South Dartmoor CTC


Sunday 10 September 1989Weekend ride: Salcombe Youth Hostel Day 2Dry
19 present: Richard Burge, Paul Hamlyn-White, Mark Hedges, Martin Hills, Ben Hobday, Karina Hobday, Roxanne Hobday, Simon Hopper, Roger Johnson, Michael Jones, Ian Luke, Mark Moxham, Shane Powell, Unknown Rider 1, Peter Riggs, Martin Rushworth, Andrew Simmons, Ken Twydell, Julie Twydell-Hobday
Ken's family group, ready to leave Salcombe YH
Sunday morning was very leisurely until Michael announced at 9.15 that he wanted a 9.30 start. Most of us managed this to within 15 minutes or so but we then spent the next half hour taking photos etc.

The steep hill to the hostel that had been so difficult the previous evening was a delight to speed down and we soon found ourselves at the very small passenger ferry manned by a slightly bemused ferryman. At the other side we stopped for hot drinks at a kiosk - this Section certainly has its priorities correct.

The first part of the journey was hard work with a series of hills and sharp descents which needed great care. Later on, we split the group into trackies and roadies, meeting up again at Slapton where we had lunch in a rather exposed and drizzly position. After lunch we cycled along the Ley and up the hill to Strete, where we lost the Paignton contingent who went back via a coffee stop at Blackpool Sands and the Dartmouth Ferry. The rest of us returned through Totnes via Forces Cross and Corkscrew Hill.

Wednesday 13 September 1989Evening ride (Paignton): CancelledWet
5 present: Michael Jones, Stephen Larkin, Peter Madge, Philip Roberts, Martin Shipp
Stephen Larkin and his family kindly entertained us at their Paignton home this evening when the rain refused to abate at the start of the ride.

Friday 15 September 1989Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): CancelledWet
7 present: Andrew Caunter, Martin Hills, Simon Hopper, Toby Hopper, Michael Jones, Chris Platt, David Platt
Rain again for the Buckfastleigh ride, but Andrew Caunter insisted we all did a short ride around Buckfast before retiring to Crofters. Martin also wanted a ride, to test out his flashy new mountain bike. (So that was the reason for the delay at Totnes last week!)

Sunday 17 September 1989Day ride: ThorvertonDamp, then dry
8 present: Nick Buchanan, Martin Hills, Simon Hopper, Michael Jones, Ian Luke, Jenny Quick, Andrew Simmons, Jeremy Weston
With the prospect of a depressingly wet day ahead of them the group of four left Buckfastleigh for Bovey Tracey. At Bovey Jenny and Nick arrived from Torbay and, surprisingly, Michael, but in the comfort of his car. However, he had a suitable excuse - an injured knee.

During the pleasant journey up the Teign Valley the clouds began to lift as we then climbed up Longdown and descended to Exeter. A short stop was in order, but Andrew and Jeremy found the shop they visited on last year's 130km ride was closed.

The next few miles were welcomely devoid of much gradient until the group found themselves in Thorverton with a choice of turnings. The right decision was made and lunch was consumed halfway between Thorverton and Crediton with Michael in attendance.

There was another stop at Crediton, where Jeremy found that the puncture discovered after lunch was not going to go away. It was decided that Jeremy and Nick should continue to Whiddon Down whilst the others would remain with Jeremy. Eventually a large enough puddle was found and the puncture banished, and the group set off up the hill to Whiddon Down. With a headwind the going was tough, especially for Simon who had foolishly ventured out on his fixed wheel.

Once at Whiddon Down it was mostly downhill to Moretonhampstead, but alas Simon and Jeremy managed to get themselves left behind. They suffered from the horrible combination of "knock" and mechanical trouble, before arriving in Moretonhampstead to find the others feasting in the cafe. After everyone had bought enough calories (joules) to pedal to Australia the road to Bovey beckoned, where the group split up.

Congratulations to Ian Luke, Andrew Simmons, Jeremy Weston, Jenny Quick, Nick Buchanan and Simon Hopper, who all successfully completed the ride. Certificates will be awarded at the Christmas Lunch.

Wednesday 20 September 1989Evening ride (Paignton): Berry PomeroyDry
5 present: Dave Humphreys, Mark Lakeman, Peter Madge, Philip Roberts, Martin Shipp
Dave Humphreys had a blowout at the start of this ride, so Mark Lakeman led Philip, Peter and Martin on an interesting excursion to Berry Pomeroy castle. It was closed of course, but we had fun exploring the woods on our mountain bikes before stumbling down a dark hill to the main road, which eventually led us back to Marldon by about 9pm.

