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PICTURES: Joy for teenagers who tackled Ten Tors 2013

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: May 13, 2013

By Adam Walmesley

  • Kelly College's 45-mile team near the finish line

  • Above, the first all-girls team home, The Dartmoor Plodders, from Pymstock. Left, Kelly College's 45-mile team near the finish line

  • A member of The Dartmoor Plodders, the first all-girl team to make it home PICTURE: Corporal Andy Reddy

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Thousands of teenagers braved torrential rain, strong winds and aching limbs to complete one of the UK's most renowned and gruelling expeditions in the Westcountry.

More than 2,400 youngsters trekked up to 55 miles across wild countryside to finish the annual Ten Tors challenge on Dartmoor yesterday.

Fen Eastaugh, from Devon, was a member of Plymstock-based Dartmoor Plodders, the first all-girls team to finish.

The 15 year old, who walked a 35-mile route, said afterwards: "It's absolutely amazing. I cannot even explain the emotions that you go through. There's happiness and then you want to cry... there's everything, it's amazing.

"To be the first girl team... that's what I was aiming for yesterday but I am so glad we did it, it's just incredible. We're such good friends now, it's insane."

Around 400 of the teenagers dropped-out of the event after starting on Saturday, but most battled their way to the finish line yesterday.

"It was much harder than we expected," said Barney Megicks captain of the 45-mile team from Kelly College in Tavistock.

The 15 year old added: "The weather conditions were very tough and the ground so boggy. We even had to wade through waist-deep water."

The participants – all aged between 14 and 19 – hiked across the moorland for two days in teams of six without adult guidance.

Organisers were forced to adjust the route on Saturday after river levels rose rapidly following heavy rain.

Marcus Marino, 15, captain of the Torquay Boys' Grammar School 45-mile team, said: "It was an epic challenge, but we worked hard as a team and we're all ecstatic to finish."

The majority of the teams which enter are from schools and youth groups across the South West.

Hundreds of Westcountry troops were involved in the organisation, including servicemen and women from the Army, the Territorial Army and the Royal Navy.

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 and the 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."

Parents and friends trying to collect their children from Okehampton became stuck in queues up to two miles long into the town centre. Organisers blamed the delays on mud at the entrances to the camp's car park.

Chris Boult, a volunteer from the West Devon Emergency Group who co-ordinated the traffic, said: "This is the worst traffic situation we've had to deal with in years.

"We've had break-downs, people going the wrong way through the system, and people getting stuck in the mud. Everything that could have gone wrong has gone wrong."

The inaugural Ten Tors event was held in September 1960, with around 200 young people taking part.

After growing rapidly in size, it has been limited to 2,400 individuals in 400 teams.

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  • jbrooks93  |  May 13 2013, 10:03PM

    Well done to all of those that took part. However, we take offence at the wording 'dropout', the word is fallout. I know of one person who was injured and for the sake of her team she pulled out so as not to slow them down and another was taken off by the army due to hypothermia. This she occurred probably after testing the ground in front and landing hip high in a bog! With the hazardous conditions she never really had chance to dry out. Both were totally gutted just as the rest of the youngsters who fell out. They all wished they could have finished but because of it being a team event their thoughts are for everyone else. Even after, if able they return to the finish line to wait for their remaining team or teams to return to base. Nobody justs 'drops out'.

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