Ten Tors 2022 Update

In a departure from normal proceedings the 2400 participants in this years Ten Tors were lined up along the hill side in a giant number 60- bleary eyed teenagers ushered into place by their team managers on a misty morning just south of Okehampton Army Camp. Amazingly this all seemed pretty easy, despite my trepidation, and we were in position just after 6:15am- it had been a very early start! The departure from the norm was because this was a very special edition- the 60th Ten Tors ever held. It should have happened already of course but recent events meant that we had to wait a little longer to celebrate. After a 2-year hiatus, however, it felt very special indeed and as I looked at our teams and reflected on our journey to get here I couldn’t have been prouder or more excited for them.

The Ten Tors, for those of you that don’t know, is a very arduous mass participation orienteering event where teams of 6 young people venture out onto Dartmoor to complete their given route. The event is organised by the military, has challenges ranging between 35 and 55 miles, age dependent, and take place on the second weekend in May each year. The rules stipulate that all teams must operate without any outside assistance and stay overnight on the moor carrying all the equipment they need to camp in wild locations out amongst the tors. It is the only youth event of it’s kind and an amazing achievement for those that complete it.

Heathfield Community School has fielded teams in the last 10 editions, under the current management, and plenty more before that. As well as those on our teams lots more Heathfield students complete the challenge with their scout and cadet groups so Heathfield is always well represented. Our teams had been training since January, out across Exmoor, the Quantocks and Dartmoor. They had been forged in fire and ice as temperatures had soared but more frequently plummeted in some very challenging conditions. We had covered a lot of ground and camped in some lovely spots as the teams got to grips with camp craft and navigation and bonded over freeze dried expedition food and boil in the bag breakfasts. Not everyone who started the training made it to the event, but every one of them should be proud of what they achieved and were left with cherished memories.

At 7am the big guns sounded the start of the event and the Teams were off- both heading out into the heart of the North Moor. At check point 1 they were both up on time, and as 2, 3 and 4 passed things were looking good. It was hot work, but the going was good underfoot and the teams were making great progress. Later in the day the pace slowed as the relentless nature of the moor took it’s toll and the 14kg rucksacks started to weigh heavy on sore shoulders. The teams had made it out to the furthest point, both down towards Princetown, and were making their loop heading in opposite directions, crossing over near Longaford Tor, excited and babbled exchanges of news before pressing on. Both Teams kept to their targets on day one and made it to where they had planned to camp so it was all to play for on day two. For the A team, things went more or less without a hitch and despite some confusion in the early morning mist after heading out from camp at 6am it was all plain sailing towards the finish. By 3pm it was medals, pasties and smiles all-round for them. B team kept us waiting a little longer. Their planned route of 40 miles clearly wasn’t enough for them and they contrived to take in the sights of the moor, a slight hitch seeing them heading out to Fur Tor and leaving them a big leg in to finish on time. Keeping cool heads they swallowed their error and with a herculean effort made up lost time to surge over the line with 30 minutes to spare. There were few dry eyes in the crowd as they accepted their medals on the podium. Proud staff and even prouder parents roaring their cheers.

This moment of jubilation is addictive and keeps me coming back every year. Next year- will it be you up there on that podium?

  • Find Us/
  • Contact Us/
  • Join us/
  • Accreditations