Friday 22 September 1989Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): HemburyDry
22 present: Richard Burge, Andrew Caunter, Anthony Davis, Chris Giles, Dayle Guy, Matthew Hamlyn-White, Paul Hamlyn-White, Mark Hedges, Paul Hedges, Martin Hills, Richard Hopper, Simon Hopper, Toby Hopper, Michael Jones, Luke Kudliskis, Marcus Kudliskis, Ben Mayer (13, Devon), Chris Platt, David Platt, Luke Rake, Martin Rushworth, Andrew Simmons
This was a sad occasion. It was the last Buckfastleigh evening ride of the year. The Hopper household had kindly invited us all back for refreshments after the ride, so we only had time for a short excursion. We had to include the Hembury track of course, in the semi-darkness, much to David Junior's dismay: he likes boulders sometimes, but not the ones he cannot see!

Riding up towards Holne Anthony's lamp fell into a fifty metre stretch of grassy verge. Paul HW kindly searched it out with the aid of a cycle lamp, but not before the nearby farmer came out to see what all the fuss was about.

The cold, starry sky watched over us as we rode back to Richard's welcome warmth and refreshments. No-one was in a hurry to leave.

Sunday 24 September 1989Day ride: Ugborough BeaconSunny
20 present: Richard Burge, Julian Duquemin, Luke Hatherly, Mark Hedges, Paul Hedges, Simon Hopper, Roger Johnson, Michael Jones, Marcus Kudliskis, Peter Madge, Matthew Paine, Simon Paull, Shane Powell, Peter Riggs, David Robinson, Philip Robinson, Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth, Andrew Simmons, Martyn Williams
Simon Paull on Ugborough Beacon
David & Philip Robinson enjoying lunch on Ugborough Beacon
Double exposure photo crossing the Avon behind the Avon Dam
Crossing the Avon at the clapper bridge behind the Avon Dam
There was a short delay at Avonwick, waiting for the Totnes brigade (Shane had to buy some chocolate), but we were soon climbing through Wrangaton golf course towards the Beacon and looking forward to a well-earned lunch. Paul Hedges was there waiting for us, having completed his 11am appointment. As Marcus pushed his bike the last few metres up to the Beacon, Martin reckoned he was doing well for his age. This prompted a similar comment from Mark H about Martin, which in turn prompted a similar comment about Mark from Michael! (Who do these youngsters think they are?)

The views from the Beacon are panoramic. It wasn't completely clear today so we couldn't see the sea, but all the land from Plymouth to Teignmouth and beyond was laid out before us. This must be one of the best lunch spots in our area.

Today's ride was marked in the newsletter as being predominantly rough riding. Everyone was looking forward to it, of course, so we got to work immediately by riding across the moor behind the Beacon to meet up with the old tramway. This is rather stoney and slightly undulating, but much easier than riding through the tussocks of grass that surround it. There were periodic stops, including one for Philip Robinson who had bruised his leg: after a short rest he decided he was fit enough to continue.

Well before we reached Redlake we had to leave the tramway in order to cut across to the Abbots Way. First we had to climb the slope to Petre's Cross, carefully avoiding the bog along the way of course. Then there was a very rough descent to the old clapper bridge across the Avon. A number of people fell off on the way down, as the thick vegetation concealed the pitted nature of the underlying soil.

Trekking across the moor in bright sunshine is thirsty work. For those who had used up their drinking supplies, the sight of the clear waters of the Avon was just too much of a temptation. Somehow the water tasted better without the chlorine and other chemicals which are added after it reaches the reservoir.

The delay at Huntingdon Cross, caused by Paul HW's puncture, was not wasted. Our younger members used the time to leap across the banks of a boggy ditch - sadly none of them misjudged the distance and fell in.

Passing the Avon Reservoir, which seemed about 85% full from our viewpoint, it didn't take us long to reach the road at Cross Furzes, from where everyone descended rapidly to the Crofters Cafe for refreshments before making their various ways home. Congratulations to Marcus Kudliskis who, as the youngest rider of the day, completed the course with surprising ease.

