South Dartmoor CTC

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Friday 9 June 1989Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): BroadhempstonThreatening
19 present: Andrew Dalgleish, Dayle Guy, Paul Hamlyn-White, Mark Hedges, Paul Hedges, Martin Hills, Catherine Hopper, Richard Hopper, Simon Hopper, Toby Hopper, Michael Jones, Ian Luke, Mark Morris, Chris Platt, Dave Platt Snr (Adult, Buckfastleigh), Shane Powell, Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth, Andrew Simmons
Having tackled Green Lane the ride continued through Abham to Landscove playground, which kept nearly everyone happy for a few moments. The circular route through Forder Green and Broadhempston enabled us to return home quickly at the first sign of rain without getting too wet.

Sunday 11 June 1989Day ride: Ten Tors EventSun, then drizzle
27 present: Graham Burge, Richard Burge, Matthew Comboy (Junior, Curtisknowle), Jamie Davey, Michael Giles, Dayle Guy, Paul Hamlyn-White, Peter Hern, Martin Hills, Steven Hills, Richard Hopper, Simon Hopper, Nicholas Hydon, Ian Inch (Junior, Buckfastleigh), Matthew Jago, Michael Jones, Mark Moxham, Matthew Paine, Shane Powell, Michael Roberts (Junior, Staverton), Philip Roberts, Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth, Andrew Simmons, Matthew Simpson, Gary Taylor, Eugene Tollemache
Part of the group on Saddle Tor: Back row Shane, Paul, Steven, ?, ?, Matthew Jago, Dayle, Martin H, Philip Roberts, ? Gary Taylor. Front row: ?, Eugene, Jamie, ?
Andrew Simmons, Eugene Tollemache & Martin Hills
The idea was very simple: climb to the top of each of the ten tors along the carefully chosen route and you get a certificate. Things weren't quite that simple, however.

First the long climb to Haytor from the Bickington pick-up proved a bit much for Ian on his first ride, so Richard escorted him home at a leisurely pace. Of the remaining members most were taking part in the event, leading to something of a scramble to get to the windy summit of Haytor. Only Andrew Simmons, however, was daft enough to carry his bike up as well!

Saddle Tor is just around the corner from Haytor. Its sheltered northern side made an admirable lunch spot, although any letterboxes that may have ëbeen secreted round about eluded our young searchers, Peter and Shane.

Rippon Tor was not to be so easy. As we arrived a dense mist descended on the entire area, making all the nearby tors invisible from the road. Nearly everyone found their way to Rippon Tor, and then to Pil Tor, where a number of letterboxes were uncovered. Top Tor was in an unknown direction, so a nearby outcrop served as the fifth tor.

Next was Bonehill Rocks. The highest point was too high for the majority to climb, so a lower promontory had to suffice. Three more boxes were found here in the drizzle. Tor number seven was meant to be Bel Tor, just opposite Bonehill. Unfortunately a number of meñmbers, led by Dayle, had their minds only on the exciting descent of Bone Hill and the warm Widecombe cafe at the bottom. Only half of the group therefore managed Bel Tor and Chinkwell Tor as planned, discovering an interesting "Whooping" or pivoting rock at the latter.

The last leg of the ride began with a puncture, just a few minutes after leaving the cafe. Nick was the culprit. Unfortunately the damage was too close to the valve to effect a good repair, and Nick didn't have a spare tube. Mark Moxham and Mike Giles kindly did the honours while the rest of the group proceeded to Ponsworthy, up to Beltor Corner and along the rough but scenic track that is known as Dr Blackall's Drive.

There appeared to be no public right of way to Bel Tor (the second tor with that name on our journey), so we continued to Mel Tor, which proved quite straightforward. At nine tors down with just one to go, Michael found it hard to believe that everyone could possibly have gone past Aish tor without stopping. Admittedly it was hard to recognise as a tor, but everyone had been told where it was.

Time was getting on and the day had been quite tiring, so no-one felt like going back. We regrouped at New Bridge and announced the results before making our various ways home. No-one scored ten tors this year, which should encourage everyone to try again in 1990 when this very successful event will be repeated. Certificates will be awarded at the Christmas Lunch.

