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Frome ATC Ten Tors success


Members of Cadet Gilbert’s Team receiving their medals : Left hand side, Cadet Gilbert, second left Corporal Mackenzie, far right Corporal Allen

Members of Cadet Gilbert’s Team receiving their medals : Left hand side, Cadet Gilbert, second left Corporal Mackenzie, far right Corporal Allen

SIX Cadets from 1031 (Frome) Squadron Air Training Corps successfully completed the annual Ten Tors Challenge on Dartmoor over the weekend of 9th and 10th May.  

The six Cadets were, Sergeant Slater, Corporal Allen, Corporal Mackenzie and Cadets Brookes, Easton and Gilbert.

The Challenge is organised by the Army and is based at Okehampton camp.  Mixed teams of six young people ranging in age from 14-19 navigate unsupported around a 35, 45 or 55 mile route around Dartmoor, depending on their age.  The Challenge is open to youth organisations across the South West, with around 2400 entrants.

Training for the event has been held at Okehampton Camp since January, with the Cadets spending eight weekends learning navigation skills, mountain safety and how to camp safely in remote areas.

The six Cadets from Frome were split between four teams, joining other members of the Air Cadets from the Devon and Somerset Wing.  Four of the Cadets were team leaders, with Cadets Brookes, Easton and Gilbert leading the 35 mile teams and Sergeant Slater leading a 55 mile team.  Corporals Allen and Mackenzie joined Cadet Gilbert’s team.

The teams had many challenges to face during the weekend.  Cadet Brooke’s team made good progress during the challenge and were the first of the Devon and Somerset Wing ATC team back to Okehampton just after lunchtime on Sunday.

Cadet Easton’s team found the going very tough, but after a moral boosting talk from personnel from the RAF Regiment, they decided to press on to complete the challenge.  The same personnel met the team to encourage them the last few miles back to Okehampton on Sunday afternoon.

Cadet Gilbert’s team made good progress until Sunday morning, when the weather closed in on them.  They were down to five team members, having seen a team mate fall ill on Saturday afternoon.  Corporal Allen said, “We got lost in the mist on Sunday morning, approaching one of our last Tors.  We decided to walk North for an hour to see if we could recover our position, if we were unable to do so, we would call in for rescue.  Luckily, we heard another team approaching us towards the end of this time and they were able to tell us the direction we needed to be going in.  We arrived back at Okehampton at about 3.50pm that afternoon.”

Sergeant Slater’s team undertook the gruelling 55 mile route, made even more difficult for the 17 year old when a team mate suffered a  knee injury 10 miles from Okehampton Camp on Sunday morning.  In order to bring his team back successfully, Sergeant Slater carried both his own, and his team mates kit in a display of remarkable team work.

Flight Lieutenant Ben Sunderland, Commanding Officer of 1031 (Frome) Squadron said of the cadets, “I am enormously proud of the Cadets who completed this very demanding challenge.  They have shown huge commitment to the training programme and great determination in completing the challenge this weekend.  It is something they will remember for the rest of their lives.”