By: Blonde Two

I promise that I will shut up about Ten Tors soon but you have to understand that it is a bit of a Blonde obsession and we reserve our right to indulge our obsession in public on our blog.  Today, I wanted to tell you about our three teams and their adventures.

We cheered three teams of six youngsters off at 7.00 on Saturday morning.  I have been to quite a few Ten Tors starts now and have never seen the visibility so bad – it was a struggle to see the teams waiting on the hillside.  Someone near to us commented that it was like a scene out of Lord of the Rings – the Riders of Rohan waiting to advance.  After the bugle, the Ten Tors prayer and a cannon, thousands of already soaked kids charged down the hillside – it is always impossible to spot your own but fantastic to watch them all.  I can thoroughly recommend it if you ever find yourself down Dartmoor way on the second weekend in May.

Despite the conditions, all three of our teams made a fantastic start and we were able to spot them on the information boards fairly early on.  These boards become a mesmerising part of any Ten Tors weekend, they are housed in a hangar and you have to stand in front of them waiting to see which tor your teams have passed.  On a bad year, you can stand for ages and see no change at all. You can usually tell the stage of concern/worry a leader is at by the number of visits per hour to the hangar.

As the morning progressed, the 45 mile and 55 mile teams were moving well from tor to tor but the 35s had stopped mysteriously at Tor Two.  The army and other volunteers like Dartmoor Rescue do a fantastic job of looking after the teams and we knew that we would be contacted if anything was seriously wrong – we have had kids helicoptered back to us before now.  This didn’t stop niggling concern though and didn’t stem the flow of phone calls from anxious parents who had been monitoring progress from home.

Coincidentally, our friends from Ashburton Dartmoor Rescue were at this particular Tor Two (there are several different routes for each distance) and were able to confirm our suspicions that a river crossing after the tor was proving particularly tricky.  As it turns out, teams were given an option to either take a risk and cross (Swift Water Rescue Teams were in place) or take a 4km detour.  Our 45 and 55 teams took the risk and had the experience of a waist/chest deep paddle but the 35s decided (rightly for them) to go around.  At some point during this, this team lost their maps to the wet and windy conditions and were crashed out by the army.  They came back to us at camp at around 9.30 that evening looking very sad and needing hugs, t.l.c. and hot chocolate but were bravely talking about “next year” within minutes.

The 45 mile and 55 mile team camped safely and then carried on through it all.  They came back to us within about ten minutes of each other at around 4.30 on Sunday afternoon.  They were exhausted but elated, it was pure joy to see their faces as they crossed the line and lots of their families and friends had braved the weather to cheer them in.

There are always stories of teams helping each other but I think that there were more than ever this year.  I know that ours helped and were helped – particularly with the river crossings.  This makes us even more proud – great kids.

Bish, Bosh, Bash!  Another year done – and some more lifetime memories created.