South Dartmoor CTC

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Saturday 24 August 1985Tour: Snowdonia National Park Day 3 Idwal Cottage to Pen-y-Pas (12 mi)
9 present: Andrew Billington (Junior, Bovey Tracey), Chris Hall (12, Preston), Jonathan Israel (14, London), Michael Jones, David Parry (14, Wellesbourne), Stephen Parry (11, Wellesbourne), Jeremy Paul (15, London), Rebecca Small (15, London), Paul Williams (14, Wellesbourne)
Stephen, David and Chris at lake Glaslyn with Snowdon behind
Ready to leave Idwal Cottage youth hostel
David looking back to lake Glaslyn on the final walk to the top of Snowdon
David, Stephen, Paul and Chris at lake Glaslyn
Today we rode to Pen-y-Pas hostel, probably via Capel Curig so that we stayed deep inside the national park. The hostel is located at the base of Snowdon and an easy path to the summit provided plenty of entertainment for those taking part in the afternoon / evening walk.

Sunday 25 August 1985Tour: Snowdonia National Park Day 4 Pen-y-Pas to Ffestiniog (18 mi)Probably wet
9 present: Andrew Billington (Junior, Bovey Tracey), Chris Hall (12, Preston), Jonathan Israel (14, London), Michael Jones, David Parry (14, Wellesbourne), Stephen Parry (11, Wellesbourne), Jeremy Paul (15, London), Rebecca Small (15, London), Paul Williams (14, Wellesbourne)
Today we probably rode to Ffestiniog hostel via Capel Curig, keeping us within the Snowdonia national park. No doubt the poor weather was the reason for the total absence of photos today.

Sunday 25 August 1985Afternoon ride: WrangatonShowery
5 present: John Iles, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, Roger Simmons, Laurent Unknown
With the weather once again reminiscent of October, the few hardy souls prepared to brave the elements set off towards South Brent in good spirits. Whilst sheltering under a suitable oak tree on the main road to Wrangaton it was decided to make the rider shorter than would have been the case had climatic conditions been more favourable, so at Shute Cross we turned left and headed towards Avonwick via the charmingly-named Sign of the Owl Cross.

A slight diversion to avoid a busy stretch of main road became a longer diversion due to a navigational error, but Diptford is quite nice and we were soon back on course, returning home via Rattery – which must be jinxed for us as once again the group became separated here.

Monday 26 August 1985Tour: Snowdonia National Park Day 5 Ffestiniog to Kings (30 mi)Probably cloudy with damp spells
9 present: Andrew Billington (Junior, Bovey Tracey), Chris Hall (12, Preston), Jonathan Israel (14, London), Michael Jones, David Parry (14, Wellesbourne), Stephen Parry (11, Wellesbourne), Jeremy Paul (15, London), Rebecca Small (15, London), Paul Williams (14, Wellesbourne)
Ffestiniog youth hostel
Stephen Parry at Ffestiniog hostel
Harlech Castle
View northwards from Harlech Castle
Barmouth Bridge
Paul Williams and David Parry at Harlech Castle
Today we rode down the Dwyryd valley to Harlech where we spent some time exploring Harlech Castle. We then continued south to Barmouth and then inland to Kings yout hostel.

Tuesday 27 August 1985Tour: Snowdonia National Park Day 6 Kings to Borth (33 mi)Probably wet
9 present: Andrew Billington (Junior, Bovey Tracey), Chris Hall (12, Preston), Jonathan Israel (14, London), Michael Jones, David Parry (14, Wellesbourne), Stephen Parry (11, Wellesbourne), Jeremy Paul (15, London), Rebecca Small (15, London), Paul Williams (14, Wellesbourne)
Looks like an unscheduled stop somewhere for water refills, possibly at Machynlleth
Today's ride took us through Dolgellau and then up a long clim before descending past the Alternative Energy Centre (which we probably stopped to look at) to Machynlleth. The final miles to the hostel at Borth were generally flat or downhill.

Wednesday 28 August 1985Tour: Snowdonia National Park Day 7 Borth to Nant-y-Dernol (37 mi)Sunny spells
9 present: Andrew Billington (Junior, Bovey Tracey), Chris Hall (12, Preston), Jonathan Israel (14, London), Michael Jones, David Parry (14, Wellesbourne), Stephen Parry (11, Wellesbourne), Jeremy Paul (15, London), Rebecca Small (15, London), Paul Williams (14, Wellesbourne)
Nant-y-Moch reservoir
View from Bryn Mawr back down the valley towards Tal-y-Bont
Andrew Billington at Nant-y-Moch reservoir
Today's ride took us inland through Tal-y-Bont up to the hills of mid Wales. We rode past the spectacular Nant-y-Moch reservoir and thence on to Nany-y-Dernol hostel. The day involved a fair amount of climbing (800m, with only 500m descents) but we witnessed some great views and the weather was not so bad.

