Pupils step out in wind and rain for moors challenge

CHALLENGE: Budmouth pupils at the start line

Army helicopter flies by at the finish line

First published in News Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

WIND and rain couldn’t stop determined Weymouth students from completing the Ten Tors and Jubilee Challenge.

Students from Budmouth College’s Combined Cadet Force and Westfield Arts College took to the wilds of Dartmoor last weekend for the Ten Tors and Jubilee Challenge.

Horizontal rain lashed down and tents were blown about the campsite by the high winds, but nothing could stop the teams reaching their goals.

The Ten Tors challenge sees students walk either a 35, 45 or 55-mile route to get their bronze, silver or gold award.

Students have to navigate across Dartmoor, taking different routes and going to ten tor checkpoints across the weekend.

The Jubilee Challenge is specifically for young people with special needs, both physical and educational, and they undertake a one-day trek, navigating Dartmoor across four different routes varying from 11km up to a 22km one.

The first year a student treks the Jubilee Challenge they get a bronze award, the second year a silver award and the third year a gold award – regardless of the route taken.

This year saw a surprise for Budmouth College’s reserve Ten Tors team.

Normally there are only three teams, the 35 miles, 45 miles and 55 miles and a reserve team, but at the last minute the schools were all asked if there were any other teams that wanted to take part, so Budmouth’s reserve team became the 35-mile group B. They found out on the Thursday evening before the challenge on Saturday.

Olivia Culbreth, 15, was captain of the 35-mile group A. She said the weather was not good all weekend. She said: “The weather was horrendous.

“You had the wind blowing against you all the time.”

She added the hardest part was Tor 7 as it was a very long climb to the top.

Jack Dunne, 15, was in the 35-mile group B. He did the Ten Tors last year. He said: “The weather was better this year but still pretty appalling.”

He paid tribute to team captain Sam Henman and said he kept the team motivated.

Tom Barton, 15, Matt Froom, 15, and Gabs Cucinella, 16, were part of the 45-mile team.

Sadly the team did not finish the event as they had an equipment failure, where a backpack broke and they got a little lost on the route.

Gabs said: “We did really well on the first day.”

In fact, the team got to between Tor 6 and Tor 7 by the end of the first day. They said they would definitely be back next year.

Bradley Taylor, 17, Charlie Benson, 17, Declan Rockett, 18, and Chris Walkinshaw, 17, were all part of the 55-mile team.

They said the hardest bit was when they were on the second to last leg of the route and there were eight hills and 6km of elephant grass to walk through.

All the teams said a huge thank you to the staff for all their hard work.

Many of the cadets had exams on the Monday morning they returned to school.

Budmouth Technology College Combined Cadet Force instructor Lieutenant Samantha Temple said that all the cadets had done very well and should be incredibly proud of themselves.

She said: “We are really proud of them.”

Jubilee Challenge Co-ordinator at Westfield Arts College, Susie Jeffcott, said all the students had done fantastically well.

They had all been training for a year for the event.

She added that the bad weather couldn’t dampen their spirits and one group was even singing the whole way round their route.

She said: “They were brilliant. We are extremely proud of all of them.”

This year two Westfield students got their gold award, three got silver and 11 got bronze. Two Budmouth staff and three CCF cadets walked with the teams.

35-mile team A

Captain: Olivia Culbreth. Team: Hugh Ireland, Tom Jones, Will Sawtell, Joe Stamper, Aidan Turner and Fay Hawkins.

35-mile team B

Captain: Sam Henman. Team: Jack Dunne, Jack Martin, Jack Standley, Noah Cheeseman and Andrew Dumbrell.

45-mile team

Captain: Matt Froom. Team: Gabriele Cucinella, Oliver McGowen, Tom Barton, James Chapman and Sam Millar.

55-mile team

Team: Charlie Benson, Tremayne Finney-Green, Dervla Ireland, Dec Rockett, Bradley Taylor and Chris Walkinshaw.

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