South Dartmoor CTC

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Sunday 25 May 1986Day ride (With Torbay CTC): FernworthyWindy
5 present: Richard Burge, Steve Hughes, Michael Jones, Andrew Simmons, John Stuart
Young Steve Hughes managed to drag his school music teacher Will Carnell out of his leisurely Sunday morning breakfast after we had finished off all the chocolate cakes in Lustleigh’s Primrose café. We had a long climb ahead of us (no doubt to Will’s relief) so we had to press on, through Sanduck and Batworthy to the destination whre lunch was enjoyed despite a strong breeze.

The return route took us past Grimspound to Rowden. From here the Dockwell road led us into new territory, namely the track from Jordan to Ponsworthy which follows the West Webburn river. Several people managed to get wet or muddy whilst negotiating the numerous streams and stiles that dotted the route, but everyone loves these mad chaotic adventures into the unknown so there were no complaints.

Tuesday 27 May 1986Evening ride: WoodlandSunny
8 present: Richard Burge, Michael Jones, Mark Moxham, Paul Palmer, Richard Palmer, Andrew Simmons, Roger Simmons, Jamie Wicks (11, Totnes)
Exploration of the lanes and tracks between Pridhamsleigh and Levaton reminded us how little we know the maize of lanes in our own locality. We stopped frequently but the evening was perfect so no-one complained.

Sunday 1 June 1986Afternoon ride: Invitation RideWarm and dry
15 present: Brian Gant (Adult, Totnes), Richard Hopper, Steve Hughes, John Iles, Michael Jones, Sarah MacKay (13, Totnes), Ann Palmer (Adult, Totnes), Paul Palmer, Richard Palmer, Andrew Simmons, Di Simmons, Jane Simmons, Roger Simmons, Suzie Simmons, Paul Willard
Four newcomers accepted the invitation, and the merry band set off along Colston road, the first-timers tackling the switchback lane with the sort of good humour that is almost second nature when one lives in such mountainous terrain.

Passing through Staverton we proceeded towards Broadhempston. Having rounded up young Hughes, who had taken it upon himself to follow the ‘easy’ route, we headed towards Landscove, pausing only to make a fuss of a delightful puppy and admire the panoramic vista of Ron Greet’s second-hand tractor yard.

A couple of rough tracks (with lots of lovely mud) produced a couple of punctures. Following the ‘interesting’ drop from Five Lanes (Buckfastleigh version) to Dart Bridge the afternoon was pleasantly concluded with refreshments kindly provided by the Palmer family at Buckfast.

Friday 6 June 1986Evening ride: DartingtonSunny
13 present: Wayne Bolton (11, Totnes), Gabrielle Bourn, Jeremy Ford, Stan Ford (Adult, Totnes), Richard Hopper, Michael Jones, Paul Palmer, Richard Palmer, Vicky Sanders, Andrew Simmons, Roger Simmons, Mark Stott, Jamie Wicks
This was one of those dreamy summer evenings when you never really want to go home. The warm, dusk air, heavy with the sweet smell of pollen, drugged us all into a sense of timelessness as we wound our way between the hedgerows from Rattery to Dartington.

By the time we had explored the riverside path to Totnes and the track to Littlehempston, the huge red sun was setting behind the trees, reminding us that, as with all good things, the ride would soon be over.

Sunday 8 June 1986Day ride (With Torbay CTC): Sorley TunnelSunny
10 present: David Bitner (13, Devon), Gabrielle Bourn, Richard Burge, Richard Hopper, Steve Hughes, Brett Jamieson, Michael Jones, Vicky Sanders, Andrew Simmons, Paul Willard
Richard Burge finds an alternative route to access the tunnel that doesn't involve mud
Richard Hopper decides to remove his shoes and socks; the herd of cows looks on from the gate
Sorley Tunnel
June was certainly turning out to be a good month for cycling as twenty four cyclists gathered at Totnes in bright sunshine. The Torbay group stayed with us through Moreleigh and Woodleigh, diverting at New Bridge towards their own destination.

