South Dartmoor CTC

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Sunday 17 May 1987Afternoon ride: Invitation RideShowery
24 present: Chris Blight, James Brooks (13, Devon), Graham Burge, Richard Burge, Arran Cliff (14, Devon), Marc Dolley, Tim Dolley, Gary Duquemin, Julian Duquemin, Stephen Hodgson (11, Devon), Richard Hopper, Simon Hopper (15, Totnes), Philip Humphreys, Gary Johnson, Gareth Lee, Steven Marks (12, Devon), Warren Masters, Graham Moates, Jason Morris, Mark Morris, Mark Moxham, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, Ben Wyatt (10, Devon)
Along Colston road to Hood Manor, we carried on to Staverton and Broadhempston, our official goal. Some took the track from Beeston to Forder, while others avoided the promised (but non-existent) mud-bath and took the road instead. Some shaky navigation caused a delay before we met up again, and then it was back through Pridhamsleigh to Buckfastleigh and welcome refreshments for the remaining dozen at Crofters.

A special welcome to the newcomers - we hope to see you again.

Friday 22 May 1987Evening ride: Crofters SocialDamp
5 present: Richard Burge, Gary Johnson, Michael Jones, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons
The presence of some heavy showers was all that was required to adjourn the ride to Crofters for the evening.

Saturday 23 May 1987Weekend ride: Salcombe Youth Hostel Day 1Sunny
14 present: Chris Blight, Richard Burge, Paul Deslandes, Richard Hopper, Philip Humphreys, Gary Johnson, Michael Jones, Gareth Lee, Warren Masters, Mark Morris, Mark Moxham, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, John Stuart
On departure from the Totnes pick-up, Michael (and a few others) thought it might be a good idea to introduce the group to the scenic Sharpham Drive detour to Ashprington. This delightful track runs alongside the river Dart, passing through fields and woods along the way. On this particular occasion all the gates were padlocked and there was even an electric fence to add to the adventure! No-one could have failed to enjoy the ride however.

We arrived at Harbertonford about an hour later than planned and set off along the quiet lanes to Moreleigh, Woodleigh (via a new stretch of lane) and Sorley. The final section of main-road work was punctuated only with a chocolate stop at Malborough.

Salcombe estuary looked superb in the evening sunshine. All of our previous visits to Salcombe had been during the winter months, so the hostel looked and felt much warmer than we had expected. As usual we were assigned the attic dormitory - a secure location well away from the warden's quarters!

When suppers had been consumed there was just time for a walk along the coastal path above the hostel, which led us eventually to Starehole Bay and its associated beach.

Sunday 24 May 1987Weekend ride: Salcombe Youth Hostel Day 2Sunny
14 present: Chris Blight, Richard Burge, Paul Deslandes, Richard Hopper, Philip Humphreys, Gary Johnson, Michael Jones, Gareth Lee, Warren Masters, Mark Morris, Mark Moxham, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, John Stuart
Gary leads the water lovers at South Pool on Sunday morning, watched by Warren Masters and Paul Deslandes
Next morning we were to rendezvous with the day-riders at Torcross cafe, so we were obliged to take the ferry to East Portlemouth (in the usual three consignments) where we enjoyed morning coffee outside in the chill wind. The maize of lanes near South Pool inspired a massive bike swap, but eventually we arrived at Torcross at the same time as Richard and Mark (the day-riders).

There were, of course, the usual silly games on Slapton Sands after lunch, Chris being the one who suffered most from the huge waves that pounded the beach. The return journey was along the usual route through Strete, the only significant event being Warren's collision with a car at the top of the Slapton track. Fortunately he was unhurt, but it provided an opportunity for Michael to remind everyone of the importance of good road-safety.

Tuesday 26 May 1987Evening ride: Venford ReservoirSunny
4 present: Richard Burge, Michael Jones, Mark Morris, Andrew Simmons
This pleasant ride saw us roaming across the moor in search of a cuckoo that had been piercing the silence during our viewing of the reservoir. After wandering along the reservoir path for a while and discovering that the bird had flown farther away we abandoned the search and returned via Holne and Ashburton.

Sunday 31 May 1987Day ride: Hamel DownSunny
8 present: Richard Burge, Richard Hopper, Simon Hopper, Gary Johnson, Michael Jones, Jason Morris, Mark Morris, Mark Moxham
Another perfect day saw us taking some unfamiliar roads and tracks across Dartmoor, our home territory. Following an extortionately-priced coffee stop at the cafe near Haytor, the pretty road to Manaton brought us to a local gentleman who was highly enamoured with our 'new-fangled' gearing mechanisms. He could scarcely believe his eyes as the pedals flew around during our departing climb!

