The Duke of Cambridge joined a group of young Omani men in a bridge building team exercise – as he celebrated the work of the Outward Bound Trust.
In the stunning setting of the Wadi al Arbaeen – a palm-tree covered valley surrounded by mountain peaks – William knelt down to hold the base of the structure in place as it was created from wooden poles.
The aim was to develop communication, leadership and teamwork skills among the young men and when the precarious bridge was completed they let out a loud cheer.
William had travelled to the remote and picturesque area to experience rural life and began by meeting elders in the nearby village of Suwaih, who invited him to take off his shoes and join him on a carpet covered open-air meeting space. Outward Bound Oman instructor Abdul Rahman, transplanted the Arabic of the elderly men for the duke, and said afterwards: “The duke wanted to know what life was like years ago compared to now and one of the elders told him they travelled by donkey.
“Roads were only built in this area in the 1980s and electricity didn’t arrive until the 2000s.”
William sat down to chat to some of the teenagers who were coming to the end of a four-day excursion to the mountains with Outward Bound Oman, a branch of the UK-based Outward Bound Trust which uses adventure activities to instil life skills in young people.
Aged between 15 and 19, the group were enrolled in apprenticeships and William quizzed them about life, asking “All of you as a generation, what are the biggest challenges for Oman?” and was told by some the need was for “jobs”.
Mark Evans, the executive director of Outward Bound Oman who hosted the visit, explained later how the Prince of Wales used his 2014 visit to Oman to boost the prospects of the organisation.
Charles presented a letter to the ruler of Oman, Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Al Said, from his father the Duke of Edinburgh which explained how Philip thought the adventure organisation could benefit the Middle East country.
He added: “‘Some 45% of Omanis are aged 16-30 and there are employment issues in Oman. Outward Bound Oman is all about creating employability.
“Outward Bound has its origins at Gordonstoun School where the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales were educated, which is why the Royal Family has always had such a keen interest in its work.”