South Dartmoor CTC


Thursday 27 August 1987Tour: Dales, Pennines & Southern Scotland Day 8 Ninebanks to BellinghamSunny
13 present: Matthew Burrows, Jeffrey Ellis (15, Barry), Chris Hall, Michael Hall, Brett Jamieson, Gary Johnson, Michael Jones, Graham Moates, Aidan Neary (12, Saxtead), Matthew Nunn (13, Debenham), David Parry, Stephen Parry, Mark Williams
The group outside Ninebanks YH
The group outside Ninebanks YH. Gary Johnson, Stephen Parry, Matthew Nunn, Brett Jamieson, Graham Moates, Matthew Burrows, David Parry, Jeff Ellis, Mark Williams, Chris Hall, Michael Jones & Aidan Neary
Hadrian's Wall near Once Brewed
Ninebanks YH, showing our annexe behind
A milecastle on Hadrian's Wall
Excavations on Hadrian's Wall near Once Brewed
Jeff Ellis in Northumberland national park
Houseteads Fort on Hadrian's Wall
I guess some people really do keep a horse on their front lawn! On the main road to Bellingham
Thursday morning dawned sunny and warm. It was indeed a lovely day, but we probably deserved it. Tidying the hostel took quite a while as it had to be left as we had found it, and we had taken the warden at his word when he told us to make ourselves at home! Graham, who was old enough to know better, was one of those with melted trainers, and he had to file the insides to make the comfortable enough to wear.

We joined the main road as far as Bearsbridge, stopping at the post office and general stores where Michael drew out some much-needed cash and everyone restocked on chocolate. From there we climbed the back road hill to the ridge where a long, straight roman road was characterised by the delightful smell of pine forest. Soon we had arrived at Haltwhistle where there was an excellent bakery that sold good pasties. There was a park opposite where we were able to sit in peace to eat our lunch.

In view of the problems with the milk and bread last night Michael tried to ring all the remaining hostels to make quite sure they had actually written down our orders, as we really couldn't do without milk and bread again. Annoyingly, however, only Snoot hostel answered.

When we had visited the grocery stores to get our next evening meal and breakfast we climbed the short hill to Hadrian's Wall and then rode a short distance westwards to the information centre near Once Brewed. Here we discovered that the wall was originally twenty two feet high! Some of our youngsters wasted their money on some chemical-filled drinks from a silly machine in the centre before we went to look at the wall itself.

There was an archaeological dig taking place on part of the wall near the centre which showed just how much had been buried under the soil. We were struck by the technical accuracy of the construction, made from rectangular stones, but the remains of the wall were now only a few feet high so it wasn't as impressive as we had imagined. We were all able to walk along part of the wall for a while, just so we could say we had.

We split into two groups to ride the 2½ miles to Houseteads fort, some taking the track along the wall and others taking the road. The road lot got there quicker but didn't have half as much 'fun' as the trackies who had numerous gates and stiles to negotiate. The fort itself, being the best preserved along the length of the wall, was very interesting, but nowhere near as 'free' as the sign at the bottom had indicated: on arrival we were asked to pay some exorbitant fee for entry. We politely declined and returned to the fort information centre, where we browsed the bookshop and got ripped off by the refreshments tent!

In view of the time we decided to take the road route to Bellingham rather than the shortcut track through Wark Forest. The first section was a flat roman road following the wall, then there was a downhill lane through the quiet lanes of Northumberland national park at Simonburn. From there we joined the B road northwards to Bellingham, which wasn't too bad as climbs go as it followed the North Tyne river.

We found the hostel quickly, a wooden hut at the top of the town in pleasant surroundings. When we got to reception, guess what? The warden hadn't noticed our milk & bread order 'until it was too late'! This really was unbelievable. She apologised, but we couldn't use her apologies on our corn flakes! She rang the milkman who agreed to bring eight pints by 8.30 tomorrow morning. Meanwhile she gave us a small white loaf to keep us going for the evening, and another hosteller donated two pints of milk to us. The only snag with this was that the milk was frozen! Aidan spent half an hour thawing it out in a saucepan.