We continued to Sorley Farm, where Michael’s relations pointed us in the direction of the old railway tunnel. At one time this formed part of the South Brent to Kingsbridge branch line; today, however, its main function was to provide some spooky entertainment as we stumbled along its half mile of blackness. Additional entertainment was provided by a herd of over-inquisitive cows who completely surrounded us during lunch, and by Richard Hopper who decided that the muddy access could be best negotiated with bare feet!

When everyone had finally emerged, scratched and muddy, there was just time for a clean-up before enjoying the tea and cakes that had kindly been laid on for us in the conservatory up at the farm. It was getting late when we finally got out of the rocking chairs to prepare for the journey home, but there are occasions when time becomes the least of our worries.

Tuesday 10 June 1986Social: Kingsley
15 present: Wayne Bolton, Richard Burge, Jeremy Ford, Stan Ford, Steve Hughes, Mark Hunt, Michael Jones, Sarah MacKay, Paul Palmer, Richard Palmer, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, Jane Simmons, Suzie Simmons, Paul Willard
The venue for our midsummer social was provided by Paul and Richard Palmer who kindly laid on a variety of games and refreshments at their Buckfast home on this sunny evening.

Sunday 15 June 1986Day ride (With Torbay CTC): Blackingstone RockTropical
12 present: David Bitner, Richard Burge, Richard Hopper, Steve Hughes, Brett Jamieson, Michael Jones, Simon Lewis, Philip Mills, Martin Olney, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, John Stuart
Andrew Billington
Andrew Billington (I think) wades the ford at North Bovey, with Simon Lewis (I think) behind
The River Bovey entering the ford at North Bovey
Our ride to Blackingstone Rock for the DA meet-up involved passing perilously close to Lustleigh, the location of our favourite café. Several of the younger boys, who were ahead of the main group, had smelt the strawberry gateau and found their way to the café before anyone had chance to tell them there wasn’t time to stop. Michael was elected to perform the unenviable task of dragging them away from the doorway – the combination of their dismayed faces and the heavenly smell almost cracked him, but not quite.

The route to the Rock involved the steep climb towards Pepperdon (which conveniently boasted a cool freshwater spring at the half-way point) and a hair-raising encounter with a mad tractor driver. Everyone was rewarded at the top, however, as the weather was perfect and the views magnificent.

Musings about lazing on the rock until sunset eventually gave way to realism. We bade farewell to the Exeter group and set off for the nearest water-hole, which unfortunately for Geoff Troupe turned out to be the ford at North Bovey. Geoff, who lives at Bovey Tracey, had been thinking about joining the club for several months, but today he was enjoying a peaceful afternoon by the river. No doubt he was mildly amused at the sight of numerous fully-clothed cyclists splashing around in the river, but he must have been thinking of St Trinians when we first arrived on the scene!

After all that excitement a Widecombe cream tea seemed to be the order of the day, giving Luke the opportunity to celebrate his fourteenth birthday in style.

Friday 20 June 1986Evening ride: SpitchwickGrey and misty
10 present: Gabrielle Bourn, Hunter Brimmacombe (16, Totnes), Richard Burge, Jeremy Ford, Stan Ford, Michael Jones, Richard Palmer, Vicky Sanders, Andrew Simmons, Jamie Wicks
Andrew Simmons and Richard Palmer endure the icy waters at Spitchwick for just three minutes
Vicky, Gabrielle, Richard Palmer and Andrew, who had been looking forward to a swim at Spitchwick for weeks, could bear only three minutes in the icy water on this rather humid evening.

Sunday 22 June 1986Day ride (With Torbay CTC): Burrator ReservoirWarm and sunny
9 present: David Bitner, Richard Burge, Steve Hughes, John Iles, Brett Jamieson, Michael Jones, Andrew Simmons, Mark Stott, Mark Williams
The reservoir at Burrator is always a popular destination, and with such glorious weather everyone was assured of an enjoyable day. The route, through Cornwood, Cadover Bridge, Princetown and Hexworthy, adds a great deal to the ride of course, encompassing as it does the white clay mountains of Lee Moor, the wooded valleys of Sheepstor and the open moorland of Dartmoor.

