- Sunday, 29.03, home to Marrakech.
- Left home in hired car at 09:00, arrived at Heathrow and handed car in at
Avis desk 12:45. Mooched around the terminal trekker-spotting until the flight.
It was late and left at 19:00 instead of 17:50! Uneventful but quite cramped
737. Arrived at Casablanca 21:30, fortunately they delayed the connecting flight
until 22:30. Took ages at Marrakech to get through the entry procedure. Met by
John Rutter - trek leader (late 20's) and taken to the Hotel Ali by 01:00. First
taste of mint tea, hot and very sweet, bit like chewing gum! Twin room OK with
own toilet and shower.
- Monday, 30.03, Marrakech.
- Breakfast at 08:30 and briefing at 09:00, very civilised. We can see the
snowy Atlas Mountains from our balcony. Walking tour
of old Marrakech in the morning. Saw museum, souk and general sights. Impression
was hot, red and busy. Museum was interesting with very ornate walls, ceilings
and floors done in tiles, carpets and wood and plaster carvings. The
of the city were very narrow and winding. Went to a herb shop for tea and
olives Bought various herbs and spices, including mint tea and something for
irritable bowel syndrome. Lunch at hotel, more free olives for me, food for
Alan. We walked to the New Town in the afternoon to look for maps but didn't
find any. Back by 17:30, and had meal in hotel which was OK.
- Tuesday, 31.03, Marrakech to Ait Youl.
- Up and away by 07:15. The coach was newish and very comfortable, plenty of
room for the fifteen of us. Stopped for coffee10:00
the Tizi-n Tichka pass. The road was steep and very winding. Quite a lot of
snow on the hills above us. The pass was 2270m. The scenery changed from scrub
to trees and back to scrub again. Stopped again at Ouarzazote at 12:00 for
lunch. The landscape opened out and was flat and scrub.
The bus broke down and couldn't be mended so John
stopped a van to arrange for taxis and a pickup to take us the remaining 45k to
El Kalla. Left El Kalla at 16:00 and walked to Ait Youl, stopping on the way
for a mint tea. Arrived at Larcon's house, sleeping on the floor in two seperate
rooms. It had a cold shower and squat toilet. Bed by 20:30. Nose and eyes
streamed all day.
- Wednesday, 1.04, Ait Youl to base of Afoughal.
- Breakfast 07:30. Rice pudding, bread and jam, coffee, tea. Left 08:00 and
walked mainly south. Had a shorts and T-shirt change on the way. Arrived camp
site 12:15, mainly flat scrub but
was at the bottom of a hill (1700m) and a little river was nearby for
washing. Put the tents up, lunch of salad and bread, then rest and read, out of
the sun, in the tent till 16:00. Optional climb up Afoughal (2196m). Quite
steep but the view was very good. Only Phil, Alan and I made it to the top. Most
of the others didn't bother.
- Thursday, 2.04, Afoughal to Tagmout village.
- Cold when we got up, took the tents down, had breakfast and walking by
08:00. The scenery was much more varied with lots of
. Went through a pretty little gorge. Had to change into trousers before the
village. We were to stay in Ali's house, and had the choice of sleeping in the
room, in the court yard or in a tent. Alan and I opted for the room. Squat
toilet and a tap for washing. 16:00 walk up a
with no name, but
Carrots and potatoes for evening meal. Bed 20:30. Streaming nose and eyes
have now developed into a raw throat and hard hacking cough.
- Friday, 3.04, Tagmout to Assaka-n'Ait.
- Throat very sore. Walked to a swimming hole by 10:30. Very cold but
refreshing. Lots of frogs. Saw flat topped mesas and plateaux. Went to a date
and almond sellers house in a village. Three glasses of mint tea and lots of
dates, almonds and flat bread to eat. I bought 1kg bag of dates and 0.5kg of
almonds, to eat later. Left 12:15 where the party split into two groups, the
main group going round the base of the hill (no name) following the river and
the rest of us
up and over.
Only about 200m of climbing but very interesting with a bit of scrambling.
Steep scree on the way down, which was not so nice, but it wasn't difficult.
Arrived at the camp site 14:00, to find the rest had put up all the tents.
Lunch, washing, read and rest. Cooler by 17:45. Entertainment in the evening,
Berber songs and Hoky Koky! Head and throat worse. Cough very sore. Would be in
bed if I was at home. Bed 20:00. Chilly in the night.
- Saturday, 4.04, Assaka-n'Ait to Irhazzoun n'Imlas.