The hostel store turned out to be the usual cupboard, but at least it had a few items for sale this time. On a more positive note, we had the dorm normally reserved for women all to ourselves - and as everyone knows, only the most comfortable dorms are reserved for women! There were even showers here, which was an unexpected surprise for such a simple hostel. There was no telephone however, so some members of the group went down to the village to use the public telephone during the evening.

Friday 28 August 1987Tour: Dales, Pennines & Southern Scotland Day 9 Bellingham to Kirk YetholmOvercast
13 present: Matthew Burrows, Jeffrey Ellis (15, Barry), Chris Hall, Michael Hall, Brett Jamieson, Gary Johnson, Michael Jones, Graham Moates, Aidan Neary (12, Saxtead), Matthew Nunn (13, Debenham), David Parry, Stephen Parry, Mark Williams
The straight B-road north from Elsdon
Bellingham YH
The narrow road climbing up the valley near Windyhaugh
Taking the plunge: turning off the B-road near Hepple for the one-way trip to Alwinton and the track. Blue heather hill beyond
The grassy track heading up the mountains
A ford on the rough track from Trow
Finally, the top of the Cheviots
The grassy track climbs onwards and upwards
Windy Gyle
The border between England and Scotland at Windy Gyle
Washing the bikes at the Cocklawfoot ford
The descent into Scotland, occasionally boggy
Incredibly, the milk saga continued this morning. Michael and Jeff went down to the local shop to buy bread, but when they returned they still couldn't have breakfast because the milk hadn't arrived by 8.30! It still wasn't there by 9, so Michael went down to the shop again, only to discover that they had only a single pint of fresh milk in stock! He bought that and five cartons of UHT milk, then one minute after he got back to the hostel the milkman arrived! All of this made us late on a morning when we really didn't want to be late at all.

Our planned route today was ambitious: taking a very long track over the Cheviot hills. There was a road alternative that was hilly and uninteresting, but we wanted to do the track if the weather was going to be favourable. As we were about to leave Bellingham the weather looked uncertain, so we kept our options open by heading through some pleasant lanes to Elsdon. Gary managed to break both his toe-straps on the way within a very short space of time.

The skies were still overcast but there had been no sign of rain yet. A vote resulted in a clear decision to go with the track, so to make sure we survived the ordeal we raided the local store of most of its chocolate stocks! David tried riding over a ditch and ended up bending his front forks - clever boy!

Then we were off, riding away from the main road towards Hepple on a long and straight road that climbed gently, continued flat for a while and then descended on the far side. The scenery was delightful (apart from the dead badger), and as we reached the left turn for Alwinton a huge hill covered with blue heather made a magnificent backdrop.

There were some phone boxes at Alwinton so Michael thought it would be sensible to ring the hostel so that we could be certain of our milk for one night. Well there were two phone boxes: one was dead and the other was '999 calls only'. So that was the end of that idea. a few specks of drizzle got us just a little concerned, but we pushed on up the narrowing road to Windyhaugh, a remote hamlet that for some strange reason actually had a school!

Now we turned right onto the bridleway that would take us over the top. It was tarmac at the start, but turned into a rough track at Trow. David was using too high a gear on the climb and snapped his chain, so there was a small delay while Michael carried out repairs.

The weather was dry again now, although there was no sign of sunshine, and we generally felt we had made the right decision. The scenery up here was wild and desolate - quite different to anything we had seen before, as there was now no sign of human activity anywhere. Soon the track turned grassy and yet remained well-defined. It continued like this to the top, at a height of 600m, so in fact the climb was fairly easy.

