South Dartmoor CTC


Sunday 25 August 1991Tour: Lake District Day 6 Longthwaite to Grasmere YH (23 mi)Sunny start, clouding over
14 present: Neil Ault, Arthur Caulfield (12, London), Ian Gibbs, Mark Hedges, Simon Hopper, Roger Johnson, Michael Jones, Rufus Kahler (12, London), David Platt, Tim Platt (13, Ormskirk), Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth, Paul Smith, Richard Sudworth (13, Wigan)
Rufus Kahler
Longthwaite YH
View from the bridlepath to Rosthwaite and the Derwent valley
Paul Smith
Approaching the top
The climb continues
The Devil's Punchbowl, Watlendath & Raise Gill - ducks still being fed!
Watlendath Fell
David Platt by the Devil's Punchbowl
Arthur Caulfield by the Devil's Punchbowl
The view of Derwent Water & Keswick from Mary Mount - as on OS map 90!
Neil, Rufus & Arthur on the bridge at Watlendath
Tim, perusing the northern edge of Thirlmere
Simon, David & Martin admiring the view
The day began with another of Michael's short-cuts, taken from the CTC route guide. This time it was the track from Rosthwaite to Watendlath, involving a steep climb of about 1km. The gradient was such that many had to carry bikes and luggage separately, so it seemed that it would take a considerable time to reach the top. The fitter members (Peter, Paul and Martin to name but three) saved the day by going back to help the younger ones, so that after an enormous team effort the job was completed quickly. We can recommend the path for its scenic views and mountain streams.

Watendlath is famous for its glacial lake, called the Devil's Punchbowl. Michael, who stayed back to help Mark and was therefore last down the track, could see a number of people feeding some ducks at the outflow of the tarn, evidently enjoying the tranquillity. Within a few moments, however, the ducks and people had been dispersed by the arrival of our leading riders, intent on riding through the nearby ford to satisfy their own desire for fun. It really is a shame that some youngsters can't be a little more sensitive!

When we had enjoyed lunch in the adjacent café and Arthur, Neil, Tim, Richard and Rufus had made up to the ducks by feeding them some bread, we started the descent back to the B5289. At Mary Mount we found ourselves on the edge of what appeared to be a cliff face, offering spectacular views across Derwent Water to Keswick and beyond. We were just thinking that the view seemed familiar when someone pointed out that a slightly sunnier version appeared on the cover of OS Landranger map number 90.

It is often difficult to obtain lunch and provisions on a Sunday. We had experienced severe difficulties yesterday, so we were watching keenly for any shop that might be open as we arrived in Keswick. Turning into the main street we found ourselves caught up in a huge throng of bustling people, all apparently shopping. Closer inspection revealed that virtually every shop was not only open but carrying on a roaring trade, apparently flouting the Sunday trading laws with complete indifference. This was not at all what we had expected.

Lunch was no problem: the bakery was of exceptional quality. Margarine and marmalade proved more difficult, however: the supermarket was not only the only shop in the town that sold provisions, but also the only shop that was closed! We had to content ourselves with a look in the expensive cycle shop.

From Keswick we rode to our eleventh lake, Thirlmere. This is actually a reservoir, and the water level was well below maximum. Beaches of rough rocks were exposed all around the edge. We spent a little while watching a couple encourage their dogs to swim in the water, apparently in defiance of the notices requesting the public to keep the water clean. David commented on the fact as loudly as he dared from his rock at the top of the beach, but fortunately for him his words were lost on the breeze. Arthur and Rufie had prepared a tiny grave in the sand, just in case!

Grasmere's Thorney How hostel was not open when we arrived, so we wandered down to the village in search of provisions. Once again the place was bustling with tourists, and once again only the two grocery shops were closed.

Sunday 25 August 1991Day ride: Topsham BridgeSunny
21 present: Joseph Bellows, Alan Dawson, Julian Duquemin, Dayle Guy, Martin Hills, Ben Hobday, Karina Hobday, Roxanne Hobday, Dave Humphreys, Alex Lessware, Sebastian Lessware, Paul Oakley, Unknown Rider 1, Unknown Rider 2, Ken Twydell, Julie Twydell-Hobday, Charlie Walker, Lorraine Walker, Robert Walker, Tom Widger, Craig Wilson
Not a bad turnout of twenty one despite some members being off on the summer tour. As it was such a fine day we decided to change the destination to Slapton by popular request. The route we took was via Harbertonford and Modbury so we avoided the main Kingsbridge road apart from crossing it a couple of times.

This route was very hilly and we were all looking forward to the cooling sea at Slapton. However as we dropped down to the coast we encountered a sea mist and the temperature dropped considerably. Even so we had lunch by the beach whilst the bigger lads practiced bunny hops and other 'stunts' until asked to stop by a wildlife trust warden.

We went back along the coast to Blackpool to discover that the café, having been blown away in the storms, has only been replaced by a kiosk. Disappointed we set off home - Paignton lot via Dartmouth and the rest via Totnes.

Monday 26 August 1991Tour: Lake District Day 7 Grasmere to Helvellyn YH (18 mi)Sunny all day
14 present: Neil Ault, Arthur Caulfield (12, London), Ian Gibbs, Mark Hedges, Simon Hopper, Roger Johnson, Michael Jones, Rufus Kahler (12, London), David Platt, Tim Platt (13, Ormskirk), Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth, Paul Smith, Richard Sudworth (13, Wigan)
Simon brings his boat in
Boating on Grasmere
The climb from Ambleside to Kirkstone Pass
Mark & Roger in Ambleside park
One of the advantages in running a leisurely tour is that there is usually time to enjoy the local attractions when weather conditions are favourable. This morning the weather was perfect, and nearly everyone clubbed together to hire a couple of boats for a relaxing row around Grasmere lake. Perhaps it wasn't quite so relaxing for those who were doing all the hard work, but it was certainly fun: an unforgettable highlight of the tour.

We took the delightful back lanes into Ambleside and almost arrived without incident - until Roger managed to cause Peter and David to come off. Fortunately injuries were not serious. Mark was waiting for us as agreed: he had gone into Ambleside early to get his arm re-dressed at the health centre. We bought a good lunch and ate it in the large park, where space and time allowed a game of Forfeits with Michael's tennis ball.

Once the inevitable water fight had been concluded we set about climbing up to Kirkstone Pass in sweltering conditions. This turned out to be a little easier than we had anticipated, although there was a sting in the tail in the form of a hidden valley before the final climb. Michael kept tight control of the leading riders on the descent, but was unable to prevent Roger from waiting at the top and then tearing down the hill at suicidal speed. He looked a little sick when he rounded a corner about half-way down to find Michael waiting there with the others!

Neil had to fix a puncture when we arrived at Glenridding. There were far more tourists here than we had expected, most of them lazing on the banks of Ullswater.

One final effort helped us up the 1½ mile track to Helvellyn hostel, the former home of the manager of the now disused lead mines. We were divided into four dormitories, but the hostel was comfortable. Some youngsters were slightly disturbed to discover that the two showers were side-by-side behind a single non-locking door, separated only by a half-partition!

Michael was the only person adventurous enough to climb the hill behind the hostel that evening and enjoy the excellent sunset behind the distant Lakeland hills. The rest preferred a mix of pool and other indoor games - except David, that is, who discovered that his derailleur was now totally useless. He spent much of his evening removing the remains and getting very oily.

Tuesday 27 August 1991Tour: Lake District Day 8 Helvellyn to Penrith station (12 mi)Cloudy start, rain later
14 present: Neil Ault, Arthur Caulfield (12, London), Ian Gibbs, Mark Hedges, Simon Hopper, Roger Johnson, Michael Jones, Rufus Kahler (12, London), David Platt, Tim Platt (13, Ormskirk), Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth, Paul Smith, Richard Sudworth (13, Wigan)
The group at Helvellyn YH. Front LtoR Tim, Neil, Richard, Rufus, Arthur, David. Back LtoR Peter, Ian, Mark, Roger, Martin, Simon, Michael
We had to make an early start if we were to reach the station by 1045. There was still time to persuade another hosteller to take some group photographs for us before we sped off along the side of Ullswater, heading out of the national park which had given us so much pleasure.

All the trains left Penrith on time, although two of our number almost didn't: Neil and David went out shopping and returned just three minutes before their train was due to depart!

The drizzle began, but now it didn't bother us. As we entertained ourselves on the long train journeys homewards, we contemplated our week's holiday. We had indeed been fortunate with the weather, and fortunate also to have such a good group of enthusiastic cyclists.

Wednesday 28 August 1991
Evening ride (Paignton): GalmptonWeather unknown
7 present: Alan Dawson, Dave Humphreys, Philip Humphreys, David Robinson, Ken Twydell, Paul Twydell, Julie Twydell-Hobday
Philip led us on a lovely route to Churston and then via tracks to Galmpton and home on the main road.

Friday 30 August 1991
Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): PridhamsleighDry
5 present: Clive Buckland, Luke Buckland, Alan Dawson, Michael Jones, John Stuart
John Stuart joined Michael, Clive, Luke and Alan for an excursion which started at Pridhamsleigh and ended in the Staverton direction.

Sunday 1 September 1991Afternoon ride (Buckfastleigh): North HuishDry
4 present: Tao Burgess, Michael Jones, Ken Oakley, Paul Oakley
Ken and Paul Oakley joined Michael and Neil for a short excursion to North Huish via Dean, exploring some newish roads on the far side of Diptford for the return.

