to Hatta yesterday for a quick tour with visiting guests. Having seen a bunch of workers starting on it last time we were up there a few months ago, I had expected to find tarmac on the track and my expectations were fulfilled. After the first crossing of Wadi Hatta itself, the road is 100% blacktop all the way through the mountains and down onto the plan. Blacktop stretches out to the left at the T-junction, the way to Al Ain. And blacktop stretches to the right as well – and has done for quite some while now. I’m fond of jinking off this road to the left, through Wadi Sumayni and through an Omani border post: the landscape here has some unusual rock formations not unlike those found in Wadi Bih and the foothills give way to the Madam plain and then into the desert. The transition of landscapes is quite amazing and you can then nip up onto the dam across the wadi and then up to the Madam/Al Ain road. Except that now the Omani border fence stretches all the way up to the Hatta Road and they’ve welded the damn dam gate shut. So we had to roar up the graded track to the Hatta road.

Our visitors, from Australia, delightedly christened the long green border fence, ‘the rabbit proof fence’, which did rather amuse me. What amazed them was that miles and miles of concrete and steel fence topped with twists of razor wire then simply opened up at the main road with no crossing or check point. They saw the whole thing as utterly pointless and I must admit it’s always mystified me.

The long and short of it is that, sadly, yet another of the great tracks through the mountains is now a metalled road.

RIP, then, the Great Hatta Track.


EyeOnDubai said...

Done it the other way several times, and it's always spectacular, especially last year after the rains. We took some visitors, drove through from the Hatta side, then turned right at the 'T junction back north towards the border and Dubai. Driving through that verdant valley in a spring twilight will long be one of my most cherished memories of this part of the world.

You're right though, it's just not the same now the road through is tarmac!


i*maginate said...

I don't know if it's a form of dyslexia developing or lack of sleep, but for some reason I subsituted the word 'workers' in your second line for 'wankers'.

The "Madam/Al Ain road": bet you loved it, alexander.

btw, big snippet from your post on Satwa on pg 17 of Time Out Dubai, May 22 edition

the real nick said...

Did this route last in February when they were rolling out the asphalt. We had one last race down the graded track and then down the wadi itself where the water was about one foot deep down to the pools. Nice.
Hasta la vista, Hatta!

sonofgeektalk said...

How so.

Every time a dirt track becomes a legit road, you feel like mankind is raping another little piece of planet.

I am amused at the realization that the definition of "a nice spot" for me is increasingly coincident with "a place with few humans"

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