Thursday 29 August 1985Tour: Snowdonia National Park Day 8 Nant-y-Dernol to Home (18 mi)
9 present: Andrew Billington (Junior, Bovey Tracey), Chris Hall (12, Preston), Jonathan Israel (14, London), Michael Jones, David Parry (14, Wellesbourne), Stephen Parry (11, Wellesbourne), Jeremy Paul (15, London), Rebecca Small (15, London), Paul Williams (14, Wellesbourne)
Jeremy Paul
Chris Hall, Paul Williams, Stephen Parry and David Parry
Jonathan Israel and Rebecca Small
There was more downhill than uphill on this our final day of cycling. We rode through Rhayader to get to Llandrindod where we caught the 12.20 train to Shrewsbury then changed at Crewe, Wolverhampton and Birmingham with groups breaking off at various stations to return to their own parts of the country. The Newton Abbot starters finally arrived home at 7.18pm.

Friday 30 August 1985Evening ride: RatterySunny
4 present: Michael Jones, Paul Palmer, Andrew Simmons, Marc Thorp
A different group provided an opportunity to re-run the 20th August ride to Rattery and Avonwick, the only difference being that darkness fell as we approached South Brent on this occasion.

Sunday 1 September 1985Day ride: WidecombeFine and dry
5 present: Michael Jones, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, Paul Willard, Peter Willard
After riding via Hele Cross and Auswell Cross there was a small dilemma as we looked for a track marked on the map. But the search was to no avail so we continued to Stone Cross and Pudsham Down for an early lunch.

As we reached Cold East Cross Michael felt a little ill so he headed home. The rest of us carried on with the ride and during the afternoon we collected a creditable fifteen boxes! May all future letterbox rides be so successful?

Tuesday 3 September 1985Social: Cycling Quiz
7 present: Michael Jones, Paul Palmer, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, Marc Thorp, Paul Willard, Peter Willard
A quiz on general cycling know-how demonstrated just how little everyone knew about their bikes. But don't worry, the winter social season will put things right.

Sunday 8 September 1985Afternoon ride: Berry PomeroyCloudy but dry
5 present: Michael Jones, Mark Moxham, Paul Palmer, Andrew Simmons, Simon Whale (Junior, Devon)
A scenic detour on the way meant that Mark Moxham had long since given up and gone home by the time we arrived at the Totnes pick-up. Circulation of the runs list had certainly been limited, and Mark was supposed to have been ill with chicken pox, but this was no real excuse and apologies were later relayed to Mark.

We did run into Simon Whale, however, returning from the Torbay ride, so the four of us continued to Berry Pomeroy to explore the unexpectedly muddy tracks near Gatcombe House.

Friday 13 September 1985Evening ride: SpitchwickDry
4 present: Dayle Guy, Michael Jones, Paul Palmer, Andrew Simmons
Not the best date for a ride, but the group suffered no ill-effects on the way to Holne and New Bridge. Dayle had to be home by nine so after riding around the Common in the dark we returned via Ashburton.

Sunday 15 September 1985Day ride: MamheadSunny and warm
4 present: Jon Higgins (Junior, Devon), John Iles, Michael Jones, Andrew Simmons
A brief stop in Ashburton for ‘mountaineer’ Jon to buy lunch was followed by a dash to Gappah for our rendezvous with the few from Torbay sensible enough not to have taken part in the ‘100’. An hour waiting and making phone calls gave no clue as to their whereabouts, so we made for Mamhead in the hope that they may have gone there themselves.

An extensive search in the area failed to locate them, and another phone call established that their intended leader for the day, who shall remain nameless in order to protect the guilty, had not turned up, so they had ridden elsewhere!

The magnificent view from the obelisk compensated somewhat for the time wasted, but it was getting on a bit so we abandoned our original plan to return via Lawrence Castle and the Teign Valley, instead heading home via Gappah and Bickington.

Tuesday 17 September 1985Evening ride: IpplepenDry
5 present: Mark Hunt, Michael Jones, Paul Palmer, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons
Mark Hunt needed all ten gears on his new bike for this fast ride through Staverton and Broadhempston. At Ipplepen it was decided to continue to Compton Pool before turning back through Stoneycombe and Denbury.

This was certainly the longest evening ride to date, and it also turned out to be one of the most eventful when Paul got a puncture near the Rising Sun. Fortunately some members had battery lights or it would not have been possible to get home by 9.35.

