By: Blonde Two

“Meet me on the highway
Meet me on the road
As long as you’ve got to travel
Don’t you want someone to help you carry your load?”

So sang Carole King, and as we enter Ten Tors Week 2016, I would like to point out that load-carrying is a big part of the challenge. The Ten Tors kit list is long, the queue to visit the fierce and dreaded kit scrutineers is even longer. They are so scary (well a couple are) that we Blondes and Mr Welsh do a pre-scrutineer check of each bag before we leave for camp on the Friday morning.

So Ten Tors bags are heavy (sometimes I think they are as heavy as their bearers). Nothing new there, this is supposed to be a challenge after all. However, it was the heaviness of the bags that led to us Blondes observing a most heart-warming display of teamwork during our final training session.

The Dartmoor trig above Grimspound, at the end of Hameldown is at the top of what is known in the navigation world as a convex slope (wide then close together contour lines heading downhill), this means that when you are standing at the top, you can’t see the whole slope. We have waited here for teams and climbed the hill ourselves many times before (twice I believe in the snow). Teams can rarely take a hill at the same pace, there is always someone who is slowest up the hill (usually me) and always someone who is quickest (never me). Our 35 Mile team this year are a great group with an almost instinctive team mentality and, true to form, they have one lad who is slower to reach the top than the others.

So from my perch near to the trig, this is what I saw. Lad One arrives almost running, dumps his rucksack and disappears down the hill again. Lad Two arrives walking fast, dumps his rucksack and disappears down the hill again. Lads Three and Four and Lass One (hooray!) appear at an expected pace and wait at the top. Lad One appears again with someone else’s rucksack, dumps this and disappears down the hill again. A short wait and then Lads One and Two reappear, clearly helping and encouraging Lad Five (who is now without rucksack) up the hill.

Ten Tors is about heavy bags, but it is much more about teamwork. If that isn’t good teamwork then I don’t know what is. Long may it continue (and please let it be Six By Five!)