Okehampton and Tavistock College Take On The Ten Tors Challenge

12 May 2023 |

The Ten Tors Challenge is an annual event that takes place on Dartmoor in Devon. It is a challenge for young people between the ages of 14 and 19 to navigate the moor on foot, carrying all of their equipment and camping overnight, while completing a set course that covers a distance of either 35, 45, or 55 miles. The event is designed to test the participants’ physical endurance, navigational skills, and teamwork, as well as promoting self-reliance and leadership. We are proud to share that our Secondary Students exemplified exactly that during the challenge!

Four teams of dedicated Okehampton College students completed this year’s Ten Tors challenge despite difficult conditions on the moor. The two 35 mile teams and 45 mile teams had to negotiate thick fog and rain showers and very wet conditions underfoot but still arrived within the time limit in front of crowds of supporters, friends and family. The whole Ten Tors training team of staff are extremely proud of their achievement and wish their feet, legs and shoulders and rapid recovery.

A parent from Okehampton College said “A huge thank you to everyone who helped make the Ten Tors possible this year. In particular Mr Barnett and Mr Deacon who have put so much time and effort into this, ensuring the children were all well prepared. I know a few other teachers have also been heavily involved, also putting their own time and effort into supporting the children.
I just wanted to say a huge thank and as a parent I really appreciate this. Without their time and commitment it would not be possible for the children to experience this amazing event. A huge thank you to everyone from the college who were involved.” (
Nicky Summersby)


Tavistock College has a long tradition of success in the Ten Tors and Jubilee Challenge which are highly-anticipated annual events taking place on Dartmoor. Established in 1960 under the leadership of the British Army and supported by numerous uniformed services, the event challenges young people from all over the country, with teams of six teenagers taking on the rugged and unforgiving terrain of Dartmoor in a test of their physical and mental toughness.

2023 has been another challenging and very successful year for Tavistock College teams.  Teams entered this year were: Ten Tors: 35 mile, 45 mile and 55 mile and Jubilee Challenge: 9 mile.

Once base camp was set up, a full day of team’s route planning was paramount prior to the 0700 start on Saturday.  Pre-event preparation involved major support from our catering team and supporting staff who provided cooked meals to help keep morale and energy levels high.

0400: Mr Muller Forster and Miss Solmon preparing breakfast

The event took place over two days (28th-30th April) with our teams expertly navigating the moor to meet designated checkpoints along the way. There are three different levels of competition, each with varying distances (35, 45 and 55 miles) and levels of difficulty, catering to the range of participant abilities.

Participating in Ten Tors is not just about physical strength, but also requires tactical planning, strategic thinking, and problem-solving skills. The teams are responsible for planning their routes themselves, with no assistance from adults, other teams, or electronic devices. They must make decisions about terrain and weather conditions, as well as prioritising tasks such as navigation, hydration, food, and rest. Our teams performed excellently, galvanised by their captains and team ethos.

The event is not just a physical challenge but also a mental one. The competitors must maintain their focus and determination, constantly adjusting their approach as the terrain and conditions change. They must also work together as a team, each member relying on one another to succeed.

The experience of participating in Ten Tors is one that shapes the young people who take part for the rest of their lives. They emerge from the event with increased confidence, resilience, and a sense of accomplishment knowing that they have taken on one of the most demanding events in the UK. They have honed skills and attributes that will serve them well in their future endeavours and help them to overcome future challenges.  Notwithstanding, our results have been bolstered by our amazing volunteers and expedition leaders (too many to mention individually)  who have been supporting participants over several months in preparation for the events.  Training, over weekends, holidays and in all weathers has been guided by our staff expedition leaders.  Leaders have slowly given more responsibility to the teams as the training has progressed, culminating in the unsupported and successful completion of Ten the Ten Tors and Jubilee Challenges.

Special mention to Mr Paul Turnbull, 55 mile expedition training leader who received his Gold volunteer award from the Army for 22 years service to Ten Tors with Tavistock College.  Andrew Jerrett was also awarded the Bronze volunteer award for 13 years service with Tavistock College.

Paul Turnbull Gold award for 22 years of Ten Tors volunteering.

Ten Tors is a remarkable event that galvanises the cooperative values of Tavistock College, promotes teamwork, physical fitness, mental agility, and problem-solving skills. It is a testament to the strength, resilience, and determination of our young people who participated and also for those who did not make the final six. The challenge is not just a physical one but also a mental one, and the experience is one that tests, develops and inspires our young people, creating memories that last a lifetime.

For more information about Ten Tors at Tavistock College please contact Mr. Hosking: