Over the past 55 years, the Ten Tors expedition has provided a uniquely demanding challenge to many thousands of young people. They are required to hike over Dartmoor for up to three days, without adult support and solely responsible for their own well-being. Their safety, however, remains the primary concern of the team organising the event together with the Dartmoor National Park Authority, the emergency services, and various volunteer groups.
Simon Bell discusses his love for Dartmoor
Our talk this month told the history of the Ten Tors expedition and was given by Simon Dell, who is currently the Director and Coordinator of Moorland Guides. Simon has, for many years, had a special interest in the Dartmoor Rescue Group and in 1997 was awarded the MBE for services to the community as well as mountain rescue.
The Ten Tors Challenge started life in 1959 as a military exercise by the Junior Leaders Regiment, based at Denbury Camp. The exercise was a great success with those taking part enjoying the challenges of navigation, bivouacking and field cooking. The officers in charge, among them Colonel Gregory, felt that such an expedition could greatly benefit the youth of the day and should not be confined to Junior Leaders.
The first Ten Tors Challenge
The first public Ten Tors expedition took place on 15th September 1960 starting at Haytor, with teams of 10 walking 55 miles over the moors to Hexworthy. Teams of girls were included the following year. In 1996, heavy snow initiated a mass evacuation and two years later a heat wave created a major risk of dehydration. The expedition now starts and ends at Okehampton Camp.
David Rippon thanked Simon for his most interesting talk which showed an astounding knowledge of Dartmoor. The subject for our September meeting is “The Falkland Islands and Antarctica”.
Tavistock Probus Club is pleased to welcome new members. If you would like to join us, please have a word with our secretary on 01822 615669.