Three Tors Challenge
This half-term, Trailblazers have been living up to their name.
In our Wild Tribe sessions, we have been preparing for a serious challenge; a challenge that would test our physical abilities, test our emotional resilience and test our mental fortitude: we were going to climb three of the tors on Bodmin Moor - Showery Tor, Brown Willy and Rough Tor.
During the weekly sessions leading up to the challenge, we have been preparing ourselves for the moorland trek under the guidance of Belinda Midwinter (Wild Tribe Specialist with the Arena Sports Partnership based at Callington Community College).
In the sessions, we have been considering the logistics of participating in such a challenge; gaining knowledge of how to conduct ourselves responsibly in a wild place; learning how to navigate using a map and compass; developing skills in leadership and teamwork; planning a route for the day; and establishing Team Leaders, Deputy Leaders, Lead Navigators and their deputies. Also, we learnt to assess risks and how to remain safe (including what is appropriate clothing and sufficient, suitable rations) while pushing ourselves to the limits of our physical and psychological resources. By the end of the sessions, everyone was deemed to be ready to undertake the taxing physical and mental challenge, which for many of us would be our first such adventure. And so the day of the expedition arrived.
Accompanied by Mr Mould, Mr Worthington and Mr L, we disembarked from the coach at Rough Tor car park, where Helen Blackburn (Wild Tribe Specialist), Olly Carpenter and Belinda were waiting for us. As well as Helen, Belinda and Olly, recruits Mr Orchard and Mr Bailey were also waiting going to join us on our expedition. After a safety briefing, our first task was to get into our small groups and for our navigators to set us on the right course for our first goal – the ascent of Showery Tor. The first of the three tors on our itinerary ticked off, the next stage of the trek was to the summit of Brown Willy, crossing the De Lank River using an ancient clapper bridge.
As we ascended to the summit of Brown Willy, Helen set us a challenge within a challenge: we had to decrypt a coded message which gave us the location of a geocache, in this instance a plastic box containing a miscellany of objects. Seeking respite and shelter from the wind after a scramble to the top of the summit’s cairn, it was time for lunch. After lunch, we took a moment to reflect upon our surroundings and appreciate the landscape of the moor, and the landscape that extended beyond it for mile after mile, from our lofty, panoramic position at the highest point in Cornwall.
Having retraced our steps back to the clapper bridge, we paused while the team chosen to lead us through the boulder field to the top of Rough Tor plotted a route. Although the energy levels of some were beginning to dip towards reserve, everyone eventually attained the summit of Rough Tor, the last one of our expedition. As we caught our breath, we admired the rock formations that looked as if they had been created, in a time long, long ago, by a race giants with artistic pretensions.
The gradual descent from Rough Tor back to the car park, with moorland ponies on either side of the track, as if they were mute spectators encouraging us on the last leg of our trek, was marked by happy feelings of achievement and satisfaction. There may have been many pairs of tired legs, but our hearts were full of pride as we had accomplished our goal of completing the Three Tors Challenge.
As we are the first school to complete the Three Tors Challenge organised by Arena, we are honoured to be the trailblazers.
We have taken the opportunity of our walking-booted challenge to raise funds for the Children in Need Appeal through the Countryfile Ramble 2023. To date, with have received donations and pledges that amount to over £470, and with donations still to be received, we are optimistic of reaching our target of £500. We wish to give a very big thank-you to everyone who has generously contributed to our fundraising efforts. It’s made all those blisters and aching muscles worth it!