Sunday 1 September 1991Afternoon ride (Paignton): Newfoundland CoveDry
6 present: Alan Dawson, Martin Luke, Ken Twydell, Paul Twydell, Andrew Walker, Charlie Walker
This ride was rather unusual in that Ken had actually planned a route (albeit ten minutes before he set off). We went down the Westerland valley to Collaton St Mary, across the Totnes road and on to the Stoke Gabriel road. We soon left this to take a path through the Yalberton Industrial Estate and onto lanes and tracks to Galmpton, from where we took a lane almost to Hillhead. This route took only about an hour and, apart from the crossing of main roads, we didn't meet a car.

We then set off into unfamiliar territory towards the coast via Brownstone car park and a military road (track) to the coast path. This we followed (walking!!) for some 1½ miles to the outskirts of Kingswear where we took a track that avoided much of the climb back to Hillhead and returned home at speed on the main road.

Amazingly we got back for 1830 after some twenty five miles plus 1½ miles walking, having discovered some new territory so near to home.

Friday 6 September 1991Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): StavertonDry
12 present: Neil Ault, Robert Beckwith (10, Buckfastleigh), Alan Dawson, Andrew Guy, Dayle Guy, Matthew Hamlyn-White, Martin Hills, Catherine Hopper, Simon Hopper, Michael Jones, Martin Rushworth, Liz Unknown (Adult, Devon)
Dayle, Andrew and Matthew HW forgot their lights again, so they left us after 45 minutes when we had reached the top of Baddaford hill. Liz and Simon entertained us for the rest of the evening by riding Richard's tandem in perfect synchronization!

Returning along Colston Road after dark, Robert managed to hit a hedge at the bottom of one of the hills, breaking his new front light! We can possibly excuse him, as he had never ridden at night before, and the bike he was riding was a little too large for him.

Sunday 8 September 1991Day ride: Dawlish WaterDry with sunny periods
20 present: Neil Ault, Robert Beckwith, Tao Burgess, Alan Dawson, Julian Duquemin, Dayle Guy, Martin Hills, Ben Hobday, Karina Hobday, Michael Jones, Alex Lessware, Sebastian Lessware, Martin Luke, Paul Oakley, Debbie Twydell, Ken Twydell, Paul Twydell, Charlie Walker, Robert Walker, Tom Widger
Another excellent ride. We took the steep road from Gappah which crosses the A380, then continued to Ideford Arch where a few enthusiasts couldn't resist the track to Well Covert. Michael intercepted them at the ford as they were trying to decide which track to take next.

After a short lunch stop we followed the Dawlish Water all the way into Dawlish, where sunny sands and breakers proved irresistible for many. We returned homewards via the piggery at Holcombe Down, then past the Golf Course to Little Haldon. It was during the negotiation of the track down to Humber that Robert's handlebars worked loose, causing him to come off and take Alex with him. Robert got several grazes and scratches, but Alex came off worst with a nasty cut and graze which took a few weeks to heal properly. Still, the track was good, and we will no doubt return one day to do it properly!

Friday 13 September 1991Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): StavertonDry
11 present: Neil Ault, Robert Beckwith, Joseph Bellows, Tao Burgess, Andrew Guy, Matthew Hamlyn-White, Catherine Hopper, Simon Hopper, Michael Jones, Chris Platt, Liz Unknown
Matthew and Andrew actually remembered their lights this evening!

Sunday 15 September 1991Day ride: Laughter TorDry
13 present: Robert Beckwith, Joseph Bellows, Tao Burgess, Alan Dawson, Julian Duquemin, Andrew Guy, Dayle Guy, Matthew Hamlyn-White, Martin Hills, Michael Jones, Martin Luke, Paul Oakley, Eliot Thomas-Wright
We rode to the destination via Venford reservoir, enjoying an early lunch at Combestone Tor. The track through the forest to Bellever was almost unrecognisable, as nearly all of the forest has now been harvested. When Alan had learned not to play with Michael's pannier we returned homewards through Widecombe and Bonehill.

Wednesday 18 September 1991
Evening ride (Paignton): Destination UnknownWeather unknown
3 present: Alan Dawson, Ken Twydell, Charlie Walker
Report unavailable

Friday 20 September 1991Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): Brutus BridgeDry
6 present: Robert Beckwith, Tao Burgess, Alan Dawson, Martin Hills, Michael Jones, Chris Platt
The red Vistalights, promoted by Ken, were tested this evening and certainly looked quite bright from behind. From the Dartington Hall estate we took the overgrown track to Totnes (tricky in the dark) and returned via Rattery as usual.

