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The Ten Tors Challenge

The Ten Tors Challenge 2019

The weekend of 11 May 2019 saw the most successful Ten Tors weekends in the College’s history.  We entered four teams: two Jubilee teams, a 35 mile, and a 45 mile team, and they all finished with hours to spare.

Friday was spent planning routes in College, before taking the drive to Okehampton through torrential rain.   The teams arrived, registered, and then the students spend time learning their routes and coming up with plans A, B and C.  The students went off for the traditional run through camp and Hokey Cokey dance whilst the team managers held their breath and crossed fingers for no last minute injuries!  We then settled in for our Fish and Chip dinner, hot chocolates and some team nail painting and pampering. 

We were up at 5am on Saturday morning.  Mr Blacklock was head chef churning out bacon and egg sandwiches under torchlight and the students got ready and packed up trying to fight the nerves and excitement. The teams walked up to the start line for 6.30am where the size of the event shocked a few of the students who had not seen it before. Over 2000 students lined the hillside outside the camp, with the numbers swelled by staff and parents looking on with anticipation.  The Army put on a grand show with a parachute display team, artillery gun fire and low passes of the helicopters down the valley. The teams set off at 7am sharp to embark on the challenge of a lifetime. 

After seeing off the 35 and 45 mile teams, staff ran down to see the start of the Jubilee Challenge at 7.30am.  Three of our students were taking part in their first challenge, and were completing their second challenge, taking on the longer and more technical route. These teams performed superbly and were some of the fastest teams to complete their routes.  Malik and Charlie even appeared on ITV news after the event!

For most of the rest of the weekend staff were checking the website and watching the pace increase as the teams ended up being 1 hour and 40 minutes ahead of what was expected at times! 

Sunday morning brought great relief as the first two check ins went exactly as planned and, through pure chance, both teams had the same final two Tors at the same time so managed to spend some time walking together during the last stages. The excitement and anticipation grew and grew as students' families, ex-students and more staff began arriving at camp to join in the celebrations. 

Parents were running over the Moor to take photos and to hand out flags to be carried over the line as we got our first glimpse of the students after having no contact with them since 7am Saturday morning. The students came across the line to hundreds of cheering and applauding supporters, looking a bit tired and walking a bit slower than they started out, and a few staff and parents welling up. 

We are so proud of all the students who have taken part over the last few months.  Thanks and appreciation goes out to all the staff (Mr Blacklock, Mr Loly, Mr Toorneini, Mr Nicholson, Mr Kay, Miss Westland, Mrs Kolek, Mrs Summerfield), and families who have supported myself and the students during this year’s training, and especially during the event.  The students attended the college staff briefing on Monday morning and were congratulated by the whole staff team.  They have rightly been held in high regard since the event; they have created a buzz around the College and left many younger students in admiration and keen to be involved next year. 

2019 TEAMS

Jubilee Bronze Team: Thelma, Bobby and Jordan

Jubilee Silver Team: Charlie and Malik​

35 Mile Team: Max, Cuban, Dexter, Katie, Marlow and Tarik

45 Mile Team: Corina, Elle, Hannah, Tom S, Tom M and Alex


WHAT PARTICIPANTS SAID ABOUT BEING PART OF THE TEN TORS CHALLENGE

“My favourite part about The Ten Tors is spending weekends with people who you’d never normally be friends with and becoming closer with them. Last year I made some of my best friends and continued to spend my whole summer with like-minded people that, without The Ten Tors, I would never have even met.”

“I loved camping on The Ten Tors. There was something about cooking under the stars at night in a big circle with some of your best friends and having no one else around you that was so much fun. It was also surprisingly comforting sharing a three man tent with 5 people after 15 hours of hard walking when you know you’re all by yourself (although as for the smell of mud and bogs- not so much!).”

“I don’t think I’ve ever laughed quite like I have on Ten Tors training. The variety of people you meet and become close with on Ten Tors training really helps build a strong team which is essential for such a challenging team event. I don’t think anyone would get through the lows without the help from the supportive team members around you and the hard moments are nothing compared to the memories you make on Dartmoor. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the times I’ve helped out by people I’d only met a couple of months back. I’ve definitely made friends for life by taking part.” 

“Spending weekends with similar people, camping in tents and having fun dancing on the moors during night nav training made Ten Tors for me.  Not to mention the excitement of the event. If have the chance you should 100% take part in The Ten Tors Challenge”

“I don’t think there is any greater feeling than the moment we crossed the finish line at The Ten Tors Challenge this year.  It was the most exciting, emotional, and difficult thing I think we’d ever done in our lives but I am beyond proud of each and every person who completed it this year- especially after things didn’t quite go to plan last year.  Without the help and support from each other, teachers and parents this event wouldn’t be possible and we wouldn’t have such incredible friends and memories. I will never forget doing The Ten Tors Challenge and I can’t thank everyone enough: participants, supporters, leaders, and teachers, who helped make the event so special.  I’ve laughed and cried but I’ve loved every minute of it and I can’t wait for Ten Tors 2020!”


More information about this event can be found on the Ten Tors Challenge website via the following link: https://www.tentors.org.uk/


Mr Moore is our Outdoor Education Co-ordinator.  He can be contacted by telephone on 01803 400821 or by email to nmoore@thespirescollege.com.

Full team
The team Friday evening
Jubilee Team start
Bronze Jubilee Team finish
Silver Jubilee Team finish
35 Mile Team Finish
45 Mile Team Finish