Sunday, 19 May 2013

Ten Tors

Ed is a bit excited
Ed, James, Matt, Henry, Crème and myself were all out on Dartmoor pushing each other as far as we could go with the guidance of Mike Adams. The reason for this was Ten Tors, which is a challenge where you have to walk over Dartmoor and visit all the tors in your route. We were doing the 35 mile route which was the shortest.

We had done many training sessions on Exmoor and Dartmoor, then we had a team of seven with Jack in it but due to his hockey he missed the practice weekend and so wasn't part of the final team.

We missed school on Friday to travel to Okehampton Camp where it started, it was amazing because of all the people and the atmosphere was great. We got laughed at by the other teams when trying to put up a massive tent and failing but we didn't care because we would show them. Next we went to scrutineering which was a kit check. We tried to do a cheeky bit of queue jumping but it didn't work that well and we got sent to the back. It was a half hour queue but a group behind us had brought some pegs and we pegged them to people without them noticing. Scrutineering was fine and the people where really nice. We got back to our tent and started to plan our route. Mike forgot to mention that it was one of the longest ones but got us this guy who had so much experience of the moor and told us the best route to take. Next we cooked tea, and what a tea it was. We cooked so much meat and veg we could barely move afterward but it was all much needed energy for the next day. It was about 8 o'clock and with nothing else to do we went to bed.

We were woken up by 'Chariots of Fire' and other classics being played over the tannoys. Neil Blom cooked us breakfast which was amazing! Cheers for that! We packed our bags and set of for the start. There were thousands of people lining the hill side and there was an air of excitement. We took of the layers and shouldered our bags. After the prayer the cannon went and we pegged it down the hill to the river while trying not to fall, keep together and get on TV.

Route Planning
To our first tor it was easy and we followed the other teams. Mike told us to walk slow but we didn't listen and keep cracking to our next tor. We got to Sandy hole pass really quickly and without much difficulty but the river was really big because of all the rain we had and the only way across was a big jump from one rock to another. There was a half hour queue for this so we were forced to stop for lunch. We all got across thanks to some guys helping everyone.
Cooking with the Sunnies on!

We continued further south, towards South Hessary. This was the first leg which we felt tired or at least I did. We got there and the next tor was really close so we quickly walked there. This was our 6th tor and we had 1 hour and a half left before the cut-off point at Great Mis tor our 7th tor. At this point I was really struggling but the rest of the team where going strong. After walking along and easy track we cut off and crossed the boggy ground to the road leading into Merrivale. We took a much needed rest and then we had half an hour to get to the tor. We all stood up and groaned we took the weight again. The track was easy but uphill and felt like it went on for ever. Finally we got to the check point, a group of girls where already there so we asked them what route they were doing. Turns out they were doing the same as us and they were looking pretty smug. To our relief we were allowed to carry on to our eighth tor with 10 minutes to spare. The next bit we took really easy. Matt had great fun acting the hero and helping all the girls across the river! Finally we made camp, pitched our tents in the strong wind which was pretty interesting , ate food and went to bed.
The Wait at Sandy Hole

The start
Team Photo
So Day 2, me, Henry and James missed the alarm and got up with 35 minutes to eat and pack everything up. We managed this fine though and set off at 6 which was a bit early for most of us. After overtaking the girls group, we had the hardest leg of the event in front of us. We had to walk on this bearing for about 4 km with not much to guide us. We after about 2km we walked into the cloud so we couldn't see anything, we kept going praying for this boundary line to appear out of the fog. I was getting pretty anxious at this point and we kept checking the map. Finally we saw the boundary line posts, We were all really relived because that was the last hard leg and it was pretty hard to go wrong from there. We made our ninth tor and the army dudes where still in there tent eating breakfast, we got them moving and signed in. So we headed of to our last tor, the last leg had tired us all out and Matt had hurt is ankle. The next bit was flat then we went down a massive hill which wasn't as good as it sounds because it killed our knees and ankles.

Beautiful Dartmoor!