Wednesday 27 September 1989Evening ride (Paignton): Stoke GabrielSunny
5 present: Dave Humphreys, Peter Madge, Matthew Paine, David Robinson, Gary Taylor
We sailed down aeroplane hill (Barton Pines actually) to get to Stoke Gabriel. For the return route we used the millpond track - interesting in the pitch darkness - bringing us eventually to Long Road and STC.

Friday 29 September 1989
Social: Annual General Meeting
45 present: Colin Brierly, Jean Brierly (Adult, Paignton), Richard Burge, Andrew Caunter, Mrs Caunter (Adult, Ashburton), Gary Duquemin, Julian Duquemin, Chris Giles, Michael Giles, Dayle Guy, Paul Hamlyn-White, Luke Hatherly, Mark Hedges, Paul Hedges, Martin Hills, Steven Hills, Richard Hopper, Simon Hopper, Toby Hopper, Roger Johnson, Michael Jones, Luke Kudliskis, Ian Luke, Martin Luke (13, Newton Abbot), Mrs Luke (Adult, Newton Abbot), Derek Masters (Adult, Dawlish), Warren Masters, Mark Morris, Chris Platt, David Platt, Dave Platt Snr, Shane Powell, Luke Rake, Unknown Rider 1, Unknown Rider 2, Unknown Rider 3, Unknown Rider 4, Unknown Rider 5, Unknown Rider 6, Dave Rushworth (Adult, Buckfastleigh), Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth, Andrew Simmons, Alan Skinner, Martyn Williams
Owing to the large attendance the venue for the AGM had to be changed to Buckfastleigh Primary School Hall at the last moment. Members heard how the Section's attendances had almost doubled over the previous twelve months, with an average of 19 people on every organised event. Attendances were approximately 2/3 children and 1/3 adults.

There were a few changes to the Section Committee: Simon Hopper switched from Publicity to Socials, leaving Paul Hamlyn-White and Luke Hatherly to take on the jobs of Treasurer and Publicity Officer respectively. Steven Hills will take the minutes at Section meetings. Many of the Publicity Rep positions also changed hands.

As a result of the motions passed at the meeting, attendance certificates will be awarded in addition to the present trophy, and an adult tour may be organised in 1990. There may also be seven youth hostel weekends in the coming twelve months instead of the usual six, with a strong emphasis on variety.

Sunday 1 October 1989Afternoon ride: Rolster BridgeDry
34 present: Michael Banks, Richard Burge, Jeremy Collings (11, Paignton), Gary Duquemin, Julian Duquemin, Dayle Guy, Luke Hatherly, Mark Hedges, Martin Hills, Karina Hobday, Dave Humphreys, Matthew Jeffery (12, Buckfastleigh), Roger Johnson, Michael Jones, Luke Kudliskis, Marcus Kudliskis, Nicholas Laity (10, Buckfastleigh), Paul Lakeman, Martin Luke, Shane Powell, Philip Roberts, David Robinson, Philip Robinson, Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth, Andrew Simmons, Alan Skinner, Gary Taylor, Steven Taylor, Debbie Twydell, Ken Twydell, Paul Twydell, Julie Twydell-Hobday, Martyn Williams
Counting our large contingent amidst the thronging masses of Raft Race spectators at Totnes Plains proved an almost impossible task. A visual scan of the area for parked bikes had to suffice until we reached the upper reaches of the town, when exact numbers could finally be ascertained.

Unlike our two previous attempts at Rolster Bridge, we actually reached the destination today. There wasn't anything spectacular about the place, but it was rural and scenic - and peaceful until we arrived. More importantly, reaching it opened up new possibilities for the return route. We were able to explore some new and interesting lanes to Tigley. Almost as entertaining as the scenery, however, was the sight of Ken riding back along the lane in search of Julie. The last place he thought to look was at the front of the group, but that is where she was - she had actually overtaken him, and damaged his pride!

Philip Roberts provided the next bout of entertainment by getting a puncture. It was fixed speedily with the assistance of Dave Robinson, and a few moments later the two groups separated on the Totnes-Avonwick road. When the Buckfastleigh brigade finally reached home, poor Martin Luke still had to cycle all the way back to Newton Abbot - what a brave lad he is! Congratulations to all the new riders, who performed admirably. And we were pleased to welcome Michael Banks back to the fold, despite his unique talent for antagonising people!

