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  • Writer's pictureRoss Taylor

JJ completes Ten Tors

DJC Junior player Jessica Jennings (JJ) has completed Ten Tors, though not Judo related this is a significant achievement and represents JJ's dedicated attitude.

For those of you who are not aware of what Ten Tors is, Teams of six are required to visit ten specified tors; on the top of each tor is a checkpoint. Each team is required to visit all of the specified checkpoints in order. Up to two members per team may fall out during the Challenge; teams falling below this number could merge in earlier years, while later rules required a badly reduced team to forfeit. There are 26 different routes over three different distances, lettered from A to Z,

using a total of 19 different manned tors: 12 Bronze (Junior) routes of 35 miles (56 km) for those aged 14 to 15 years; 10 Silver ( Intermediate) routes of 45 miles (72 km) for those aged 16 to 17 years; and 4 Gold ( Senior or Arduous) routes of 55 miles (89 km) for those aged 18 to 19 years, or 17-year-olds who completed a Silver or Bronze route previously. The organisers stress that the event is not a race – although teams often compete to see who can finish first – but a test of endurance, navigation and survival skills, because of not just the distances and the challenging terrain, but potentially also the weather; conditions on Dartmoor can vary considerably and change suddenly. In 1996, for example, the event was struck by a heavy snow storm, leading to some teams still being out on the moor a day after the event was due to have finished; while in 1998 temperatures reached 26 °C (79 °F). Participants arrive at Okehampton Camp on the Thursday or Friday before the hike, watch a safety briefing video and have their equipment checked, a thorough process known as scrutineering.

Teams must carry all their food, clothing, tents, stoves, fuel, navigation equipment, maps, emergency rations and a first aid kit; they also collect drinking water from the moor and use water purification tablets. Each team has a nominated team leader, who is responsible for ensuring that the team's route card is stamped at each tor. All the teams start at 0700 on the Saturday from an area of flat land next to Anthony Stile, close to Okehampton Camp on the northern edge of Dartmoor. They stand in a semicircle and set off when a cannon fires.

They have 34 hours to visit each of the ten tors on their route in the correct order. Teams must not pass through a checkpoint between 2200 on Saturday and 0600 on Sunday morning; nor may they pass the eighth tor until the Sunday. Those on 35 mile routes must camp at one of the manned tors on their route, while 45 and 55 mile teams may camp anywhere on the moor (minimum of 1km away from any checkpoints). Teams must arrive back at Anthony Stile by 1700 on the Sunday, having visited all ten tors on their route in order, to qualify for a medal and complimentary pasty. Teams that finish the challenge as a complete six also receive a certificate.

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