South Dartmoor CTC


Sunday 13 October 1985Day ride: DartmeetSunny and warm
7 present: Karen Harris (Adult, Devon), John Iles, Brett Jamieson, Michael Jones, Luke Rake, Paul Willard, Peter Willard
After struggling up to the moor via Holne and a track we made our first stop at Hangman’s Pit to collect the (very soggy) letterbox there. Combestone Tor yielded a second box, put there by Peter only a few days earlier. During the search Peter dropped £1.50 in coins and a mad scramble ensued to find the missing ‘treasures’.

A vague search along O Brook came up with another box, and then continuing to Hexworthy we collected the box on the Forest Inn. (For those who haven’t guessed yet, this was a letterbox ride).

Lunch by the river at Huccaby Bridge was followed by a swoop down into Dartmeet where ice-creams were consumed under the hot sun. The ascent of Dartmeet Hill saw the group divide, some taking the road and the rest of us taking one of Michael’s scenic short-cuts up to Bel Tor Corner, passing the Coffin Stone on the way.

After collecting boxes at Simons Lake (bog, marsh, mire or some other suitably wet description) and Sharp Tor, and finding that Lucky Tor was inaccessible, we headed for home via Leusdon, Spitchwick and Hembury Woods.

Tuesday 15 October 1985Social: Cycle Maintenance
10 present: Steve Hughes (13, Dartington), Mark Hunt, John Iles, Michael Jones, Paul Palmer, Luke Rake, Jane Simmons (Junior, Buckfastleigh), Roger Simmons, Paul Willard, Peter Willard
If Luke thought he was going to get away with a re-greased bottom bracket and clean hands he was in for a shock: the gooey black stuff that must once have been grease required the persuasion of small fingers and a cloth before it would leave the bike, and Luke's fingers seemed just the right size!

Sunday 20 October 1985Day ride (With Torbay CTC): Haytor TramwayChilly
9 present: Steve Hughes, Michael Jones, Kevin Presland, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, Jane Simmons, Roger Simmons, Mark Stott, Peter Willard
When everyone had gathered at the Bickington pickup there were around nineteen cyclists milling around in their colourful garments. There was some confusion at Ilsington for those unaware of the Presland coffee service, but the group was soon reunited for the ride along the granite tramway.

This railway, the earliest in Devon, was constructed in 1820 from granite sets laid lengthwise and cut with a flange. Its function was to carry granite from the Haytor quarries to the Stover canal. Records suggest that a train of twelve adapted road wagons were pulled by eighteen stalwart horses during the railway’s fifty or so years of operation.

One of the above-mentioned quarries, whilst providing suitable amusement for the lunch stop, afforded little protection from the chill wind. There were few regrets therefore when the leaders set off across the open moor towards Smallacombe Rocks and Becka Brook. A water fight, some letterboxes and the remains of Graetor village provided some opportunity for rest during the arduous climb to Hound Tor, although the scenery was so delightful that one hardly needed an excuse to stop.

At this point a decision was made to have tea at Widecombe. Someone (Kevin I think) suggested that the track from Jay’s Grave to Natsworthy would make an interesting route, being downhill all the way and reasonably scenic. The advice was accepted, and for the next forty minutes efforts were directed at traversing a number of regularly spaced boggy strips that looked as though they were specially watered at weekly intervals to keep cyclists away.

By the time Matthew’s chain had been freed from his chainwheel and the mountain bike trials had been completed at Natsworthy the afternoon was far from young. Tea at Widecombe was not therefore an extended affair, and Torbay and Dart Valley groups separated at Cold East Cross.

Sunday 27 October 1985Day ride (With Torbay CTC): Prawle PointSunny but cold
7 present: Steve Hughes, Brett Jamieson, Michael Jones, Philip Mills, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, Mark Stott
This was definitely ‘one of those rides’. The day got off to a good start with a good turnout at Totnes, but things began to go wrong after lunch. We were at Chillington, and everyone voted to continue to the destination rather than divert back to Slapton.

Well, Luke took us along a path to Ellender Cove where everyone amused themselves for a considerable time by exploring caves and playing ‘chicken’. We got back to Torcross by 3.30, stopping only long enough to refuel before setting off once more for Strete.