At the summit, called Windy Gyle, there was a fence and a wooden gate. Careful inspection of the map revealed that this was all that marked the boundary between England and Scotland. It was a bit of an anti-climax really: no border patrols, no CCTV cameras, just a wooden gate!

Now came the fun bit: going down the other side. It was fun for most of us, although it was a little boggy in places which didn't amuse Mark at all. Aidan fell off, then Gary fell off too, but nobody was hurt and anyway it was all part of the fun.

At Cocklawfoot we found tarmac again, and a ford. Here David conveniently got a puncture, so while repairs were effected the others had time to wash their bikes in the ford. Our youngsters could be seen standing in the water with their bikes, water up to their knees and trainers still on! Will they ever learn?! There were more fords down the road, and then David had another puncture - he probably forgot to remove the thorn the first time!

It felt really nice to be in Scotland, although we might have been influenced by the fact that it was downhill all the way to Kirk Yetholm. The hostel is part of the SYHA network, and when we found the warden we were confident that in Scotland at least they would have reserved our milk and bread as requested - we depended on it. It's hard to find words to describe how we felt, therefore, when she told us that she hadn't seen our milk order on our booking!

In fact it didn't turn out so bad, since for some unknown reason the milkman comes in the evening here and we were able to get our 13 pints from him. We would be able to get bread next morning, and we still had a few slices left from our earlier shopping visits that would help us get through supper.

The dormitories were nice, there was a TV room and there was a shower! The only down side was that there was a queue for the shower, and you had to pay 40p to use it! The only other noteworthy incident was that Gary managed to cut his finger somehow. But it's all in a day's hostelling.

Friday 28 August 1987Evening ride: RatterySunny
8 present: Richard Burge, Jeremy Ford, Stan Ford, Simon Hopper, Toby Hopper, Julian Juste, Mark Moxham, Andrew Simmons
Michael's absence meant that the bunch left on time this evening, much to the surprise of a few riders who had to put their skates on to catch up with the group as they headed towards Harbourneford. A pleasant ride through Marley Head and Rattery was uneventful except for a tyre that refused to stay on its rim. With the evening pulling in, lights were required for the last part of the journey, especially by Mark Moxham who had to cycle back to Paignton from Mill Cross.

Saturday 29 August 1987Tour: Dales, Pennines & Southern Scotland Day 10 Kirk Yetholm to SnootSunny
13 present: Matthew Burrows, Jeffrey Ellis (15, Barry), Chris Hall, Michael Hall, Brett Jamieson, Gary Johnson, Michael Jones, Graham Moates, Aidan Neary (12, Saxtead), Matthew Nunn (13, Debenham), David Parry, Stephen Parry, Mark Williams
The cobbled town square at Kelso
Kirk Yetholm YH
Lunch by the river Tweed at Kelso
Floors Castle, Kelso
There were some major repairs to be carried out before we could leave the hostel this morning: Gary's front hub had to be re-greased, and Mark's tyre needed repairs when it exploded! Then we had to use the shops in Town Yetholm (close to the hostel), so it was rather late when we finally set off.

Michael needed some cash from a Post Office so we set off with all haste to ride the eight miles to the market town of Kelso before it closed. After all our efforts, however, we arrived three minutes after it closed, and of course they were totally unwilling to open the doors for us. This left Michael short of cash, but somehow we would have to manage.

Kelso was one of the most charming and quaint towns in the area, with cobbled streets, Georgian houses and a French-styled cobbled square. Shopping for our lunch in the town was very pleasant in the late morning sunshine. We had planned to visit Floors Castle, an impressive 18th century country house, but typical of our luck it was closed on Saturdays, so instead we headed to the river Tweed for lunch. Here we found a huge park lining the riverbank which provided a perfect grassy play area for lunch. Needless to say there were several water fights once lunch had been eaten.

