Ten Tors training in tough conditions

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Ten Tors training in tough conditions

First full training weekend

Due to late winter and early spring weather, Ten Tors training at the start of the season can be tough.

Ten Tors Manager Colonel Bill Sharpe reported on the weekend.

The first full training weekend with full packs carried and an overnight camp is routinely conducted on the north western part of Dartmoor. All too often routes have to be changed and camping abandoned. Trying something different, equally challenging but less susceptible to the weather, this year it was decided to go to the diametrically opposite side of the moor: south eastern Dartmoor.

Storm Erik’s visit to the UK during the week running up to the training weekend called for a quick revisit of plans and a dynamic risk assessment. Having confirmed that arrangements were appropriate for the expected conditions, it was decided to go ahead with training.

Setting off from a cold and windy Postbridge on Saturday, teams first visited Bellever Tor before swinging south and east via Riddon Ridge and Yar Tor to Corndon Down. From here the routes turned north to take the full length of Hammeldown before dropping eastward via Westcombe and Heathercombe to the overnight camp at Heatree Activity Centre. Here, early arrivals were able to get their tents up on the level and sheltered campsite just before the rain set in; those who arrived later were not so lucky. The rain started early and continued for most of the night, turning to cold sleet just before dawn.

Reveille was a dismal affair with the unencouraging prospect of exchanging damp sleeping bags for wet clothing and a stand-up breakfast in the rain. But eventually all tents were struck, rolled, packed and loaded to allow the second day’s walking to commence, surprisingly and encouragingly with a full complement of pupils and no fall-outs. This is a great credit to all pupil trainees whose resolve and determination was impressive.

Sunday’s weather was a variable as Saturday’s but the breaks in the rain seemed to be longer and the strength of the sun seemed to be greater; in sheltered spots it was positively balmy, on exposed ridges the wind made it feel arctic. Leaving Heatree, teams visited Bowerman’s Nose, Hound Tor, Greator, Honeybag, Chinkwell and Bell Tors before passing Bonehill Rocks, Hollow and Top Tors before the final climb up to Ripon Tor with its fantastic vistas north and west across Dartmoor, east to Haldon Hill and south to Teignmouth and the South Hams. By now the wind was gale force and very cold as teams traversed Saddle Tor, Lowman and Haytor to descend to the car park and welcome sight of the school minibuses and coach. All pupils who took part in this training weekend are congratulated on their performance.

Thanks go to the following members of staff and volunteers who generously give up their time to enable this training to take place safely: Mr Clark, Mrs Clark, Dr Bawn, Mrs Hughes, Mrs Leach, Commodore Hawkins, Mr Davidson, Mr Latimer, Ms Jokonya (and Luca), Mr Marshall, Mr Hall, Miss Brookes, Mrs Dunlop, Mr Porter, Mrs Sail, Mr Mimpriss, Mr Saunders, Mr Tear, Mr Broughton, Mr Jackson, Mr Lines, Mr Thomas, Miss Morley and Mr Vercoe.