9 Tors: Martin Hills, Matthew Jago, Philip Roberts, Matthew Comboy, Matthew Paine, Jamie Davey, Matthew Simpson, Michael Jones.

8 Tors: Peter Hern, Dayle Guy, Michael Roberts, Shane Powell, Eugene Tollemache, Peter Rushworth, Martin Rushworth, Gary Taylor, Nicholas Hydon.

7 Tors: Mike Giles

6 Tors: Paul Hamlyn-White, Steven Hills

Wednesday 14 June 1989Evening ride (Paignton): Berry Pomeroy CastleSunny
10 present: Kieron Bellamy (13, Paignton), David Cutts, Dave Humphreys, Philip Humphreys, Matthew Jago, Peter Madge, Matthew Paine, Philip Roberts, Ken Twydell, Alan Wills (Adult, Paignton)
The Blagdon lanes brought us eventually to the castle, where certain members enjoyed jumping off the speed ramp. After a snack break and a puncture fix the youngsters attempted some stunts on the bank, with varying fortunes. The ride continued along the bridleway to Afton, returning via Fishacre, Torbryan and Ipplepen under the light of a wonderful sunset.

Friday 16 June 1989Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): Buckland in the MoorSunny
17 present: Hazel Brown, Chris Giles, Dayle Guy, Paul Hamlyn-White, Mark Hedges, Paul Hedges, Martin Hills, Steven Hills, Catherine Hopper, Simon Hopper, Michael Jones, Luke Kudliskis (8, Buckfastleigh), Marcus Kudliskis, Chris Platt, Dave Platt Snr, Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth
The group were so fit and enthusiastic that we were able to do the full circuit through Spitchwick this evening, riding out through Hembury woods and returning via Buckland-in-the-moor and Ashburton.

There were the usual adventures along the way, of course. At New Bridge, Paul ran off when some of his friends threatened to throw him in the river. He rejoined us in the woods, after Martin had demonstrated his skill at jumping into the pool at Spitchwick from the rope on the rocks above. To round off the evening, Michael offered the remainder of his chocolate bar to the first person to see "My Dear Mother" at Buckland. The only snag was that he ate a piece for every wrong guess (poor Martin Rushworth wasn't very popular). Paul Hedges finally noticed the phrase written around the church clock, and won the single piece of chocolate that remained.

Sunday 18 June 1989Afternoon ride: BroadhempstonHot / sunny
37 present: Lucas Buchanan (9, Devon), Nick Buchanan, Pam Buchanan (Adult, Devon), Richard Burge, Anthony Davis (10, Buckfastleigh), Andrew Guy (12, Buckfastleigh), Dayle Guy, Paul Hamlyn-White, Luke Hatherly, Martin Hills, Steven Hills, Karina Hobday (Junior, Paignton), Roxanne Hobday (Junior, Paignton), Catherine Hopper, Simon Hopper, Toby Hopper, Ian Inch, Michael Jones, Mark Lakeman, James Losh (11, West Charleton), Ian Luke, Peter Madge, Matthew Paine, Toby Rake, Philip Rhead, David Robinson, Philip Robinson, Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth, Martin Shipp (13, Paignton), Mark Sloman, Debbie Twydell (Junior, Paignton), Ken Twydell, Paul Twydell, Julie Twydell-Hobday, Tim Werry (13, Buckfastleigh), Stuart Young (Adult, Harbourneford)
Another shot of the same group
Toby Rake, Andrew Guy, Anthony Davis, Tim Werry & Ian ? at the top of Green Lane
This special half-day invitation ride, timed to coincide with National Bike Week, certainly attracted a good attendance. When the enormous group had met at Broadhempston playground, attempts were made to move in the direction of Denbury school. Nick was there of course, and was pleased (we believe) to let us refill our water bottles at the school. There was time to negotiate the track at Knowle before the riders separated.

Wednesday 21 June 1989Evening ride (Paignton): CancelledSunny
4 present: Kieron Bellamy, Peter Madge, Matthew Paine, Martin Shipp
Apologies from the ride leader, Richard Hopper, who forgot all about this little ride. The four youngsters present used the time wisely and went for a swim.

