Annual Ten Tors a Success

Thousands of youngsters from across the south west enjoyed reportedly near-perfect conditions to take on the Army's annual Ten Tors Challenge on Dartmoor over the weekend.

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Ten Tors 1
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The event - organised by 43 (Wessex) Brigade and now in its 51st year - starts and finishes at Okehampton Camp and is one of the biggest adventure challenges for young people in Britain.

2,400 youngsters set-off on routes of either 35, 45 or 55 miles at 0700 hrs on Saturday 14 May. After tackling some of the toughest terrain in England, 28th Kingswood Scouts from Downend in Bristol were first to cross the finish line. They arrived back at Okehampton camp at 0834 hrs on Sunday morning, having walked 45 miles.

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Ten Tors
© MoD

Although it's not a race, 16-year-old Jacob Cooke from the team was surprised and delighted to be home before anyone else;

'It feels very good, because we came down the hill and we just realised there were no teams in front of us and no one had seen any other teams. We didn't think we were coming in first up until just then, it's really good.'

Maynard School from Exeter was one of a number of all-girl teams to finish Ten Tors, having completed 45 miles.

'I'm proud of us all' said 17-year-old Briony Alford. 'They've done an amazing job. The toughest part of the weekend was when we had to practically 'leg it' between the tors before [number] 8 last night, so we could go on. That was the worst bit. The weather's been brilliant, really good, not too hot, not too cold. Last night we managed to find a valley to sleep in. It was quite flat so there wasn't any wind and it was quite warm. We were fine. The only injuries are lots of blisters. We've all got those!'

Saturday afternoon saw 285 less able bodied youngsters from 35 of the region's schools - many in wheelchairs or on trikes - complete the annual Jubilee Challenge. They finished routes of up to 14 miles either as a team or as individuals, each accompanied by an Officer Cadet from Exeter University Officer Training Corps.

During an emotional awards ceremony afterwards, the youngsters received their medals from Defence Minister Andrew Robathan MP.

'I've been excited about it, but I thought I wouldn't get to the finish line that easily' said 15-year-old Lydia Mooney from Kingsbridge Community College, who took part in the event. 'When I saw the crowd I felt really pleased. It was perfect to do it with my friends. I might to do it next time...'

More than one thousand people helped to make Ten Tors happen. They came from all three branches of the Armed Services and the TA, supported by the emergency services and including St John Ambulance, Dartmoor Search and Rescue Group and many more volunteers. Some RAF personnel have volunteered to take part in the event for more than 30 years.

'The weekend has gone very well' said Brigadier Steve Hodder, Director of Ten Tors and Commander of 43 Wessex Brigade. 'It's been a massive team effort and I'd like to thank everyone involved for making both events such a fantastic experience for the young people taking part. All of our hard work is to give these young people something they'll never forget and an achievement they will all take with them into their future lives.'

With every Ten Tors event the Army works closely with the Dartmoor National Park Authority (now in its 60th year), landowners and commoners to minimise the environmental impact of the event and the associated training, to maximise the local economic benefits of Ten Tors, and to help those taking part to appreciate and understand Dartmoor's special qualities.

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Ten Tors 2
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Ten Tors 3
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