From Marrakech (Morocco) to Ouarzazate (180km)
then on to Igli in Algeria (500km) on 26th December 2002
The rally left
Marrakech on Thursday (Boxing Day) crossed the High Atlas
Mountains to Ouarzazate (180km) for lunch and on into Algeria
to Igli (500km)
The climb up the Atlas
Mountains, originally named Charles, and featured in leading
body building books and most books of maps, rising to over
12,000 feet (pieds), the Atlas mountains are a challenge to
the will, to the spirit and to the gear box.
On the way down
the brakes, steering and the will should also be checked
The climb up the Atlas Mountains,
originally named Charles, and featured in leading body building
books and most books of maps, rising to over 4,000 feet (pieds),
the Atlas mountains are a challenge to the will, to the spirit
and to the gear box.
(On the way down the brakes,
steering and the will should also be checked regularly.)
Teams were issued with emergency
packs containing you-are-here maps, a bar of body-building
chocolate and a no-claims bonus.
Breakfast and 20C, strong
sunshine and we were all away well. Soon into the climb those
with radiators which are ideal in cold weather were getting
rather steamy. Team 9's Pete solved his problem by stopping
every kilometre or so and disposing of the boiling water in
the traditional British way. Alan 'Streaky' Taylor stripped
down but both vans 'lagged' and arrived at the summit last
and last plus one respectively not counting the non-runners.
"Toutes les arbres
chantez Louize..." and having six wheels team 19,
called mysteriously, the spiders, (because they like spending
a long time in baths?) used their traction (avant, ici et derrier)
to surge forward taking the young Mr Duff (team 01) in her skirts
closely followed by Gillian (team 31) and James (team 16)
Ourzazate is in High Atlas Mountains surrounded by stony, weather
beaten crags, where it is very cold in the winter and the snows
lie for months.
We enjoyed a lunch and a good
yak we were off before any radiators could freeze and started
our descent. The organisers awarded 50 points to those who had
the foresight to bring snow shoes:- 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10,
11, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 25, 27, 28, 31, 32, 33,
34, 35, 36. The others moved off as soon as they got feeling back
by rubbing them on warm goats.
Everyone made it down safely.
The Finnish, however went to the Fins who clocked a speed of 423kmph
and won an honorary Gold in the Moroccan Winter Olympics down-hill
by using their objects of choice - Skis!
Then we had to get
through the gap between the great Ergs. Not too difficult as it
is hard to run out of space in the Sahara (it is the same size
as China) but if you do get the urge to go into the Ergs (there
are several) you are in deep s*** (sand) and will never bee seen
Algeria is big, it's almost five times the area of France. The
Atlas Mountains acts as a natural barrier between the narrow northern
coastal strip and the rocky arid Sahara desert that stretches
for hundreds of miles in all directions. A small proportion of
the land can be cultivated, the main money earner is oil and natural
& overnight stop]
Igli is next to the Wadi Guir (a wadi is a
seasonal river) on the road that skirts the west side of the
endless sand dunes of the Grand Erg Occidental before it swings
south to cross the Sahara.