12 students evacuated from Dartmoor

TORRENTIAL rain forced 12 Ely students to abandon the annual Ten Tors Challenge on Sunday. The team from the King s School were evacuated from Dartmoor on Sunday morning after the decision was taken the night before to cancel the event. Heavy rain had lef

TORRENTIAL rain forced 12 Ely students to abandon the annual Ten Tors Challenge on Sunday.

The team from the King's School were evacuated from Dartmoor on Sunday morning after the decision was taken the night before to cancel the event.

Heavy rain had left streams and rivers swollen and many areas of land were too boggy to cross.

Even before the decision was made to leave, about 360 youngsters had dropped out, many suffering from hypothermia because of low temperatures.


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The King's School pupils had been divided into two teams, one older group taking on a 45-mile challenge and the younger team a 35 mile challenge.

They were given the weekend to complete the challenge by visiting checkpoints on top of 10 granite outcrops known as tors.

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The older group had managed seven of the 10 tors and the younger group had camped not far from the seventh tor when the decision was made to call a halt to the event.

Nick Nicholas, director of the King's School's outdoor pursuits programme, the Ely Scheme, said: "Whatever the weather, this is an exceptionally tough challenge for youngsters of this age. It is not a race. They have to complete the course safely and show determination and teamwork - life skills that are invaluable.

"Saturday's conditions were challenging, but the continuing bad weather meant that it would have been too much of a risk to have continued on Sunday. The teams were naturally disappointed but fully understand why the cancellation was made."

Mr Nicholas said the organisers were also influenced by the death in March of a 14-year-old girl who was training for the event. She drowned in a rain-swollen river after falling in while trying to retrieve a piece of equipment.

The last time the event was cancelled was in 1996 again due to bad weather.

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