Friday 6 October 1989
Social: Games Evening
31 present: Richard Burge, Anthony Campbell (13, Dawlish), Andrew Caunter, Anthony Davis, Adam Doherty, Gary Duquemin, Julian Duquemin, Chris Giles, Andrew Guy, Dayle Guy, Matthew Hamlyn-White, Paul Hamlyn-White, Luke Hatherly, Mark Hedges, Martin Hills, Catherine Hopper, Simon Hopper, Toby Hopper, Roger Johnson, Michael Jones, Luke Kudliskis, Marcus Kudliskis, Ian Luke, Martin Luke, Chris Platt, David Platt, Shane Powell, Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth, Alan Skinner, Martyn Williams
The first social lived up to its name with a large number enjoying the various facilities of Michael's bungalow. In fact the attendance broke all records for a social, so we will have to consider hiring a larger venue for future socials.

Sunday 8 October 1989Day ride: Bowerman's NoseSunny
21 present: Richard Burge, Anthony Campbell, Jo Connell (Adult, Newton Abbot), Jamie Davey, Dayle Guy, Luke Hatherly, Martin Hills, Richard Hopper, Simon Hopper, Toby Hopper, Arren Hymas, Michael Jones, Martin Luke, Shane Powell, Peter Riggs, Philip Roberts, David Robinson, Philip Robinson, Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth, Martyn Williams
Toby Hopper was showing off today. He had a new mountain bike, and wanted everyone to see it! We couldn't blame him though, for it really was very smart indeed.

A slight delay at Bickington (where we briefly met our friends from Torbay Section) was quickly followed by a tough climb to Haytor. Boot (Luke Hatherly) didn't like it at all, and was dragging off the back all the way just to prove the point.

Taking a wrong turning at Manaton gave us a unique opportunity to explore a new track. Needless to say we didn't pass it up, and were soon enjoying lunch in a sheltered, sunny corner of Hayne Down below the rocky outcrop which was our destination.

The climb to the tor, whilst being steep and quite rough, offered some excellent views of the surrounding countryside. There was then time to sit back and watch Richard Hopper (and others) attempting to climb Bowerman's Nose itself in a blustery breeze. He failed, of course, as the sides of the formation are sheer and without footholds, but we all enjoyed watching him try.

Descending quickly to the road we proceeded to Widecombe via the track from Jay's Grave, but here we were divided. Dave Robinson and son Philip were keen to visit The Green Restaurant, presumably in the hope of witnessing some more bizarre activities to liven up their diaries. About half the group decided to join him, and were not disappointed. Several dogs ran in and out of the kitchen even as we watched.

Peter, Dayle and a number of others decided the prices were too expensive and patronised the Wayside instead. We agreed with them, but chose instead to ask for a 10% discount. Amazingly it was granted - the prices were still extortionate, but now at least tolerable.

The final delight came when Michael offered to pay the lady at the check-out till. She asked him not to put the cash on the table, but on the wicker fan which was laid on it. This he did, whereupon the lady emptied the entire contents haphazardly into the till drawer in one deft movement. Richard, Dave and Michael could contain themselves no more, but did manage to wait until they were outside before bursting with laughter.

Several members wanted to ride Dr Blackall's Drive, but first they had to climb the steep hill from Ponsworthy. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the track, including young Arren who fell off a couple of times (not entirely his fault I might add).

Sunday 15 October 1989Day ride: Haydon CommonBright
23 present: Anthony Campbell, Jamie Davey, Dayle Guy, Luke Hatherly, Martin Hills, Steven Hills, Ben Hobday, Karina Hobday, Richard Hopper, Simon Hopper, Michael Jones, Martin Luke, Sue Putt (Adult, Torquay), Peter Riggs, Philip Roberts, Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth, Matthew Simpson, Gary Taylor, Ken Twydell, Paul Twydell, Julie Twydell-Hobday, Martyn Williams
We all met up at Gappah where we spent some time chatting and admiring Karina's new hat. The main cause of the delay was Martin Hills, who had surpassed his earlier brake problems by getting two punctures on the hill up to Gappah. Eventually, we set off via the lanes to the A380 and thence to the top of Telegraph Hill where we lost Richard Hopper who had to go home.

The rest of us sped down the hill, which was described by Ben as "lush". I can think of other words to describe hurtling down a hill on half a bike led by a rider of 6 months experience with only a vague idea of what brakes are for ...