It was here that Philip got his first puncture. Colin took the other Torbay youngsters on to Totnes as some were without lights. Meanwhile the puncture had been repaired and the tube had gone down again. This unhappy occurrence repeated itself again before the ride was done, and a few shame-faced individuals arrived home at 7.40, tired and hungry, expecting supper to be still available.

Tuesday 29 October 1985Social: Open Evening
10 present: Steve Hughes, Mark Hunt, John Iles, Michael Jones, Paul Palmer, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, Jane Simmons, Roger Simmons, Paul Willard
Most of the evening was spent contentedly roasting chestnuts on a log fire thanks to the efforts of Andrew, Luke and Michael that morning in collecting them. A spooky-looking pumpkin watched the proceedings from the relative safety of the piano lid.

Sunday 3 November 1985Afternoon ride: Scoriton DownCloudy / showery
12 present: Steve Hughes, Michael Jones, Paul Palmer, Kevin Presland, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, Jane Simmons, Roger Simmons, Suzie Simmons, Mark Stott, Mary Willard (Junior, Buckfastleigh), Peter Willard
Mark Stott and Kevin cycled from Torbay and Plymouth respectively to join our ride across the moor. After climbing Wallaford hill (which was pretty aweful) we cycled along the stony track to Lud Gate. Peter Willard chickened out halfway through the ride but the rest of us carried on.

The boys will insist on having their little joke: this time a couple of us got wet after being assured that a ford was shallower than it really was. Andrew and Luke looked for their 101st letterbox but did not find it before the rain set in. All in all this was a very enjoyable afternoon.

Saturday 9 November 1985Weekend ride: Maypool Youth Hostel Day 1Cold
15 present: Richard Burge (13, Ashburton), Daniel Coles, Steve Hughes, Mark Hunt, John Iles, Michael Jones, Paul Palmer, Kevin Presland, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, Di Simmons (Adult, Buckfastleigh), Jane Simmons, Roger Simmons, Suzie Simmons, Mark Stott
Maypool hostel was warm and welcoming for the DA bonfire night. There was strong representation from Torbay, North Devon, Dart Valley, Dawlish and Plymouth groups making the evening one of the best DA meet-ups we have had for some time. The youngsters certainly seemed to enjoy themselves running around the balconies and stairs of the hostel. Di and Suzie just joined in for the evening.

Sunday 10 November 1985Weekend ride: Maypool Youth Hostel Day 2Cold
15 present: Richard Burge (13, Ashburton), Daniel Coles, Steve Hughes, Mark Hunt, John Iles, Michael Jones, Paul Palmer, Kevin Presland, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, Di Simmons (Adult, Buckfastleigh), Jane Simmons, Roger Simmons, Suzie Simmons, Mark Stott
Sunday’s mystery ride began (for the weekenders) with a tour of the Paignton coastline, shortly followed by coffee at Colin’s house: quite how everyone managed to squeeze into one room I shall never know. The group then made their way somewhat tortuously towards Gappah.

Meanwhile the day riders (John, Mark Hunt, Kevin and Richard) set out from Buckfastleigh. As they weren’t meeting the hostellers until midday they decided to take a circuitous route to Gappah via Bickington and Denbury. A puncture incurred by Richard proved difficult to repair and we didn’t reach Gappah until 12.45 – to find only an advance party of three awaiting us!

The rest finally arrived at about 1.30 and by the time lunches had been consumed and repairs effected it was 2.30 before we set off again. A few decided to go on ahead to Laurence Castle while the rest of us settled on a more leisurely (except for the hailstorm) ride via Exeter Forest and Chudleigh. New boy Richard parted company with his bike on a rather sharp bend, shedding bits with gay abandon.

We bid farewell to Torbay at Chudleigh Knighton and returned home via Bickington and the A38 (ugh!). Person of the Ride award went to Richard ‘Wrecker’ Burge for services to the cycle repair industry.

Tuesday 12 November 1985Social: Highway Code Quiz
11 present: Richard Burge, Steve Hughes, Mark Hunt, John Iles, Michael Jones, Paul Palmer, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, Jane Simmons, Roger Simmons, Paul Willard
The first Summerlands social (the Simmons house) was a great success, with everyone learning (or re-learning) some aspect of the Highway Code. There was also a chance to watch the previous week's episode of Tripods, mainly for the benefit of those who attended the hostel weekend.

