Teams from the Tavistock and District Youth Forum took part in the ultimate Dartmoor challenge of Ten Tors over the weekend. The youth forum’s three teams set off from Okehampton Army Camp at 7am on Saturday morning, fuelled by an early breakfast, to walk 35 miles, 45 miles and 55 miles. They arrived back on Sunday lunchtime within 20 minutes of each other.
Forum team manager Peter Challiss said light rain made for good conditions ‘not too bad for navigation’. ‘I think they enjoyed it. There were smiles at the end, a few were crying, but I think because they had finished. There were vast crowds, I guess 6,000, at the finish — parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters, support crews, watching them finish. Then they went to get their medals.’
He said the success for the teams came after months of training.
'We did four day walks and the we did four weekends when they went out on Saturday night and camped overnight. When they started, they were doing ten miles and for their last training they were walking 31 miles.'
'For the actual challenge they are walking for 14 hours and carrying a heavy rucksack with all their kit. They start at 7am on Saturday morning and they could be walking until 8pm that night. Then they camp overnight on the moor and then they start again on the Sunday morning by 6am.'
The teams have to be back at base camp by Sunday evening, with the youth forum teams arriving back to base by Sunday lunchtime. 'Ours came in within 20 minutes of each other,' said Peter.
The forum prepare teams for Ten Tors every year.
'This is the 27th year we have done it. We started in 1997.'