On Friday at 0640 hours we met in BSK for breakfast. Everyone was full of excitement, though it still had not sunk in that the six months of training and hard work was all for this. The journey up was quite silent as people grabbed some extra sleep. Lorraine greeted us at Oakhampton, where we would be staying for the night, with a big grin. Many people were running around in fancy dress and tents were covered in decoration, it felt almost as if we had pulled up into a huge festival.
After we had tucked into some of Lorraine’s delicious cakes, it was time for the dreaded scrutineers. We were the second team into the shed where our kit was checked, and the first out, this filled us with great confidence. Back at camp we repacked our bags and while Petru (lead navigator) and Oscar (team leader) where planning out the route for the long weekend yet to come, we lay outside taking in the beautiful sunshine and reflecting on the past training weekends and how happy we all were to finally be here. When Oscar and Petru where finished with the route we were allowed out to explore. By 2000 hours we were all shattered so we decided to call it a day.
At 0500 hours music began to blast out of the speakers and woke the camp site. Though we were not the first to wake up, in great Clifton tradition we did our last-minute packing and quickly ate breakfast so that we would be the first to the start line. The forces lined up clapping on the teams from all different districts and a few minutes later the rest of the teams emerged from behind the hill. After the speeches and the talks were finished, the guns let off a mighty blast and at that moment: Ten Tors had begun.
We got off to a great start, walking quickly up the hills and running down them.Though at check point 2 one of our team members twisted his ankle. This, though, was not a problem as we slowed our pace and when he was really struggling we took it in turns to take his bag and later we distributed some of his kit around. We did not make any nav errors and were still going at a decent pace. We camped over at check point 6 and arrived there at 2003 hours. Oscar and I were on food duty and the rest were to put up the tents. After a hot meal, and cheering on the 55 milers who were walking till 2200, we went to bed.
The next morning was a rush – we woke up at 0445, quickly made breakfast and took down our tents for a 0600 walking start. All the Delta groups started together and we were able to talk to some of them, although later on some of us took different routes to the check points. As the day wore on our team mate’s ankle began to play up again so we dispersed more of the weight around, though his ankle hurt he did not give up and pushed on as hard as he could. At check point 8, with only two to go, my feet started to also play up so we were forced to go at a much slower pace. The last leg was the hardest as we knew we were so close, yet we had to go at a slow steady pace.
But the end was amazing. When we saw it emerge from the distance a sense of victory filled us. We had done it! I can safely say I have never felt such a sense of pride. We linked arms and walked side by side, there were people cheering us on the side and Lorraine, Mr Scaife, Mr Williams and parents taking pictures of us at the end. Then we collected our medals and stood for pictures after we collected our free pasty!
I would like to thank Mr Scaife for believing in me personally, I know at the start I was a pain and found it rather difficult and without his help I think I would still be the same now. Also, a massive thank you to my team mates – love you guys! – I had so much fun and have so many great memories of all of us. Furthermore, I would like to thank Lorraine for being our surrogate mother through all of this and for all those amazing cakes! Lastly, thank you to all the teachers who took out time in their free time to help with the training.