Sunday 17 November 1985Day ride: Hittisleigh for Devon DA AGMSunny and warm
7 present: John Iles, Brett Jamieson, Michael Jones, Philip Mills, Kevin Presland, Luke Rake, Jane Simmons
The day was ideal for cycling – clear blue skies and a warming sun. However the Dart Valley group decided against taking advantage of the favourable conditions, travelling instead by car – not any old car mind you, but Michael’s newly-acquired Volvo 345DL, generously purchase for use by the club on days when inclement weather makes cycling a less than inviting prospect.

The wondrous vehicle whisked us luxuriously to the northern wastelands via the Primrose café at Lustleigh. Here John was unfortunately unable to sample the much-vaunted cakes as he had consumed an excessively large breakfast not long previously.

The meeting will doubtless be reported elsewhere, so suffice it to mention that the major item affecting us was the approval of our application to become an official Section, henceforth to be known as the South Dartmoor Section. Following a splendid tea (many thanks to all concerned) we headed home in sumptuous luxury, arriving with plenty of time to spare before the penultimate episode of Howard’s Way. (Did you see it Kevin?)

Sunday 24 November 1985Day ride (With Torbay CTC): Noss MayoCold
5 present: Steve Hughes, Brett Jamieson, Michael Jones, Kevin Presland, Andrew Simmons
The route to Noss Mayo put up surprisingly little resistance as we speeded towards the destination for a 12.30 lunch. The bus shelter, not being the warmest of places to enjoy an afternoon nap, was quickly vacated for a warming meander around the village, which looked delightful in the autumn sunshine.

The decision to try the short cut from Membland to Brownstone was quickly regretted by those whose mudguard clearance was less than 10mm. By the time Brett, Mark and Michael had got through the quagmire the others were beginning to regret it too!

The homeward route via Avonwick and Totnes was not easy for those affected by the cold, but pieces of chocolate proved sufficient to coax them home before the night frost set in.

Tuesday 26 November 1985Social: Wheels
10 present: Richard Burge, Steve Hughes, John Iles, Michael Jones, Paul Palmer, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, Jane Simmons, Suzie Simmons, Paul Willard
The November schedule was concluded with a discussion about various aspects of cycle wheels and their maintenance. Any complaints from parents about children riding around on square wheels should be directed to the club's solicitors at Godalming.

Sunday 1 December 1985Afternoon ride (With Torbay CTC): Bradley WoodsMonsoon
4 present: Michael Jones, Paul Palmer, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons
Progress towards the East Ogwell pick-up was aided by a short break in the showers and a favourable tailwind along the A38. A brief glance at the map revealed an interesting shortcut from Millcross Bridge to Little Holbeam. We made our way through the mud and puddles until the Kestor Brook posed a problem in the form of a high-running ford. Luke spoke bravely of crossing it single-handed until he had carried out a depth test, whereupon he quickly followed the others over the little clapper bridge.

After meeting the Torbay group (all two of them) we continued to Broadhempston. From there we made our own way home through the rain via Green (well, more brown actually) Lane.

Sunday 8 December 1985Day ride (With Torbay CTC): HallsandsSunny
7 present: Richard Burge, Michael Jones, Kevin Presland, Andrew Simmons, Jane Simmons, Roger Simmons, Simon Whale
Some members felt that Hallsands was a little too far away for comfort, so the group divided near East Allington with three Torbay members proceeding to the destination and the South Dartmoor group diverting to Stokenham and Torcross for lunch and silly games on the beach.

An early departure at 2.15 allowed time for a visit to the Pine Lodge Guest House at Forces Cross near Blackawton before returning to Buckfastleigh via Tuckenhay and Totnes.

Tuesday 10 December 1985Social: Games Evening
11 present: Richard Burge, Steve Hughes, Mark Hunt, Michael Jones, Paul Palmer, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, Roger Simmons, Suzie Simmons, Marc Thorp, Paul Willard
This was a fun evening, the fun being provided by computer games, table football, backgammon, table skittles and records. The social was rounded off with some delicious sausage rolls, mince pies and jam tarts.

Sunday 15 December 1985Day ride: Lawrence CastleFine
9 present: Richard Burge, Brett Jamieson, Michael Jones, Kevin Presland, Andrew Simmons, Roger Simmons, Mark Stott, John Stuart, Simon Whale
There was time for sustenance at the newsagents in Chudleigh whilst waiting for the six senior Dawlish Diddlers riders who had arranged to meet us there. When they arrived we were amused to hear how Jonno had woken up only fifteen minutes before the Dawlish start time and still managed to be on the ride: the vision of him biting slices off his cucumber because he didn’t have time to search for a knife was particularly comical.