Taking the back lanes through Nisbet our next stop was the Harestanes Countryside Visitor Centre near Ancrum. Here the avenues of trees looked delightful in the sunshine. We took advantage of the excellent cafe, which charged very reasonable prices, but skipped the woodland walks as they were muddy and we were late. We did play briefly in the adventure playground however before setting off once again along the main road to Hawick and Roberton.

The lane from Roberton to Snoot hostel was delightful with trees on either side. A left turn just a mile from the village took us over a narrow footbridge into a meadow, where the hostel was a converted chapel. This was one of the simplest hostels in Scotland, so we weren't too surprised to fine the insides lacking in creature comforts. Our dorm had no ceiling, instead having a cavernous space up to the roof, and the shower was rather primitive. More worryingly, there were no real windows in our dorm, so we wondered what we would do in the event of a fire.

The warden had got our milk for us after Michael's phone call a few days earlier and had guarded it vigilantly from other hostellers who tried to buy it! During the evening we met a Rough Stuff cyclist whom some had met three years earlier at Nant-y-Dernol hostel (shortly to close I hear). He hadn't even heard of our track over the Cheviots, so we felt quite pleased with ourselves!

Sunday 30 August 1987Tour: Dales, Pennines & Southern Scotland Day 11 Snpot to CarlisleSunny
13 present: Matthew Burrows, Jeffrey Ellis (15, Barry), Chris Hall, Michael Hall, Brett Jamieson, Gary Johnson, Michael Jones, Graham Moates, Aidan Neary (12, Saxtead), Matthew Nunn (13, Debenham), David Parry, Stephen Parry, Mark Williams
The footbridge to Snoot YH
Snoot YH, in the meadow near Roberton
Lanes between Langholm and Carlisle
The suspension bridge at our lunch spot near Langholm
Lanes between Langholm and Carlisle
There were some other groups in our dorm who were whispering from an early hour this morning. We stayed in bed as long as we could, but it was rather annoying to be woken so early.

When breakfast had been packed and jobs done we took some photographs of the delightful setting of the hostel. Unfortunately Aidan ended up in the river after a mishap on the bridge, but the older culprits were severely reprimanded by Michael and there was no real harm done.

Carlisle was going to be a long ride, so we took the main road as far as Langholm, stopping at a craft shop along the way that didn't turn out to be very good at all. We tried to find a riverside lunch spot at Langholm, and after much difficulty we eventually found one - it even had a suspension bridge to play on, albeit rather rickety!

We took pleasant lanes for the remainder of the route to Carlisle - very hilly initially, but then much easier. When we finally reached Carlisle hostel it was 6.30. We were certainly ready for our evening meals, but were a little disappointed with those that were served to us.

We were, as usual, in the annexe, which felt more like an isolation chamber than a dormitory! Clearly the warden wanted to keep potentially noisy youngsters away from the senior hostellers!

When we went to reception to collect our milk we were in for more bad news. He had seen our order for five pints of milk but hadn't actually kept them back for us! When asked why he said "most hostellers don't collect it, leaving us with lots of wasted milk in the fridge". That really was the last straw for us. He hadn't asked us to pay in advance: if he'd told us the price we would have been happy to do so! We began to wonder why such a simple task as reserving milk had proved so impossible for hostel wardens to manage in this area!

He did have the odd pint left for us to buy, but being the strange fellow that he was he insisted on actually having the 56p in his tight little hand before giving us the milk!

Matthew Nunn's parents met us at the hostel during the evening and took him home. Our tour was beginning to draw to a close.

Sunday 30 August 1987Day ride: MaidencombeHot
2 present: Mark Moxham, Andrew Simmons
Andrew set off alone to Five Lanes via Staverton and Red Post. As Mark Moxham was the only rider who met him there, they decided to divert to Mark's house for light refreshments before exploring Cockington for lunch.