We got to Sourton and we just had the last leg to do. Luckily for us we had a massive hill to climb. This was killer and there wasn't even a path up it so we just had to hit it straight on. We went up and got it over with, now was the last stretch we had a flat bit then a tiny hill then downhill into the finish. There was quite a lot of 'are we there yet' type sayings and we were almost there but we couldn't see the finish which wasn't the best. After walking along the flat bit some off our parents had come out with Woody to take some pictures and watch us in. This was such a boost for us, knowing the finish was just a couple minutes down the road. We got a bit over excited and sprinted but then got tired and went back to a walk.  We crested the hill and we could see the finish! We'd done it! The elation was amazing and something none of us will ever forget. We walked through the crowd as the clapped us in with the biggest smiles on our faces.

After the finish we got our medals presented and found out we were 5th in and 3rd in out of the 35 teams, but its not a race. We were given hot pasties which were amazing and we all stuffed them down, well apart from Henry who couldn't keep his down. It was great to get back to our tent and have our parents and friends there. The support was amazing and so was the food they brought with them! Cheers for that. It was a perfect end to an unforgettable event and it was all because of Mike so thanks from us! Good job guys!

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Scottish Youth Bouldering Championships

In Qualifying
On the 4th of May was the Scottish youth bouldering championships which were held at TCA Glasgow. It was also the first event where the bouldering team would compete together. The scene was set for a great competition.

So I flew up with my brother, mum, fellow team members James and Ed Mabon and their mum. We arrived in Scotland and we could tell. It was cold and wet! We stayed at an Ibis Budget which wasn't the most luxurious hotel but it gave us what we wanted and was within walking distance from the wall. That night we ate at a lovely Italian which had an amazing ice cream section. They had Oreo flavour and all they were missing was ice cream with Jaffa cakes in it!

Me in qualifying
James on Final 1
Luke in the finals
The comp day. The wall was already busy because of the younger age groups' qualifying round. After some pretty hard moves to warm me up it was time for the qualifying round. I quickly ticked all the easy problems and did some of the more technical ones. I didn't feel that great, I was really nervous and didn't feel solid on the problems. Most of the problems were quite easy though and I did all except two without much of a fight. The two that were left where a different story though. They were on the steepest bit of the wall. The first was a really fight and the moves felt right at my limit but I was lucky, got everything right and got the flash. Next was the final problem a massive prow. I got on, did the first few easy moves and started slapping, I had no control and was just hoping I'd stick the next hold, once again I was lucky and topped out. I was over the moon. I'd flashed every problem in the qualifiers along with my teammates William Bosi, Ed Mabon and was set for the finals.

Ed on final 2
We went out for viewing, this didn't really help because I found out we had a groove, a slab and a steep wall. Saying grooves and slabs aren't my favourite is a total understatement. I was out second to last for our problem number one which was the groove. I stood looking at the crowd as the countdown started. Getting focus. Then it was the time to send. I checked it out again and started. I got the first volume quite easily and could just reach the bottom of the second one. With some interesting hand swapping I got on it. I got myself into the groove and pressed up. I'd got it! Next was problem two the slab. On my first couple tries I had my beta wrong and kept falling but I changed it and stuck the hold. Now came the fight, I almost fell about three times but sketched my way to the top. After talking to my team mates I worked out I was in third place. The third problem, this suited me more and I was just pulling onto the final two holds when my heel popped. I knew this might have affected my position. Next go I fell earlier because of a small mistake. Now it was on, my arms where tired and I'd got one maybe two goes left. I got the last two holds and made the move to the finish hold. It was great to top all the boulder problems. This got me into second place behind Will who did really well and did everything really quick. James, Ed and Luke came 3rd, 5th and 5th.

The Bouldering team chat
It was a brilliant competition, with a great atmosphere. Well done to everyone who competed and those who set it up.

Thanks to my sponsors
Rock and Rapid
No Sweat Outdoors
Thanks to Sandy Carr for great phots.

Final Problem