South Dartmoor CTC


Thursday 19 April 1990Tour: Cornish Coast Day 4 Coverack to Land's EndWindy, sunny spells
20 present: Neil Allan, Neil Ault, Erica Brown, Mark Burnard, Jamie Davey, Ian Gibbs, Paul Hamlyn-White, Philip Harler, Luke Hatherly, Martin Hills, Simon Hopper, Michael Jones, Martin Luke, Warren Masters, David Platt, Martin Rushworth, Paul Smith (15, Basingstoke), Eugene Tollemache, David Waldron, Martyn Williams
Gweek seal sanctuary
Goonhilly Downs
Meal preparations at Lands End hostel
Pausing for a photograph
This was the first self-catering breakfast that we had, and most people made use of the supplies that the warden was selling. We just about managed to leave on time, although it was rainy, and nobody wanted to cycle in the rain. There was a strong head-wind as we cycled towards the Seal Sanctuary. Everyone (apart from Simon) was looking forward to getting there, and it was with some dubious thoughts that we stopped at Goonhilly Downs Earth Station - although when Michael mentioned food nobody wanted to stay outside.

We all managed to get in free and enjoyed an interesting look at British Telecom's satellite system. Meanwhile Michael met the Vicar from Buckfastleigh, who happened to be on holiday in the area. Next stop (not including Martin Luke's puncture) was to see the Seal Sanctuary, and only a few people decided not to go in. Paul Smith bought a cuddly seal for his girlfriend, Martin Luke bought one for himself, and Ian Gibbs bought one for the fun of it!

We had our lunch at the Sanctuary, and everyone stopped to take photos of the seals in the pools. Once we had exited we realised that the members who hadn't gone in hadn't had any lunch! We stopped at a Spar, and while they had lunch everyone else bought their tea.

The next stop was RNAS Culdrose, but we were quickly off again to follow the A394 all the way to Marazion. Everyone thought the road would be easy because it was downhill nearly all the way. When we got to it, a strong head-wind blew against us, making it quite hard work. The wind even ruined our refreshment stop on the beach opposite St Michael's Mount by whipping up the sand and hurling it at us wherever we sat.

There wasn't much support now for Michael's detour through Lamorna, so a shorter route was selected through Newlyn and some lanes. We finally arrived at the hostel at about 7.30, hungry and exhausted.

The first problem with supper was that the hostel's gas cylinder was almost exhausted and had to be changed. Then we discovered that the warden had only reserved 11 pints of milk for us instead of the requested 17 - he had sold the rest to some unexpected hostellers the previous evening! Michael thanked him very much, and then watched incredulously as certain members produced Vienetta ice-creams from their panniers. They had bought them earlier in the day, and were now hoping to eat them for supper! They actually looked astonished when they opened the packets and discovered a molten, creamy mess.

When Eugene had finally been persuaded to take his first shower of the tour, about half the group walked down the footpath to the beach in the semi-darkness. The ghost stories at the bottom must have frightened Warren, Paul and Martyn out of their minds, because on the way back they decided not to follow the footpath and got lost, almost falling down a disused mine shaft during their travels.

[First half contributed by Neil Allan, 13]

Friday 20 April 1990Tour: Cornish Coast Day 5 Land's End to PerranporthWindy, sunny spells
20 present: Neil Allan, Neil Ault, Erica Brown, Mark Burnard, Jamie Davey, Ian Gibbs, Paul Hamlyn-White, Philip Harler, Luke Hatherly, Martin Hills, Simon Hopper, Michael Jones, Martin Luke, Warren Masters, David Platt, Martin Rushworth, Paul Smith (15, Basingstoke), Eugene Tollemache, David Waldron, Martyn Williams
North Cornwall coast
Lands End hostel
David W leads the roadside rest
This was bound to be another tough ride, and our spirits weren't exactly raised by the warden's dismal weather forecast. Michael took the precaution of obtaining a forecast from another source, and was relieved to hear of "Sun and Showers". We left the hostel when the rain stopped, and were blessed with a completely dry day. There were still strong winds, however, and they had thoughtfully changed direction overnight so that they would still be against us all the way.

We made time for a cafe stop at Geevor tin mine, near Pendeen. The mine is temporarily out of action until the price of tin rises to an economic level, so the guided tours were being organised by the miners themselves - two of our group went on one of the shorter tours.

