South Dartmoor CTC


Sunday 3 January 1993Afternoon ride (Buckfastleigh): Skerraton DownUnknown weather
10 present: Neil Ault, Richard Goss, Thain Hatherly, Michael Jones, Alex Lessware, Sebastian Lessware, Paul Oakley, Chris Platt, Eliot Thomas-Wright, Ben Widger
Another exciting ride across the open moorland just behind Buckfastleigh offered plenty of entertainment.

Friday 8 January 1993
Social: Risk
6 present: Neil Ault, Richard Burge, Richard Goss, Michael Jones, Chris Platt, Eliot Thomas-Wright
This ever-popular game kept us well entertained for our first social of 1993.

Sunday 10 January 1993Day ride: HarfordWet
4 present: Neil Ault, Michael Jones, Paul Oakley, Chris Platt
Today's ride became yet another casualty of the bad weather, but Paul and Chris made the most of the chance for an extra Crofters social.

Sunday 17 January 1993Morning ride (Buckfastleigh): WidecombeDry
9 present: Neil Ault, Richard Goss, Thain Hatherly, Michael Jones, Alex Lessware, Sebastian Lessware, Paul Oakley, David Robinson, Ben Widger
When Dave Robinson saw that today's Buckfastleigh morning ride was going to Widecombe, he naturally saw an ideal opportunity to visit the Green Cafe, famous within our Section for its peculiarities. He wasn't disappointed. The wicker furniture was still painted blue and the fan was still lying by the till, waiting for an opportunity to save its owner from the unhygienic occupation of handling customers' change. Unusually, however, everything we ordered today was 'on', and there was a noticeable absence of dogs, birds and eccentric old ladies.

Friday 22 January 1993Social: Unknown Social
6 present: Neil Ault, Julian Duquemin, Martin Hills, Michael Jones, Chris Platt, Eliot Thomas-Wright
Report unavailable

Sunday 24 January 1993Day ride: Laurence CastleDry
12 present: Michael Jones, Unknown Rider 1, Unknown Rider 10, Unknown Rider 2, Unknown Rider 3, Unknown Rider 4, Unknown Rider 5, Unknown Rider 6, Unknown Rider 7, Unknown Rider 8, Unknown Rider 9, Ben Widger
An uneventful ride took us up the Teign Valley and through Trusham to the track behind Laurence Castle for lunch. As we returned through Chudleigh, Ben learned one of the reasons for the early returns on recent rides: Michael's dynamo was broken!

Sunday 31 January 1993Day ride: Buckland Tout SaintsDry
12 present: James Allason, Tao Burgess, Michael Jones, Alex Lessware, Sebastian Lessware, David Robinson, Bob Taylor, Andrew Walker, Charlie Walker, Robert Walker, Ben Widger, Tom Widger
There seems to be a general consensus within the Section that winter rides should get us home well before dark. With this in mind we took a short route to the hamlet of Buckland in the South Hams, enjoyed lunch on a convenient grassy verge and then returned by the short main road route.

Sunday 7 February 1993Afternoon ride: Bow CrossSunny
10 present: Neil Ault, David Cutts, Richard Goss, Thain Hatherly, Michael Jones, Sebastian Lessware, Paul Oakley, Eliot Thomas-Wright, Ken Twydell, Ben Widger
Only Ken Twydell and Dave Cutts met the Buckfastleigh starters at Bow Cross. We took a right turn near Broadhempston and followed the attractive Newhouse Barton lane to Ipplepen and (inevitably) Fermoys garden centre, where the usual selection of refreshments were on offer.

Sunday 14 February 1993Day ride: Whooping RockDry
7 present: Neil Ault, Richard Goss, Michael Jones, Sebastian Lessware, Bob Taylor, Gary Taylor, Ben Widger
Following the long climb from Bovey Tracey to Manaton we diverted along the small track that was responsible for the ride achieving an 'R' status in the runs list. We didn't find a rock that whooped, but we did find a small cave for lunch that offered excellent views of the surrounding moorland and shelter from the cold breeze.

