This group of young people we are currently training for the 10 Tors Challenge are getting a very misleading view of Dartmoor – so far this year we haven’t been out in bad weather – indeed the last three trips have been walked in glorious sunshine.
Here is a group leaving Higher Hartor Tor and heading off to Hen Tor and then onto Great Trowlesworthy Tor. The latter two Tors are part of the Nationasl Trust’s Upper Plym estate – in fact all the land across the valley in the picture above is NT.
There were a lot of groups out training yesterday – probably the most people I have ever seen on our land at any one time! Nevertheless a hundred children spread out across 3500 acres of Moor disappear quickly into the landscape and cause no damage whatsoever.
My task on Sunday was ‘checkpointing’. This means going to a Tor and waiting for all the teams in our group to come and go. This weekend was the first time the teams have been unaccompanied by adults. Checkpointing therefore is a half way house between adults leading the way and children going it all alone – it ensures safety in case teams get lost, tired or demotivated.
After Higher Hartor we spent the afternoon walking to our second checkpoint at Western White Barrow – a ninety minute walk from Shipley Bridge. The barrow is rather damaged and is a shadow of what it must have looked like in the Bronze 4000 years ago. Eastern White Barrow, about half a mile away, by comparison is amazing. Imagine being so important that upon your death such a structure was built for you! It is about 4 metres high.
We narrowly missed the group (a more experienced 45 mile team) – they had got there before us but we ran on a bit towards Huntindon Warren and hailed them from afar and they waved back. We felt this was necessary to do otherwise our 3 hour hack up onto the Moor would have been completely in vain!
Finally back down to the minibus at Shipley Bridge taking in the wonderful view down the Avon Valley
and the wonderfully reptilian Black Tor.