Friday saw the 10 Tors teams heading to Exmoor for a training weekend. A local farmer let us wild camp in one of his fields near Kemacott. It was overcast and windy as we pitched our tents. The night that followed was pretty poor – it felt like I only slept for about 2 hours …. the wind rattling the canvas and the rain reverberating around the tent. The teams were up at 5am and ready to leave a 6. Nobody looks their best so early in the morning after a night like that! But nevertheless spirits were high (ish).
Saturday was to see me and my colleagues check pointing (making sure the teams were in the right place at the right time during their practice expedition). This involved a complex series of trips to get cars and minibuses in the right place to do pick ups etc. Our first drop off was on the Holnicott Estate in Somerset – the weather was foul and misty – 10 hours in prospect – not uplifting …
However our first check point was at Watersmeet back in Devon – as we descended back to sea level the mist cleared and the sun came out and spent the rest of the day with us. All the teams came through Watersmeet on time – indeed we also met up with 3 Duke of Edinburgh teams – one from London and two from Tiverton.
From Watersmeet off to Lorna Doone Farm on the Devon / Somerset border – glorious weather and a vintage car rally to boot. Instead of crossing the river by the bridge all the 10 Tors teams decided to go through the ford – slightly deeper than they had thought!
During the day we also saw our first swallows of the year – three in total – heralds of expectations of things to come.
Final check point was in Somerset near Alderman’s Barrow – included distant views of the Exmoor Stag Hunt – quite surreal – there were around 200 horses and riders out on the moor and it reminded me of a Western Movie with the Sioux coming over the ridgetop!
Yet another training day of glorious weather – I am still trying to work out whether the teams have been lucky or unlucky! The driest March for decades and now April looks more like a normal typecast – what will May hold and will everyone be prepared?