- Up 06:30, tent down etc. Alan and I in bad moods. Head bad and cough worse.
Left 07:50 and walked along a
for most of the morning. Very little water. Stopped for lunch in almond
grove. (Akerkour/Berkik). Stayed until 14:30 and then continued to the camp
site. Good site, already up. Enough water in the
river for a good wash. Bed 20:00. Very bad night with almost continuous
- Sunday, 5.04, Bab n'Ali (gates of Ali).
- Optional walk but everybody came. Up 05:30 and left 06:00, still feeling
rotten. Walk very good, lots of interesting lumpy hill shapes. Arrived at Bab n'
Ali 08:35 while it is still coolis . Wandered around taking photos, eating
oranges and dates. Left 09:45, now getting hot. Walked very quickly, especially
the last part, and were back in camp by 12:10. Lunch, then to the river for
total immersion (wash) and read book in the shade. John gave me Contact 400
which helped a bit. Also took 3 aspirins when I went to bed!
- Monday, 6.04, Irhazzoun n'Imlas to Riche (Tagra on map)
- Harsh sore cough again. Walked up a lovely gorge over the Tizi n'Taghourt
plateau where we saw the Tete de Chamaux rocks, then down the Isk n'Ifsane,
where we stopped by a deep pool, some went swimming but I thought better of it
the way I was feeling . Rested in the shade till 14:30 an then continued down
the river to the camp site near the village and almond groves.
- Tuesday, 7.04, Riche to north of Tine Ouaiyour.
- Left 07:45. Jen went with the mules as they were going a much shorter and
flatter route. The rest went up a steep gorge where a man gave us some fresh
broad beans! At the top the party split, some across the plateau, Tine Ouaiyou,
and down into the camp site. The rest went up just for the views which were
quite spectacular. Down the hill and then down a lovely gorge to a camp site in
a ruined Kasbah at the meeting of three gorges. It was the fête of Ait el
Q'bir so the muleteers ritually slaughtered a goat to celebrate the angels
giving Mohammed a goat to kill instead of his son. Kebabs, special veggie ones
and liver and kidney for the meat eaters, and dancing at afternoon tea. More
dancing in the evening and mulled wine from John - pretty grim. Alan refused it
but I tried a little. Sarah now ill and vomiting.
- Wednesday, 8.04, north of Tine Ouaiyour to Imi'louch.
- Alan up for the toilet, bursting bowels, took an Imodium. Left 07:00 and
walked north, heading for the Tizi Irhidui. It took two and a half hours to get
to the top. Sarah rode on a mule. It was a narrow gorge to the top but the way
down was much wider, a total difference in scenery. A flat valley opened out and
we could see the high Atlas again. Not so much snow. Alan and I followed
Sarah's mule all the way and we were in the camp site thirty minutes before the
others. Mohammed gave us mint tea. John said we were honoured, when we told him.
Put our tents up, no water or shade at this site but it was a bit cooler.
Optional walk at 16:00 along a little ridge for about one hour. Changed for
dinner despite the lack of water. Wet wipes are wonderful.
- Thursday, 9.04, Imi'louch to Bou Ouardour.
- Late start. We are only 14k from Larcon's house but we don't get there
until tomorrow. Very slow walk. Sarah walked but she was not too good. Camp site
12:15 in quite nice valley. We found an irrigation channel to wash in while the
others went for the optional walk. It was good to be on our own.
- Friday, 10.04, Bou Ouardour to Ait Youl.
- Sarah on mule again. Arrived at Larcon's house 10:00. Organised tips,
clothing etc. After lunch all except Jane went by minibus (!!!!) to El Kala and
sat around an hotel pool with beer, wine or orange juice, in our case, for the
afternoon. Evening meal was the worst ever; potatoes and couscous.
Entertainment, and bed in separate rooms .
- Saturday, 11.04, Ait Youl to El Kala to Marrakech.
- Walking by 07:00 bus at El Kala at 08:00. Back in Marrakech by 15:00 after
stops in the same places as on the way out. Room in Hotel Ali not so good, no
balcony, but hot water and toilet and shower. I went shopping with Jane while
Alan dozed. John's room for rocks and wine party. Meal at 20:00 in hotel - late
- Sunday, 12.04, Marrakech to home
- Left hotel 08:45 by bus to the airport. Flight quite uneventful. Arrived
London 17:40. Collected car from Avis and on the road 18:45. Stopped at a
service station for a meal which was worse than the night before last! Home
23:30, very tired.