Opposite direction for anniversary
Abbots Way Walk
Exeter School has a long tradition of taking part in the annual Abbots Way Walk held on the first Sunday in October. Over the years, the weather has been variable, sometime dry and warm, others wet and cold. This year the long range forecast was promising, and so it proved to be on the day.
To mark the 1000th anniversary of Buckfast Abbey and the 700th anniversary of Tavistock, this year’s Abbots’ Way Walk route was from Tavistock to Buckfast rather than the normal opposite direction.
In an encouraging dawn, 60 pupils boarded a coach in school for the trip to Tavistock. They were accompanied by 25 school and volunteer staff. The early departure time of 0645hrs enabled teams to arrive in Tavistock, register with the organisers and start walking between 0750 and 0810hrs.
The gradual ascent from Tavistock up to North Hessary Tor was completed in good time via Whitchurch Common, Moortown and Merrivale. From there a quick descent to Princetown allowed the teams to meet the minibuses and resupply with food and drink. Thus far the route had been largely on or close to lanes and roads. The next section would take the teams into more remote areas of the southern moor.
Leaving Princetown, teams processed through check points at Ivybridge Lane and Peat Cott before passing the lonely and mysterious Nun’s Cross Farm en route to Broad Rock via Plym Ford. Last year this cross country section caught a number of teams out as they struggled through wind, rain and poor visibility. Not so this year. Some good navigation had teams passing Broad Rock in good time and quickly moving on to the check point at Crossways via Dry Lake Ford.
By now the miles covered were beginning to tell. A steep descent into the upper Avon valley for a crossing via clapper bridge quickly led on to Huntingdon Cross. From there concentration was needed not to stray too far south to the beckoning Avon Dam Reservoir before a rise over Dean Moor and final approaches to Cross Furzes which marked the end of the moorland section.
The lane from Cross Furzes to Buckfast was indeed a long and winding road as fatigue, sore feet and aching muscles made every footstep a challenge. As teams got close to Buckfast, the bells of the Abbey rang out to encourage them to make a last effort. And they were glad they did as they collapsed on the manicured lawn happily munching on a well-earned pasty with a cup of tea. A great way to end a fantastic day.
Ten Tors Manager Bill Sharpe said: “All pupils who took part in the walk are congratulated on their enthusiasm and effort; this was a long and challenging walk and they should be proud of their achievement.
“Many thanks to the following school and volunteer staff who made this walk possible: Lt Col Clark, Mrs Clark, Mrs Jokonya, Mr Marshall, Ms Allen, Mr Davidson, Mr Saunders, Mr Mackintosh, Mr Hall, Mr Tear, Mr Lines, Mr Pugh, Mr O’Connor, Mr Porter, Mr Latimer, Cdr Mimpriss, Mr Tamblyn, Mrs Tamblyn, Mr Vercoe, Miss Morley, Mr Dheruv, Mr Hughes, Miss Brookes and Maj Gen Thomas.”