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“Wadi Rum was only the beginning of the adventure,” Ibrahim bellows over the top of booming Arab pop music.

Today we head to Feynan, an area of mountains and canyons on the Jordan Valley’s edge, which Ibrahim says is rarely visited, but among the country’s most exhilarating spots.

When we arrive we find Feynan as quiet and empty of tourists as Ibrahim promised.

We’re staying in a remote ecolodge, and as night falls we clamber onto the roof of the building to enjoy the night, passing round a hip flask of whiskey and chatting.

It’s an especially clear evening and there’s no light pollution whatsoever – it seems only appropriate to lay back, gradually fall silent and gaze up at Jupiter glowing brightly among the rest of the stars.

At only 9pm – it feels much later – Ibrahim and a few hardy others bed down for the night right here on the roof, where a cool breeze keeps the flies at bay.

Since our accommodation prides itself on being eco-friendly there’s no power-sapping air conditioning, and with Jordan Valley being one of the lowest areas on earth, the high roof is a far better bet than sweltering, stuffy rooms.

But the peace and wilderness of Feynan isn’t the only reason we’re here.

We’re set to learn the daredevil art of canyoning. Ibrahim has given us fair warning that this will not be easy and when I ask if I can bring my camera, he is bemused.

”Anything you bring, you will lose,” he says, shaking his head in disbelief. “I don’t think you understand, this is pretty difficult.”

Ibrahim isn’t kidding. Canyoning turns out to be among the hardest things that anyone in our group has ever done.

It begins with a deceptively leisurely paddle through ankle-deep water, before getting really wild – think white water rafting, but going against the current, on foot, uphill.

At some points we’re reduced to tears, partly through the exertion and partly from sheer panic; at others, we’re inspired into wild and reckless feats of daring.

I take the rope between my legs and use it to haul myself up from one slippery boulder to another, as water sprays over the edge of the canyon into my face.

My legs give way and I’m forced to haul myself up with my arms.

“Take my hand!” Ibrahim bellows like it’s a Nineties disaster movie. He drags me to the top, with my eyes streaming and a real sense of terror in his.

After what feels like hours and soaked to the skin, we emerge from the canyon slapping each other on the backs and sharing tales like warriors.

Our driver, Mohammed, pops open tins of tuna to have with bread, ripe Jordanian tomatoes and date cakes.

To those walking past we must look like primitive man as we get stuck in with our hands, but the adrenaline is still pumping and I’ve never been so hungry.

After three days of deserts and canyons, treks and near-death experiences, I remember a line from Lawrence Of Arabia.

Leader of the revolt Prince Faisal, on seeing how the hero has fallen for the arid, rugged landscape, sternly tells him: “There is nothing in the desert – and no man needs nothing.”

But after seeing just a little of this wilderness, I have to agree with Lawrence. I’d take nothing any day


Travel adventure: Follow Lawrence of Arabia's sandy trail through Jordan's deserts and canyons
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