A hearty lunch by the stream at Natsworthy Manor prepared us for the spectacular ascent of Hamel Down, the rough ride across the ridge and the exhilarating descent to Widecombe, where the Wayside cafe once again entertained us for afternoon tea. By way of a change we decided to try a new hill out of the village, leading us up to Pudsham Down via Venton. Buckland-in-the-Moor and Spitchwick then formed our return route.

Friday 5 June 1987Evening ride: Crofters SocialMonsoon
8 present: Richard Hopper, Gary Johnson, Michael Jones, Jason Morris, Mark Morris, Luke Rake, Malcolm Sheldon (13, Ashburton), Andrew Simmons
It's strange how our youngsters seem to turn out even on the wettest days - we even had a new youngster from Ashburton today! I suppose we should be pleased to see such dedication to the Section.

Sunday 7 June 1987Afternoon ride: DartmeetDry
8 present: Richard Burge, Richard Hopper, Philip Humphreys, Brett Jamieson, Gary Johnson, Michael Jones, Mark Morris, Malcolm Sheldon
Having done their stint at the Torbay Fair Michael, Philip and Brett sped back to Buckfastleigh (by car) to join the club ride through Michelcombe to Venford. The high spot of the afternoon (apart from the visit to Combestone Tor) was the cafe at Dartmeet, which was new to us. The peacocks which strutted around the premises added a touch of elegance to the place, but the refreshments themselves were only of average quality.

Return via Dartmeet hill all but killed young Malcolm, but he seemed to have enjoyed his day and promised to come again.

Tuesday 9 June 1987Evening ride: LambsdownSunny
7 present: Richard Burge, Gary Duquemin, Julian Duquemin, Gary Johnson, Michael Jones, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons
In the wake of our previous disastrous attempt at the moorland crossing between Gidley Bridge and Cross Furzes we were pleased on this occasion to navigate ourselves quickly and efficiently along the correct route, admiring the panoramic views as we went. There really is nothing to beat the feeling of exhilaration received as one surges freely down the open moorland fields, dodging sheep and cattle along the way.

Sunday 14 June 1987Day ride: Plym ValleySunny
13 present: Chris Blight, Richard Burge, Richard Hopper, Simon Hopper, Gary Johnson, Michael Jones, Gareth Lee, Warren Masters, Jason Morris, Mark Morris, Luke Rake, Malcolm Sheldon, Andrew Simmons
Mark Morris talks to Richard Hopper on one of the Plym Valley viaducts, watched by Luke Rake
The original plan for this ride had included the use of a train from Totnes to Plymouth, the extra time gained allowing us to return via Princetown. A subsequent phonecall to BR however revealed that there were no suitable trains available, so we were prepared to change the destination as the youngsters rolled up to the start.

After making a courtesy visit to the Avonwick pick-up a unanimous decision was made to go for the original destination via the A38, making a return through Cornwood and Ivybridge. We don't normally choose to ride on dual carriageways, but everyone took advantage of the opportunity for a faster sprint and thoroughly enjoyed themselves in the morning sunshine.

When we finally reached the start of the cycle path (a BMX park was responsible for the delay) food was beginning to dominate the conversation. A delightful grassy glade, about a quarter of the way up the valley, made an excellent dining area, providing remote peace and woodland tranquility as added extras. Wildlife abounded here - the whole scene could easily have been taken from a storybook picture.

We followed the old railway track for several scenic miles, crossing three viaducts and blundering through a pitch-black tunnel along the way (this latter activity giving plenty of scope for amusement). The youngsters still showed no signs of wilting, so Richard and Michael decided to risk the originally-planned moorland return.

This route got off to a bad start when the last stretch of track to Clearbrook turned out to be cut off nearly at the end, and two punctures and a collision were collected during the backtracking. Nevertheless we soon braved the hills through Wigford Down and Meavy and even had the time (and energy) to divert past Burrator reservoir, which always seems to have a magnetic attraction.

But then began the hard work. The road to Princetown proved to be little short of a four mile climb, and quite a steep one at that. As if that wasn't bad enough, the thunder clouds that seemed to have been hovering over the moor throughout the day now deprived us of our sunshine so that when we finally arrived at the Fox Tor cafe we were more than ready to enjoy its warmth and other delights. Some of the lads queued up outside the gents toilets - for the hot air driers!

