Ten Tors Review
Congratulations to Ipsa, Evan and George who, along with three of their friends, successfully completed the Ten Tors Challenge, 2023!
Year 10 student Ipsa has written her own review of the challenge -
Ten Tors is a challenge that takes place each year, at Okehampton Camp on Dartmoor.
Over 400 teams (of 6 members) take to the start line for an adventure, with the majority of participants aiming to complete a 35mile route, although some attempt 45miles and a brave few go for 55 miles! Everyone has the same goal in mind, to reach the finish line before the deadline of 5 o’clock on the Sunday. After completing a 35mile route last year, myself, Evan and George were back again to see what 45miles would offer.
We arrived at base camp on Friday 28th April, and spent the day route-planning and being kit-checked for our mission ahead. After being handed a tough route, as a team we focused on the fact that all of the hours spent out on the moor came down to this weekend - so we had to make it count!
Base camp has an amazing buzz, everyone is excited for the next few days - even on the Friday you start to make friends as you meet other teams.
At 5am on the Saturday morning, the large speakers blasted out “Chariots of Fire” as signal to all of the teams that it is time. By 6:30am, we’d made our way up to the start line, after making last-minute checks to our bags - and remembering, of course, to tie our Cornish flags on our backs!
The event started with a speech from Colonel Sir Jonathan Van-Tam MBE, a British healthcare professional, followed by the annual Ten Tors Prayer - wishing luck to all participants. At the sound of the cannons, everything is underway - and despite being told to not run at the start, everybody runs. The first 5 minutes is so hectic, realising we are here and we’re doing it, and wondering if we have lost any team mates in the masses of people all heading in one direction?!
Dartmoor is known for its misty mornings, and this one was no exception. Our first day was tough, but we managed to walk 30 miles, an achievement in itself. This isn’t just a walk in the park, no matter how strong you are mentally, everybody has their low moments, when you just think, “What am i doing here?”. However, you remember the finish ahead, the feeling of accomplishment, that was what we needed.
After starting in North Dartmoor, we made it to Peat Cot - our most southern point. We did worry we may not make it to our camp by 10pm, which was the time we aimed for, but with inspiration from other teams, helping eachother along the way, we made it at 10pm, our “nighttime”, our time to stop walking. We’d done it!
For our second day, we had those last 15 miles to tick off. After a rough night's sleep, in tents full of blistering feet and achey shoulders, we woke up to mist and drizzle - again! After packing up, we were off again, on a mission to get back home. Those 15 miles were tough, but with the finish line at arm's distance, not as tough as the previous day. We navigated our way back to the camp, climbing up a final tor with a team on the same route as us, and then dipped down into the finish.
It’s hard to explain the feeling of the finish line, I was overwhelmed and cried the whole way - a mixture of happiness and relief I think! We were all in shock, but we’d done it, we’d finished before 1 o’clock - smashing the 5pm deadline! The final stretch is lined with people, all there to support you, whilst music is being blasted out from the speakers.
Looking back on it now, I’ve forgotten the aches and sores, from both events, I just remember that feeling of, “We’ve done it!".
To anyone with the opportunity to join a Ten Tors team, I would 100% recommend it - the amazing people that you meet and challenges you face, and overcome, make it a life-changing experience.