Monday 31 August 1987Tour: Dales, Pennines & Southern Scotland Day 12 Carlisle to HomeSunny
13 present: Matthew Burrows, Jeffrey Ellis (15, Barry), Chris Hall, Michael Hall, Brett Jamieson, Gary Johnson, Michael Jones, Graham Moates, Aidan Neary (12, Saxtead), Matthew Nunn (13, Debenham), David Parry, Stephen Parry, Mark Williams
The group at Carlisle YH. Steve Parry, Graham Moates, Brett Jamieson, Chris Hall, Gary Johnson, David Parry, Mark Williams, Jeff Ellis, Aidan Neary, Michael Jones, Chris Hall & Mathew Nunn
Carlisle YH
Jeffrey Ellis
The group at Carlisle YH
Stephen Parry and David Parry
Matthew Nunn and Aidan Neary
Graham Moates, Mark Williams and Brett Jamiseon
Chris Hall and Michael Hall
Bank Holiday market in Carlisle
Gary Johnson & Michael Jones
Sunshine again was very welcome, the last few days having partially made up for the bad weather in the middle part of the tour. After taking numerous photos in the hostel grounds we made our way to the centre of Carlisle in search of an interesting cafe. Eventually we had to give up and resorted to using the British Rail cafe in the station. Being a Bank Holiday there was a market in the town centre, so we spent an enjoyable time browsing around.

Our train, due at 12.28, was nearly thirty minutes late, and further delays of 80 minutes were predicted owing to engineering works near Wigan. In fact by the time the last of our group reached Newton Abbot we were only an hour late, arriving at about 8.40pm, so things didn't turn out too bad.

This had turned out to be an interesting tour with a good group of youngsters. We had sunshine on seven days, cloud on two days and rain on three days, so we hadn't done too badly with the weather. We hope that many of those taking part will be up for joining one or both of our 1988 tours.

Tuesday 1 September 1987Evening ride: Eden FarmSunny
5 present: Guy Colston, Gary Johnson, Michael Jones, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons
Post-tour exhaustion gave rise to a shortened ride through some 'new' lanes near Harbourneford.

Sunday 6 September 1987Afternoon ride: Henroost MinesWet
4 present: Richard Hopper, Simon Hopper, Toby Hopper, Graham Moates
Heavy rain did not deter the Hopper family from arriving at the start, although Crofters proved too tempting only five minutes into their ride.

Friday 11 September 1987Evening ride: StavertonSunny
14 present: Simon Barnes, Graham Burge, Richard Burge, Jeremy Ford, Paul Hamlyn-White, Richard Hopper, Simon Hopper, Toby Hopper, Gary Johnson, Michael Jones, Mark Moxham, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, Neil Welles
Some of the youngsters were completely lost when we took the Caddaford lane towards Landscove, and even more so as the blundered back along Colston road in the inky blackness. Young Toby found a rather dangerous ditch to the side of the lane, but fortunately was not hurt.

Sunday 13 September 1987Day ride: South PoolDry
12 present: Richard Burge, Paul Deslandes, Paul Hamlyn-White, Simon Hopper, Philip Humphreys, Brett Jamieson, Gary Johnson, Michael Jones, Mark Moxham, Simon Nicholls (12, Devon), Andrew Simmons, Mark Williams
This special ride saw five members riding with sponsorship in aid of the Four Corners bike ride appeal, raising a total of nearly £50 between them. There was plenty of action along the way, with Michael breaking a quick release skewer just out of Totnes. The youngsters managed to get as far as Moreleigh before he obtained assistance and rejoined the group, and a decision was then made to head for Slapton Sands and Torcross (for obvious reasons).

Return was via Tuckenhay but not before Brett had been placed on the beach in front of an approaching wave and released with just insufficient time to get away - he was not at all pleased!

Tuesday 15 September 1987Evening ride: HolneClear
7 present: Dawn Brewster, Matthew Hamlyn-White (10, Buckfastleigh), Paul Hamlyn-White, Gary Johnson, Michael Jones, Kevin Presland, Andrew Simmons
An interesting ride along the track through Hembury in the near-darkness was punctuated by Michael's rear deflation - in his new puncture-proof tyre.

