PGS has a very strong tradition of success in the Ten Tors challenge and this year we maintained our record of the last eight years, with all teams once again completing the event with no dropouts. This was particularly impressive given the demands of the challenge and the fact that for the first time in many years we had teams at 35, 45 and 55 mile distances.
Tors are the granite outcrops that punctuate the wild moorland of Dartmoor in Devon. In order to complete the challenge, teams of six undertake a two day expedition over 35, 45 or 55 miles visiting ten of the Tors as well as other check points manned by members of the armed forces. They must be entirely independent carrying all that is required to move safely; navigate treacherous bogs and slippery bolder fields; camp and cook for themselves and survive in this amazing ancient environment. All this in weather that can vary from blazing sunshine, to fog with zero visibility, to wind and rain, and back to sunshine, all in one day. This is not an event for the faint hearted!
Training started back in spring in the New Forest, with work on map reading and navigation skills, along with hazard avoidance and emergency procedures, in preparation for our first foray onto Dartmoor. Here cadets were exposed to some of the more extreme weather that Dartmoor can offer and after surviving blizzard conditions on the open moor, we headed back to the shelter of the Dartmoor Inn and hot chocolate before escaping back to Portsmouth to avoid being snowed in. After the second, less extreme training weekend on Dartmoor, all were ready and the 18 cadets fortunate to be selected prepared to step beyond their comfort zone as they tackled the challenge.
After training for the worst, the weather for the event was ideal and all teams completed in record time. This continued success was not only due to the excellent, progressive training programme developed by Dr Webb and now built on by our specialist outdoor-pursuits instructor and man of many hats, Mr Sayell. It is also down to the core principle that getting a complete team round is the goal, rather than finishing early at the expense of having a member drop out. Over the years this principle has seen some great team work in action and this year was no exception.