Walking Guide to the Ten Tors
The Ten Tors is one of the most recognised tests of endurance for young people in England.
Nicki Williams is a content editor and blogger for Gear-zone.co.uk and has spent many a day hiking on the Dartmoor trails. Here he explains more about this awesome annual event.
Each year, schools, colleges, scout groups and Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme participants head for Dartmoor to take on the 26 different routes and take part over three different distances to meet the Ten Tors challenge.
From the first expedition in 1960, the Ten Tors is now so popular that numbers each year are limited to 2,400 individuals, made up of 400 teams of four to six.
Image: Legendary Dartmoor
The British Army also uses the famous landscape as a training ground for large-scale logistics exercises, and since 1977 the Jubilee Challenge, named in honour of Queen Elizabeth’s 25 years on the throne, has provided a shorter course of up to 15 miles for those with learning difficulties or physical disability.
The Ten Tors is not a race – although teams invariably compete to see who can finish first – but more a test of stamina, navigation and survival skills.
The weather can play a huge part in proceedings – Dartmoor is renowned for varying conditions which can change in a heartbeat. In 1996, the event was struck by heavy snow storms; two years later, temperatures reached nearly 80°F.
Each team must carry their own food (pasties are not obligatory but highly recommended), clothing, tents and sleeping equipment, cooking stove and energy rations, collect their own drinking water from the moor and treat it with purification tablets, and have a designated team leader who is responsible for ensuring the official routecard is stamped at every checkpoint.
For 14 – 15 year olds, there are 12 bronze routes of 56 kilometres, for those aged 16 – 17 the ten silver routes involve 72 kilometres, and for those going for gold there are four routes of 89 kilometres aimed at 18 -19 year olds.
Those with a bronze medal in their sights must camp at one of the manned tors en route; silver and gold participants can camp anywhere on the moor.