Interview: My Ten Tors

At the beginning of May, William Cranfield-Thompson from Year 10 and Penrice Head Boy Jack Lawther completed Cornwall’s esteemed Ten Tors Challenge as part of their local Cadet teams.

William, pictured above, has been with 1225 St Austell ATC for about three years, and says the experiences available are second to none. It’s also the perfect way to train for Ten Tors.

What do you like about the Cadets?

That’s a really tough question. I love so much about it – the activities like camping, field activities, leadership exercises – and the workshops we get to be part of. Recently we worked with the RAF on Operation X, which taught us about all aspects of training, such as logistics, transport and personal defence. It’s really interesting stuff!

I also like the sporting aspect and it’s a great way to get to know people. You get the chance to make friends all over the country – I’ve made friends in the West Country and Scotland and Wales through the Cadets. It’s not all about the military – there’s fun and there are all sorts of learning opportunities too.

How does being a Cadet prepare you for the challenge?

It’s all about training and discipline so the two go hand in hand. At times it does feel hard, you may want to drop out, but it’s the team spirit of all your team mates and morale that keeps you going. One of our Cadet teams had flutes and drums to keep them going, which is what it’s all about!

This year was extra special as it was the Cadets 75th anniversary so it was great to be a part of it.

So what’s so good about Ten Tors?

I like the challenge. Some people say it’s just for socialising, for spending time outdoors with your friends – which is great – but I do it for the challenge. It’s a great experience too and you meet so many people you wouldn’t necessary cross paths with otherwise. We just ended up walking with so many different people – there was a team from Greece who were really interesting! It’s amazing who you meet.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about taking part in Ten Tors?

Ten Tors is not for the faint-hearted but it is an amazing challenge to complete, so it’s worth doing. If you’re going to do it make sure you’re ready and make sure you train for it. Dartmoor is not a forgiving place! But is great fun and the more ready you are, the better time you’ll have.

What’s next for you?

Unfortunately I can’t do Ten Tors next year because of my exams, but my overall goal is to get all my Ten Tors medals, for 35, 45 ad 55 miles, Bronze, Silver and Gold. That’s what I’m really passionate about. I also want to take part in the Nijmegen Military March, which is the largest marching event in the world. No backpacks – but it’s intense!

The Cadets was daunting at first but I made sure I got out there and did everything I could – from camping up in Scotland to just attending meetings, so I’m just going to keep getting involved.

What will you remember most about Ten Tors 2016?

For me, it was crossing the finish line. The start is amazing, the tension, the helicopters, the start gun – but the finish over the hill is just incredible. Relief, pride, happiness but also sadness for those who didn’t make it all the way. But, the support you receive when you do cross the line is amazing. It just washes over you, there’s nothing like it.

Read more about Ten Tors 2016 at Penice Academy here.