Two Dorset schools have been left with a feeling of pride of their students took part in a gruelling challenge organised by the British Army. 

The Gryphon School in Sherborne and Sturminster Newton High School joined schools from across the country to take on the Ten Tors Challenge in Dartmoor.

The challenge sees teams take on either 35, 45 or 55 mile distances, visiting ten checkpoints (Tors) across their routes, and carrying with them everything they need to camp overnight.

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The Gryphon School had the highest number of teams entered for any state school in the south west, with five groups taking part, and more students entering through cadet and scout groups. 

The Sherborne-based school entered three teams for the 35-mile distance, one for 45 miles, and one for 55 miles.

Dorset Echo: Year 9 Gryphon School team taking on the 35 mile challengeYear 9 Gryphon School team taking on the 35 mile challenge (Image: Sherborne Area Schools' Trust)

This year’s gruelling challenge fell on the weekend of Saturday, May 11 and Sunday May 12 - the hottest weekend of the year so far - in sharp contrast to the months of training by the students in hail, rain and snow.

The Gryphon’s challenge leader Geoff Cooke said: “This is a huge achievement for all of these students; we are so proud of them all, for putting themselves forward, training through the winter months in all weather and then taking on arguably one of the hardest youth challenges in the world in the hottest Ten Tors Challenge in our ten years of entering teams."

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Last year The Gryphon entered their youngest ever team, made up of Year 9 students, who unfortunately failed to complete the challenge, but this year they came back as Year 10’s and completed the Ten Tors.

Of the five Gryphon teams, four completed the challenge, but unfortunately due to the heat the 45-mile team had to drop out and did not finish.

The Gryphon’s headteacher, Jim Gower added “The Gryphon School community is enormously proud of all our students, who participated in the Ten Tors challenge. 

"The Ten Tors challenge is a key component of our Adventurous Training (AT) programme, which aims to develop students’ leadership, integrity, fellowship, and exploration; all key characteristics and values that allow our students to flourish and fulfil their potential both now and in the future.

"My thanks go to Geoff Cooke, our AT Manager, and his team of wonderfully committed volunteers, who provide our students with such a range of transformational opportunities through our AT programme”.

Dorset Echo: Sturminster Newton High School students during the Ten Tors Challenge in DartmoorSturminster Newton High School students during the Ten Tors Challenge in Dartmoor (Image: Sherborne Area Schools' Trust)

Joining them were three teams from Sturminster Newton High School, two of which entered for the 35 mile challenge, and one took on the gruelling 45 mile distance.

Nigel Matthews who leads the training for Sturminster Newton High School students, was recognised at the event for his 30 years of service supporting the Ten Tors challenge.

Donna London-Hill, executive headteacher at Sturminster Newton High School said: “I am immensely proud of how wonderfully the students represented our school during this challenging event.

"Their determination, teamwork, and perseverance were truly inspiring. Not only did they demonstrate their physical strength and endurance, but they also exhibited outstanding sportsmanship and camaraderie throughout the competition”.