QE entered 5 teams on the weekend of 7-8 May for the start of Ten Tors 2016. We awoke at 05:00 to the sound of ‘Chariots of Fire’ and proceeded to make breakfast for our nervous teams. Those that could eat seemed to enjoy hot bacon and sausage baps and the rest quietly gathered their thoughts.
Day one: 06:30 all teams checked and ready to walk up to the start line at Anthony’s Stile. Our two 35 teams led by Taran Clark and Grace Newport Tucker were apprehensive, as expected for largely first timers, but confident. The 45 team led by James Hudson were ready and there was no indication of just how epic their journey was to become!
Our two 55 teams led by Rory Tucker and Sam Hatchell had built up the banter during the week and were itching to get going having seen it all before but still there were some nervous faces, largely due to their own competitive nature.
07:00 the artillery guns mark the start and off they go leaving the rest of us to watch, wait, worry and hover around in anticipation for news of their progress. Everything seemed fine then suddenly we noticed that the 45’s had taken 5 hours to walk a leg expected to take around 2 hours! No news is good news isn’t it? After some biting of finger nails and pacing the army told us that the team were all still moving as a six. Ok so all sorted then? Army appeared calm so worry over?
Meanwhile the 35’s and 55’s were strong and on schedule to the point that both 35 teams camped early on Saturday evening for a well-earned rest after a magnificent days walking. Unfortunately due to injuries to three team members the 55A team had to fall out on Saturday night which took the gloss off an otherwise successful first day.
Day two: The remaining teams made an early start and all were mobile shortly after 06:00 The 35 teams were still storming their respective routes and arrived at the finish four minutes apart (12:15 and 12:19). The remaining 55B team (B for Better Team according to Mattie, Emma and Dan) arrived at the finish at 13:05.
The 45 Team – While following the team’s progress from the hanger we noticed some “anomalies” with the 45 team timings. It seemed that the team may struggle to make their cut off times, so much fretting occurred and anxiety levels were very high among the watching staff. All was ok - we were assured by the Army. Thankfully the finest brains of QE’s Math’s and Science departments were on the case and judged that all was ok and that they would make it back before the cut off time.
15:55 and the 45 team crossed the finish line. We noticed that a gathering of military personnel were waiting for them along with the Lt Colonel and a naval Lt Commander. Suddenly the tannoy announced the arrival of the QE SB 45 team who had just been awarded the OPS Room Team of the Year 2016!! There followed cheering and shaking of hands when we learned that our intrepid and soon to be legendary 45 team had travelled some 60 miles!!! "We went the wrong way, Mrs Baker!".
It was revealed to us by the Lt Commander that our 45’s had the full attention of the whole OPS room and officers who were following their progress closely and willing them to pass through each control gate in time to succeed. Never before has a team made seasoned army officers reach for their maps in a state of anxiety and worry that they may not finish in time.
We are immensely proud of all of our participants and share the sadness of those who didn’t finish but it has to be said that once again QE Students have performed outstandingly and are to be congratulated.
The teams that finished were:
35A Taran Clark, Maddie Clark, Connor Ridd, Ry Fawssett, Jake Poulton
35B Grace Newport-Tucker, Emily Horrell, Natasha Slee, Owen Cooper, Matt Cooke, Curtis Pelcl-Garnsworthy
45 James Hudson, Tom Mann, Tom Cornwall, Brooklynne Taylor, Nathan Townsend, Peter Boyle
55B Sam Hatchell, Sophie Bailey, Emma Richards, Mattie Constantine, Dan Ley, Owain Elliott