At the bottom of the hill we crñossed over the dual carriageway and made our way through Kenn to the lanes. We were delayed by Luke Hatherly who, having ridden through some dog mess, wanted to go slowly to avoid spraying himself. (Of course, if he had had a sensible tourer with narrower tyres and mudguards ...)

Meanwhile, the rest of us ran the gauntlet of a large farm dog. We waited up the lane to see how Luke would fare. He eventually appeared at a snail's pace and actually rested against the farm wall by the gate totally unconcerned. The dog did not appear - obviously he was a connoisseur of bikes and couldn't be bothered to chase an Emmelle - I can't blame him!

Later on we met two horse riders complete with dogs. However these were no trouble and one, a stunted Springer Spaniel, was terrified of us.

The final hill to the lunch spot got the better of the Rann trailers and Ken and Julie had to walk. Paul and Ben ran on with the others totally unconcerned about Mum and Dad. However, when they realised that their lunch wñas with the bikes, they did start to look for their long-suffering parents who, having got lost, had tried a number of dead ends each requiring a difficult about turn for the trailers.

After lunch, we went to see if the five pheasants from last year had moved. They had - much to Michael's chagrin, but he consoled himself by picking chestnuts for his tea whilst those of us who waited were bombarded with them as they fell from the trees.

Most of the group including Michael then took a track. The roadies found the pheasants further along the lane.

After we met up again we decided on Dawlish for tea. When we got there we avoided the grotty station cafe and plumped for Peggotty's instead which was excellent.

From Dawlish we all went to Teignmouth, where the Torbay contingent went off home along the coast road whilst the rest of us went home via Newton Abbot.

Friday 20 October 1989
Social: Slide Show
17 present: Anthony Davis, Martin Hills, Steven Hills, Richard Hopper, Simon Hopper, Toby Hopper, Michael Jones, Mark Lakeman, Paul Lakeman, Ian Luke, Martin Luke, Dave Rushworth, Peter Rushworth, Alan Skinner, Steven Taylor, Ken Twydell, Julie Twydell-Hobday
The Lakemans again put up with the South Dartmoor hordes but this time with the added encumbrance of a slide show. A wide variety of slides was shown ranging from the sweltering Beer weekend to the wet but spectacular scenery of Norway, with a few embarrassing pictures of various members. Refreshments were enjoyed whilst Paul Lakeman showed off his flash new racing bike.

Sunday 22 October 1989Day ride: Hansel MillWet
9 present: Luke Hatherly, Martin Hills, Steven Hills, Richard Hopper, Toby Hopper, Michael Jones, Ken Twydell, Julie Twydell-Hobday, Martyn Williams
How many Range Rovers would you expect to see whilst riding from Buckfastleigh to Totnes on a wet Sunday morning in October? One? OK, how many G-reg Range Rovers might you see? None? What about Range Rovers with G-registrations ending with "WAC"? Not many?

We saw one go into the Dart Valley Railway as we left the start. When we saw two more near Austin's Bridge we began to get a little suspicious. By the time we had reached Totnes the count stood at 44! But whatever was it all about?

The explanation came at lunchtime when we returned to Buckfastleigh after a "potter" (as Julie put it) through the lanes near Rattery. We rode down to the DVR and found at least a million pounds worth of Range Rovers parked tidily in the car park. A gentleman from Austin Rover explained that the cars were there to provide regional dealers with hands-on training of the range. But why today? Because a new model, the "Discovery", was being launched in Plymouth tomorrow. Why here? Because they were trying to demonstrate that the Discovery could pull five carriages along the railway track. Unfortunately it had already done its stunt and was now under wraps again in its top-security lorry. All quite logical really - we should have guessed!

The ride had diverted to Buckfastleigh because of the inclement weather, of course. Conditions steadily improved as we enjoyed a warm lunch at Crofters, and when the sun was shining at 2pm we decided to explore the muddy tracks of South Dartmoor - specifically requested by Toby, Luke, Martyn and Martin, the Mountain Bike contingent. Mention should be made of Luke Hatherly, who poured water down Michael's back. But Richard reminded me that we'ñre supposed to mention good incidents as well, so I must report that Michael got him back.

The river near Cross Furzes was in full flood after the recent rain, and those who attempted to ride across got wet whether or not they put a foot down along the way! The day was concluded with an inevitable second stop at Crofters, for more tea and more computer games - this time Richard made sure he had a go on Imogen before Toby got his fingers on it!

