12th and 13th May
This year, Coombe Dean had three Ten Tors teams participating in the challenge – one 55 mile team and two 35 mile teams. We train each year with Devonport High for Girls, who entered the same number of teams – all doing the same distances as us.
On Friday 11th May, the teams were driven to Okehampton Camp to prepare for the challenge on Saturday. They spent the day having a final kit check, attending a safety briefing and preparing their route cards for the two day walk. By 9pm the teams were ready to get some much needed sleep before their 4.30am start on Saturday morning.
Saturday morning began with good visibility and a slight coolness, which would be great for walking. Despite the nerves, the teams ate a hearty breakfast. By 6am we made our way to the start, just beyond Anthony Stile. What a fantastic sight to see so many teams of young people, ready to take up the challenge of two days of walking and camping independently. We were treated to a freefall parachute display at 6.30am, and then at 7am, the cannon sounded and all the teams set off! We returned to base camp to wait nervously, and watch the display boards to track how each of the teams were doing. In the evening, it was reassuring to know that all teams had passed through their last check points of the day – and were settling down for the night.
Sunday morning was even better than Saturday, and the leaders started to pack away the mess tent and get ready to walk up to the finish to welcome the teams in. The day grew hotter, and so did the anticipation of trying to guess when each team would come in. We welcomed in each team from both Coombe Dean and Devonport High for Girls, and were pleased that not one member of any team had dropped out. The teams came in happy and still friends, with the participants of the 35 mile routes already thinking about doing 45 miles next year. By 4pm, all teams were back and eating their pasties.
What a fabulous bunch of teenagers we had this year from both schools. They were a pleasure to train, and we were all proud of what they achieved. Well done to all who took part, and we will soon be planning for next year!