Head: Mr Phillip Stapleton
The tales of snow-topped peaks, boggy lanes, steep cleaves and soaking socks are the stuff of legends and everyone has a story of their own. With this in mind, we celebrated the overdue return of the Exmoor, after two years of disruption.
Open to all students from Year 8 upwards, it is, apparently, the longest, toughest, school run in the UK, and the students wouldn’t be without it!
It wouldn’t be a true Exmoor without it! So, true to form, it snowed on the eve of West Buckland’s most famous run, on a day with school stops and the students don their house colours with pride, along with the traditional war paint.
After the event was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID, and run in May in 2021 (not the done thing, at all, we hear the OWBA cry!), as the pandemic once again disrupted the normal calendar of events, we welcomed students, parents and OWBA back again for another day to remember.
After a long (nearly 8 mile) walk out to the start up at Kinsford Gate, the Senior Full Exmoor, passed through Heasley Mill, where they joined the runners doing the Short Exmoor (only 6 miles!!), and one through the torturous terrain, up some of Exmoor’s most challenging hills, back to school, for soup and hot chocolate!
For many of the younger years, this was their first ‘proper’ Exmoor and they took on the challenge with the resilience and positive attitude that is the West Buckland way! Arguably, have to take on the most difficult part of the course, with climbs up ‘The Cleave’ and around Grasspark Farm, that live long in the memories of all OWBAs, their performances were outstanding and their willingness to help each other and support their classmates was heart-warming.
Ask any former student about their memories of the Exmoor and the tales get longer in the telling!!
“Such a unique occasion”, recalls one, whilst another remembers “Ah, good old traditional Exmoor Run weather!”. Another commented, “Ah, remember those days? Mud, cold showers and soup but loved every second!”
Finally, a word of warning to those less familiar with the Exmoor terrain: “Mind the bovine residue.”