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Peaks and Valleys of the Atlas 5th September

Hi All,

Just thought I would say what a great holiday I had. We had a good laugh (Sometimes at my expense) but it was good. Claiming on insurance for my wedding ring and sun glasses. Great bunch of people. Thanks

I can recommend this trip but take waterproofs, pillow, walking poles , gloves and a hat for the peaks!


Martin Firth

Preparations for a Berber Wedding.


Muesli for breakfast which meant an easy day and a late start, 6am.


Our party of eight had been trekking and camping for 3 days and nights in The High Atlas Mountains, a wall of rocks over 4000 metres high that separates Marrakech from the Sahara Desert,. This was an 11 day trek with the hard climbing to come, 3 peaks including Jebel Toubkal at 4167 metres, the highest mountain in North Africa and we weren’t half way through. All our equipment including tents and food was carried by 8 mules and muleteers.


Today we were trekking across the Yagour Plateau, a place where the Berber people move into their high pastures to allow their animals to graze during the summer months, these mountain pastures are often cut off by snow during the winter.


We were descending from the plateau to the village of Setti Fatma where we were to camp by a river. Our guide, Mohamed had promised us a chance to bathe and do some much needed washing. Once we had lunched at the camp, I grabbed my wash things and walked upstream away from the village so as not to offend the local Muslim community. On arriving at the camp we were told that a wedding was taking place in the village that evening, preparations were in progress. As I walked away I noticed a group of local men under a large walnut tree by the river. Once I got closer I could see they were gathered around what looked like a cow on its side. It had just had its throat slit and was still kicking. This would be the main course at the wedding feast later; I stayed long enough to see the head being removed.


I carried on up the river to a rock pool to bathe and do some much needed washing. Once finished I found a comfortable boulder to sun bathe on. A couple from our group found there way to my spot “You’ll never guess what we’ve just seen” they exclaimed. “I bet I can”, I replied. They proceeded to describe the state the cow was now in. It had been strung up in the walnut tree to allow the men to carve up the meat of what was once a cow. One man had the cows head in one hand whilst trying to chop the horns off with an axe. As more of our group arrived to wash, so more details of the cows demise were reported, to the point where the meat was taken away to the village in baskets. By the time we returned to our camp nothing was left to show what had happened earlier. We were kept awake till the early hours by the wedding celebrations, which meant we had little sleep that night.


Porridge for breakfast this time, which meant a hard days trekking and an early start, 5am.

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