Readers may be amused to hear that, earlier in the day, Ken and Julie had wandered all over Totnes with their van, trying to find a free parking space. They eventually gave up, paying a high fee and having to walk from the top of town to the Plains. If only they had read the sign in the lower park, which said (admittedly in small print) that parking is free on Sundays from 1 October! Regular readers may recall that Michael made a similar mistake last year, so he found the whole incident quite comical.

Sunday 29 October 1989Day ride: Posbury ClumpWet
13 present: Hazel Brown, Dayle Guy, Richard Hopper, Roger Johnson, Michael Jones, Marcus Kudliskis, Martin Luke, Mark Moxham, Peter Riggs, Debbie Twydell, Ken Twydell, Paul Twydell, Julie Twydell-Hobday
It was distinctly wet as we rode to the Chudleigh Bridge pick-up, with heavier rain forecast for lunchtime. Participants didn't need much encouragement to change the destination to the Brookside Tearooms at Bovey Tracey. Ken and Julie had to go home anyway, to answer a work call-out.

By the time we left the cafe it was literally tipping down, so we were glad when we eventually reached home. Martin Luke and Peter Riggs had to find their own ways home, however. Martin didn't see which way everyone went from the cafe for some reason, so he guessed instead of waiting, then found his own way home while Mark Moxham went back to look for him. Because Mark took five minutes, Peter gave up and went home on his own as well, so when Mark finally returned he found no-one there at all!

Remember: If you get lost, WAIT where you last saw the group. Someone will always come back to look for you as soon as you are missed, and waiting will make it easier for them to find you. Once you start guessing at routes, they have no real chance of finding you again.

Friday 3 November 1989
Social: Cycle Workshop 1
16 present: Philip Beard (12, Kingsteignton), Richard Burge, Anthony Davis, Julian Duquemin, Chris Giles, Dayle Guy, Paul Hamlyn-White, Martin Hills, Steven Hills, Richard Hopper, Toby Hopper, Michael Jones, Martin Luke, Chris Platt, David Platt, Alan Skinner
The first of our series of bicycle workshops covered the basics of cycle maintenance. All those present should now know how to keep their machines safe and in good working order through the long winter ahead. To conclude the evening there was a twenty-minute video on the science of the bicycle, although it was difficult to keep some members off the computers. Many congratulations to Chris Giles on not forgetting his coat this evening!

Saturday 4 November 1989Weekend ride: Maypool Youth Hostel Day 1Showery
31 present: Hazel Brown, Paul Deslandes, Dayle Guy, Paul Hamlyn-White, Martin Hills, Steven Hills, Ben Hobday, Karina Hobday, Richard Hopper, Toby Hopper, Briany Humphreys, Dave Humphreys, Joanna Humphreys (Adult, Paignton), Philip Humphreys, Arren Hymas, Michael Jones, Luke Kudliskis, Marcus Kudliskis, Mark Lakeman, Martin Luke, Mark Moxham, David Platt, Unknown Rider 1, Unknown Rider 2, Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth, Ken Twydell, Paul Twydell, Julie Twydell-Hobday, Mark Williams, Martyn Williams
Richard was left somewhat bemused as the group set off from Totnes Plains: within a few seconds of their departure they changed direction and headed straight for the nearby bus shelter. The reason was a particularly cold and heavy shower, so Richard decided to follow the others.

The route to Maypool via Parliament Hill is quite short, and we managed to stay surprisingly dry as the cold night drew in around us. On such occasions a warm and friendly hostel makes all the effort worthwhile, and there can be fewer hostels more welcoming than Maypool.

Once meals had been consumed Dave and Jenny Rowe, the wardens, provided us with a superb evening of entertainment which included a firework display and plenty of hot food (tomato soup, hot dogs and delicious hot doughnuts) served on the lawn beside the open fires. From this vantage point we could see the lights and fireworks of Dartmouth reflected in the river Dart. For those with different interests there was the games room in the basement - some of our youngsters even missed the fireworks to play on the arcade games there!

