‘The charm of the East is the absence of intellectual life there, the freedom one’s mind gets from anxiety in looking forward or pain in looking back. The regular toll of life which it claimed had caused the Nafud to become the subject of myths and legends, and the Blunts had been hearing from their friends. The Blunts thought they would be the first self-confessed English Christians to reach the Jabal Shammar, and were worried at the unfriendliness of the Jubba people, which seemed a possible foretaste of things to come. Moving through the red dunes the Blunts noticed that in the apparent confusion of ridges and troughs there was ‘a uniformity in the disorder’. During the morning of 16 January the Blunts sighted on the horizon the cheerful landmark of Aalam, the twin conical hills which reassure travellers that they are on the right line for Jubba.