The story continues……
3rd Weekend: 9-10 April 2016
What a journey!! All was fine until we reached Okehampton when the rain started pouring down – not a good start to our weekend. This time we were going wild and camping on the scout camp site at Callisham Cross – no luxuries here – just a tap and a chemical toilet (which Sally had the lovely task of emptying and cleaning!).
Staff accompanying us this weekend were Mrs Delport, Ben, Mike, Ollie, Rob (who was inveigled into driving for us this weekend – he is a long time friend of Ben’s and is also a scout leader at 1st Hilperton with both Ben, Sally & Mike) and Sally.
We arrived at the camp site at just on 9.00 pm and then waited for Ben and Mike who had all the equipment in Ben’s truck and trailer. We couldn’t get the minibus across the field because of the mud so Rob (renamed the truck man by one of the team members!) had to manoeuvre it out of the way of the gate so Ben could get in, but not so far in that we would never get back out again.
Ben in his 4 x 4 truck drove all the way across the field and then hitched up some lights on top of his truck so we could put up the tents – all in the dark and rain. The hot chocolate and biscuits were very welcome before we tumbled into our beds.
We are now getting used to Sally coming round at 5.00 am to shake our tents and get us up. On Saturday she provides us with breakfast of porridge and bacon sandwiches which are ready for us once we are up and packed.
This weekend we were all supposed to be “tor hopping” however as there were only three in the 45 mile team it was decided that they would be shadowed. This means that two leaders would walk about 50 – 100 metres behind the team so as not to interfere with their walk but be there to assist if needed.
We were ready early so piled into the minibus at about 7.00 am and driven off to Okehampton Camp. As the rain was already falling and the wind blowing hard we were not looking forward to a pleasant day. The route we started off on – up the hill out of the Camp – we had already walked before so at least it was familiar territory.
Mike and Mrs Delport begun shadowing the 45 mile team, whilst Ben and Ollie were going to shadow the 35 mile team until they got over the first river crossing, then start tor hopping.
Sally and Rob returned to camp to clear up breakfast and wait for Ben and Ollie to bring back the truck, trailer and car and then take them out to wait at a tor for the 35 mile team.
When Ben and Ollie arrived back they announced that the teams were walking in driving snow which in places was up to 5 cm deep!
The 35 mile team started their day really well although some timings did not come through on the mobile until later than expected. They were making good progress so Ben, Ollie, Rob and Sally went out to meet them and check on their progress. For those waiting it is always a relief when you see one of your teams come over the hill and it is then frustrating how long it takes for them to reach you. (The picture below shows the 35 mile team about ½ km away).
Unfortunately the 45 mile team were not having such a good day. With only three members, it was much harder to keep spirits up and less people to check routes etc with. They walked further than they should have done on the first leg of their journey and we had quite a long wait for them to appear.
Whilst we were waiting near Standon Farm, Lt Col Bates and Col Clarke from the organising Committee arrived and we spent some time chatting with them. The 45 mile team arrived and Col Clarke had a chat with them. Then, we had a phone call from Jack saying there had been an accident in that they had been crossing a river on stepping stones when Dan had slipped and cut his chin, Josh had gone to help him and had sat down in the river. Whilst talking to them about the course of action, they appeared back in the car park having decided to come back to us.
After checking on Dan and sorting out a very cold Josh, they all got in the minibus and Col Clarke had a word with them to find out what had gone wrong. We were anxious to get them back to camp to sort them out properly and decided that the 35 mile students should finish their walk at that point.
Ben and Ollie left with the 45 mile team to get them back on track and the rest of us went back to camp.
Having got the 35 mile team back, first aid administered, clothes hung out to dry; food cooked and eaten, we then got a call to go and pick up the 45 mile team.
Not such a successful day as had been planned but valuable lessons had been learnt and spirits were mostly high. At least the day ended with a beautiful sunset!
Sunday dawned – again at 5.00 am, overcast weather but at least no rain. Remembering our training we got up, started our Trangias and got our food cooking before getting our tents down and packed. At 5.45 am the first team was packed and ready to eat their breakfast; the last team about 7.00 am.
The leaders had discussed Saturday’s events once both teams were in bed and it was agreed that the two teams should combine and walk as one. Rebecca from the 45 team had sustained a groin injury during Saturday and although she wanted to walk it was felt that if she needed to come off the moor it would be better for the remaining two members to have company.
The walk started from the campsite and would end at Dartmeet so about 7.15 am they started off. The leaders then settled down to breakfast. After breakfast Mike and Ollie went off to start tor hopping whilst the rest of the leaders broke camp.
At about 9.30 am Mike and Ollie arrived back with one very upset Rebecca who was struggling and decided to come off the moor. We all then packed the truck and trailer and decided to go for a coffee. (I should mention at this point that Sally’s husband, Ray, had come down to Dartmoor on Saturday and was staying in another of the cabins at Magpie Park as he and Sally were remaining on Dartmoor for the week following our walk.) So everyone piled into the various vehicles and we made our way to the cabin where we were treated to warmth, coffee, biscuits and a proper toilet!!
Ben, Mike and Ollie left to drop off the truck and trailer at Dartmeet and then go looking for our team. At about 12.45 pm the rest of the leaders with Rebecca went up to Dartmeet to await the arrival of the team.
Rob and Ray took advantage of the lovely scenery to take photos. We were all joined by Ben, Mike and Ollie who had spotted the teams and were then waiting for them to arrive back at Dartmeet.
Ben had changed out of his proper walking boots ready for the drive home and he, Mike and Sally decided to walk over the bridge to meet the teams. Sally told Ben and Mike that she remembered this part of the walk having done it some years ago whilst training a Ten Tors team. She had walked it with Mr Greenwood and had had to cross the river on stepping stones. Both Ben and Mike said that she was wrong about the stepping stones – how their words were to haunt them!!
We walked over the bridge and along the footpath. For once Sally was right – there were the stepping stones. Ben and Mike went down a very muddy track towards the river and the footpath. Sally had also changed out of her walking boots and decided that the track would be too muddy and slippery for her shoes so took Ben’s camera to try and get a photo of the Yellowhammer they had spotted running along the ground to its nest.
Mike started across the stepping stones and slipped, Ben went to grab him and promptly sat down in the river. At that point the team all came down the footpath towards the stepping stones and saw their two leaders in the river! The good thing was that Ben and Mike were there ready to help the team across. It seems Ben is keeping the photo to himself of him and Mike in the water as a picture was taken of them!!
Thanks to Sally Pinner for the write up.
Ten Tors 2016 Part 1 can be found here.
Ten Tors 2016 Part 2 can be found here.