There was a little rain at 3pm, but we had been expecting it and enjoyed tea in the Foxtor café at Princetown until the sun returned once more.

The two most notable incidents of the day were when one of Brett's stunts went wrong at Cadover (he fell into a muddy ditch) and when Mark Williams injured himself near Scorriton. Fortunately the damage was not too serious, but it was nevertheless a disappointing end to an otherwise fabulous ride.

Tuesday 24 June 1986Evening ride: RedmountRain
5 present: Jeremy Ford, Richard Hopper, Michael Jones, Mark Moxham, Vicky Sanders
Rain (or the look of it) stopped play this evening, so refreshments were arranged at Redmount.

Sunday 29 June 1986Day ride (With Torbay CTC): Easdon TorMixed
12 present: David Bitner, Richard Burge, Richard Hopper, Steve Hughes, Michael Jones, Ian Malem (15, Torquay), Martin Olney, Mark Pearce (Junior, Devon), Vicky Sanders, Andrew Simmons, Simon Whale, Damian Williams (15, Torquay)
Early thunderstorms and torrential rain resulted in a delayed 1pm start for those members sensible enough to ring the Cycle Control Centre at Redmount. The few brave souls who started at the planned time of 10am were, however, rewarded when the sun appeared an hour later.

The South Dartmoor late starters met Torbay at Bickington only to find poor Martin Olney looking the worse for wear after a bad fall on gravel. He clearly needed stitches in his chin so Kevin escorted him to Ashburton hospital while Michael rang his parents. I can’t remember when we’ve had such a nasty accident on a club run: with Mark’s grazes last week it seems as though we’re going through a bad patch at the moment.

There was only time for a brief ride, up to Haytor and along the pretty road to Manaton which we seldom use for some reason. But there’s always enough time to visit the Primrose café at Lustleigh, and today was no exception.

Friday 4 July 1986Evening ride: Cross FurzesDrizzle
3 present: Richard Hopper, Michael Jones, Jamie Wicks
Perhaps Dartmoor wasn’t the best choice of destination in view of the miserable weather.

Sunday 6 July 1986Afternoon ride: HuccabySunny
10 present: Richard Burge, Daniel Coles, Steve Hughes, Andrew Hutching (17, Devon), Michael Jones, Warren Masters, Richard Palmer, Kevin Presland, Luke Rake, Jamie Wicks
Representation from seven different areas of South Devon helped to make this afternoon jaunt across Dartmoor a very special event. Luke’s appearance on Mini-Shopper (a poor relation of Super-Shopper perhaps?) caused quite a stir, rivalled only by news of the Mens’ Singles tennis final result overheard on a car radio.

Tuesday 8 July 1986Evening ride: Forder GreenSunny
8 present: Wayne Bolton, Gabrielle Bourn, Hunter Brimmacombe, Richard Burge, Jeremy Ford, Richard Hopper, Michael Jones, Vicky Sanders
This was the evening when silly jokes dominated the conversation. Quite what Vicky thought of her latest nickname “Penelope Pitstop” was difficult to determine.

Sunday 13 July 1986Day ride (With Torbay CTC): Treasure HuntSunny
17 present: David Bitner, Gabrielle Bourn, Richard Burge, Daniel Coles, Richard Hopper, Steve Hughes, John Iles, Brett Jamieson, Michael Jones, Ian Malem, Warren Masters, Mark Moxham, Martin Olney, Mark Pearce, Luke Rake, Vicky Sanders, Damian Williams
A staggering thirty five people turned up for this special event. It had originally been scheduled for 11th August 1985 but had to be postponed owing to a poor turnout! The participants were split into five teams regardless of Section as we’d decided to run it as a fun event rather than a competition.

If the route wasn’t to everyone’s liking – well, you can’t please all the people all the time. The general consensus, however, was that the idea should be developed next year. We had great fun organising it – thank you for supporting it.