Friday 23 June 1989Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): StavertonSunny
17 present: Anthony Davis, Chris Giles, Andrew Guy, Dayle Guy, Paul Hamlyn-White, Paul Hedges, Martin Hills, Catherine Hopper, Ian Inch, Michael Jones, Rohan Kilty, Luke Kudliskis, Marcus Kudliskis, Chris Platt, Shane Powell, Toby Rake, Alan Skinner
Yet another sunny evening took us along the inevitable Colston road to Staverton Bridge and the riverside track to the village.

Friday 23 June 1989
2230-0800
Night ride: PostbridgeMoony
5 present: Tessa Dean (16, Devon), Richard Hopper, Simon Hopper, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons
This was the night of the escaping prisoners. We reckoned they would have found it easy on bikes - we only saw one police car as we set off at ten. The evening was just cooling down as we headed through Holne and Hexworthy and on to Two Bridges. Andrew's crank needed tightening and Tessa's stiff link loosening on this stretch. The moon rose behind us on the road to Postbridge, making lights almost redundant. We paused for lunch at Postbridge and consñidered what the rest of the route might be (we had already decided that sunrise at Haytor was a worthwhile aim).

We enjoyed the empty road to Moretonhampstead, where we stopped again for refreshments - they leave the lights on in the bus shelter all night. Richard punctured on the way to Bovey, and then we had the long climb up to Haytor. We got there before sun-up, but the tor was shrouded in mist, so we stopped at the bottom and had a brew-up while the sun struggled through the clouds in the east.

The sun broke through onto our backs, promising another hot day ahead, as we coasted back to Buckfastleigh at 6, with the traffic beginning to claim back the roads once more.

Sunday 25 June 1989Day ride: Lannacombe BeachSunny
21 present: Hazel Brown, Richard Burge, David Cutts, Anthony Davis, Martin Hills, Steven Hills, Richard Hopper, Roger Johnson, Michael Jones, Marcus Kudliskis, Ian Luke, Shane Powell, Philip Roberts, Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth, John Stuart, Gary Taylor, Ken Twydell, Paul Twydell, Julie Twydell-Hobday, Martyn Williams
Marcus looks on as Julie & Ken protect Paul from the strong sun
Steven & Martin chatting on Lannacombe Beach
Michael & Marcus removing unwanted sand
Shane, Martin R, Marcus and (probably) Anthony, getting ready to leave
A cool breeze coupled with the continuing sunshine produced perfect cycling weather for our first beach ride of the summer. Our youngest rider, Paul Twydell, was certainly dressed for the occasion with his smart new cycling top and shorts: the passers-by at Totnes Plains had to stop and stare before they continued with their business.

The first incident of the day occurred when Hazel took the wrong road from Harbertonford despite being in the middle of a large group. Everyone else turned right, but when Hazel got to the junction the riders in front of her must have just gone out of sight around the corner, so she went straight on along the main road. She wasn't missed until we got to the top of the hill, by which time Hazel had returned to the village, found us gone and set off again to try to locate us. Michael did his best to find her, but he had no means of knowing which track she had explored so the search proved useless. (Younger members who find themselves in this situation should always wait at the place where they last saw the club.)

We continued through to Chillington, where the first part of our lunch was consumed in the spacious grassy park. Then came the second incident: Dave and Roger set off on their own up the hill in advance of the other members, were surprised when we didn't follow shortly afterwards, decided they must have gone wrong and set off for the beach on their own. Ten minutes later they were missed at the next junction. John went back to the lunch spot to try to find them while the rest continued along a delightful wooded valley to the beach, only to find the two cyclists sunning themselves on a rock, apparently unaware of the confusion they had caused!

A glorious 1½ hours were spent here, lapping up the sunshine, swimming and enjoying the remainder of our lunch. To our amazement, Hazel turned up while we were there. She had managed to purchase a suitable map, locate Lannacombe Beach on it and find her way there via Kingsbridge - and all this took just 15 minutes longer than our route!