Saturday 21 September 1985Weekend ride: Salcombe Youth Hostel Day 1Dry and sunny
9 present: Mark Hunt, John Iles, Brett Jamieson, Michael Jones, Philip Mills, Mark Moxham, Paul Palmer, Luke Rake, Paul Willard
A cycle trip that goes exactly according to plan, with no unexpected incidents along the way, can sometimes make dull reading in a report. When things go wrong however the author has plenty of material with which to keep the reader entertained – at the expense of those poor unfortunates on whose shoulders the trouble fall. The reader will be pleased to hear that this report falls easily into the second category.

Everything had, of course, been planned in minute detail: six Dart Valley members would leave Buckfastleigh at 1330, led by Michael and John; four Torbay youngsters would start from Marldon at the same time, led by Tom Mills; both groups would meet at Totnes Plains shortly after 1400 along with two further Torbay members; at 1415 the group of twelve would proceed to Totnes station to meet the 1410 arrival from Dawlish, from which would emerge nine Dawlish Dawdlers and nine cycles, that group having boarded the train at 1341; the group of twenty-one would be joined by Steven Hills, accompanying his Dawlish group by car due to knee troubles, the whole group then proceeding at leisurely pace to Salcombe.

Nothing could possibly go wrong. British Rail had been informed will in advance of the need for cycle space, and alternative plans had been made to allow for the possibility, however remote, of the train being late.

There were not problems, with the exception of two last-minute cancellations, until the Totnes group arrived at the station. An official was standing near the entrance, watching us with calculated coldness. As we approached he moved forward.

“Would you be Mr Jones?” he asked, failing to disguise a grin.

Michael recognised that grin. Years of experience in dealing with BR personnel told him at once that he was trapped: the official was about to derive immense satisfaction from telling a group of his customers that BR had let them down, and there was nothing he could do about it. He replied in the affirmative.

“There’s a message from Mr Hills of Dawlish,” he continued. “He and his party won’t be coming.” The official was by now positively beaming.

Michael stared at him long and hard before asking the obvious question: “Why?”

“Something about the van being full – the chap in the office took the message. Anyway, he won’t be coming.” With that the official turned and walked into the station, whistling happily.

Interrogation of the gentleman in the ticket office yielded a hard and unfriendly repetition of the previously disclosed message from behind the comparative safety of his glass barrier: evidently he had been expecting us to be less than pleased.

A few minutes later the train arrived, carrying the smallest guard’s van Michael had seen for many years. Two motorbikes took up most of the available space.

Clearly there was nothing to be done. The group proceeded at a moderate pace through a muggy, foggy South Hams in the general direction of Salcombe, wondering whether Steven would have any chance of getting his youngsters to the hostel that night.

Suddenly, catastrophe struck again: Mark Moxham’s bottom bracket was causing problems. A closer investigation revealed that the adjustable cup had become a little too adjustable. It was quickly screwed into place but a few miles down the road it had slipped out again.

It soon became apparent that the threads of the cup no longer engaged with those of the frame, making it virtually impossible to effect a permanent repair without the facilities of a bike shop. Pieces of paper and tin foil were periodically wedged into the threads all the way to Salcombe. In this way Mark managed to hobble to the hostel in fits and starts, but clearly something would have to be done that evening if the same rigmarole was to be avoided the following day.

Whatever the importance of repairing Mark’s bottom bracket, food immediately took a higher priority on arrival at the hostel. The warden had reserved the attic dorm – the largest in the building – for our group, but it didn’t take long for everyone to carry their bags up the numerous sets of stairs, wash and change and return to the dining room.

The warden approached with a tray of soup and announced that Steven had just telephoned – from Harberton. They were on their way, much to everyone’s amazement. Some hasty calculations gave an ETA of around 2215, but what state would the younger lads be in after such an ordeal? We settled down to enjoy the meal, feeling particularly grateful that we were settled into the warm hostel.

Halfway through the main courses the warden appeared again. This time the message was from Andrew Billington who had intended to join us for supper. Things had apparently not gone to plan and he would not be coming.

At around 2210 we vacated the games room and picked our way gingerly through the inky darkness of the hostel drive. As we reached the bottom a familiar sound reached our ears. A moment later and Steven’s car was bearing down on us, closely pursued by eight weary young cyclists. The ninth, Philip, had been granted the honour of riding in the car with Steven, much to the resentment of the others.

The succeeding conversations revealed that the group had finally managed to get a train as far as Newton Abbot and had cycled all the way from there. No wonder they were all exhausted! They seemed to have some difficulty deciding whether food or bed would receive the highest priority; the matter was resolved, however, when the warden closed the kitchen at 2300.

