Atlas to the Atlantic Expedition
Epic Morocco’s team, Alice Morrison from Scotland and Rachid Ait Elmahjoub from the Imlil Valley, have become the first ever people to walk from the Roof of North Africa, Mount Toubkal, 300 kilometres across the Atlas mountains to Agadir on the Atlantic Ocean.
Epic Morocco sponsored and planned the expedition with them as a way to open up new routes across the mountains and also explore the hidden valleys and villages on the way.
The team were entirely self-supported, carrying all their own kit and supplies for the trek. They had to constantly be aware of where they might refill with water and look for places to stay or to camp along the way. They relied on getting food from the tiny villages and farms they passed through.
Charlie Shepherd, CEO of Epic Morocco, explained why he wanted to back the exploration, ” Epic Morocco is a specialist in adventure holidays here in Morocco and we pride ourselves on our knowledge of the country. We wanted to showcase the incredible natural beauty of Morocco and the diversity of its landscapes. No-one had ever crossed the whole way across from the highest point to the lowest, but I had every faith in Rachid and Alice and their ability to do it.”
Alice Morrison added her highlights, “Apart from the extreme physical nature of the expedition, the thing that stood out for me was the wonderful and humbling hospitality we encountered from the Berber people. In every village we passed through, people invited us into their homes to eat or drink tea. We ran out of water at one stage on a really hot, deserted piste, and were getting thirsty and worried until we saw a shepherd in the distance. He came running down over the hills with his flock to share his bottle of water with us. This kind of generosity was displayed over and over again. We would not have made it without the help of the people of the mountains.”
Rachid Ait Elmahjoub, an Amazigh mountain guide, navigated the route across the peaks and through the valleys, exploring places he had never been before. “I want to give a clear picture to visitors to Morocco of my country, my culture and my people. I am proud of them and I want to share them.”
The expedition took 12 days in total from its beginning on the summit of Mount Toubkal (4167m). The team were walking for up to 18 hours a day. The temperatures were extreme: from the snows on Toubkal to 43 degrees as they came across towards Agadir. The terrain was rough and often treacherous, with sharp boulders, river crossings, tough ascents and long, slippery descents.
So will Epic Morocco be running it as one of its regular hiking trips? “We are looking at doing it perhaps as a hiking/biking trip,” said Charlie Shepherd, ” We would need to tweak the route a bit and it would certainly be a challenge, but if there is an appetite for it, it is a big thing to accomplish .and you get to see a great swathe of the country”
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For more adventures from Alice Morrison please visit www.alicemorrison.co.uk