A coastal path exit was considered and then dismissed in favour of the more direct lane route to Torcross. There was time to enjoy the magnificent views of Slapton Ley before the final descent to the Sea Shanty cafe for welcome refreshments. The final push homewards through Strete brought us to Forces Cross, where we obtained our usual discounts and were invited to sample her new brand of additive-free fizzy fruit drinks - very tasty I might add.

We hope that members and their families were not too concerned about the very late return (about 8.45) from this ride, in view of the long daylight hours and the unusual coincidence of fine weather and our beach ride.

Wednesday 28 June 1989Evening ride (Paignton): Track RideFine
8 present: Dave Humphreys, Philip Humphreys, Matthew Jago, Michael Jones, Stephen Larkin, Peter Madge, Matthew Paine, Shane Powell
Michael and Shane decided to join this ride at the last minute. Philip had chosen an interesting route taking in all the tracks in the vicinity of Marldon.

Friday 30 June 1989Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): Chalk FordDull / drizzle
15 present: Paul Hamlyn-White, Mark Hedges, Paul Hedges, Catherine Hopper, Simon Hopper, Toby Hopper, Michael Jones, Luke Kudliskis, Marcus Kudliskis, Chris Platt, Dave Platt Snr, Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth, Alan Skinner, John Stuart
Within seconds of leaving the Buckfastleigh start, young Alan broke his brake yoke cable and lost the associated bolt. He didn't need his front brake on the way up Wallaford Hill to Cross Furzes, but he was mighty careful on the rough descent from Lud Gate to Chalk Ford. Michael was surprised to discover that the majority of riders, nearly all local, had never ventured as far as Cross Furzes. They were very interested in the route.

Rain was threatening at last, so the direct return through Scorriton seemed appropriate.

Sunday 2 July 1989Afternoon ride (Buckfastleigh): SigfordSunny
13 present: Hazel Brown, Anthony Davis, Michael Giles, Dayle Guy, Mark Hedges, Margaret Hopper, Richard Hopper, Michael Jones, Marcus Kudliskis, Ian Luke, Peter Rushworth, Martyn Williams, Stuart Young
Having taken the back lanes through Peartree and Owlacombe, our group were to be found studying the map at Sigford in an effort to decide the most appropriate route homewards. The younger members certainly didn't fancy the big climb to Haytor favoured by some, so we explored an interesting new track which led us down to the Liverton road. It became very steep and rough in its lower reaches, but that made it all the more enjoyable for the mountain bike contingent (Dayle, Martyn, Mark and Peter).

The route back to Buckfastleigh was trouble-free apart from Dayle's puncture, which took place in the vicinity of Blackpool School. All in all this was an interesting ride, taking us to an area we don't often visit.

Sunday 2 July 1989Afternoon ride (Paignton): Stover Country ParkSunny
10 present: Matthew Jago, Mark Lakeman, Stephen Larkin, James Losh, Matthew Paine, Philip Rhead, David Robinson, Philip Robinson, Gary Taylor, David Thomas (12, Torquay)
The group set off towards Newton Abbot calling in at Dave's house to pick up son Philip and friend James from Kingsbridge. Here, latest recruit David Thomas's from derailleur was adjusted for full 10 gear range.

After a short time, Mark Lakeman decided to return as his freewheel seemed to be on an elliptical orbit around the hub and he was not to be convinced that no harm would come from continuing. Time was beginning to be short for the destination and so the scenic route was abandoned as some were obviously wanting to reach the tracks inside Stover Park.

The back door was taken into the park which nobody seemed to know existed and a half hour of gravel and dust riding followed, sanctioned by a friendly warden, as long as the soft paths were avoided as well as the many pensioners along the route. Having well trained senses, everybody managed to join up at the ice cream van for triple sausage hot dogs and various cooling things in cans or on sticks. The return was direct and pleasant, managing to make Five Lanes by 5.30.

Wednesday 5 July 1989Evening ride (Paignton): DenburyDamp start
5 present: Michael Jones, Peter Madge, David Vernon (Adult, Paignton), Mark Vernon (11, Paignton), Richard Vernon (10, Paignton)
Earlier spells of rain gave way to a dry evening ride, much to the annoyance of those who stayed at home! Our proposed short excursion to Ipplepen became gradually extended to encompass Denbury and Red Post, bringing us eventually back to Five Lanes by 9pm. Mark and Richard did surprisingly well for their first ride.