The B3306 took us through some wild and rugged countryside, interrupted only by the ancient chimneys of many disused tin mines. Most of the houses in this region were built entirely from stone - one or two were roofless. Eventually we rolled into St Ives, where lunch and supper were purchased. Most of us ate lunch beside the harbour, shivering in the cold wind, but Ian spent the time searching for "Hot Tuna" T-shirts at £26 a time!

After Hayle we took the coastal road towards Portreath, which offered some dramatic views from the cliffs overlooking Deadman's Cove. There was such a strong side wind here that several people were blown off their bikes into the verge. Mark's woolly hat was blown off too, saved from a watery end only by a bramble bush.

There were seemingly endless hills as we covered the last section of the ride through Cambrose, Porthtowan and St Agnes. The reward came at the recently-modernised hostel, which commanded fabulous views over Perranporth's vast beach. The beach itself provided plenty of amusement for us after a well-earned supper.

Friday 20 April 1990Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): RatteryDry but cool
5 present: Julian Duquemin, Mark Hedges, Richard Hopper, Chris Platt, Andrew Simmons
Having decided to ride out into the wind in order to have it behind us coming back, we set out along Colston road with no clear idea of where to go. We nearly turned down to Staverton at Huxham's Cross, but went over to Rattery instead. Either the wind had shifted or we had miscalculated, for we had a head-wind for the last couple of miles. However, since it was down Dean Hill it didn't really matter.

Saturday 21 April 1990Tour: Cornish Coast Day 6 Perranporth to Treyarnon BayDry with sunny spells
20 present: Neil Allan, Neil Ault, Erica Brown, Mark Burnard, Jamie Davey, Ian Gibbs, Paul Hamlyn-White, Philip Harler, Luke Hatherly, Martin Hills, Simon Hopper, Michael Jones, Martin Luke, Warren Masters, David Platt, Martin Rushworth, Paul Smith (15, Basingstoke), Eugene Tollemache, David Waldron, Martyn Williams
The amazing Perranporth beach, from the hostel driveway
Paul Smith, Warren and Martin Luke admiring the view from the hostel
Pedal boats at Trenance park, Newquay
Neil Allan on Perranporth beach, with the hostel perched on the cliff
Next morning Paul Hamlyn-White joined the group at 9.45. He had been working all week, but didn't want to miss the tour completely. There was a delay while Eugene spent most of his money on a leash for his surf-board (he didn't have the surf-board with him on the tour), David bought a head protector and Martin Luke fixed another puncture. We then set off on one of the easiest days of the tour, blessed with plenty of sunshine and a lessening wind.

The ride through the lanes of Cubert to Newquay were notable if only for Erica's attempt to ride her cycle with hands reversed - she fell into the hedge of course. Lunch was enjoyed in the park at Newquay while several members hired pedal boats to float around the lake - with the inevitable collisions of course.

Riding into Newquay we spent some time walking through the crowded streets in search of a supermarket. Eventually we found an enormous Gateway and were spoilt for choice. It felt a bit strange walking out of that huge store with just a can of beans!

Luke Hatherly's brake cable broke on the way to Watergate Bay. He fixed it hurriedly, but failed to tie down his luggage properly. So for the second time on this tour all of Luke's belongings lay strewn about the road. He really is a unique personality! We watched the surfers in the bay while Luke collected himself together.

The visit to Bedruthan Steps cafe almost failed to happen when a number of riders shot past. Simon chased after them at breakneck speed and just managed to catch them before they sailed down a long hill. As before, there are no prizes for guessing who was leading!

When a number of people had purchased one or even two Knickerbocker Glories, the steps themselves were investigated. Numerous warning messages lined the path, so we were not completely surprised to find the steps closed when we arrived: they were being restored following damage caused by the recent storms. We could see the beach and rock arches from the top, however, so the visit was not wasted.

There was confusion at the hostel when Michael changed all the dormitories around after everyone had begun to make their beds. The reason was that the warden hadn't told him that one dormitory was much larger than the other. The problem was soon sorted, and the tiny kitchen was packed with hungry cyclists within a few moments.

The hostel was situated right next to one of the best natural play areas anyone could ask for. There was a good-sized beach, a natural swimming pool amongst the rocks and some flat grassy downs to cycle on. Many swam in the pool despite its very low temperature - some would call them mad, but it provided plenty of amusement for the rest of us. Warren went all the way down to the pool and was ready to dive in, but he chickened out at the last moment! And then, of course, there was Eugene who went "Skinny Dipping". Disaster struck when Martin Luke threw his underpants off the cliff into the sea and Eugene had to wade after them with nothing on but the suit he was born with. All this happened while Michael was occupied elsewhere, of course!

