Saltford RAF cadet Callum’s Dartmoor adventure

AN RAF cadet from Saltford has climbed 120 tors in a “genuine rollercoaster” of an adventure to raise money for an armed forces charity.

Callum Arnott, aged 17, was joined by his dad Myles on an epic hike on Dartmoor as they were assailed by severe weather – and a swarm of flying ants.

They completed the feat in eight days, getting up at around 5am and walking until about 8pm, then pitching their tent for the night along the way.

Callum said: “On day one we woke up to driving winds and heavy rain that got into the tent (yellow weather warning). Great start!

“We walked down to the first river and realised that the heavy rain had made it uncrossable. We walked an hour upstream to try to find a crossing but the water was too high and fast flowing.

“We walked back up the hill. After four hours we were back where we started, soaked and tired. I won’t lie, we very nearly quit.”

A two-hour diversion got them around the river before they pressed on.

“Four hours later we hit our second impassable river and the diversion would take us into private land that we couldn’t camp in. We found somewhere to camp, cooked and went to bed half a day behind schedule.”

The next two days were similar, with low visibility (50m) and driving rain.

A spot of sunshine allowed them to get their tent and bedding dried out before camp. But then Callum had to get up at 3am to stabilise the collapsing tent after pegs became loose and two guy ropes snapped.

“I checked the forecast and saw that we were in the middle of an amber weather warning, with 60mph winds forecast for the day. We took the decision to stay put that day – it was too dangerous to go out on the moors. We were now 1.5 days behind!

“The following day the weather broke and we finally had a day where we could see further than 50m. We did a huge day, walking 1.5 days of our planned route. We finally felt like we were winning.

“The final days swung from nice clear days where we were able to smash out big distances, and 50m visibility and driving rain that were a real grind. That’s Dartmoor for you!”

There was more drama when they found themselves covered in flying ants “pouring off the tors.”

Callum said: “I swear I must have had a queen land on my bag, cos we were chased by them for miles (that or that fact that I needed a shower!)”

Callum summed up the challenge by saying: “Our replanning worked out really well and ultimately we got it done. It was an amazing thing to do.”

Callum – who set his sights on being a pilot as a career and has family and friends in the military – has raised almost £3,000 for SSAFA (Soldiers’, Sailors’ & Airmen’s Families Association).

Anyone wishing to add to the total Callum raised can visit his JustGiving page at