In order to avoid retracing our steps we continued along the track. It turned out to be a little rougher than expected, and Bob didn't look too impressed as he was shaken about on his trusty Galaxy. We concluded a good ride with refreshments at the Wayside cafe, Widecombe, and a stiff climb past Bone Hill to Ashburton.

Sunday 21 February 1993Morning ride (Buckfastleigh): PinchafordCold
11 present: Neil Ault, Richard Goss, Thain Hatherly, Michael Jones, Alex Lessware, Sebastian Lessware, Paul Oakley, John Stuart, Eliot Thomas-Wright, Ben Widger, Tom Widger
We followed the lane from Ashburton to Halshanger and Birchanger, and then set about tackling the steep, track descent to the River Lemon. Everyone managed to reach the bottom, but when John Stuart tried to manoeuvre himself around the slippery, wooden footbridge he quickly found himself on his back, looking up at the sky.

The track climbed steeply on the other side, and it took Eliot a lot of hard pushing to reach the gateway to the open moor. Some careful map reading eventually brought us through some unspoilt moorland scenery to the main road near Saddle Tor. Seb and Ben came out right beside the refreshment van, bought just enough food for themselves and then rejoined the rest of us at the bottom of the hill!

We returned to Buckfastleigh via Cold East Cross and Ashburton.

Sunday 28 February 1993Day ride: Noss MayoSunny but cold
11 present: Neil Ault, Richard Goss, Michael Jones, Alex Lessware, Sebastian Lessware, Paul Oakley, Andrew Walker, Charlie Walker, Robert Walker, Ben Widger, Tom Widger
Having taken the easy B3210 from Avonwick to Ermington we soon found ourselves at the five-land cross-roads near Alston Hall. The alternatives were simple: a steep climb to the lane route, or a short-cut along a muddy track that followed a stream down to the sea. One look at the hill prompted everyone to vote for the track.

Some of the earlier sections were still frozen after the overnight frost, but the remainder turned out to be every bit as muddy as Michael remembered it. All those without mudguards were plastered by the time they reached Membland. Charlie wasn't particularly amused, but he didn't complain too much (t'old lad).

Dave Robinson had rung Michael the previous night suggesting that he might bring a Primus for the purpose of brewing tea for the group. Michael thought this was a good idea and agreed to bring his camping stove with some cans of soup. Unfortunately, Dave didn't turn up, but the rest of us enjoyed the fruits of his idea, by the water's edge at Bridgend.

We returned through Noss Mayo and the south coast route past Mothecombe. As we neared South Brent we were greeted with the first and last real snow of the season - enough to cover both the bikes and ourselves before it stopped a few minutes later!

Our reward for calling in at the Copper Kettle cafe at South Brent was a chance meeting with Rob Spence of Torbay Section, apparently drawn to the same honeypot.

Sunday 7 March 1993Afternoon ride (Buckfastleigh): Chalk FordDry
8 present: Neil Ault, Joe Chew (Junior, Buckfastleigh), Michael Jones, Alex Lessware, Sebastian Lessware, Paul Oakley, Eliot Thomas-Wright, Tom Widger
Another of our classic romps across Dartmoor went exactly according to plan until we reached the stony track descent to Scorriton. Michael advised the youngsters not to ride too fast, but of course they did. Fortunately the only result was that Tom got a blow-out and the rest of us had to wait for fifteen minutes while Seb fixed it for him.

There was Star Trek (inevitably) and Hot Chocolate for those who returned to Crofters.

Sunday 14 March 1993Day ride: Mamhead ObeliskDry & cloudy
9 present: Neil Ault, Richard Goss, Michael Jones, Sebastian Lessware, Bob Taylor, Adrian Unknown (Adult, Devon), Andrew Walker, