When and where…

Ten Tors is an expedition challenge for teams of 6, held on Dartmoor in May each year which offers teenagers the prospect of spending two days on the moor as they complete a trek taking them on a planned route to ten different Tors (high points on the moor).

Dartmoor has its own micro-climate and as training takes place in the late winter/early spring it can be miserably wet and bitterly cold. However expect the unpredictable as we have walked in short sleeves in February, been blown across the moor, and navigated blind in dense fog – all in the same weekend. Dartmoor very seldom offers an easy challenge. With the event in May, general weather conditions should improve but too much heat as in 1998, 2000 and 2004 can bring its own problem of fatigue.

Age ranges and distances

To take part you must be aged 14 by the 31 August so you may compete even if you are only 13 providing your 14th birthday is before 31 August of the event year.

  • Age 14 to 15 years – 35 miles
  • Age 16 to 17 years – 45 miles
  • Age 17 to 19 years – 55 miles

Dust trails have been seen from the 45 and 55 mile teams!

The event

Primarily the event is a test of teamwork. Teams are made up of six members and may be single sex or mixed sex teams. It is not a race. Time is not important – finishing as a team is. Those who cross the finish line gain not only a medal but the satisfaction and pride of knowing they completed one of the most arduous expeditions young people can undertake in Britain today.

The event begins at 7.00am on the Saturday and to qualify for an award teams must have returned to the Okehampton Camp finishing line by 17.00 on the Sunday. If the whole team of six complete the course they are awarded a certificate. For safety a team can only continue providing it has at least four members. Lose a third team member and the team can only continue if another team undertaking the same route and distance are prepared to let them join. New friendships are soon forged as composite teams continue in their quest to reach the finish.

Overnight stop

Teams walking the 35 mile routes have to stop overnight at one of their first eight Tors by 20.00 on the Saturday. Teams on the 45 and 55 mile routes may camp anywhere on the moor (except for out of bound areas). It is not uncommon for these hardy walkers to walk until last light, making the best of a pleasant evening and to be under way again by 04.30 the next day. Teams on the 35 mile routes are not allowed to leave their overnight Tor until 06.00.

By Sunday many of the teams are tired. If a team arrives at one of the later check points so far behind schedule that it has no chance of finishing by 17.00, it will be “crashed out” (withdrawn) . All fall-outs en route are returned with their kit to the Okehampton Camp base. For a few that means a Sea King Helicopter ride – but for most its a rough ride in a truck.

So what’s the buzz that brings walkers back year after year, regardless of whether or not they were selected for the team or completed the course the previous year. Personal challenge , team camaraderie? Ask them – their enthusiasm is infectious.