Sunday 22 September 1985Weekend ride: Salcombe Youth Hostel Day 2Dry and sunny
9 present: Mark Hunt, John Iles, Brett Jamieson, Michael Jones, Philip Mills, Mark Moxham, Paul Palmer, Luke Rake, Paul Willard
The first group heading across the estuary
Three members leave Salcombe on the first of four boat journeys to East Portlemouth
Arriving at East Portlemouth
Group 2 is off
The group on Torcross beach
Riding the creek at South Pool
The group on Torcross beach
The group on Torcross beach
The return journey was, fortunately, fraught with fewer difficulties. When repairs had been effected to Luke’s tyre, damaged the previous evening during a skid, the twenty-strong group set off for the ferry to East Portlemouth under a cloudy but rainless sky.

When the complicated task of ferrying eighteen cycles across the Kingsbridge Estuary in a boat the size of a saucepan had been completed (it took four trips) the group set off for South Pool. It was near Waterhead that a passing ice-cream van was forced off the road and stripped of its entire stock; the gentleman concerned considered that there must have been divine intervention, as this was the last day of his season!

Lunch on the beach at Torcross was particularly enjoyable. When everyone had finished running around, taking photographs and pouring pebbles down people’s shirts the group set off once more, heading this time for Strete and Tuckenhay. Once again young Philip managed to get a lift in the car for quite a bit of the journey, as did Mark Moxham whose bottom bracket had finally given up the unequal struggle to hold itself together.

A short stop for light refreshments near Dreyton was followed by the discovery of a large hole in Luke’s front tyre. The repair effected at the hostel had been only temporary but it had been expected to last until he got home. Philip appeared dismayed at the discovery as he knew only too well that there was only room for two people in the car.

Corkscrew Hill brought the group, inevitably, to Bow Hill. Philip tackled it bravely and managed to continue all the way to Totnes despite being irritated from time to time by the sight of Luke and Mark speeding past in the car. On one occasion it was Luke and Paul in the car – Paul had loaned Mark his bike so that he could have a chance to do some cycling!

Salcombe 1985 was certainly different. Support cars can sometimes be a nuisance, but on this occasion it proved essential and added something to the whole adventure. Let’s hope that 1986 will see further cooperation between our local Sections and that we are able to maintain the high standards of fun and adventure that were set by this year’s event.

Friday 27 September 1985Evening ride: HolneDry, warm and dark
9 present: Mark Hunt, Paul Hunt, Michael Jones, Luke Rake, Unknown Rider 1, Andrew Simmons, Marc Thorp, Paul Willard, Peter Willard
The last evening rider of the season called for something a little special, and the children's room at the Church House Inn, Holne provided that something. There was everything from reasonably-priced, high-quality meals to bar billiards and darts - and all in the privacy of our own room.

Sunday 29 September 1985Day ride: FernworthyFoggy, then sunny
9 present: Daniel Coles, Brett Jamieson, Michael Jones, Philip Mills, Unknown Rider 1, Andrew Simmons, Mark Stott (14, Ipplepen), Simon Whale, Paul Willard
Everyone met at Bovey as planned, including one or two unexpected individuals who had earlier discovered that Torbay’s ‘50’ was going to be in 3½ hours, not 4.

Thick fog, which had dogged the ride all morning, persisted through coffee at Manaton until lunchtime. The afternoon, however, was superb, making the ride to the reservoir particularly enjoyable.

Refreshments at Widecombe provided everyone with sufficient energy to tackle the hill to Cold East Cross, from where Torbay and Buckfastleigh members separated for some rather late returns home.

Tuesday 1 October 1985
1900-2200
Social: Annual General Meeting
11 present: Colin Brierly (Adult, Paignton), Grace Dovell, Mark Hunt, John Iles, Michael Jones, Paul Palmer, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, Roger Simmons, Paul Willard, Peter Willard
A number of decisions were made at this lively meeting.

There will be two junior tours in 1986, to North Devon at Easter and Scotland in August.

A regular fortnightly social programme will be coordinated by Roger Simmons, with Paul Palmer as treasurer.

Section status will be requested at the DA AGM.

Approximately half of all rides will be organised jointly with Torbay Section where possible.

Occasional hostel weekends will be organised throughout the year.

Efforts will be made to improve Section riding standards.

All activities will be suitable for younger riders.

Sunday 6 October 1985Afternoon ride (With Torbay CTC): DenburyTorrential rain
1 present: Michael Jones
Only Michael braved the elements for the October afternoon ride. To his surprise there were six Torbay members waiting at the Denbury meeting point, including Steven Bowles on his new Raleigh Weekender.

There followed a half-hearted attempt at a ride to Landscove, but this was hastily abandoned when it became obvious that the rain was not going to give up its attempt to terminate the ride.

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