Friday 7 July 1989Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): Hembury WoodsDamp
13 present: Anthony Davis, Dayle Guy, Mark Hedges, Catherine Hopper, Simon Hopper, Michael Jones, Luke Kudliskis, Marcus Kudliskis, Shane Powell, Unknown Rider 1, Unknown Rider 2, Martin Rushworth, John Stuart
In view of the unpromising weather conditions we decided not to stray too far from home, taking the road past Buckfast Abbey to Hembury Woods. The famous track brought us eventually to Shuttaford and Holne, where Dayle caused delays again by pulling his valve off whilst pumping his tyre! When he had eventually effected repairs we returned home through Michelcombe and Scorriton.

Sunday 9 July 1989Day ride: Treasure Hunt EventDry
23 present: Nathan Combes (13, Devon), Anthony Davis, Dayle Guy, Paul Hamlyn-White, Luke Hatherly, Martin Hills, Steven Hills, Richard Hopper, Michael Jones, Marcus Kudliskis, Peter Madge, Mark Moxham, Matthew Paine, Shane Powell, Toby Rake, Philip Rhead, Philip Roberts, Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth, Martin Shipp, Alan Skinner, Gary Taylor, Martyn Williams
After a ride around to Avonwick in the morning we returned to Buckfastleigh for the treasure hunt in the afternoon. A few extra riders turned up, enough to make three teams of seven and eight. They puzzled their way around the route, solving most of the clues (between them, anyway). Two teams cut out part of the route in order to arrive back on time, and they achieved similar scores with their answers. They had to wait with baited breath for the third team, who had decided to complete all three sections at the risk of arriving late. The minutes ticked away and the penalty points mounted up before they came in, but their gamble had paid off and they emerged the clear winners.

Richard Hopper, who had devised the route, awarded the prizes. He hadn't been able to take part, but felt that watching the Wimbledon tennis finals live was adequate compensation.

Wednesday 12 July 1989Evening ride (Paignton): Stoke GabrielSunny
4 present: Richard Hopper, Philip Roberts, David Robinson, Philip Robinson
Richard enjoys leading these rides from Marldon because the 'locals' can show off their knowledge of the local byways. This time it was the small lanes to the east of Beacon Hill on our way to Stoke Gabriel. En route we discovered a dozen items of camping gear - cooking pans, broken crockery, etc - on the road, that had presumably fallen off some poor grockel's car.

Friday 14 July 1989Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): LambsdownSunny
15 present: Erica Brown, Hazel Brown, Anthony Davis, Dayle Guy, Paul Hamlyn-White, Martin Hills, Steven Hills, Richard Hopper, Simon Hopper, Toby Hopper, Michael Jones, Luke Kudliskis, Chris Platt, Alan Skinner, John Stuart
"Paul Hamlyn-White stopped dead in his tracks. He stared fixedly at the creature in front of him, trying to work out why it had not run off as he approached like the others had done. The creature stood its ground as Paul grappled with his inadequate memory banks: he was sure there was something about cows, if only he could remember. Then he saw the horns. A quiver of fright ran through his body. This was a bull.

A detailed examination of the creature's expression told him that it was not pleased. Furthermore, Paul was fairly certain that he was the object of its displeasure. With only a couple of metres of rough moorland between them, he looked around to see where he could run. Behind him were the other club members. They seemed to be waiting some way off - if only he had been using his eyes and brain instead of trying to get down the hill first. But it was too late to think of that now. He had to do something.

The decision was made. Quietly, carefully, he edged backwards, trying not to move too quickly and smiling blandly back at the bull. The bike, which had been fine for the descent, was not making things any easier now. The bull was watching his movements intently. Paul was sure it was about to charge at him, but the distance increased and the bull didn't come.

When he had put ten metres between them, Paul turned around and ran back to the others as fast as his legs would carry him. How they laughed to see his face, as white as a Persil sheet.

