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Academic: Morocco 2015

24 boys from the Fifth and Sixth Forms travelled to Morocco, during October Half Term, as part of a combined Outdoor Education and Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award expedition. A familiarisation day in Marrakech was followed by an acclimatisation day in the Atlas Mountains.

The group then split into two. 10 boys departed on a four-day expedition, with the aim of being self-sufficient with navigation, accommodation and food. They trekked through villages, down valleys and over high mountain passes in rain, wind and sweltering heat, loaded with their supplies. They finished the expedition at an altitude of 3200m at the Toubkal Mountain Refuge (the starting point for summit attempts to the highest mountain in the Atlas Mountains).

The remaining boys trekked for a shorter period of time to get to Toubkal. Both groups had their summit bids scuppered by significant unseasonal snow and ice, which would have required use of ice-axes and crampons. The boys set their sights on an alternative peak, and, with a gruelling trek, reached the snowline. The combined ascent and descent was the equivalent of climbing Ben Nevis and returning to the bottom again before lunch, but the intrepid Whitgiftians were rewarded with spectacular views. The trip culminated in two days of mountain biking in arduous terrain, after which both parties re-grouped for three days of surfing some of the best waves in the world.