On 1st October our trekkers set off to Marrakech in Morocco to take on The Mount Toubkal challenge! Naomi from the Skyline Events team joined the group and tells us about their adventure through the High Atlas Mountains.
Before departing Hotel Meriem in Marrkech, where we spent our first night, we filled our bellies with breakfast to fuel us for the day ahead. Once we had all introduced ourselves and Boubker, our Local Guide, had given us a short briefing, we set off on the 1 hour and half journey to Imlil. During this journey we all started to get to know each other and soon discovered the charities everyone had chosen to fund raise for. Upon our arrival in Imlil we were greeted by our mulehandlers, said goodbye to our larger travelling bags and made sure we were fully equipped for challenge that awaited us!
In the first steps of our adventure, we passed through the mountain village of Imlil – whilst taking in the beautiful landscapes as we walked, locals also welcomed us with friendly smiles; it was a lovely experience. As we left the pretty village behind, the landscape started to become more barren. The large mountains standing tall met the bright blue sky beautifully with the sun shining down on us – it really was such an amazing feeling trekking through such diverse sceneries!
Our first lunch stop was by a shrine that was known for physical and psychological healing and Boubker spoke to us in great detail about the history of this. After enjoying a fantastic lunch consisting of mixed salad, fresh bread and fish – oh and of course the delicious traditional Moroccan tea – we were all ready for the next leg which would bring us to our campsite for the night.
We trekked for 8 hours before we made it to our campsite, and we had climbed 1400m – we could definitely feel there was a chill in the air as the evening drew to a close. We all huddled in the communal tent where we awaited our food; with the candles burning and the sounds of the still sky it really was an amazing feeling to be camping in such surroundings. For dinner we enjoyed a traditional Moroccan soup called harira, with a tagine to follow – it was very tasty. After our team leader Andy and Boubker briefed us on what we needed to know for the next day, we soon retired to our tents to rest. Tomorrow would be summit day!!
We woke early and enjoyed a breakfast consisting of porridge and fruit to keep us going for the morning. We soon set off in high spirits ready to take on the final part of our challenge. We were all very excited about reaching the top and had heard if we were lucky there may be snow at the iconic summit point. We had many layers on as we set off as it was very cold; we all went at a steady pace making sure we were all okay as it started to become more challenging with steeper sections to the path we were following. As we all trekked a long we suddenly saw some snow which really excited us as this meant there would be snow at the top!
As we ascended, the views became more spectacular and this really spurred us on when we came across the more difficult parts. The change in landscapes was something very special, our campsite we had left was very barren and now we found ourselves surrounded by snow which we pushed our way through as we began to see the summit in sight.
It was an amazing feeling reaching the summit; we all congratulated each other and took photos with the iconic summit signpost. We had made it to the top of the highest mountain of North Africa (4,167m)!! We sat and enjoyed the view accompanied with our group lunch. We were all so pleased there was snow at the top and the weather was amazing; clear blue skies and the sun was blazing! After spending an hour or so at the top and letting this incredible achievement sink in, we soon were on our way back down to our campsite.
We made it back to camp and enjoyed our dinner, a little while after this we were very lucky to experience traditional Berber music from our lovely cooks. It was great to hear and see this, especially in the setting that we were in. We were all very tired so soon after this we were off to bed, before I got into my tent I looked up at the sky and the stars were shining so bright – it was amazing!
Today was the last day of trekking and we started our way back the village of Imlil. We left with a lot of layers on and within an hour or so of walking the sun started to peep over the mountains and we were soon very warm again. As we continued our descent we kept looking at where we had just came from and could not believe that we were at the summit only a day ago. The sights of the Atlas Mountain range were breath-taking, with every 5 minutes being the perfect picture moment! We soon were back at our transfer point, before departing we said a massive thank you to our amazing cooks and enjoyed our final lunch – we were then on our way to Marrakech.
Once back at our hotel we all grabbed a quick shower and met back in the hotel lobby and took a stroll into the centre of Marrakech. There we met Boubker who led us to where we would all share our final celebratory meal. We had a wonderful evening and we enjoyed experiencing the very busy atmosphere of Marrakech – an enormous contrast from the quiet environment in the mountains!
I would like to thank and say a massive well done to the amazing participants who conquered Mount Toubkal and the incredible amount they have raised for their charities. I was lucky enough to experience this fantastic challenge with them and it was an unforgettable journey! I would also like to thank on behalf of Skyline our Ground Handler, Boubker, our Leader Andy and our Doctor David.
Head over to our youtube page and watch The Mount Toubkal Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTgLbOCu7WE
If you are interested in this trek you can find out more information on our website – http://www.skylineoverseas.co.uk/trek-toubkal.aspx