During the October half term, 10 girls travelled to Morocco to complete the Expedition and Residential section of their Gold DofE Award. After arriving in the vibrant city of Marrakech on Sunday, we then travelled up to Imlil in the High Atlas Mountains to begin preparations for our gruelling four day trek. During the familiarisation day we collected our tents and food before re-checking the route we had planned six weeks before in a classroom back in Monmouth.
The heat, altitude (base camp was at 1800m above sea level!) and very different landscape made for a tough but exciting expedition. Each day consisted of climbing to the top of a ‘Tizi’ (pass), enjoying the beautiful scenery the High Atlas Mountains had to offer and attempting to cook an edible meal on a Trangias. Additional highlights included clambering down a boulder-filled dry river bed, getting to know the local guides and seeing the first snow of the season arrive on Toubkal, North Africa’s highest peak (4167m).
The second week consisted of a community project where we combined with students from Bedford Girls’ School. The aim of the week was to indulge in another culture, immersing ourselves in the day today life of the local Berber people. We took part in several projects; helping with the construction of a new classroom for the primary school in Ait Souka and making and distributing humane mule tethers. Glen, a local vet, highlighted to us the importance of mule welfare and we enjoyed taking part in a retirement celebration for Betty, a donkey who had worked in the mountains for 30 years and was being adopted by Far Frontiers. Other activities included making mint tea, bread and tagines, then washing clothes the way the local women do. The adventure concluded with Arianna’s 18th birthday when the locals put on a traditional Berber party with singing, dancing and a special birthday cake. Overall the trip was a wonderful success and enjoyed by everyone!
Words by Katie & Alison