Sunday 5 November 1989Weekend ride: Maypool Youth Hostel Day 2Showery
31 present: Hazel Brown, Paul Deslandes, Dayle Guy, Paul Hamlyn-White, Martin Hills, Steven Hills, Ben Hobday, Karina Hobday, Richard Hopper, Toby Hopper, Briany Humphreys, Dave Humphreys, Joanna Humphreys (Adult, Paignton), Philip Humphreys, Arren Hymas, Michael Jones, Luke Kudliskis, Marcus Kudliskis, Mark Lakeman, Martin Luke, Mark Moxham, David Platt, Unknown Rider 1, Unknown Rider 2, Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth, Ken Twydell, Paul Twydell, Julie Twydell-Hobday, Mark Williams, Martyn Williams
It was difficult to get anybody out of bed next morning - the sound of heavy rain beating against the window didn't offer much encouragement. Conditions improved rapidly during breakfast, however, and we were soon thinking positively about a full day ride.

Once Richard's crew had moved the wood we set sail for Paignton sea front, bathed in glorious sunshine. Toby and Luke managed inevitably to get their feet wet whilst playing "chicken" on the beach, and others (too numerous to mention by name) got sand on their gears - they obviously didn't attend our social on cycle maintenance.

Next stop was Torquay harbour area for a well-deserved coffee, but even after these refreshments there was little support for the climb onwards to Babbacombe. We were committed to joining the Marldon afternoon ride at 2.15pm, so with plenty of time on our hands we amused ourselves near the theatre before pressing on to Cockington Park for lunch.

There was plenty of water at Cockington. Access to the (closed) cafe area was partially obstructed by a huge lake of water - no problem for our bikes, but a real turn-off for potential customers. Then there was the chalky duckpond complete with ducks. Next came the series of lakes, all with warnings about blue-green algae, surrounded by a maize of twisty paths (some people actually got lost trying to find Dayle and Co). Finally, there was the rain. We enjoyed lunch in the bowels of a huge fir tree near one of the lakes, which kept us all reasonably dry, entertainment being provided by Martin Luke and Paul Hamlyn-White, who kept taunting each other, and David Platt and friends who attempted to climb the tree.

The weather cleared up as we left the park to climb the long hill to Marldon. We hope our new hostellers (Luke and Marcus Kudliskis, Arren Hymas, Dayle Guy, Martin Luke and David Platt) enjoyed their first taste of hostelling despite the showers.

Sunday 5 November 1989Afternoon ride: UphempstonShowery
27 present: Philip Beard, Graham Burge, Richard Burge, Dayle Guy, Paul Hamlyn-White, Martin Hills, Steven Hills, Toby Hopper, Arren Hymas, Matthew Jago, Michael Jones, Luke Kudliskis, Marcus Kudliskis, Paul Lakeman, James Losh, Martin Luke, Richard Pinnegar (12, Torquay), David Platt, Tim Reed (13, Torquay), Philip Roberts, David Robinson, Philip Robinson, Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth, Alan Skinner, Oliver White (14, Poundsgate), Martyn Williams
There was quite a turnout at Marldon today, boosted by the Maypool hostellers who had just lunched at Cockington. In addition to the new riders we were pleased to see Matthew Jago, now almost fully recovered from his recent operation. Philip Roberts turned up in a car at the last minute - he only decided to join the ride when the sun came out, and then there wasn't time to cycle up!

We met up with the Buckfastleigh contingent at the little bridge near Tally Ho. This wasn't the agreed meeting place, so we were fortunate to find each other. Proceeding through Littlehempston to Uphempston we soon found ourselves at the entrance to a track which none of us had ever cycled. Graham Burge had done it in a vehicle once and warned the group that it would probably be quite muddy. This was exactly what the Mountain Bikers wanted to hear, of course, and only Paul HW, Graham Burge and a few others took the road alternative.

When they saw what lay at the other end of the track, they were certain they had made the right decision. A huge lake of muddy water blocked the exit from hedge to hedge. One could not cycle through it without getting wet and muddy feet. The real mud-lovers (and there are plenty of them in our club) rode through it time and time again, back and forth, plastering themselves and all nearby spectators with filthy, juicy mud. When they had finished they thanked Michael for the best track they had ever done with the Section!

The rest of us weren't so sure. Dave Robinson and friends found an escape over a gate and through a field, Michael took his shoes and socks off and then rode through (just once), and Matthew Jago announced that tracks weren't as bad as he had previously thought. In view of the mixed reactions, it seemed sensible to avoid any further tracks that afternoon.

As the sun set and temperatures plummeted, some younger riders began to regret ever getting their feet wet. Martin Hills' puncture didn't help either. Eventually everyone got home to warm baths and good food - a little cold and muddy perhaps, but it had all been worth it.

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