Sunday 22 April 1990Tour: Cornish Coast Day 7 Treyarnon Bay to Tintagel
20 present: Neil Allan, Neil Ault, Erica Brown, Mark Burnard, Jamie Davey, Ian Gibbs, Paul Hamlyn-White, Philip Harler, Luke Hatherly, Martin Hills, Simon Hopper, Michael Jones, Martin Luke, Warren Masters, David Platt, Martin Rushworth, Paul Smith (15, Basingstoke), Eugene Tollemache, David Waldron, Martyn Williams
Phillip Harler, with the hostel behind
Treyarnon hostel: (L to R) Warren, Mark B, Neil Ault, Simon, David P, David W, Jamie, Eugene
Martyn Williams leading another roadside photo
Padstow, with Phillip and David Platt in the foreground
The weather had been steadily improving over the past few days, and now the sun was gloriously warm as we set off through the lanes. First stop was Harlyn, for a short exploration of the beach and nearby shops. It ended up not being quite as short as planned when Neil Allan cut his foot while retrieving the group's tennis ball from a stream.

Padstow was the selected lunch stop. We weren't allowed to park our bikes near the harbour, so one of the many advantages of having a cycle was not evident on this occasion. We used a cafe, chip shop and take-away for lunch. Michael was constantly irritated by a machine positioned just outside the cafe. Inside the plastic exterior resided a mechanical hen which produced a frantic cackle every few minutes - apparently in order to draw attention to the many sickly sweets on which it was perched.

The cyclepath to Wadebridge was great fun, being mainly flat and affording interesting views across the River Camel from the occasional viaducts and other structures that dotted the route. Everyone went at their own pace, making sure to keep to the left so that the many other cyclists could pass safely on the right hand side. A hire shop at the Wadebridge end boasted a touring bike just like Simon's. When asked they said it was their best bike, and they wouldn't hire it out for use on the cyclepath because it "wasn't suitable" for that kind of terrain! Simon couldn't hide his amusement. The shop proprietors weren't as stupid as Eugene apparently thought they were, however: he tried to sell them Martin Luke's broken mudguard!

Continuing through St Kew Highway and Trelill we were soon at Delabole. The famous slate quarry was closed and so were all the cafes, so we had to make do with the small shop in the local garage. From here it was but a short leap to Tintagel via Trewarmett. And just for a change, we arrived at 5pm.

The hostel is gloriously situated on the edge of a cliff, with magnificent views to the sea far below. The whole scene was bathed in rich red evening sunshine. Inside, the dorms were very cosy, although they wouldn't have been if we had arrived a few weeks earlier: the roof had been removed by the winter storms, and only just repaired in time for our visit. It was now covered with grout, a thin fluid mortar which stops wind from getting under the slates.

An excellent supper was served by the warden with full stereo background music in the form of the Radio 1 chart show. When washing up had been completed and everyone had assisted in tidying the dorm (Michael hounded the lazy ones relentlessly) we had to say goodbye to Erica. She had school on Monday and had to be collected a day early by her mother. The rest of the evening was spent fixing punctures, riding bikes around the clifftops, playing tricks on each other or walking through the village to the castle and beach. Storm damage was again evident, with a set of steps being closed to the public.

Martin Hills, Simon and Ian were in a dorm of their own, outside the main building. They joined us for a final group chat just before "lights out" and then left, locking the door behind them. It was then that they made the worrying discovery that their own door was locked. They tried in vain to get back into the main building or locate the warden. They were just resigning themselves to a night under the stars when they found an open window to the rear.

Sunday 22 April 1990Day ride: Haytor TramwaySome rain and windy
5 present: Julian Duquemin, Richard Hopper, Marcus Kudliskis, Peter Riggs, David Robinson
At 10 o'clock precisely it started to rain in Buckfastleigh. It continued light and intermittent until we reached Bickington. There we realised we should have waited for the Totnes group before we left Buckfastleigh. But no matter, when Dave and Peter arrived from Newton Abbot they informed us that Mike had come to them from Totnes but had turned back because he wasn't feeling too well. Up to Haytor, almost without incident. Marcus had a stick entwine itself around his rear derailleur, bending it into an interesting shape. At first sight it looked beyond redemption, but we amazed ourselves by getting it working again.

