Better late than never!
Having met at Cadover Bridge car park, we took a few quick pre-walk photos and then headed on our merry way towards tor no.1 (Legis Tor) on time. Little did we know, this would be a premonition for the rest of the day.
Most years, there are one or two delays somewhere along the line but the gods of JTT seemed to have forgotten this and we made excellent progress, due in part to some great navigation skills from the first few lead pairings. So solid was our pace that we even had the opportunity to split the group in two to settle a year long debate amongst the leaders about which route was the fastest from the Scout hut (SW of Sheepstor) to the top of Combeshead Tor. Each group set off with strict instructions to walk at an even pace to ensure a fair test!
Sadly, we may never know which way is quickest. This is for two reasons. Firstly, because Mr Vowles's group took a sneaky shortcut, which effectively halved their distance, and secondly because Mr Petty's group had a run-in with some stubborn cows on the way up to Cuckoo Rock. With the group (and Mrs Collins) at a safe distance, Mr Petty made a valiant attempt to mooooove them on, but they took no notice and stayed firmly in place blocking the gate. We then took a detour round the busy cow's field into another with only two occupants. Perfect, we thought - we might still be in the race. Unfortunately, we soon discovered (upon a closer inspection than Mr Petty would have liked) that the larger of those cows only had one udder! Cue calm and swift retreat to a second detour. All safely at the top, we decided to take our lunch break at Down Tor.
The good pace continued through the afternoon and despite one member of the group falling into Devonport Leat, we arrived at camp nearly two hours ahead of schedule. Whilst our soggy team mate changed and warmed himself with a hot chocolate, the rest of the group pitched tents and set up the campsite for the evening.
The children did a great job cooking and washing up all their food on the Trangia stoves, then we made our way over the 'camp fire' (all the wood was wet so the teams gathered round a tree stump shaped like a flame) for the traditional JJT team performances. Lipson certainly held their own amongst the other groups, though it must be said that one or two of the solo acts from other teams were incredibly brave and impressively good too.
One night of passable sleep later and the children were up again. Right - let's have another day of efficient working we thought. Just a quick bowl of cereal, put down the tents and we'll be off in no time. We set off two hours later, very much the last team to leave camp. Luckily, what the team lacked in packing ability, they more than made up for in walking pace. After a speedy ascent of North Hessary Tor, we had caught two other teams before passing Foggintor Quarry.
On the way up Kings Tor, the team were set a challenge. They would be given half a tor head start and then Mr Petty would chase them to the tor. The prize - one minute snack break for everyone who stayed ahead. One member of the team managed it, and so began the longest one minute snack break in the history of the world.
Ten minutes later we headed down the hill to partake in another LVPS Ten Tors tradition - crawling through the water tunnel! A few of the children were a little reluctant to have a go but once Mr Petty and Mr Vowles had slithered through unscathed they all decided to give it a shot.
We then marched on up to Tor no.10, where we were greeted by a host of parents, grandparents and friends on our walk back to the finishing line at Leeden Tor car park.
Excellent work from all involved - the children were superb and their attitude to the walking was particularly impressive. Well done to you all - we hope you'll continue to enjoy time out on the moors and make the most of similar opportunities in the future.