TEN TORS TRAINING WALK
The first Ten Tors training walk for the 2019 Challenge took place on Sunday. After the torrential rain of Friday and Saturday, it was lovely to turn up to Dartmoor early on Sunday morning and be greeted by clear blue sky and stunning views. Our new participants were clearly keen, and many arrived early, eagerly anticipating setting off.
Following a quick chat to parents, the 27 Year 9 and 10 students were separated into three groups, which gave us a balance of girls and boys, year groups and Ten Tors experience. Although the sky was clear, there was a brisk, cold breeze so Mr Wade quickly mustered his group and set off first, followed in 10-minute intervals by the other groups.
The objective of this weekend's walk was to give our new recruits a real flavour of Dartmoor, and it has to be said that Dartmoor was on its best behaviour – we could actually see where we were going! We chose a route that involved climbing uphill, crossing rivers, wading across bogs and, of course, the inevitable tussock hopping. It was quite entertaining to see how the red team handled the challenge of the tussocks, particularly from the luxury of the flat path adjacent to the tussocks that the adult leaders were sedately following. At least two of the team were floored by tussocks that appeared to leap out and trip up unsuspecting trainees.
The three groups were each led by a pair of Year 10s who had participated in Ten Tors training last year. It was wonderful to hear them explaining navigation and route selection to the new trainees, and to see them confidently navigating across the moor; it gives our new trainees a good idea of some of the skills that they will develop over the course of their training.
As Sunday was 100 years since the Armistice, each group took time out to reflect and join the nation in silence at 11am. Two of the groups had arrived at the summit of Cosdon in time to mark the moment together, whilst the third group was further on in the moor when they stopped. Our pupils were reminded that Ten Tors is an event that is organised by the Army, and supported by many branches of the armed forces. The challenge of organising the event serves as good training for the army itself, in terms of communications and logistics, as well as planning for the possibility of a mass evacuation of the moor, should conditions require it.
This weekend has demonstrated that we have a very strong group of enthusiastic pupils who easily coped with the distance we covered. Over the next few walks, we will be focusing our training on navigation skills and gradually increasing the distance walked before we increase the weight carried. We very much look forward to seeing how these pupils develop their skills over the course of the next few months. We do, of course, expect Dartmoor to misbehave at some point and provide some truly horrendous weather!
Susan Fraser-Smith, Outdoor Education Co-ordinator3 days ago