There was no sign of Charles and Erin who had said they might meet us at the car park, so we made our way to the quarry for lunch. It was nice to get out of the wind, and we had on-site entertainment in the form of some slightly foolhardy abseilers. We then explored the tramway until we had been bounced around enough on the granite setts and headed off for Bovey. Gravitational pull triumphed over both Dave and Peter on the way down the track, and Marcus managed to find another stick in his back wheel. It was on the nearside this time, and no harm was done.

Why go to Bovey? For the Riverside Cafe, of course. But when we got there we decided we hadn't done enough cycling after our lunch to merit a cafe stop, so off we went to Primrose Cottage in Lustleigh. We returned to Bovey along the main road, ignored the Riverside Cafe again, and went our separate ways.

Monday 23 April 1990Tour: Cornish Coast Day 8 Tintagel to PlymouthWarm & sunny
20 present: Neil Allan, Neil Ault, Erica Brown, Mark Burnard, Jamie Davey, Ian Gibbs, Paul Hamlyn-White, Philip Harler, Luke Hatherly, Martin Hills, Simon Hopper, Michael Jones, Martin Luke, Warren Masters, David Platt, Martin Rushworth, Paul Smith (15, Basingstoke), Eugene Tollemache, David Waldron, Martyn Williams
Breathtaking views from Tintagel hostel
Bike repairs outside Tintagel YH
The weather today was even warmer and sunnier than yesterday. We had a problem, however: 40 miles by 2pm. This was, of course, the very last morning that we would want to oversleep. But somehow, even with 20 alarm watches all going off, everyone overslept - which just goes to show how healthy this particular kind of exercise is.

Simon's puncture repair of the previous evening turned out to be a complete failure, and Paul Smith's brake cable suddenly needed replacing. It was 10am when we finally got away ... would we make it?

We rode through Slaughterbridge and thought we were making quite good progress. But then Neil Allan and Warren collided with each other, leaving Neil in need of some repairs. Simon led the rest on while Michael sorted Neil, then the two of them cycled hard and caught the group close to Altarnun. The final disaster struck en route to Jamaica Inn, when Martin Rushworth began to feel sick and slowed to a snail's pace. Time was now getting critical, but there was a solution. We were taking a train from Liskeard to Plymouth which couldn't carry bikes, so we had arranged for a removal van to meet us at Liskeard. The removal company was based at Callington, and they would have to pass through Jamaica Inn to get to Liskeard. When Michael rang them they hadn't left, so the main group continued while Paul and Martin waited for the van.

Fortunately it was nearly all downhill to Liskeard. We arrived at Liskeard at 2pm and reached the station at 2.11 (I'm not sure how young Phillip made it as he was feeling very tired today). The van was waiting. There was just time to load the bikes before the train arrived at 2.17 - and we beat the van to Plymouth!

So this was the end of the tour. Ian had been collected from Liskeard, and now Paul was being collected by relatives, vowing to return again for the Scotland tour. The rest of the group, who had all run out of money, queued up in the BR restaurant to buy food on Michael's one remaining cheque - the bill came to #27.09!

The final travel arrangements went smoothly for everyone except David Platt. He rang home to find out whether he was being collected from Plymouth or Newton Abbot and was assured by brother Christopher that Mum was going to Plymouth. David thought this a little strange and rang again later to make quite certain. There appeared to be no confusion so he waved goodbye to the rest of us as we got on the train for Newton Abbot. When we arrived, David's Mum was waiting at Newton Abbot, and she wasn't particularly pleased with the news. But that's not the end of the story. She set off for Plymouth, but then had second thoughts and rang .. Christopher. Christopher told her that David had rung, and that he was coming up on the next train. Mum waited for an hour, and he wasn't on that train either! She finally rang Plymouth station, located David and told David to wait there - goodness knows what time they eventually got home!

Wednesday 25 April 1990Evening ride (Paignton): Stoke GabrielSunny
5 present: Mark Lakeman, Paul Lakeman, Peter Madge, Gary Taylor, Ken Twydell
This evening we took the back lanes through Blagdon to Stoke Gabriel. The water level was so high that we couldn't ride along the river bank, so we returned along the track to Long Road and Galmpton.