Friday 18 July 1986Evening ride: Avon DamSunny
7 present: Wayne Bolton, Damian Cannon (15, Reading), Jeremy Ford, Michael Jones, Richard Palmer, Vicky Sanders, Andrew Simmons
Wayne and Jeremy, our two under-elevens, seemed to get stronger as the ride progressed, a factor which allowed us to make our first evening venture along the Abbot’s Way. One had to feel a little sorry for the occupants of the steady stream of vehicles that could be seen on the distant A38: we had the beautiful Dean Moor to ourselves.

Saturday 19 July 1986Weekend ride: Steps Bridge Day 1Sunny
20 present: David Bitner, Richard Burge, Matthew Burrows (14, Torquay), Damian Cannon, Daniel Coles, Richard Hopper, Steve Hughes, John Iles, Brett Jamieson, Michael Jones, Warren Masters, Mark Moxham, Paul Palmer, Richard Palmer, Vicky Sanders, Andrew Simmons, Roger Simmons, Robert Spence (Adult, Torquay), Mark Stott, Mark Williams
We were joined on the youth hostel weekend by Damian Cannon of Reading CTC who was getting in some practice for the Scotland tour. Having successfully rendezvoused with assorted bods at Drumbridges, Gappah and Starcross, lunch was eaten on the banks of the Exe estuary.

The canal towpath was bedecked with luxuriant vegetation, which impeded progress somewhat but provided ideal training for next year’s Venezuelan tour (book now with Section Secretaries).

Leaving Exeter by way of Alphington we passed through Shillingford St George and Dunchideock before the long climb over Haldon and the long drop to the Teign House Inn, where a head count revealed that we had lost Budgie. The group was split into a number of posses and a systematic search made, but we were unable to locate him so we headed for the hostel in the hope that he’d made his own way there – which he did eventually, arriving at 8.30pm much to the relief of all concerned.

Sunday 20 July 1986Weekend ride: Steps Bridge Day 2Sunny
20 present: David Bitner, Richard Burge, Matthew Burrows (14, Torquay), Damian Cannon, Daniel Coles, Richard Hopper, Steve Hughes, John Iles, Brett Jamieson, Michael Jones, Warren Masters, Mark Moxham, Paul Palmer, Richard Palmer, Vicky Sanders, Andrew Simmons, Roger Simmons, Robert Spence (Adult, Torquay), Mark Stott, Mark Williams
Mark Stott and Brett Jamieson on the Hunters' Path
Riding the Hunters' Path near Fingle Bridge
Leaving the hostel next morning we followed the Teign upstream to Clifford Bridge where the day’s first repairs were effected. Fingle Bridge was reached by way of a long climb and a wrist-jarring descent, and popular opinion decreed that we stop for lunch on the Hunters’ Path (is this a record – only seven miles before lunch?).

Despite further workshop sessions we were only fifteen minutes late arriving at Widecombe to meet the Afternoon Riders (Richard Hopper, Roger Simmons and Richard Palmer) which brought numbers to twenty for our cream tea finale.

Tuesday 22 July 1986Evening ride: SigfordSunny
9 present: Gabrielle Bourn, Richard Burge, Jeremy Ford, Richard Hopper, Michael Jones, Paul Palmer, Richard Palmer, Vicky Sanders, Andrew Simmons
This evening’s circular route encompassed hitherto unexplored lanes (and hills) between Ashburton school, Owlacombe and Sigford, and even a new track at Goodstone – John Iles take note!

Sunday 27 July 1986Day ride: Lannacombe BeachDrizzle
5 present: David Bitner, Richard Burge, Richard Hopper, Steve Hughes, Michael Jones
The Moreleigh Church pick-up, whilst undoubtedly costing support from Torbay youngsters, did allow a different outward route via Diptford and Kingsbridge. In view of the weather, Lannacombe was abandoned in favour of Torcross, where a happy hour was spent on the beach and in the café.

The sun had emerged by the time we had finished our prolonged tea stop at Higher Poole Farm, East Allington (another of Michael’s relations), making the return trip through Totnes even more enjoyable than expected.

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