After several years of planning, the eagerly anticipated major expedition to the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, departed in the October half term, and saw two groups make their way through some of the most stunning landscapes in the region. After a day and night in the vibrant and fascinating city of Marrakech, one group started their expedition in the High Atlas mountains, as the final part of their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award. Carrying significant weight on their backs, the boys were self-sufficient, making their way through Berber villages, rocky descents and steep climbs towards their ultimate goal of summiting Mount Toubkal, at 4,165m. The climb proved tough, with the constant changes in gradient and fluctuations in temperatures between night and day, but, with the sun shining on them most days, they were treated to unforgettable views and experiences that will, no doubt, stay with them for the rest of their lives.
At the same time, the other group were making their way through the same region, firstly on foot, but then in the village of Imlil, picked up mountain bikes, which enabled them to cover much greater distances each day and also experience the rush of descending through the valleys at controlled, but exhilarating speeds, before either wild camping or sleeping in traditional Moroccan guest houses. Despite mostly fine weather, a slightly earlier than usual snowfall made conditions above 4000m a little too icy, so the summiting of Mount Toubkal was unfortunately not possible, but both groups still managed to ascend a neighbouring peak that was just under the snowline, giving us the most spectacular views back at the highest peak in the High Atlas.
As a means of unwinding, both groups then reconvened at the coast, and enjoyed three days of surfing the waves around Taghazout, near Agadir. The waves in this area can be world class, and we weren’t let down, everyone had an absolutely brilliant time in the water, either learning to stand up for the first time, or for those who had already surfed before, it was a chance to improve the speed of their pops and start riding down the line on some clean Atlantic waves. The entire trip was so enjoyed by all that we are sure to be returning there soon!