The Dartmoor Search and Rescue Group provides a search and rescue service not just for the 300+ square miles of Dartmoor but the whole of Devon and Cornwall. The Group comprises four teams, Tavistock, Okehampton, Plymouth and Ashburton, and the Tavistock team is currently celebrating 50 years of searching for, rescuing, treating and evacuating people lost on the moor and beyond.
Call-outs can come any time of day, any time of year, in any weather conditions. Like the RNLI there’s no government funding; the Group relies simply on public donations, with some grant funding. In the first four months of this year the Tavistock group alone has received 13 call-outs. Dartmoor is vast, wild and beautiful but it can be treacherous and weather conditions can change with alarming speed.
And while all members of the teams are professionally trained in searching, navigation, casualty care, search dog handling and swift water rescues they are all volunteers.
There have been a number of events to celebrate the anniversary, including a black-tie dinner at Tavistock Town Hall. The Chairman of the Tavistock team spoke very movingly of rescues the team’s been involved in over the years, including that of a young boy separated from his group who was lost for over 24 hours. Fearing the worst, one of the team spotted a pair of feet in a remote corner of the moor; thankfully he was alive.
A major fundraising event for the Tavistock team is the 11 Tors Challenge on 15th September. Starting and finishing at Princetown the main walk covers 11 tors in 11 miles but there’s a shorter five-mile Family Challenge Walk too. The walks are open to anyone although children under 18 must be in a family group.
Good fun in a beautiful landscape supporting this wonderful charity.