By: Blonde One

This Saturday I had the pleasure of seeing some absolutely amazing navigation skills. As you may know, the weather out on the moors was very foggy and the forecast of ‘brightening up later’ didn’t ever materialise – not surprisingly really. Myself and the other Ten Tors leaders did our usual dynamic planning and thought better of our original route: to walk from Okehampton to Princetown, since the fog was heavy and the rivers would be very swollen. We decided to play it safe(r) and do a much more familiar route around the Haytor area and go for the distance challenge rather than the ultra tricky navigation challenge. The day was spent partially allowing groups to be independent and partially shadowing. The areas that were shadowed showed us that our teams were on top form. Spirits were high, team cohesion was great and navigation was slick. The last leg of the day was to be carried out independently across a section that had been done many times. However there was a problem: our last team due in were a few minutes later than expected. We began to wonder (but not worry) where they were. Not long later they arrived to tell a tale of anxiety that I’m glad I didn’t know about at the time! Our top navigator and team leader had inadvertently stored his compass next to his phone and demagnetised it! Unfortunately he didn’t realise what had happened and continued to take our advice of ‘always trust your compass’. This led to the team being ‘pixie led’ (lost). The fog was very thick and visibility was less than 10 meters. If I was in this situation I think I would be very anxious never mind a 16 year old boy! However, he proved to us why he was our team leader and top navigator as he very quickly managed to work out where he was, how to get back to the right point and how to manage his team and the wider team that was waiting for them back at the bus! To say that I was a proud team leader would be the biggest understatement of the century!! In his usual understated way the team leader was very calm and quiet about it all, but did admit to me that although he may have sounded calm he most definitely wasn’t. The skills that I saw displayed in him were simply astounding and a true inspiration to anyone (teenager or adult). Surely he will go on to become an explorer, Dartmoor Rescuer or at the very least a Ten Tors and D of E team leader?!