Sunday 20 September 1987Day ride: GrimspoundSunny
7 present: Richard Burge, Simon Hopper, Gary Johnson, Michael Jones, Andrew Plumb (15, Devon), Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons
With the Bellever weekend postponed by the warden until October, the usual gang were able to give Andrew a thorough introduction to traditional club activities, such as speeding down to Jay's Grave track and riding up and down the stream near Natsworthy. Some of the most notable events were Richard's bottom bracket noises, which so concerned him that he decided to strip it down near Hound Tor. A stone proved an inadequate substitute for a hammer, so he borrow the real thing from the ice-cream van! It was all to no avail, however, as the noises continued unabated, so Richard went home and left the rest of the group to enjoy the delights of the Hamel Down track and refreshments at Widecombe.

Friday 25 September 1987Evening ride: ScorritonClear / cool
17 present: Simon Barnes, Graham Burge, Richard Burge, Jeremy Ford, Matthew Hamlyn-White, Paul Hamlyn-White, Catherine Hopper, Richard Hopper, Simon Hopper, Toby Hopper, Gary Johnson, Michael Jones, Julian Juste, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, Neil Welles, Jeremy Weston
Our last official evening ride of the season was celebrated with hot refreshments kindly provided by Julian's parents in Scorriton - most welcome after the lamp-lit ride through the icy darkness of Hembury Woods.

Sunday 27 September 1987Day ride: Fingle BridgeDry
8 present: Richard Burge, Paul Deslandes, Paul Hamlyn-White, Philip Humphreys, Gary Johnson, Michael Jones, Mark Moxham, Andrew Plumb
Tea and cakes at the Primrose were followed by an excursion through some interesting lanes near Moretonhampstead, which led us up some rather steep hills to the top of the famous Fingle track. A hair-raising descent and an equally hilly ascent brought us to the Hunters' Path, from where the glorious heather and spectacular views were enjoyed over lunch.

The next destination was the wonderful tea-room at Chagford, at which Andrew had last year found himself paying for three cream teas after ordering only one! In order to verify that this was in fact just an unusual mistake, we tried again today, only to find a menu which offered just two items: cream teas at £1.25 or cream teas at £2.25! Extensive negotiations eventually yielded an agreement to provide fruit juice and cakes as separate items, subject to a minimum charge of 70p per head, but he could not say exactly what it would cost. And when the two ordered cream teas arrived with six scones we challenged again, only to discover that he thought we had ordered three! When the time came to pay, he presented us with a bill for £5.95 and then failed to reproduce his calculations when asked for a breakdown! Cyclists beware!

Return via Jay's Grave was relatively uneventful.

Sunday 4 October 1987Afternoon ride: DartingtonFair
16 present: Noel Armstrong (13, Bovey Tracey), Richard Burge, Paul Deslandes, Matthew Hamlyn-White, Paul Hamlyn-White, Simon Hopper, Steve Hughes, Philip Humphreys, Gary Johnson, Glen Johnson (Junior, Newton Abbot), Michael Jones, Jason Morris, Mark Morris, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, Mark Williams
The Buckfastleigh to Totnes Raft Race gave rise to more confusion along the nearby roads than it does in the river Dart. It was almost impossible to count our cyclists at the Totnes pick-up as the madding crowds dashed hither and thither in their attempts to catch a glimpse of the action below the bridge.

Today was a special occasion in another way for Torbay Section's Dawn Brewster, as she found out when we reached the Gallery restaurant at Dartington Hall. There, in all its glory, was a huge birthday cake kindly provided by the Presland household. Sadly, however, its life was short.

