Over the past few months, I have followed the trials and tribulations of this year’s intake of students, undertaking the guide training course at the Centre de Formation des Métiers de Montagne (CFAMM). My last blog described their final expedition – a gruelling 300km trek across the Moroccan High Atlas, culminating on the Toubkal which, at 4,167m, is the highest peak in North Africa.
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Glen Cousquer's blog
The mules of the High Atlas in Morocco are essential, both to the success of every mountain trek and to the ongoing development of the mountain tourism industry. These hard-working pack animals even play a role, albeit unwittingly, in the training of the guides who will be working in this sector over the coming decades.
What’s in a name?
A few days after witnessing the tragic end of the mule that plummeted into the ravine above Imlil, in the Toubkal National Park, I received a telephone call from one of the local guides with whom I have been working over the past five years: Another mule had fallen, this time down a stairwell, suffering a fractured leg in the process!
I have just returned from a gruelling visit to the Centre de Formation des Métiers de Montagne (CFAMM) as the Moroccan guide training school is called. The training programme initiated as a collaborative venture between The Donkey Sanctuary and Edinburgh University is now in its fifth year.
The school lies over six hours by mountain road from Marrakech and is situated in a beautiful valley, popularly known as ‘La Vallée Heureuse’, the happy valley.
Mohamed greeted me with his usual smile. He was one of my ex-students from the guide school in Morocco and is now working successfully as an aspirant guide in the Toubkal National Park.
Despite his smile and warm greeting I sensed something was amiss. His group looked shell shocked and it was not long before I learnt why...