By this time Simon and Michael had arrived on the scene. Simon, usually unafraid in the most terrifying situations, studied the situation carefully and recommended that we give the creature a wide berth. The club carefully swung away from the track and passed the bull at least 15 metres to its right. As Michael looked back he was relieved to see the herbivore still in its previous position, contenting itself to watch the antics of South Dartmoor CTC in quiet amusement. The crisis was over.

As he began to relax at last, Paul contemplated the events that had led him here. He recalled the long, hard climb past Skerraton, a hill that few of the club members had climbed before. He thought of the names he had called Michael when the track route to Lambsdown was announced. He remembered the feeling of exhilaration he had experienced when he emerged onto the open moor, the evening sun casting long, mysterious shadows from the grassy hillocks at his feet. And he remembered the final descent towards Cross Furzes.

Yes, this had been an evening to remember. He decided he was in no fit state to join the others at the Crofters Cafe. That would have to wait until another day."

Sunday 16 July 1989Day ride: 80km Reliability RideSweltering
13 present: Erica Brown, Hazel Brown, Steven Hills, Richard Hopper, Roger Johnson, Michael Jones, Philip Roberts, Andrew Simmons, John Stuart, Gary Taylor, Julie Twydell-Hobday, Jeremy Weston, Martyn Williams
This ride, designed to introduce members gently to the concept of reliability rides, proved tougher than the distance would suggest as a result of the hot, sunny conditions. Several would-be participants were put off before the start by the weather forecast.

Richard's carefully-selected route took the participants initially through Newton Abbot, Teigngrace and Heathfield to Bovey Tracey. It was Michael who first discovered that ice-cool cans of Sunkist could be purchased from the Brookside Tearooms for consumption outside the premises - stocks soon ran low as temperatures soared!

Leaving Bovey there was a short delay when Michael's rear tyre exploded. Following the Fingle Bridge incident a few weeks earlier he had fitted a tyre from the Dawes, which today turned out to have severe skid marks in rather important places. When temporary repairs had been effected and grateful members had soaked up the coolness which abounded under the nearby trees, slow progress began along the climb to Manaton. Poor Erica was having some breathing problems and decided to take her time. The rest of the group settled in the shade of a tree at the top of the hill and watched as Michael stole the limelight yet again, this time by eating a molten Yorkie bar.

Members had heard of the new cafe complex at Becky Falls, and today seemed an ideal opportunity to sample its delights. It appeared to have been completely rebuilt in modern style, a great improvement on its previous image.

Erica was still suffering under the heat when we were ready to leave, so she and Hazel returned homewards while the rest of us continued to Heatree Cross for lunch in the shade of some trees. All but Richard then proceeded to complete the ride, following a devious and quite hilly route to Postbridge where the Post Office supplied us with much-needed refreshments. The Bellever road then took us past cooling waters (Julie couldn't resist a dip) to Bel Tor Corner.

When Michael had repaired his rear tyre again, some insisted on taking Dr Blackall's Drive to New Bridge as there had been no rough riding at all on the route sheet. Michael conceded, but decided to lead the road group in view of the state of his rear tyre. This proved a definite mistake. Around the first corner the road vanished under a sea of molten Tarmac. As we pedalled through the sticky mess we realised the penalty of falling off would be ruined clothes and ruined shoes. There was no stopping, and seemingly no end to the nightmare. Never had any of us seen a road in such a state. Clearly the weather conditions were exceptional.

Relief came at Poundsgate. We would have a good evening's work cleaning our bikes that night, but for now we contented ourselves with a dip in the River Dart at New Bridge.

Congratulations to the successful participants: Philip Roberts, Roger Johnson, Martyn Williams, Gary Taylor, Jeremy Weston, Andrew Simmons, John Stuart, Michael Jones, Steven Hills and Julie Hobday. Certificates will be awarded at the Christmas Lunch.

Wednesday 19 July 1989Evening ride (Paignton): TorbryanDry
5 present: Richard Hopper, Stephen Larkin, Philip Roberts, David Robinson, Philip Robinson
Torbryan was the chosen destination, and we returned via Park Hill and Compton, where they were still playing cricket.

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