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In good form

Final Ten Tors training weekend

Despite their best efforts, neither Storm Hannah nor an untimely flat tyre prevented the final Ten Tors training weekend from going ahead as planned.  With the first teams stepping out at 8am on Saturday 27 April from the Apex just outside Okehampton Camp the weekend was off to a flying start. As had been warned, routes were challenging as befitting the final training weekend of a progressive training programme. And the wind made it even more so.

To try to explain the different routes would be confusing, but it would be fair to say that most corners of the north moor were visited by at least one of our teams on each day. Those teams faced with an upwind passage were forced to beat close-hauled to windward and pick their course carefully to make any progress; those on a beam or broad reach and those on a run had the breezy benefit of generous wind assist and covered ground more easily. Almost everywhere the ground was firm and dry and gradually the miles fell away as the command cell plotted team positions as wide-ranging as Standon Steps and Kes Tor – at diametrically opposite sides of the moor. This called for close concentration and effective communication with teams and the staff who were shadowing teams and also providing reports.

Eventually teams started arriving at Holming Beam Bottom for the overnight wild camp. This now familiar location provided some shelter from the strong westerly winds but still enjoyed much breezy fresh air. At least it was dry as the earlier occasional squalls of rain and hail had by now moved on elsewhere. Camp routine was completed efficiently and effectively and with hot meals eaten teams were soon in their tents for a restful night’s sleep.

Just as the potter steps back from a vase to admire its form and shape, the artist checks the perspective and composition of a picture, the chef cautiously shakes a soufflé to confirm its texture or the shipwright bends to examine a sheer line of a boat, the Ten Tors Team Manager watches his teams on the move, checks their navigation and route selection, looks at the pitch of the tents, delights in the quiet and tidiness of the campsite, smiles as the first torches come on at 4:10am, is pleased as teams, unprompted, are ready to move at 6am and is enormously proud as they reach the finish still in good form.

Each of these give great satisfaction in their own way as an outcome achieved as planned and hoped. Our Ten Tors teams are now ready. They have learned much about themselves, their team-mates and Dartmoor over the recent months and are in good shape for a successful and enjoyable Ten Tors Challenge.

Although this achievement belongs entirely to the pupils, it has been enabled by much dedicated hard work by the training staff and particularly those who supported the final training weekend: Mr Broughton, Mr Clark, Mrs Clark, Mrs Cosford, Mr Dhruev, Mrs Dunlop, Mr Hall, Mr Hawkins, Mrs Hughes, Mr Jackson, Mr Latimer, Mr Lines, Mrs Lines, Mr Marshall, Mr Mimpriss, Miss Morley, Mr O’Connor, Mr Porter, Mr Pugh, Mr Purser, Mrs Sail, Mr Thomas and Mr Vercoe. Thank you to them all.