This stop saved the day for many of us, the return route through Hexworthy feeling relatively easy despite its occasional climbs. When the sunshine returned at Scorriton everyone felt pleased to have completed the Section's hardest ever ride. But there were more rewards to come - a full tea at Crofters was all that was needed to complete one of our most adventurous rides of the year.

Friday 19 June 1987Evening ride: SpitchwickSunny
10 present: Richard Burge, Gary Duquemin, Jeremy Ford, Stan Ford, Paul Hamlyn-White (13, Totnes), Simon Hopper, Gary Johnson, Michael Jones, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons
Some of the group took the Shuttaford track through Hembury Woods by way of a change, but he main event of the evening was the swim at the destination, when Andrew took Luke's shoe across the pool and later had to swim back to fetch it.

Sunday 21 June 1987Day ride: Blackingstone RockSunny
11 present: Chris Blight, Richard Burge, Richard Hopper, Simon Hopper, Brett Jamieson, Gary Johnson, Michael Jones, Gareth Lee, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, John Stuart
Negotiating the road works at the entry to the Lustleigh cycle path at Bovey Tracey
Simon Hopper tries - and fails - to get out of the photo at the Bovey Tracey pick-up
Brett Jamieson at the North Bovey ford.
Fun at the Ford, North Bovey. Richard Burge on the far side, Andrew Simmons, Brett Jamieson, Gareth
Chris Blight at the North Bovey ford
Exeter A Section decided to join South Dartmoor Section for this joint ride, but sadly the meeting didn't take place as planned because the Sections went to the rock on different Sundays! Evidently the geographical location of the Sections in Devon does not aid their intercommunications.

The ride turned out to be another favourite with the members. No doubt the Primrose café helped to get the day off to a good start, but the water frolics at North Bovey's ford and the ice-cream stop at Hound Tor rounded off proceedings nicely.

Tuesday 23 June 1987Evening ride: Staverton BridgeDry
11 present: Wayne Bolton, Jeremy Ford, Stan Ford, Catherine Hopper (10, Totnes), Richard Hopper, Toby Hopper (7, Totnes), Gary Johnson, Michael Jones, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, John Stuart
The four under-elevens coped well with this leisurely spin through the local countryside.

Sunday 28 June 1987Day ride (With Torbay CTC): FernworthyDrizzle / sun
13 present: Chris Blight, Richard Burge, Julie Collings (14, Devon), Simon Hopper, Brett Jamieson, Gary Johnson, Michael Jones, Gareth Lee, Graham Moates, Martin Olney, Vicky Sanders, Andrew Simmons, John Stuart
The Bovey bypass contractors' efforts to prevent us from accessing the old railway path to Lustleigh became more desperate with each passing week. The past seven days had seen the appearance of a new 'Keep Out' sign, several strategically-placed mounds of rubble and a sheer-sided rectangular chasm situated centrally in the track! We expect to lose a few cadets on the assault course during our next visit.

It was as Michael left the Primrose cafe that he noticed the absence of his expensive GoreTex rainjacket, left temptingly at the Bovey Tracey car park. A phone call to Andrew Billington revealed that the coat had vanished, so there was little else to do except continune up the hill (somewhat belatedly) towards our destination.

In the event the reservoir proved a little out of reach if two cafe stops were to be included, so we contented ourselves with a Widecombe return, leaving the Torbay members at Cold East Cross.

Friday 3 July 1987Evening ride: DartingtonSunny
10 present: Jeremy Ford, Stan Ford, Paul Hamlyn-White, Richard Hopper, Simon Hopper, Toby Hopper, Gary Johnson, Michael Jones, Mark Morris, Andrew Simmons
A pleasant summer's evening started with the ascent of Bigadon hill. The ritual throwing of chippings halfway up resulted in Gary chipping a front tooth. He compounded this injury on the descent towards the A385 when he assaulted a travellers' truck with his head. Damage to both seemed slight so we continued into Totnes by way of a twisted route through Dartington.

At Brutus Bridge Michael decided to drag Gary off to have his head examined professionally while the rest of us followed the track upstream to the Dart. We took the loop past Dartington Hall and Michael rejoined us at Huxham's Cross for the return journey to Buckfastleigh.