Friday 27 April 1990Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): Skerraton DownSunny
13 present: Alan Ashworth (Junior, Devon), Neil Ault, Andrew Caunter, Julian Duquemin, Andrew Guy, Dayle Guy, Martin Hills, Catherine Hopper, Simon Hopper, Michael Jones, Luke Kudliskis, Keir Manning (10, Buckfastleigh), Chris Platt
The moorland evening rides are always tremendous fun, and tonight was no exception. On this occasion there was no bull to block our path as we rolled across the fields towards Cross Furzes.

Sunday 29 April 1990Day ride: Start PointSunny
12 present: Richard Burge, Julian Duquemin, Dayle Guy, Matthew Hamlyn-White, Paul Hamlyn-White, Philip Harler, Luke Hatherly, Martin Hills, Simon Hopper, Michael Jones, Martin Luke, Gary Taylor

Wednesday 2 May 1990Evening ride (Paignton): Whilborough CommonDry
8 present: Neil Ault, Michael Jones, Mark Lakeman, Peter Madge, Philip Roberts, David Robinson, Philip Robinson, Gary Taylor
Having ridden to North Whilborough we discovered an interesting-looking track that none of us had explored before. The challenge proved irresistible, so we set off for unknown adventures. The footpath actually veered left in a thicket, but the signpost had rotted away and we missed it completely. The result was that we spent more than half an hour wending our way through the woods and glades of Whilborough Common trying to find a way out.

Eventually we emerged near Kingskerswell, and decided to discover the "correct" route by entering the path from the Stoneycombe direction. This section proved quite steep, but by the end of this thoroughly enjoyable evening we felt we knew Whilborough Common quite well!

Friday 4 May 1990Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): SpitchwickSunny
17 present: Neil Ault, Simon Barnes, Jeremy Ford, Stan Ford, Andrew Guy, Dayle Guy, Matthew Hamlyn-White, Paul Hamlyn-White, Martin Hills, Catherine Hopper, Simon Hopper, Michael Jones, Martin Luke, Andrew Makepiece, Chris Platt, Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth
We went to Spitchwick via Hembury this evening, partly because David Platt wanted to meet us there with Simon Barnes. When we arrived we found that David had been a silly little boy and injured himself. Many readers will know that there is a rope on the far side of the river pool at Spitchwick, attached to an overhanging tree. The idea is to swim across the river, climb the rocks to a place where you can grab the rope, swing out and let go, thereby landing in the pool below with a big splash. Sadly, David hesitated and let go just a fraction too late, when the rope was on the way back to the rocks. He landed too close to the rocks at the bottom and cut himself. Michael started to patch him up, but Tom's family were not far away and they whisked him back to Holne for repairs.

Simon rode back to Buckfastleigh with us via Buckland in the Moor and Ashburton. There were strange, cold patches of air along the way, which Tom Sawyer would have called the spirits of the dead. Sadly we had no option but to ride through them.

Sunday 6 May 1990Day ride: Hunters' PathHot with breeze
8 present: Matthew Bentley (Junior, Brixham), Mark Burnard, Dayle Guy, Luke Hatherly, Martin Hills, Richard Hopper, Simon Hopper, Martyn Williams
After a few minutes spent truing Luke's wheel (damaged last week), we headed off along the old A38. Just climbing into Ashburton Richard's tyre deflated loudly enough for everyone to hear. The tyre needed patching, and these delays meant that we arrived at the pick-up point at Chudleigh Bridge about 20 minutes late. I hope no one thought they had missed us. The A38 had been busy, but traffic on the Teign Valley road was surprisingly light, given that it was a bank holiday Monday. The first track, from Steps Bridge to Clifford Bridge, was generally a good surface, but had enough ruts in it to give Matthew misgivings on his skinny‑tyred machine. We stopped by the river for lunch and a paddle. Matthew took the road alternative for the next stretch to Fingle Bridge, which is a little rougher.

We were disappointed to find the shop closed, so no ice creams. Luke and Martin compensated us with an attempt to ride across the river, a hopeless task, and Martin discovered it was waist deep in places. Nothing would drag Matthew along Hunters' Path, so we arranged to meet at the main road. Luke decided to ride all the way up the path while the rest of us walked. We had a pleasant 15 minutes in the sun, admiring the view, while Luke stuttered his way up. The descent below Castle Drogo made the climb worthwhile and we met up with Matthew as agreed. A cafe stop was now necessary, as we were all fairly thirsty, so we headed straight for Moretonhampstead.

