848 and 815 support Ten Tors Challenge
Thousands of young people braved one of the toughest outdoor activities in the Country to compete in the Ten Tors Challenge across Dartmoor. The annual two day event was blessed with glorious sunshine and clears sky’s which only 2 days before had threatened with torrential rain and flooded rivers with a potential to postponement the 52nd running of the event.
Camping overnight, teams are faced with navigating their way across the highest of the peaks tackling the 35, 45 or 55 mile routes. Groups from Schools, College’s, Scouts, Guides, Armed Forces Cadet Units and sports groups are inspected before they depart to ensure they have the required safety equipment should they fall into difficulty. This year 2400 participants in 400 teams challenged to be the first to secure a stamp at 10 of the 19 manned locations.
Ten Tors relies on teamwork and outdoor skills that instils in young people, aged from 13 to 17 an appreciation and respect for the landscape, wildlife and cultural heritage ofDartmoor. It also promotes a sense of Fun and adventure, stimulating leadership qualities and team spirit.
Helicopters from The Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton provided support to the weekend with a Lynx Mk 8 from 815 Naval Air Squadron and two Sea King Jungly Commando aircraft from 848 Naval Air Squadron. Over the busy weekend the Royal Navy helicopters lifted over 50 under slung loads to the Tors. Resupply items from jerry cans of water and rations to radio equipment and safety stores. They lifted over 500 individuals to remote outcrops on the Moor, reaching the most inaccessible corners, many several miles from roads or the rough tracks that crisscross the ancient landscape. There were also over 40 minor casualties airlifted off the event, either back to the Camp at Okehampton or straight toDerrifordHospitalinPlymouth. All the casualties have since left hospital and return with their starting teams.
Brigadier Piers Hankinson MBE, Commanding Officer of 43 Wessex Brigade who runs the event said, “It is tough for them. The routes are arduous and they have to carry everything they will need with them. To complete Ten Tors takes considerable determination and commitment”
Commander Richard Sutton of 848 NAS, who was one of the pilots from Yeovilton on Ten Tors, said, “We train and fly overDartmoorquite a lot, and it can produce some really awful weather. Ten Tors gives us an ideal chance to train with real people in real situations.”