Sunday 22 September 1991Day ride: Mothecombe BeachDry
20 present: Neil Ault, Robert Beckwith, Tao Burgess, Alan Dawson, Luke Hatherly, Thain Hatherly (Adult, Dartington), Martin Hills, Michael Jones, Alex Lessware, Sebastian Lessware, Martin Luke, Paul Oakley, Unknown Rider 1, Philip Robinson, Martin Rushworth, Andrew Simmons, Charlie Walker, Robert Walker, Ben Widger (16, Totnes), Tom Widger
We repeated our earlier route today by having lunch at Mothecombe and then wading across the river to enable return via Aveton Gifford. Charlie wasn't all that enthusiastic about the idea, but he didn't fancy climbing back up the hill we had just descended so he went along with the majority. Things got a bit dicey when we realised, half-way across, that the tide was coming in at the rapid rate for which Mothecombe is famous: shoes and socks left on an island of sand in the middle of the river were submerged a few minutes later when we returned for them!

The Loddiswell café seemed appropriate, but as some were then quite tired we returned home by the shortest route.

Friday 27 September 1991Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): Cross FurzesThreatening
7 present: Neil Ault, Robert Beckwith, Alan Dawson, Martin Hills, Michael Jones, Martin Luke, Chris Platt
As rain was forecast we kept close to home, riding out to Buckfast. Since the rain had not materialised we decided to tackle the steep climb to Cross Furzes, calling in at the Rushworth farmstead along the way for some welcome refreshments. The rain had still not arrived by the time we got back to Buckfastleigh - the forecasts seem to be hopeless these days!

Saturday 28 September 1991Weekend ride: Steps Bridge Youth Hostel Day 1Breezy, rain overnight
9 present: Neil Ault, Robert Beckwith, Tao Burgess, Barry Dawson, Michael Jones, Martin Luke, Paul Oakley, Chris Platt, Eliot Thomas-Wright
The forecasts for the weekend looked abysmal right up to the start of the ride: storm force winds, torrential rain, all continuing throughout the weekend. In fact the worst weather we experienced was some light rain as we neared the hostel on Saturday evening.

We were not deterred from venturing out for our traditional walk through the woodlands, despite the inky blackness of the night and the promise of rain. Armed with a handful of battery lights we bravely set out, but MJ and Tao were not amused when the rest ran on and left them lightless on a rough path that had numerous pools of water along its length and a fast flowing river close to the edge. There was nothing much to be done except wait for the rest to return. Card games saw us through the remainder of the evening.

Sunday 29 September 1991Weekend ride: Steps Bridge Youth Hostel Day 2Breezy
9 present: Neil Ault, Robert Beckwith, Tao Burgess, Barry Dawson, Michael Jones, Martin Luke, Paul Oakley, Chris Platt, Eliot Thomas-Wright
The rest of the weekend was plagued with mechanical problems, including Chris Platt's irreparable derailleur spring and numerous punctures. Our Sunday ride was therefore doomed from the outset, so we returned home after a less than satisfying ride, taking all day to ride from the hostel to Buckfastleigh by the direct Moretonhampstead/North Bovey route. We stopped for lunch at Mearsdon Manor, Moreton, as about half the group had not brought a packed lunch.

Friday 4 October 1991
Social: Section AGM
21 present: Neil Ault, Alan Dawson, Dayle Guy, Luke Hatherly, Martin Hills, Ben Hobday, Karina Hobday, Roxanne Hobday, Catherine Hopper, Richard Hopper, Michael Jones, Martin Luke, Chris Platt, David Robinson, James Twydell, Ken Twydell, Julie Twydell-Hobday, Andrew Walker, Charlie Walker, Lorraine Walker, Robert Walker
This year's AGM attracted a smaller attendance than in previous years, partly because the Section seems to have settled on a good formula, leaving little need for change. Lorraine Walker took on the treasurer's mantle, and Ken Twydell took the position of Section Delegate from Richard Hopper. The position of Publicity Representative was unfilled, although Sebastian Lessware was later co-opted to the position. All other Committee positions remained unchanged. Local publicity reps are as follows:

     Newton Abbot   Alan Dawson
TorquayDave Robinson
PaigntonRobert Walker
TotnesSeb Lessware
South BrentMark Hedges
BuckfastleighNeil Ault
AshburtonCatherine Hopper

No major changes to Section policy were introduced.

Sunday 6 October 1991Day ride (Hardriders): Burgh IslandSunny
2 present: Richard Hopper, Sebastian Lessware
Seb turned up at the Avonwick pick-up but Richard had already abandoned the ride owing to a zero turn-out at Buckfastleigh: he had forgotten about checking Avonwick. So Seb made the best of a bad job by completing the ride on his own.

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