The Ten Tors Challenge - 11-13 May 2018
For this year’s challenge we entered two 35 mile teams and a 45-mile team, each team consists of six students. There were a lot of new skills to be learnt so training started in November last year and continued right up to the event.
Training for Ten Tors included classroom work each week, a day walk on Woodbury Common and Dartmoor in January and then, from February through to April, four training weekends on Dartmoor each one more progressively difficult in terms of the distance and terrain covered.
The weather this year was particularly challenging. One training weekend was cancelled due to the heavy snow in March.
From January to March the bad weather was relentless with strong and very cold winds, rain, snow, sleet and hail and limited visibility, though the weather conditions did improve in for the last training weekend in April.
In these conditions,the teams had to navigate over harsh terrain carrying rucksacks weighing around 30 Lbs, about a third of their body weight!
Well done to all of the students who participated in the training which was the probably the hardest, both physically and mentally, that they would have been involved in. It is a sad fact that not all will make it to the end.
At the end of the training the three teams selected were:
35 Mile A – Luke Matthews (Team Leader), Charlie Knight, Ross Hurford, Maddy Hopgood, Cerys Phillips and Esme Nally.
35 Mile B – James Oak (Team Leader), Caleb Freemantle, Ella Wells, Hattie Taviner, Ellie Ducker and Bianca Chisca.
45 Mile – Tom Lilley (Team Leader), Jake Matthews, Ollie Bright, Ben Riley, Emily Lee and our super sub - Will Lancaster. Will, you are a star!
The teams travelled to Okehampton Camp on Friday and spent the day preparing for the challenge including a safety brief and route planning. Head Chef Mr Holt and his catering team did an outstanding job cooking the barbeque and, after an early night, were ready for a 5.00 am wake up on Saturday.
At 7.00 am on a mild Saturday morning the teams, along with more than 2400 other young people, crossed the start line. The weather conditions were ideal throughout the weekend.
During their route planning, the teams identified a day 1 target and worked out a game plan to enable them to reach it. Those of us waiting anxiously at Okehampton Camp was pleased to see that all 3 teams did a brilliant job and achieved their targets. The 35-mile teams walked around 24 miles on day one and the 45 team walked 33 miles. We love it when a plan comes together.
So, after a hard day’s work, the 35A team camped at Postbridge. Ross had suffered knee injury earlier in the day but refused to quit and managed to complete the walk without slowing the team and still carrying all of his kit. Well done Ross, you are one gutsy young man.
Meanwhile, the 35B team camped at White Barrow and the 45 team after the long demoralising walk south and the even harder ascent back to the north moor camped after checking through Higher White Tor.
The teams set off at around 6 am on Sunday, with good weather for the final push to the finish line at Okehampton Camp and, having broken the back of the challenge on day one, all teams knew that they would complete the challenge if they stuck to the game plan.
This year’s finish times were among the fastest ever for HCC teams during my 10 years as team manager. The first team to cross the finish line at 11.20 am were the 35B team, the 45-mile team finished at 1 pm and the 35A team finished at 2 pm.
Well done Tom, James and Luke for successfully leading your teams.
So now, at the end of another Ten Tors season I can reflect on the last 7 months and, as always, come to the conclusion that the resilience, commitment and the dogged determination and guts that these brilliant young people show never ceases to amaze me.
Outstanding job teams. You should all be proud of your remarkable achievement.
Of course, none of this could have been possible without the organisers who run the event in a way that only the best Armed Forces in the world could. Our thanks go to HQ South West District for providing another excellent challenge
Thanks to all the college staff who have assisted throughout the training, the parents for the support they have given to the teams throughout and a huge thanks to Warren Oak, John Lilley, Suzette Perryman, Ben Lee and Rob Bright who have all played a huge part in training and preparing the teams. These remarkable young people could not have achieved their success without your valuable help and guidance.
But most importantly, congratulations to all this year’s successful Ten Tors medallists who proved to everyone, including themselves, that they did have the skills, stamina, determination and commitment to overcome adversity and get the job done.