Peak woman conquers Atlas to Atlantic route

Alice Morrison celebrates reaching the Atlantic.
Alice Morrison celebrates reaching the Atlantic.

A High Peak woman has become one of the first persons to conquer the ‘Atlas to Atlantic’ route.

Alice Morrison, who lives in Hayfield, completed the mammoth trek from the Roof of North Africa, Mount Toubkal to Agadir on the Atlantic Ocean, across the hostile peaks of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco.

Alice, who is a writer, completed the route alongside her guide and expedition partner, Rachid Ait Elmahjoub, inside 12 days.

The pair were entirely self-supported during the trek, carrying all their own equipment and supplies.

The Atlas to Atlantic expedition was conceived with, and sponsored by, adventure travel company, Epic Morocco.

The aim of the expedition was to find a direct line from the highest point in North Africa to the lowest, sea level, across the mountains.

The journey took them from snow-streaked slopes, down to the desert plains and then the coast.

Walking for up to 18 hours a day, Alice and Rachid covered 300 kilometres during 12 energy-sapping days.

Alice, 52, said the journey was brutal and that it was the most physically-challenging thing she had ever embarked upon.

She said: “Physically, it was an enormously tough challenge but if I can do it, anyone can.

“We went from the snow to the burning sun, and were always looking for places to replenish our water.

“The ascents were lung-bursting but it was the descents over the rocks and ravines that really ravaged our legs and feet.

“After the second day we left “tourist” Morocco behind and in many places, I was the first Western person to have passed through.

“I have never made so many babies cry in my life.”

Her guide partner Rachid also said that the duo battled against adversity to successfully tackle the feat, and that they discovered a different way of life on their travels.

He said: “The other mountain guides said they did not think we could do it.

“But we kept going and then finally we reached the sea.

“Everywhere we went, the Amazigh people (Berber people of Morocco) shared their food and water and hospitality with us.

“This is how life works in the Atlas mountains.”

Charlie Shepherd, CEO of Epic Morocco, said the trek was a unique first and was delighted Alice and Rachid could complete the challenge.

“We wanted to open up a potential new route in Morocco,” he said.

“No-one has attempted the full crossing before so it is brilliant to get a British-Berber first.”