Plymouth and Cornwall Wing of the RAF Air Cadets spreads from Okehampton and Kingsbridge in the East to Hayle in the West and covers some of the more deprived wards in the country. The Wing has always prided itself in making activities available to all cadets regardless of their family circumstances. This is particularly so in the world of adventurous training where the very best in individuals can be brought to the fore. This inclusivity comes at a cost and thus the Wing was grateful to receive a grant from the Ulysses Trust to enable it to continue its splendid tradition of entering teams for all mileage groups of the Ten Tors Challenge.
The grant was used to assist in the costs of transport and training for cadets and the purchase of individual kit items including new first aid kits, maps and compasses. Significantly, two new 12×12 tents for use as base station HQ, catering and first aid facilities were obtained which will prove to be invaluable for Wing adventure training for many years to come.
Some 96 cadets ranging in from 14 to 18 years old from 13 squadrons within the Wing started training in January in the hope of being selected for the final teams. The training is by definition arduous and intense and the number was slowly whittled down to 49 individuals who then made up teams (with reserves) of 6 – one at 55 miles, one at 45 miles and 5 teams at 35 miles which reflected well on the dedication of the training staff and support crews. Again, it is important to stress that the final teams were chosen for their navigation skills and endurance ability rather than any ability to meet the costs of training.
The event was not without its drama and 3 individuals from different 35 mile groups had to withdraw through fatigue or minor injury. Even one of the hardened 55 mile teams thought they would not finish on time but ‘crossed the line’ with 15 minutes to spare.
Flight Lieutenant Karla Lincoln, the 2017 Project Officer summed it up by saying ‘Its amazing that that the cadets have the ability to adapt and mature, overcoming physical and mental barriers to achieve their goal’. Warrant Officer Stephen Wildgoose, a Ten Tors veteran of some 20 years said that ‘Ten Tors can be a very emotional time for a team manager to watch your team complete the event knowing the harsh and arduous environment’.
Ten Tors 2017 was a great success for Plymouth and Cornwall Wing RAF Air Cadets and the Wing is grateful to the Ulysses Trust and to the RAF Charitable Trust for enabling it to participate fully while not increasing the cost to individual cadets.