Saturday, 28 April 2018


I have returned from my holiday! When, I say 'holiday' it may be an exaggeration, or at least not what you would typically expect from a holiday. I went on a proper intense, inspiration collection trip this time, hiking through the Atlas Mountains for a week;

 Hike 1 involved trekking up to the summit of Mount Toubkal - the highest point in North Africa at 4,167m high. It was much tougher than I was expecting to get to the top. I needed more to eat, and not to be wearing hired boots and crampons. But enormous blisters aside, it felt like a great achievement to beat the snow underfoot, the snow in the air, the biting wind and freezing -15 degrees wind chill factor and reach the top. There may have been a few exalted tears. (But not as many as when I reached the refuge at the bottom - I struggled going down in the snow, and crashed out from a huge sugar low after hours of walking) But what a spectacular sight on the way up, on the way down! It was undoubtedly worth it.

Hike 2 was much easier - not so much stuff needed to be carried as we hired a mule, a chef and a guide to take us from Imlil to Tacchedirt onto Timichi and then onto Setti Fatma followed by a taxi back to Marrakesh. We ate well this time, really well, I had at least 3 plates of food per lunchtime. I wasn't joking when I said I needed to eat more when we climbed Toubkal. The walking was less intense this time although we still hit a mountain peak at 3200m stayed in a Gite in the highest village in North Africa and enjoyed remoteness and views like I have never experienced. I have already noticed that photographs capture nothing of the feeling of where we have been, so my paintings will have a lot to deliver this time.

At the moment though, it is nice to rest my completely split heels, sleep in my own bed, and reminisce. I am looking forward to sharing these paintings with you, when I feel that they are ready to come...

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