On arrival at the castle (tower) we lifted our bikes over a padlocked gate and rode along the track through Tower Wood where we quickly found a suitable place for lunch. Michael was then able to answer the many questions regarding the contents of his granary sandwiches.

The highlight of the day was the ride down Telegraph Hill where some of us reached a speed of 50mph. Simon unfortunately broke his rear hub at Kenford and had to phone home for transport. The rest of us accompanied the Dawdlers back to Dawlish, caught a train to Newton Abbot and still got home by 5.30 – quite an eventful day.

Sunday 22 December 1985Day ride (With Torbay CTC): Cockwood for Christmas LunchMainly dry
11 present: Richard Burge, Daniel Coles, Steve Hughes, John Iles, Brett Jamieson, Michael Jones, Paul Palmer, Kevin Presland, Luke Rake, Mark Stott, John Stuart
At last! Successful rendezvous at Gappah! Yes, believe it or not gentle reader, the Torbay and South Dartmoor Sections finally achieved the impossible – meeting up in the right place at the right time. Perhaps the ‘Gappah Jinx’ has been beaten once and for all?

After the exhilarating descent to Starcross with its tricky hairpin we made our way to our lunch stop, the Ship Inn at Cockwood. A section of the establishment had been reserved for us by prior arrangement and the assembled throng (of twenty) tucked into a variety of dishes, made all the more tasty by the generous discounts given. (I can recommend the vegetable curry!)

We eventually tore ourselves away and a number of overladen bicycles made their way to Dawlish Warren and then to Dawlish via the coast path (actually a footpath so be sensible if you use it). The final section was awash under heavy seas so we switched to the road for the five minute journey to our next port of call, Hawtreys, where abundant quantities of mince pies, cakes and tea were generously provided by Don and Grace Hassall.

A few softies wanted to catch the train to Newton Abbot again but the majority decision was to cycle, and darkness fell as we passed through Bishopsteignton. After a short delay in Newton to effect lighting repairs we arrived home at about 6.30, ready for our supper (small portions of course).

Friday 27 December 1985Social: Christmas Spectacular
13 present: Richard Burge, Steve Hughes, John Iles, Brett Jamieson, Michael Jones, Kevin Presland, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, Jane Simmons, Suzie Simmons, Mark Stott, John Stuart, Paul Willard
In all there were eighteen people at Redmount for our five-hour Christmas social, organised in association with Torbay and Dawlish. A preview of our home movie 'Jason', starring and produced by a number of Section members, concluded a marathon session of adventure games, videos, music, computer games, mince pies and ice creams, all provided within close proximity of a roaring log fire.

Saturday 28 December 1985Social: Cinema Trip - Back to the Future
1 present: Michael Jones
I think everyone enjoyed this film (all nineteen of us) at the Colony cinema, Torquay. Pure escapist fantasy of course, but what's wrong with that? Go and see it - it may even set you thinking about time travel and other imponderable mysteries: Is space endless? Do I exist or am I just a figment of someone else's imagination? Does life have an inner meaning?

[Attendance list incomplete]

Sunday 29 December 1985Day ride (With Torbay CTC): Bowerman's NoseCold
11 present: Tristram Brown (Junior, Devon), Richard Burge, Brett Jamieson, Michael Jones, Kevin Presland, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, Jane Simmons, Roger Simmons, Mark Stott, John Stuart
A brisk sunny start and we were winding or way up to the frosty peaks of Dartmoor, pausing only to be entertained by the Jolly Wally from Plymouth Poly. Stopping near Saddle Tor to discover the sledging properties of Luke’s backpack resulted in the strap snapping, but Brett generously rushed to the rescue and loaded the bag onto his carrier for the rest of the ride.

Lunch at the nose preceded a mass dilemma as to what to do next. The Torbay group decided to head back via Bovey whilst we continued our exploration of the frozen moorland scenery, discovering that the Jay’s Grave track was still unrideable owing to frozen hoof marks! A number of people came off whilst gingerly traversing icy stretches on the roads, including Michael - with a helping hand from Brett!

Stopping only in Widecombe for tea and cakes we made our way homeward via Ponsworthy, Holne Chase and Peartree.

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