Sidmouth College students prepare for Ten Tors

Students from Sidmouth College are gearing up for Ten Tors this weekend.

Students from Sidmouth College are gearing up for Ten Tors this weekend. - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth College has a proud history of participating in the Ten Tors challenge,

It is into the wilderness for Sidmouth College pupils, as each May they tackle one of the country’s toughest walking challenges.

Students from years 10, 11 and the sixth form take on the Ten Tors, a tradition the school has partaken in for more than 30 years.

Held on Dartmoor, up to 2,400 teenagers train to complete either the 35-, 45- or 55-mile trek in two days. It is a test that requires the youngsters to camp safely while carrying all the necessities to complete the course.

This year, the school will field its first 55-mile team for some years, as well as two 35-mile teams and a 45-mile group.

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Hoping to complete the toughest route possible are 17-year-olds Joel Badcock and Freddie Proctor.

Not daunted by the challenge, the teenagers are hoping to utilise their knowledge to make sure they cross the line and encourage other students to take on the 55-mile route.

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“You always do something wrong,” said Joel. “On the 35-mile walk, we got a message saying ‘have you left your tent poles?’. We had to walk back and get them. The added mileage killed us for that day.”

Valleys, hills and bogs will be among the obstacles the youngsters will face, as they venture across Dartmoor’s vast plain, which, at its highest point, is 2,018 feet above sea level.

But each of the students knows that to conquer the tors, training is key - and they put in the hours to go on practice walks to give them the skills to handle different weather conditions.

Freddie said: “You’ve got to keep each other motivated as a team. It’s worth doing- make sure you have the right kit and you have to be the right sort of person to do it.

“People know what you mean when you say you have done the Ten Tors.

“You have to make sure you do not get on each other’s nerves. You need to make sure everyone is happy and everyone is well fed and hydrated,” added Joel.

Retired geography teacher Roger White has overseen hundreds of teenagers taking on the challenge, acting as the school’s co-ordinator for 30 years.

He said watching pupils gain confidence taking on the tors has seen many offer tohelp as volunteers to help with training forthe pupils.

Roger, who has also received an award for 30 years of service to the event, added: “We have ex pupils that want to come back to help. They have felt they have got so much out of it, they want to put something into it.”

Fellow co-ordinator Carol Clark said that, without the volunteers, the school would not be able to take part, adding: “They grow in every way; you just see them learning new skills, which is the idea.

“We have a great bunch of volunteers; they come out with us on the walks. Without the volunteers we cannot run it.”

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