Morocco 2018 - Matt Cain

June 06, 2018

Morocco is a country that serves up travel clichés and unpredictable surprises in equal measures.

Anyone spending time in the Souks and squares of the Medina cannot help but be mesmerised by the hustle and bustle of activity. The bright sights of fresh fruit stalls, tempting smells of sizzling tagines and the enthralling sounds of thousands of locals and tourists alike mix together in a cocktail of sensory overload. From this bubbling cauldron of humanity it is a relief to escape into the mountains and experience the serene beauty of the High Atlas.

One of the most surprising attributes of the Moroccan peaks is the sheer diversity of scenery in such a compact region. The rideable High Atlas Mountains rise to over 3,000m (the highest peak, Toubkal, soars to over 4,100m) and are a truly alpine environment, with snowy summits and sinuous mountain roads. These heights are separated by deep valleys filled with fertile agricultural land. Riding alongside sedate riverbeds you pass by swaying fields of wheat, orchards of apple trees and small plots overflowing with mint, thyme and other wild herbs. Mud-brick villages are nestled into the countryside with house grafted organically into the hillsides. Children and adults alike greet you with warm smiles and a friendly wave. A culture of friendliness and the welcoming of strangers is alive and well in amongst the Berber people of rural Morocco.

The riding is rugged and challenging at times. While much of the distance is covered on dirt roads and jeep tracks, the trails are rocky with long climbs and lengthy thrilling descents. Singletracks made appearance from time to time and these tricky technical trails offered a nice contrast and a test for the more experienced riders. A lightweight full-suspension bike makes the going a lot easier and looks after your body throughout an extended expedition. The support team of smiling drivers, cooks and mechanics make sure that all your food and drink needs are met with locally produced dates, buckets of Moroccan nuts, fresh watermelon and of course a few snickers! Every lunch stop and evening meal our talented cooks whipped up mouth-watering tagines (chicken and lemon was voted the favourite), spiced aubergine stews or any of a number of other incredible signature dishes.

Climbing high over the High Atlas is rewarded by a long descent into the Anti Atlas, the separate and more southerly of the three main mountain ranges. The terrain of the Anti Atlas is markedly different to that of the High Atlas with rockier, more desolate summits and civilisations limited to small hamlets clustered around isolated oases. A wild campsite in this region is a special experience. A post-ride wash in a natural mountain spring followed by kebabs barbequed over an open fire is hard to beat! As dusk falls the silence is only broken by the bleats of the semi-wild herds of goats and perhaps the snores of your weary fellow riders.

Heading further south into the formidable Sahara desert completes the transformation of scenery into towering sand dunes below endless blue skies. A final meal gathered around the candle lit dinner table is a fitting way to end a spectacular adventure… with the icing on the cake provided by a night gazing out at the infinite stars while sleeping outside in the warm desert evening.

It’s hard to put into words the unique and rewarding experience a week in the mountains of Morocco provides. A simple holiday from a material point of view, but an incredibly fulfilling and enlightening one.

 

Matt Cain



Size Guide

Women's Tops

UK USA World Bust Hip Length (front)
8 4 X-Small 87-90cm 96-99cm 53cm
10 6 Small 91-94cm 100-103cm 54.5cm
12 8 Medium 95-98cm 104-107cm 56cm
14 10 Large 99-102cm 108-111cm 57.5cm
16 12 X-Large 103-106cm 112-115cm 59cm
18 14 XX-Large 107-112cm 116-121cm 61.5cm
20 16 XXX-Large 113-119cm 122-128cm 65cm
 

Women's Shorts

UK USA Waist Hip Length (inside)
6 2 70-73cm 84-88cm 34cm
8 4 74-77cm 89-93cm 35cm
10 6 78-81cm 94-98cm 36cm
12 8 82-85cm 99-103cm 37cm
14 10 86-89cm 104-108cm 38cm
16 12 90-93cm 109-115cm 39cm
18 14 94-97cm 116-122cm 40cm
20 16 98-101cm 123-129cm 41cm
 

Men's Tops

Size Chest Length (front)
X-Small 87-91cm 55cm
Small 92-95cm 56.5cm
Medium 96-99cm 58cm
Large 100-109cm 59.5cm
X-Large 110-119cm 61cm
XX-Large 120-127cm 64.5cm
XXX-Large 128-135cm 66cm


Men's Shorts

Size Size  Waist Hip Length (outside)
28" X-Small 69-73cm 84-88cm 60.5cm
30" Small 74-78cm 89-93cm 61.5cm
32" Medium 79-83cm 94-98cm 63.5cm
34" Large 84-88cm 99-103cm 64.5cm
36" X-Large 89-93cm 104-108cm 65.5cm
38" XX-Large 94-98cm 109-113cm 66.5cm
40" XXX-Large 99-103cm 114-118cm 67.5cm