Teenagers master Ten Tors Challenge

Laura White
Laura White

Thousands of teenagers aged between 14 and 19 descended on Dartmoor last weekend to take on the famous Ten Tors Challenge.

The challenge involves an unaided trek across the moor, with routes of 35, 45 or 55 miles available passing over some of the toughest terrain in the country for those who dare take it on. The vast majority of those taking part were from schools or youth groups from across the South West, being split into 400 different teams. You couldn’t have asked for a better weekend to take on the challenge, with sunny blue skies dominating the weekend.

The first team to cross the finish line were from Sidmouth College, with Daniel Beauchamp, Joe Ashby, Jack Goodman, Alfie Hall, George Manley and James Allen, making up the team.

Martyn Dudley, team manager, said: “The team, plus reserves, have worked incredibly hard training for the event, consistently showing their strength and determination despite enduring particularly harsh weather on our training walks. We’re always impressed and proud of our Ten Tors teams as it is a really tough challenge and this year was extra special with the team stomping out the earliest finish in Sidmouth College’s Ten Tors history and also crossing the finish line first out of 400 teams. Everyone who participated in this year’s event should be proud of their incredible achievement.

They are all an inspiration and we hope they encourage others to be a part of this unique and rewarding challenge next year. Thanks must also go to the team of volunteers whose time and commitment make Ten Tors on option for Sidmouth College students. We look forward to Ten Tors 2020.”

The Torquay Girls’ Grammar School were the first all-female team to cross the finish line at 8.55am, closely followed by their second team at 9.24am. One of the team members, 14-year-old Esme, said: “I have quite a few blisters but it was really good. Saturday was hard but the finish was amazing. We were so happy.”

While Ten Tors is for young people, it is also a huge test of resilience for the hundreds of service personnel supporting it. Air support was provided by 846 Naval Air Squadron from the Commando Helicopter Force. Lieutenant Commander Andy White, Detachment Commander 846 Naval Air Squadron, praised the event.

“It’s excellent training for our guys because they’re out there doing live-tasking,” he said. “It’s reactionary, so they’re given a task to execute quickly, safely and efficiently so it’s about as good training as we can get.” Next year the event will mark its 60th anniversary.

A volunteer collapsed and died during the Ten Tors challenge on Sunday. Pauline Richards Dartmoor Search and Rescue teams longest serving member collapsed while on duty at the Ten Tors challenge she was airlifted to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth where she passed away on Monday. In a post on the Dartmoor Search and Rescue Facebook page said: “Pauline was on active duty on Sunday at the Ten Tors event when she had a sudden collapse and was airlifted to hospital. Our thoughts and best wishes are with her family and friends.”

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