Ten Tors

Ten Tors was (still is) a youth expedition across Dartmoor.  It has been run as a yearly event since 1960. 

It is aimed at young people up to the age of 20, with the distance they have to cover on the expedition depending on their age group.  The route taken by the groups has to include 10 of the many hill summits on Dartmoor, each of which is a “Tor”.  The 60 mile course has since been abandoned, and 55 miles is now the maximum.

In 1965 we had a 103rd Entry team in the Senior age group (together with a team from the 104th) and for them the “walk” would be 60 miles.  Up to 1965 no RAF team had successfully completed the 60 mile route — to be successful all 6 team members had to finish together.
The 1965 expedition took place over 5/6 June.  The camp for everyone for the night of the 4th was at Denbury near Newton Abbot.  Reveille on the 5th was at 04:00 !!   Breakfast, get organized, get to the start point, then “off” at 07:00.
As best I remember it we were allowed to walk until 20:00 on the first evening, when all teams had to stop.  Anyone caught walking after that was disqualified.   You then started again at 07:00.  We had stuck with our decision to take no tents, and luckily it didn’t rain as it had done on the training weekend.  You then had to finish by 16:00 (as I recall) on the second day.  
All 8 of the Halton teams finished successfully, so we were pretty chuffed.
Article by John Dillon
Our team was, (back row from left) myself, Eddie Cochran, Malc Watts; (front row from left) Ron Dent, brother Kevin and Mick Lewry.
I guess the rest of you must have thought we were a bit mad.  We were throwing away weekends to tramp the lanes around Halton between March and June on training walks.  Then off for two training weekends in Wales and Dartmoor.
Well it was a long time ago, and we were a bit younger then.

Walking gear was not the trendy stuff you get from today’s expedition stores, but as you can see, Eddie has a fetching “off the shoulder” tracksuit top, and both have the latest in narrow bottomed walking jeans.  

Ron and Eddie looking pleased to be on the Moor.

Eddie takes a rest.  

Malc does his imitation of “Oates going out to die”.

Group photo by a “trig” point somewhere on Dartmoor on a training weekend prior to Ten Tors itself.

Nothing like a “nice cuppa” !

Kevin demonstrates how you boil the tea leaves in a mess tin, then strain through the holes punched in the bottom of an old tin.  Seemed all right then.

Like all these things, they only work if a lot of people put in a lot of effort behind the scenes.  A lot of people helped with base camp support, especially on the Wales and Dartmoor weekends, so here’s a shot of Johnny Carhart and Mick Bossy on base camp duty.

Love the hat!

Could be WW1, but it’s the Ten Tors group kitchen.

A big thanks has to go to Al Stephens (centre of photo on the left) who was a Flt Lt then, and is still involved in Ten Tors today.

He and Ernie Fox (Flg Off as then was, with Ron Dent in the RH photo), one of our Entry Flight Commanders, were the main drivers behind Halton’s entry for Ten Tors that year. 

We were pleased to see that Ernie and his wife accepted the invitation to attend the ’95 reunion.  Since then Ernie has also been to the 2000 Reunion, and the dedication service for our entry window.