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International Mountain Leader, Winter and Summer Mountain Leader

Blog for May 28th, 2015

May 28th, 2015
Morocco, Oukaimeden to Tachddirt via Tizi n'ou Addi col
Easy walk over col on good tracks and paths

Noisy night
It must have been the French children's last night at the refuge since they had a disco that went on until midnight. In order to drown out their music I listened to my own. The first time of the trip and over a week since I'd started
Looking south west from Tizi n'ou Addi. Path to right
The route over the Tizi n'ou Addi col is straight forward and it's better to walk beside the stream among the flowers rather than use the road as it's much more scenic
Looking south west down to Ouaneskra
Objective seen
On reaching the col it gave me a chance to see the mountains I wanted to go and explore. A possible camping location on a flat spur didn't look very promising as there was a lot of scree before it

There was plenty of snow on gullies for water supplies though
The ridge I wanted to traverse had to be ascended in the middle as the end points required climbing so it would need to be completed in 2 different directions over 2 days

Rather than risk taking all my kit up the decision was to camp in Tacheddirt and investigate the site and explore the ridge from there
Looking towards Tizi Likemt
Road on other side of valley, small reddish col is Tizi n'Tamatert
Variety of rock types
On the descent to Tacheddirt a shepherd below was pointing me to go in the opposite direction. Just in case there was a problem with the path from the recent rain I left my rucksack and descended down to him. He was just checking that I didn't want to go to Imlil. Slog back up through the scree to resume the direction I was going in
Tea time
Just outside Tacheddirt was the usual solo person welcoming committee. Although when I go closer I thought it was another tourist since he was wearing tourist trekking clothes. It turned out Mohammed works with tourists both in the summer and ski mountaineering in the winter
There was an marque in the valley below and I asked if it was a wedding. No, a visiting Russian official wanted to see traditional Berber dancing and food
I went to Mohammed's house for mint tea and bread which was the best I'd had so far as it was home baked from his own barley and maize
As we sat chatting on the floor his children came in and watched television
As Mohammed spoke very good English it was an opportunity to have a more in-depth conversation and ask questions about the area:
- Tacheddirt is the highest village on Morocco
- The population is 350 with 100 children in 6 classes
- The electricity in the surrounding hills had been installed during the last 6 to 7 years
- The road now allowed women to visit the maternity hospital in Marrakech just before giving birth rather than having to travel 10 days before and stay with relatives
Mohammed pointed out a house on the opposite side of the valley that had camping
On my way along to the camping house a gite owner touted for business. On hearing I wanted to camp he offered his grounds. Dinner and breakfast were haggled into the bargain

I was served tea on the veranda
Gite sign
It was only about 3 o'clock and with the earlier tea break it meant it had turned into an unofficial rest day
It was a hot sunny evening and the tagine was being cooked outside on a wood fire. It was just like a barbecue
The clouds came over, the sun disappeared and it got cold. It was now just like a British barbecue
A battered Golf GTi cruised past a couple of times. It was just like an Essex barbecue
No camping
Looking outside the house, every piece of soil had been utilised for growing crops or vines. I wasn't sure where my tent was going to be pitched, although I had a suspicion I must just be sleeping on the floor in the hallway
That was going to be more than adequate as I was getting a tagine, somewhere to sleep, use of toilet and shower plus breakfast all for the cost of a tagine in the more tourist Oukaimeden
Terraced fields just outside Tacheddirt
I went to the kitchen to see if the owner would eat with me. He declined politely saying he would eat later. His bedroom was next door to the kitchen was small and it also served as a store as well
The guest rooms were in good condition and he was a very pleasant host. I was the only person staying there that night, although his guest registrar showed it was popular
Evening meal of tagine and bread
I told the owner, Mo, I wanted to stay 2 nights. Partly as it suited me plus it was good to have come across his place by chance. He had also asked in a friendly way from his front door about staying
The gite is on the way marked track (wide enough for a Golf GTi) to Imlil and is one of the last buildings at the west end of the village