Ten Tors walk

2 day challenge event over northern Dartmoor with hills, bogs and river crossings - 35, 45 or 55 miles.

Length 35, 45 or 55 miles
Toughness 10/10 - hilly & boggy terrain, river crossings, distance
Map OS Explorer OL28, Harveys Dartmoor North (better marking of bogs), or OpenStreetMap (good for paths and bogs)

The Ten Tors is an annual 2 day challenge event held each May for teams of young (13-19) people in the northern half of the Dartmoor National Park. Tor is the local word for a summit/hill topped with a rock outcrop - there are 160 of them on Dartmoor.

Groups have to carry full kit, camp out overnight, and navigate past 10 check points, over boggy, hilly terrain. There are 3 age classes covering 35, 45, and 55 miles. There is no set course, just a series of checkpoints, several sets for each distance to spread the teams out (and some routes are harder than others...). The actual distance travelled will be greater still, taking account of avoding boggy ground and using safe river crossings.

The event starts at 7am on day 1, and finishes at 5pm on day 2. Younger teams must overnight at a checkpoint between 10pm on day 1 and 6am on day 2. Older teams may carry on past 10pm to camp wild, but may not pass the next checkpoint until 6am on day 2. The event finishes at 5pm on day 2 That gives (15 + 11) 26 hours of walking time (plus a little for the older teams). Teams aim to cover 2/3 of the distance on day 1.

The difficulty of the event is very weather dependant - besides lovely spring days, there has been snow, heatwaves, fog, and heavy rain (making river crossing dangerous) over the 50 years the event has been running.

The routes were changed in 2014 to make the river crossings safer, the checkpoints are now no longer exclusivly Tors (tops) so less remote, and are mainly in the northern half of the park

To do your own version of this event, you need to be proficient in navigation over remote featureless terrain in bad weather, boggy terrain, river crossings (see the 2014 route changes), and be pretty fit. For the 35 mile challenge, you'll need to maintain at least 3.75km/hour, for the 45m, 4km/h, and for 55m, 4.5km/h. Reading the advice in the official Ten Tors website is recommended. In particular, see the mandatory kit that must be taken! You'll also need to do it in spring or summer for the maximum amout of daylight - in early spring, you might even find the boggy bits frozen solid if you're lucky. Several pairs of spare socks (for the bogs) and the Harveys map (to help avoid them) are recommended.

You'll need to purify water from fresh flowing streams with Chlorine Dioxide tablets.

There are 3 sample routes (ordered lists of checkpoints) - one for each distance. The actual route you take is up to you - route planning is part of it! The map also has (to do!) several out-of-bounds areas (rare bird nesting from 1-Mar to 31-Jul only).

To make the walk a little less challenging, you could still do it in 2 long days, but (a) only in good weather, and (b) without camping, if you have car support.

If you are new to Dartmoor, you should do a few training days here first to acclimatise to the terrain.

Danger Areaa

There are 3 army firing ranges that cover most of the Northern half of Dartmoor. You must check firing times before travelling for all 3 ranges. Firing times are published 6 weeks in advance. In adition, there is a calender of guarenteed open days published annually.

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By Car

Start Anthony Stile, Okehampton Camp, Okehampton, EX20 1QP Map Directions


National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Traveline (bus times): 0871 200 22 33 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234


Apr-24 Andrew

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