A couple of miles south of the town Martyn encountered some bad news: his front brake cable snapped and the springs on the cantilever brakes pulled the straddle cable down on to his front wheel. Result: instant stop and Martyn flying over the top. He had a cut on his head, ugly scrapes on his shoulder and hip, and couldn't move his thumb. The good news: (a) no one ran him over, (b) a car stopped immediately with a retired nurse in it. By the time Richard got back Martyn had been made comfortable and the ambulance called. They took him back to Moretonhampstead for a local doctor to assess whether he needed treatment in Torbay. Richard and Matthew stayed with him while the rest of the group made their way home. The doctor decided no further treatment was necessary and we had the two of them picked up by car.

Sunday 6 May 1990Afternoon ride (Buckfastleigh): North HuishSunny / hot
8 present: Neil Ault, Richard Burge, Michael Giles, Tom Giles, Andrew Guy, Michael Jones, Andrew Makepiece, Eliot Thomas-Wright
This was an unusually peaceful ride through some delightful scenery, although the heat made it rather tiring. Returning through Diptford and Rattery there was a unanimous decision to buy some strawberries and ice cream, for consumption at Crofters. Unfortunately Paul wasn't working at the Spar to see us buy the items, but we made a point of telling him about it when we next saw him.

Sunday 6 May 1990Afternoon ride (Paignton): Stover Country ParkSunny
6 present: Michael Banks, Ben Hobday, Karina Hobday, Martin Luke, Mark Moxham, Ken Twydell
Despite magnificent weather the turnout consisted of Ken, Ben and Karina on one contraption and Michael Banks on a smart new Raleigh mountain bike. Newton Abbot yielded a similarly low addition of just one - Martin Luke.

We were just bemoaning the lack of enthusiasm of the group when, over the horizon, came mean moody magnificent Mark Moxham to swell our numbers to six. He actually hadn't come for the ride at all but was on his way to drop off an inner tube at Graham Brodie's. However we persuaded him to join us - on condition he didn't try to lead!

The ride through Teigngrace was quite swift despite the uphill gradient and we soon found ourselves at the 'back' of Stover Country Park. Our first attempt to enter via a locked gate (on someone's advice - initials MM) ended in a double back down the road. Eventually we did get in but the paths were so crowded with strollers who were giving us dirty looks that we decided to make for Bovey Tracey and the tea rooms.

Unfortunately only Ken and Martin had any money so we just had ice creams whilst sitting on the wall.

The ride back was uneventful. Of Note: Michael found his new mountain bike harder work than he remembers his old road bike and he needed a rest in Compton - mind you, he had Ben (Le Mond) to keep up with!

Wednesday 9 May 1990Evening ride (Paignton): Shaldon Trig PointSunny
3 present: Dave Humphreys, Peter Madge, David Robinson
We cycled to Hamlyn Way roundabout and then took the back roads to Barton, which included some long, steep hills. Neither Peter nor Philip could keep up with Dave Humphreys of course! Taking the main road towards Shaldon we turned left near Labrador Bay along the track to The Beacon (a trig point commanding excellent views), and then continued down the rough track to Stoke-in-Teignhead. The whole excursion proved thoroughly enjoyable, and will no doubt be repeated.

At Roccombe we met one of Dave's friends who owned the Roccombe Farm ice cream business. We were given a guided tour around the organic ice-cream factory, but sadly there wasn't a bit of ice cream to eat! We returned via Coffinswell, Kingskerswell and Stoneycombe, getting home at about 9.50pm.

Friday 11 May 1990Weekend ride: Plymouth / Golant Day 1Sunny
13 present: Tao Burgess, Jeremy Ford, Matthew Hamlyn-White, Paul Hamlyn-White, Martin Hills, Richard Hopper, Toby Hopper, Michael Jones, Martin Luke, David Platt, Martin Rushworth, Alan Skinner, Eliot Thomas-Wright
None of us had been to Plymouth hostel before, but we were fairly impressed with it by the time we left on Saturday morning. It is a large mansion located not far from the Torpoint ferry in its own magnificent gardens. The male dormitory is simply enormous, and not at all to Michael's liking as the only windows are high up in the central dome. The members' kitchen, warden's kitchen (I believe) and games room are situated within the labyrinth of connected passageways and alcoves that make up the basement. The only problem with this arrangement is that milk or bread ordered at reception takes some time to find its way to you in the members' kitchen. All in all the hostel is good fun, and I'm sure we'll be paying a visit again in the future.

