More than 2,000 walkers hit the hills of Dartmoor this weekend for the Ten Tors challenge, in soaring temperatures which were in marked contrast to those a year ago when the event was abandoned.

Temperatures of 24C meant the 2,400 young competitors were at risk of heat exhaustion rather than the more usual hypothermia. In 2007, helicopters evacuated walkers from the area in torrential rain and the event was cut short.

Even last month, 18 people practising for the Ten Tors had to be airlifted from the moor in strong winds and heavy rain. During practice for the 2007 challenge, 14-year-old Charlotte Shaw died when she fell into the swollen Walla Brook.

First team home, at 9.10 this morning, was the 20th Torbay Explorer Scout squad, which completed a 45-mile route. The event is open to teams of six from schools, youth organisations such as the Scouts and Guides and Cadet groups. Routes cover 35, 45 and 55 miles.

The challenge is organised by the 43 (Wessex) Brigade and has been open to the public since 1961.