Preparing young people to take part in 10 Tors starts in September and by the time the actual event arrives our team members have been out on the moor 9 times for around 12 days of walking which includes 3 overnight wild camps. At the beginning of the training we are taking out around 50-60 young people overseen by 5 Moorland leaders and up to 10 adult walking volunteers, some of whom we are training to become Moorland Leaders.
Our training walk on the 6th February this year……
Whilst the actual 10 Tors Challenge starts on the Saturday morning the support teams (Team Managers, staff and volunteers) arrive at Okehampton Camp on the Thursday before to set up base camp.
The National Trust supplies a large marquee which we can use as a waterproof base – a team of NT volunteers from the Plym Valley erect the tent which is ‘owned’ by the Castle Drogo / Teign Valley team
We are put up seven 6 person tents to house the 6 Teams on Friday night along ‘the Breakfast Crew’ (more about them later).
My colleagues from the Thursday will expect me to clarify my role this year …. I got home from the Isles of Scilly at 10.30 Wednesday evening and had to then do my washing and collect the 2016 Ten Tors ‘Hoodies’ before going up to the Camp – I got there at 12.30 just as the last tent was completed ….. sorry guys…. Once the tents are up we can all go home and prepare our own rucksacks and make sure all the logistics for the coming weekend are in place.
Back on site on Friday by 10 am to complete ‘registration’, pick up the trackers, get the Teams to a Safety Briefing and take the 35 milers through ‘Scrutineering’ where their kit and clothing is checked with a fine tooth comb for suitability.
Scrutineering in one of the large hangers. It was all very slick this year and we were all done and dusted by 3.30pm
During the afternoon the Royal Navy Merlins transported the artillery pieces to the start
The Merlins are new helicopters for the 10 Tors event are are very powerful – they carried out a safety check to determine how they could safely access the landing area – this was best done on Friday before the public arrived. I suspect that the initial plans were subsequently amended …..
The event hoodies are then given out – provided by the National Trust for all team members along with the Team Managers and support volunteers
Here are some of our 55 mile team relaxing before we all head down to Betty Cottles – a pub / restaurant near Meldon where we eat and have the traditional thank you speeches.
Some of the volunteers who make it all happen relaxing with a beer
This is the ‘Breakfast Crew’ who have just been given their pinnies by Karrie Tulley. The Breakfast Crew consist of some of last year’s 55 mile teams – their role is to get up at 4am on Saturday morning to prepare a cooked breakfast for all of this year’s participants. Once they have done that job and seen the start of the event they come back to camp and take down all of the 6 people tents. They were fantastic this year. Without their help the rest of us would have been dead on our feet by Saturday lunchtime!
At 630 on Saturday morning we leave base camp and head for the start – the artillery canons fire at 7am and the Challenge is underway
Accompanied by two Royal Navy Merlins – flying quite high!
And they are off
After the start we head back to base camp for our breakfast – ably and enthusiastically cooked by Dennis Brewer
Saturday is now quite a relaxing day especially when the sun shines – this is Pete Davies, the National Trust’s Area Ranger in the Plym Valley who is our Deputy Team Manager and a very experienced Moorland Leader
Much of Saturday is spent checking on individual teams progress in the Big Ops Hanger – the trackers provided to each team give an accurate 10 minute update on exact position.
This information enables Dr Roy Colvile, the TBGS Team Manager (and Physics Teacher) to construct a graph which will predict the arrival time for each team – impressive and pretty accurate.
Distance from the finish Naismith corrected!
Some of us then popped over to Belstone to the Tors Inn for a meal and then back to the TriBar on camp for a beer. Whilst having a beer on Camp I met the 2 Blondes Walking who write an excellent Dartmoor walking blog – previously they had kept themselves anonymous but now thanks to a ‘deal’ with the Ordnance Survey we now know who they are! They referred to me as the ‘photography blogger’!
What happened on the Sunday is captured in yesterday’s blog – see here.
It is fantastic when a plan comes together!
And even better when the company is so good.