Friday 11 May 1990Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): Staverton BridgeSunny
9 present: Joseph Bellows, Hazel Brown, Andrew Caunter, Philip Harler, Catherine Hopper, Simon Hopper, Chris Platt, Dave Platt Snr, Peter Rushworth
With Michael et al hostelling there was a reduced turnout. However this did not stop the group enjoying perfect cycling weather. Bigadon hill warmed everyone up in time for the descent to Huxham's Cross and then Staverton Bridge. Catherine was outvoted on whether to take the riverside path to Staverton (she didn't want to). On the way back a couple of the youngsters played 'chicken' with Simon (failing of course) but this didn't slow the group down too much to stop them reaching Buckfastleigh before dark.

Saturday 12 May 1990Weekend ride: Plymouth / Golant Day 2Sunny
13 present: Tao Burgess, Jeremy Ford, Matthew Hamlyn-White, Paul Hamlyn-White, Martin Hills, Richard Hopper, Toby Hopper, Michael Jones, Martin Luke, David Platt, Martin Rushworth, Alan Skinner, Eliot Thomas-Wright
The entrance to Plymouth YH
Toby & Richard Hopper
Coast path to Polperro
Paul, Matthew and Tao enjoying fresh milk near Portwrinkle
Those Easter Tour participants who decided to repeat their trip to Golant were very pleased with the weather conditions, which were much better than the April visit. The route was similar for the morning and part of the afternoon, taking in Portwrinkle and Seaton before enjoying lunch at Milendreath beach and refreshments at Looe. After the climb out of Looe we realised that we had plenty of time in hand (because of the early start at Plymouth) so we diverted through Talland Bay and then took the coastal path to Polperro - another all-new experience for us which turned out to be great fun. We paid the price for our detour with a stiff climb, but it was definitely worth the effort.

We arrived at the hostel in reasonable time for supper (for a change), and were entertained for the rest of the evening by Richard and Toby, demonstrating their newly-acquired juggling skills in our attic dormitory.

Sunday 13 May 1990Weekend ride: Plymouth / Golant Day 3Sunny
13 present: Tao Burgess, Jeremy Ford, Matthew Hamlyn-White, Paul Hamlyn-White, Martin Hills, Richard Hopper, Toby Hopper, Michael Jones, Martin Luke, David Platt, Martin Rushworth, Alan Skinner, Eliot Thomas-Wright
Martin in the river at Pillaton
Ready to leave at Golant YH
There was more good weather in the morning, but our route was not to be quite as scenic as that of the outward journey. We had an appointment with Plymouth Section members near Darite on the southern fringe of Bodmin Moor for lunch, so the morning was spent riding along mainish roads through Lostwithiel - and patching up poor Tao who got caught up with Matthew HW during an overtaking stint and then steered his brand new mountain bike right across the main road before abandoning it and landing on the tarmac. The explanation for this strange behaviour came when the bike was inspected afterwards: the handlebar stem locking bolt was loose, and the wheel had moved out of alignment by nearly 90° during the impact with Matthew! There was no serious harm done to either bike or rider, but the incident should serve as a reminder to all members not to trust a bike just because it is new: check it over yourself before you ride it.

We arrived first at the meeting place (to our surprise), and were half-way through our lunches when the Plymouth bunch arrived. Having nearly doubled our numbers we continued along an interesting wooded route back to Plymouth, pausing for more than half an hour by the river near Pillaton for watery games. Martin entertained us by waterlogging his wheel bearings while Marcus (from Plymouth) waded through the water in pursuit of some rather large balloons acquired by his friend Steven.

Kevin took full responsibility for leading us through Plymouth to the rail station in time for our 5.30 train. Things went fine until we had crossed the Tamar Bridge (quite an experience in itself). We then spent nearly an hour riding non-stop to the station, and nearly missed the train. Michael thought it shouldn't have taken anywhere near as long (he had banked on half an hour, which would have given him time to buy a pizza), so he checked the map when he got home, only to discover just what a long-winded, devious route Kevin had selected for us. Unbeknown to Michael, Kevin was also checking his map and coming to the same, guilty conclusion! We didn't complain, though, as we had all enjoyed a superb weekend break.

If you have enjoyed reading these reports please send us a comment using the form on our Contact page