Sunday 5 July 1987Afternoon ride: LittlehempstonSunny
9 present: Richard Burge, Paul Hamlyn-White, Catherine Hopper, Richard Hopper, Simon Hopper, Toby Hopper, Gary Johnson, Michael Jones, Luke Rake
Hot, very hot. We set off along Colston Road with the intention of making Littlehempston. This evaporated by Staverton Bridge, where the bunch arrived to find Luke already in the river. We pressed on into the village and made our way to the weir, a bathing spot to rival Spitchwick. For a pleasant half hour nearly everyone (except Michael and Richard H) got at least their feet wet.

Strenuous cycling seemed inappropriate so we returned via Barkingdon Manor and Green Lane.

Tuesday 7 July 1987Evening ride: Lud GateSunny
5 present: Austin Daykin (Adult, Devon), Richard Hopper, Toby Hopper, Gary Johnson, Michael Jones
A fine evening started with the steady climb up Wallaford Road to Cross Furzes, then out along the road / track to Lud Gate. We took the moorland track to Chalk Ford, Gary finding some bog on the way, and then the stony country road to Scoriton. A bank of cloud had formed but came to nothing, and in the cool of the evening we descended to Buckfastleigh past Hawson Court.

Sunday 12 July 1987Day ride (With Torbay CTC): Treasure HuntFine
14 present: Richard Burge, Julie Collings, Paul Hamlyn-White, Richard Hopper, Simon Hopper, Toby Hopper, Philip Humphreys, Gary Johnson, Michael Jones, Warren Masters, Graham Moates, Mark Moxham, Luke Rake, John Stuart
With eighteen riders signing up, Luke's efforts in preparing our 1987 Treasure Hunt were not in vain (unlike one of the clues). Four teams of enthusiasts followed well-chosen routes through the Coombe and Rattery areas, collecting various artifcats along the way and noting the answers to the sometimes cryptic clues. Those who struggled to find the answer to the clue "a tea-stop frequented by Luke" had only to note the name of a nearby house "Wayside".

There were extra points to be gained for the teams bringing back the longest bramble, largest holly leaf, largest pine cone and largest cowpat (these youngsters do have strange ideas). The winning team was Paul, Michael, Philip and Mark, but only by a whisker ... and anyway, everyone enjoyed themselves, which was the main reason for taking part. There were, as usual, refreshments for all at Crofters by way of compensation.

Friday 17 July 1987Evening ride: Hockmoor HeadShowery
6 present: Simon Barnes (10, Totnes), Gary Johnson, Michael Jones, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, Neil Welles (10, Totnes)
A few showers and Luke's puncture together gave us sufficient incentive to return to base after only a short spin through the moorland lanes.

Saturday 18 July 1987Weekend ride: Beer Youth Hostel Day 1Mixed
15 present: Richard Burge, Richard Hopper, Simon Hopper, Philip Humphreys, John Iles, Brett Jamieson, Gary Johnson, Michael Jones, Warren Masters, Jason Morris, Mark Morris, Mark Moxham, Andrew Simmons, John Stuart, Jeremy Weston
John Stuart and Jason Morris, climbing Salcombe hill from Sidmouth
Philip Humphreys at Sidmouth weir
Gary Johnson, Mark Morris and Warren Masters at Branscombe
Simon Hopper, Richard Hopper, Philip Humphreys, Andrew Simmons and Jason Morris in Branscombe
Richard Burge follows the group through Branscombe
Branscombe. LtoR: Gary Johnson, Richard Burge, John Stuart, Mark Morris, Simon Hopper, Richard Hopper, Philip Humphreys & Brett Jamieson
The weather looked rather threatening and the forecast had not been promising when the first six set off from Buckfastleigh. Along the way to the ferry at Starcross six more were added to the party at the agreed points and we arrived there in good time - 12:20. Lunch was consumed while we waited, and the appearance of the diminutive craft reminded those of us who had been on the Scotland tour (1986) of the 'ferry' between North Uist and Harris. It was a squeeze to get us on, with the master rather concerned about his paintwork, but at 80p per bike he couldn't really complain. It's worth noting that he left five minutes early, so a last minute dash for the ferry might not be worthwhile.

At Budleigh, Jason was the last to join the group, and Michael let the youngsters play on the beach for a few minutes - the weather had held so far. On to Sidmouth and the Mocha cafe, where 'Patrons are requested to keep their dogs leashed and on the floor'!

Over the river Sid and British Gas jokes, up the worst hill of the day for the delightful sight of the hostel. It now started to rain. We realised how hard when Graham, Jackie and Matthew from Torbay dripped in an hour later. Further entertainment was provided partly by the warden, who had a fire drill at 10.30, and partly by Brett, who was annoyed to find that he had put some holly in his own bed.

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