Bubblewrapped generation

They’ve called off the Ten Tors this year, due to bad weather.

Well, I was out (briefly) on Dartmoor yesterday, am looking out on it now, and expect to be there again this afternoon. Yes, we’ve had some significant rain over the past week, and over the weekend. Yes, the rivers have reached a wet-weather size. But it’s warm, the winds are light, and the rain is mixed with sunny intervals. The ground is not saturated as it was in March when we had far more rain, neither are the rivers in spate as they were then. It’s not tourist-weather, but neither is it severe. Not by any stretch of the imagination.

The Ten Tors is explicitly for teenagers. Not for small children. Not for frail pensioners. Not even fat middle-aged slobs like me. And these are self-selecting teenagers: they choose to do it. In other words, people who are at the prime of life, physically robust, have lots of excess energy, and should have absolutely no difficulty with a bit of rain.

A reporter on the radio just interviewed two or three being taken down off the moor (good grief!), and they were disappointed. Well, naturally. I wonder how many are rebelling against that organisation by completing the walk on their own, unofficially?

This is of course a stupid overreaction to the training run they had for it a couple of months ago, when one girl got swept away by a river and died. That weekend was altogether different, with a lot more ground and surface water out there, and a great deal more rain. And of course a seasonal difference in evaporation rate! To have called that weekend off would have made sense. But of course that would have been an organisational nightmare: they need a lot of adults involved, each of those adults needs to be security-cleared, etc, all in the name of protecting the teenagers from possible child-molesters.

The bubblewrap culture must bear the principal burden of guilt for that girl’s death. And now it’s deprived a far greater number of teenagers of a great weekend out. Some of them may have lost their only chance of a real walk for a long time.

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Posted on May 13, 2007, in dartmoor, rants, uk. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. You are either very naive or just plain and simply dont know what you are talking about! I was on the moor this morning to meet the team from Bideford who lost one of their team mates. this was not as you put it ‘a stupid overreaction to the training run they had for it a couple of months ago, when one girl got swept away by a river and died.’ this was common sense. it was freezing and sleet was falling constantly and not as you observed ‘ it’s warm, the winds are light, and the rain is mixed with sunny intervals’. this was not a decision that was taken lightly.after a very cold and wet night there was a real danger that this tragic accident could of been repeted and no doubt you would of been one of the first to ask why they had been allowed to carry on. it is not a case of bubblewrapping our children but a case of valuing life!

  2. Margaret Harvey

    I have done a lot of moors walking in the past, and I can tell you from experience that a “bit of rain” is a far, far different thing on the street to what it is on the “tops.”

    Rain-chill is deadly in itself, and wet, slippery conditions on moors are also highly risky. Bad conditions can also change – very fast – for the worse. And don’t forget, that robust people with lots of energy, especially those with limited experience/training in moors walking are likely to take risks.

    Moors walking is indeed a great weekend out, but it’s also a risky one – ask any mountain rescue group.

    No, this isn’t bubblewrap – this is just acting according to the conditions, which you either do up on the moors, or, I’m afraid, quickly get into serious difficulties.

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