TEN TORS CAMP 2
Creating a sense of team identity was the object of our second Ten Tors training camp on 30th March. With only six weeks to go to the event in May, we now had only fourteen pupils who were continuing to train for our two teams.
The weekend began at Okehampton Army Camp in chilly, misty conditions but within 15 minutes of setting off and climbing up to Row Tor our eager walkers emerged into bright sunlight, which stayed with them all day. The first section of the day was on stony tracks before the teams set off across the tussocks and bogs of the open. Once again, Chulmleigh Ten Tors was fortunate to have a good number of adult volunteers who were willing to run, cycle and walk to a variety of remote parts of the moor to checkpoint our participants through. Each time we meet the teams we have a bit of a 'welfare' check to make sure they are eating and drinking enough and generally feeling okay to continue. It's also a chance for our teams to get the reassurance they are going the right way, to get some advice on where to go next and the nature of the terrain they will be crossing – if they need it. However, Saturday was a gloriously clear day, with great visibility so it meant the navigation was much more straightforward than it can often be on Dartmoor. What was clear to us, was that now team selection had taken place, our participants were able to relax and enjoy being on Dartmoor and bond together as a team.
With good weather and fresh legs the teams made great time on Saturday, and came to rest at a fabulous wild camp site, a few hundred yards from a river and part way up a hill, which enabled them to enjoy the final hours of the sun before it set. Dinner was universally a 'boil in the bag' meal with a variety of pudding and chocolate treats to follow – they had earnt it!
With clear skies overnight the temperature plummeted and we woke up to crunchy, frozen tents and, of course, had lost an hour's sleep as the clocks changed. The teams were a bit slow to get going on Sunday morning – it's always a surprise to our participants, just how long it takes to get up, eat breakfast and pack up.
The first stage on Sunday was out to Rough Tor and the journey is as the name implies – over rough, tussocky ground, up and down hills, across streams with only a bearing to point the way. This sort of terrain makes for slow going, and with the miles and weight carried the day before beginning to show itself in aches and pains, our participants had to work hard to keep going. Niggles require painkillers and tiredness causes mistakes. When the mist began to descend in the late morning, there should have been reference to the basic navigation skills; utilising bearing, distance, time, features and backdrop. However, training is precisely that – training – and mistakes made become opportunities to learn for the future. Both teams missed one of the checkpoints, but were observed through binoculars and communicated with via walkie-talkie; all was good, no need to turn around and touch the checkpoint – this time!
The expedition finished at Nodden Gate, a few hours later than planned, and with both teams merged together. However, spirits were high and it was clear that although it had been a tough weekend, all had really enjoyed it. They will have learnt a lot about themselves, each other and made sufficient mistakes along the way to know they should not be complacent. They will also know when they have to dig deep to carry on; know when to make the tough decision to stop and when to enjoy the ride. I think they have had a lot of fun, but know they will feel the 30 miles in their feet, hips and shoulders.
Congratulations to all of them – Chulmleigh certainly makes some determined youngsters!
Mrs Fraser-Smith1 week ago