We all arrived at Bundu Campsite at about 7.30 pm only to find that the cross pieces for the Mess Tent had not been packed. Sally suggested that we could use the back of the trailer to cook in and Ben set about making a canopy with the back of the trailer cover.
We were told that this weekend was especially important as the trainers would make the decision on whether they felt the teams were ready to tackle the Challenge, and for the 35 team, who would make up the final team and who would be the reserve.
As it was a really nice evening we worked on our route plans once our tents were up and we had moved in. Hot chocolate and biscuits were provided and then we all went to bed. There were two other schools camping at the same site, both doing their last bit of training.
Saturday morning at 5.00 am we were woken up and whilst the training team cooked breakfast, we packed our rucksacks and took down our tents ready to set off. The other two schools were also up at the same time, getting themselves ready for the day.
Not many photos from this weekend as the two teams were dropped off at two different points on Saturday morning at about 7.15 am and we would not see our trainers until we finished our walks on Sunday afternoon.
It was quite daunting, particularly for the 35 mile team, to set off across the very bleak and barren moors, knowing we had to rely totally on our own map reading, compass bearings and put into practise everything learned over the last few day walks and weekends on Dartmoor.
Luckily the weather, although chilly to start with proved to be good walking weather for the most part although it did get quite hot in the early afternoon of Sunday.
Our trainers went off in different directions with the intention of meeting up with us – or check pointing us – at various places throughout the two days. For the trainers it is also quite nerve wracking, just waiting around for teams to appear, knowing how long each leg of the route should take and hoping that all the training has worked!!
Both teams did well for time and reached Nodden Gate to camp as per our route plan. the It was quite a surprise to see so many other teams camped at the same place and gave us much more of an idea of the actual Challenge weekend.
It was strange having to get ourselves up at 5.00 am on Sunday and several watches etc were set for 4.30 am. We need’nt have worried as all around us other teams were moving and packing up ready for the second day of our route.
Today Ben and Mr Alsop were together in search of teams whilst Sally and Claire went off in another direction (we are told that they had breakfast in a café after having broken camp and packed the trailer!)
Eventually both sets of trainers met up at Peat Cot to await the 45 team who were due through at about 3.00 pm. We think Ben must have been getting anxious or impatient as this photo suggests!!
I don’t know if it helped but not long afterwards, Ben, Mr Alsop and Sally walked down the path to meet the team having seen them from quite a distance away. It took longer than expected to meet up as the team decided to refill water bottles from a nice clean stream. Having seen the team on their way all the trainers went to Postbridge to await the arrival of the 35 mile team.
Once established at Postbridge, the trainers found themselves a cup of coffee/tea and then started walking out to meet the 35 team. The team came in at 4.58 pm which was very good (had it been the actual Challenge they would have just made it in time, 5.00 pm being the cut off time).
The team were thrilled to have finished the whole route and they were congratulated on having managed it.
At the minibus Ben had a chat with the team giving a few pointers for the actual Challenge. Once all their rucksacks were stowed in the trailer and cake had been eaten, it was off to Four Winds Car Park to await the arrival of the 45 team.
They came in at about 5.45 pm, however, they had been slightly delayed on Saturday due to injury so again they finished the whole of the route. Both teams were told that it is the first time the trainers could remember teams completing the whole of an actual route on the last weekend of training.
Most of the 35 team walked up with the trainers to meet the 45 team (together with a box of cake!) and there two very happy teams who walked back to the minibus.
Once back at Four Winds the 35 team got back into the minibus ready for the journey home while Ben had a chat with the 45 team again giving some advice in readiness for the Challenge.
Back at school Ben announced that both teams would be entered into the Challenge. What a relief. It was then time for the 45 team to choose their Team Leader – they were asked to discuss it and let Sally know, however they all pointed to Sophie (Yr 12) so the decision was made. With the 35 team, the Team Leader is decided by the trainers and Ben announced that Sophie (Yr 10) had been chosen.
All that now remains is for team members to prepare for the actual Challenge. This is it – what we have all been training so hard for since January.
Written by Mrs Sally Pinner
Write-ups about the previous weekends can be found here.