Leaving Torbay Section at Dartington Church we returned via Staverton Bridge and the lanes through Bumpston Cross, choosing (as always) to ignore the 'Road Closed' sign. On this occasion however it turned out to be well and truly closed as the gas board were working on a huge trench which stretched right across the lane! Had they not agreed to assist us by stopping their JCB we would have been forced to retrace our tracks. Needless to say they were highly amused at the sight of us struggling across the gap.

We returned via the Caddaford track, from where Richard and Mark escorted new rider Noel part-way home.

Friday 9 October 1987Social: Games Evening (Crofters)
7 present: Richard Burge, Gary Johnson, Michael Jones, Jason Morris, Mark Morris, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons
Michael's new computer graphics package, BBC computer Grand Prix game and Table Tennis kept everyone amused this evening.

Saturday 10 October 1987Weekend ride: Bellever Youth Hostel Day 1Sunny
13 present: Noel Armstrong, Richard Burge, Paul Deslandes, Richard Hopper, Simon Hopper, Toby Hopper, Philip Humphreys, Gary Johnson, Michael Jones, Luke Rake, Vicky Sanders, Andrew Simmons, Mark Williams
The moorland track from Dunnabridge to Bellever
When our three Paignton lads had joined us we set off for Scorriton and the moor, the conversation revolving around Mark Williams' assurances that there were numerous television sets located in the woods near the hostel, all of them working! Some people humoured him, others questioned his balance of mind, but Simon had a puncture and so the subject was temporarily forgotten.

Dartmoor really does look its best at this time of year, clean and fresh in the autumn sunshine. The temperature was plummeting as we crossed the Laughter Tor area from Dunnabridge, but the laughter really rose when the woods revealed no televisions! It was Mark who had the last laugh, however, during our excellent supper (huge helpings of soup served with croutons), when the warden told us of the weird 'Willo the Wisp' art exhibition which had resided in the nearby woods during the summer! He also told us what he thought of it! (Going back to the supper, the warden even washed up for us, but the self-catering Hopper clan seemed content with their rice mountains.)

Evening entertainment included the over-pumping of Philip's inner tube, a number of nameless members cowering behind a glass partition in unashamed fear of the impending explosion. When the end finally came it had more to do with Gary and the candle extinguisher than the now weary pump!

Sunday 11 October 1987Weekend ride: Bellever Youth Hostel Day 2Sunny
13 present: Noel Armstrong, Richard Burge, Paul Deslandes, Richard Hopper, Simon Hopper, Toby Hopper, Philip Humphreys, Gary Johnson, Michael Jones, Luke Rake, Vicky Sanders, Andrew Simmons, Mark Williams
Doctor Blackall's Drive, from Bel Tor Corner
Bellever YH
Mark Williams admires the view of the Dart valley from Doctor Blackall's Drive
Sunday morning was perfect in every way, although Richard Burge may not have agreed as he laboured over the cleaning of the warden's brass lamp. There was time for photographs outside the hostel before we ambled along the peaceful moorland roads towards Princetown's Fox Tor cafe, led by our capable eight-year-old pace-setter Toby Hopper. The prison road formed part of the route to Wistman's Wood, much of the remainder being provided by the muddy and rocky track from Two Bridges - Vicky just loved the mudbaths!

Lunch, which was consumed within the ancient woodland itself amidst games called 'hide the pannier' and 'hunt the pannier' was followed by a more intelligent return along the upper reaches of the hills, thereby avoiding most of the rocks.

Climax of the homeward route was the use of the track from Bel Tor to Aish Tor known as Doctor Blackall's Drive, offering some of the best views of the Dart Valley we had yet seen - thanks Luke for the idea. The track from New Bridge to Holne seemed likely to be equally exciting, until the seventh stile finally killed off all enthusiasm! It was enjoyable, nevertheless.

Sunday 18 October 1987Day ride: HaytorWet
2 present: Gary Johnson, Michael Jones
Only Michael and Gary got as far as the pick-up and so the remainder of the ride was abandoned - a fortunate decision in view of the terrible weather which later assaulted the area.

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