Exmoor Challenge

A record 10 teams and 40 students from Court Fields took part in the Rotary run Exmoor Challenge on Saturday 2nd May. The students have completed three practice walks to get to this stage and, armed with maps, first aid kits, emergency equipment and the blue Court Fields Challenge T-shirt, set off from Dulverton school at varying times from 9 to 10.30 am. The weather wasn’t kind to them but they did brilliantly. The challenge is a complex one, with seven key checkpoints and points deducted for arriving too late OR too early at them – the aim is to walk the 16 miles in exactly five and a half hours.


The results are available on the Exmoor Challenge website, but we did really well with two teams coming 3rd and 6th overall (out of 145 teams who started) and one team coming 2nd in the all girl category.

Well done to everyone who took part.


Blackdown Hills practice walk

 Exmoor Challenge Practice Walk 2

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One freezing, soggy Saturday morning in March, 20 year 7 students and 10 adults from Court Fields Community School set out on a 12 mile hike through Wellington and the Blackdown Hills. Before we began this walk, we organised our groups. In my group, we had Chris, John, Max, Toby, Mr and Mrs Etherington, Nick (John’s dad) and of course, me. We started first, but after about 5 minutes, two more groups overtook us. However, we just stayed calm and carried on a steady pace. We knew if they kept on running then they would eventually be out of breath. About 15 minutes into the walk, the two groups in front of us went the wrong way. We knew the route, as John had already marked it out on the map, so we sneaked passed them. Just as we thought we were in the lead, Ms Bennett’s group realized their mistake and CHEATED! They cheekily took a short cut through some fields, and were now ahead of us again.  We passed underneath the motorway, through fields and farms, and on a many footpaths until we reached The Monument. However, we were only a few miles in, as there were many more miles to cover. I’m glad we had Nick with us though, as he was really encouraging. He did this thing where if anyone was falling behind the rest of the group, we would do a 10 second jog to catch up. He also would lure us back into the group with chocolate eclairs and galaxy caramel. These ‘tactics’ really worked.  A couple of hours into the hike, we had a problem. There was a giant field full of deep, sloppy bog. I got stuck 3 times, and my boots were full of water. At least my boot didn’t come off like somebody from another group.  Around about half way through the challenge, we caught up with the other group. They saw us approaching the hill, so ran up it to beat us there. Fortunately for us, they were in such a hurry that they went the wrong way. We knew that left was correct instead of right because WE READ THE INSTRUCTIONS!!!!! Confident that we were in the lead, we carried on following the CORRECT route. We passed more farms, fields, moors, bogs and tracks, until we got to a farm. The owner had 3 adorable dogs, but also some bad news. He said we were the second group to pass through! We were shocked, as no-one had passed us, so we stepped up our pace. It turns out it was Ms Bennett’s pesky group who had already passed through the farm, and the wrong turn was actually a sneaky short cut.  Eventually, we reached Wellington, and rushed towards The Youth Centre. Suddenly, it started to rain as we hurried down town. It was the final stretch to get to the finish, and we were so close. We thought we had won, but as we turned the corner, we saw Ms Bennett’s group sheltering by The Youth Centre. We were disappointed that we came second, but at least we followed the right route.  It was amazing fun though, even though we hardly ate. I gained a lot from this practice walk, we all did. Congratulations to Ms Bennett’s group for winning, even though in my eyes we all won. It was incredibly tiring, but great fun. This was a great walk, and I am really looking forward to the next 16 mile one.

BY: Aaron Filler T05

Exmoor Challenge

This year we are entering a Yr7 team for the Exmoor Challenge.  The event is organised by the Exmoor Rotary club and attracts teams from schools across the South West region.  Our first practice walk will be on Sunday 24th February with a second practice on Saturday16th March.  See Mr Alfano for more details or visit the website Exmoor Challenge