Mount Toubkal with Bolton Lads and Girls Club

I’m currently sitting in Marrakech airport waiting for a delayed flight to Geneva after a fantastic week in Morocco. It’s hard to believe quite how much has happened in the last 8 days, and I’m not quite sure where to start, but I’ll start by saying that I don’t think I’ve ever been so inspired by a bunch of people in my life.

Under the leadership of Nick Hopkinson a team of 24 was assembled to attempt to climb North Africa’s highest peak, Toubkal (4167m), to raise funds for Bolton Lads and Girls Club (which I’m told is the UK’s biggest youth club). I actually went to school with one of Nick’s sons, and I was aware that he was involved with the club, but until this week I didn’t realise just how much time and effort he gives to the cause without ever asking for reward or recognition. A top man.

The rest of the team was made up of relatives, friends and colleagues of Nick’s (as well as fellow leader and all round good guy Ben Walker) and there was a wide range of abilities and experience across the group. Despite this everyone got together and helped each other out so much that we ended up with every single member of the group on the summit – a huge effort on the part of all 24 people. I think everyone (myself included) stepped well outside their comfort zone at times and I’d like to think that everyone had a really enjoyable and inspiring trip – I certainly did.

Thanks to the whole team and to the legendary Mustafa and Hassan, our local guys. And absolutely no thanks to everyone for sending me home with a stinking hangover after a massive final night in Marrakech!

Welcome to Marrakech - my table at the hotel restaurant.

A local taxi

Snake charmers in the main square in Marrakech

Driving into the hills.

A local kid skiing above Imlil. Despite my best efforts (note the coin he's holding up!) he wouldn't let me have a go on his skis.

Mustafa, Si, Luke and Murray early on summit day

Summit!!!

Showing off on the summit with Luke looking unimpressed behind me.

Jez and me checking out Ben's goggles and ice moustache.

Out for a stroll the day after our summit day.

Ben and I at our high point on the second day's walk.

Me and Jez Hopkinson (www.yakovlevs.com) on the second day's walk. He's not as old as he looks, honest.

Glissading back to the hut - always fun no matter how old you are.

Hassan - the man with the rudest jokes in Morocco.

Hassan and Beth nearly at the end of the walk out.

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