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Ten Tors 2018

Twenty four students from years 10 to 13 represented Launceston College this weekend in the 58th Ten Tors Challenge on Dartmoor. The weekend sees teams of six take on 35, 45 or 55 mile walks independently across Dartmoor. The Ten Tors event is classed as a challenge and not a race as there are so many variables in the different routes available, weather conditions and teams personal aims, completing the event is a huge achievement for anybody. They have to be completely self-sufficient carrying full expedition rucksacks with their tents, stoves and emergency equipment. Students learn to navigate themselves across what is often a very hostile Moor.k

Students have had a tough training year battling heavy rain and high winds frequently, Dartmoor was often in flood and very boggy and wet and under snow on more than one occasion. Routes had to be frequently adapted and moved to safer locations and the students were really tested throughout.

Year 10 students taking on the 35 mile challenge began their training in October last year with over thirty students vying for a place on one of the schools two 35 mile teams. Numbers naturally reduced as the distances increased and the weather worsened. Eighteen students remained when we joined Exeter School in their ‘1633’ Challenge. Our teams walked alongside pupils from Exeter School, Bideford College and St James School in this mini Ten Tors event. This challenging weekend gave students a taste of what to expect in the real event and was a real achievement for students that had persevered and made it this far in the their training.

Team selection for the 35 mile students was tough, as we had a very strong contingent with no doubt that all that had made it this far would have been able to complete the event, after long discussions the two teams were created. Evie Asman would lead an all-girls team with Gigi Greathead, Alice Barriball, Nyah Watson, Millie Hollidge and Grace Lancaster. Sam Sharman was selected to lead a boys team with Ryan Xulu, Ben Johnson, George Mill, Harry Parsons and Tom Swan. Both teams took very different approaches with the girls meticulously planning and preparing everything both before and during the challenge, they were our first team across the finish line on Sunday morning wearing party hats and carrying balloons to celebrate Grace’s birthday- one for her to remember!

The boys 35 mile team were far more laid back in their approach, but equally determined, they crossed the line at 13:00 as the temperatures were beginning to increase, which was lovely for the crowds of supporters cheering teams in but hard work for the teams walking heavily laden in the heat.

Our 45 mile team was put together quite late with original team members having to drop out due to injuries. It was looking like we wouldn’t have a 45 mile team at this years event when two year 11 students stepped forwards last minute. After training for this year’s Devizes to Westminster Canoe race, which ended being cut short Myles Redwood and Owen Hill volunteered to step into the 45 mile team to enable them to take part. This was a huge ask from both of these young men. Having never walked any great distances this was an epic challenge for them both. Eric Richards joined three of last years 35 mile team Corey Sillifant, James Kenyon and Joe Hunt to complete the team. Joe led this team and was determined to get the complete team across the finish line on Sunday despite the limited training and experience within the team. He really stepped up to the plate and brought the team together, the whole team supported each other and helped those less experienced and the complete team crossed the finish line in glorious sunshine on Sunday afternoon just after 14:00 finishing in the fastest third of their route which is an astonishing achievement under the circumstances.

Taking on the 55 mile challenge takes a certain type of person, or six of them in this case! Charlie Tummon once again led Archie Clarke, Max Dinnis, Geovann Labial and Monty Duncan-Adams who were joined by Tom Barriball, who completed the 55 mile challenge last year externally to take on this ambitious challenge. This team have been a stand out team since they completed the 35 mile challenge in 2016, Archie’s navigational abilities are enviable and the teams combined knowledge of Dartmoor gained over the three years Ten Tors training is evident when they walk. They are confident and strong and work solidly as a team. They made strong progress on the Saturday, walking as far as they were allowed, starting early on Sunday morning they were amongst the first groups of 55 mile teams to cross the finish line that morning.

Year 11 students Claire Barriball and Lauren Goodman also completed the 45 mile challenge with an external group and deserve equal praise and congratulations, both were still smiling when they finished and still looked like they had more miles in their legs!

All teams did amazingly well, every single one of them dug deep to complete the challenge over the long weekend, they really are an inspiring bunch!