Fleet Air Arm supports Ten Tors Challenge
Royal Navy Junglie Sea King’s and a Lynx Helicopter from Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton were busy during the annual Ten Tors Challenge on Dartmoor.
Poor weather conditions battered the 2,400 competitors who set off from Okehampton Camp in thick fog and unseasonably low temperatures; they were tackling routes covering 35, 45 or 55 miles. Each team had to visit ten check-points manned by military volunteers positioned on the high peaks across Dartmoor. Individual route selection was up to each team to decide, so map reading skills and a determination to succeed was critical.
Known as 'Exercise Wyvern Tor’, the annual challenge provides the armed forces with a huge training opportunity, practicing life-saving and rescue operations as well as logistic problems. Soldiers and sailors from all over the South West support the effort: manning check points, an operations room and safety support. The Yeovilton Helicopters provided air cover for evacuations from the moor and resupply to the most remote Tors.
Two Commando Helicopter Force Sea Kings were provided by 848 Naval Air Squadron who are no strangers to wild landscapes and extreme weather conditions, they regularly train in Northern Norway and in other remote areas of the world, wherever Royal Marines Commando’s operate. The Maritime Force Lynx from 815 NAS is also suited to the harsh conditions. The squadron routinely operate off small flight decks of Royal Navy Frigates and Destroyers whilst patrolling on Operations worldwide.
Brigadier Piers Hankinson, director of Ten Tors and commander of 43 (Wessex) Brigade said,
"It's been really tough conditions this year. When they set off on Saturday morning there was a lot of rain, a lot of drizzle and very poor visibility. A lot of teams got disorientated early-on rivers have been quite full. We've had to have a lot of safety guidance on the river lines."
He added: "It's not a race, it's a challenge and the conditions out there have been very challenging."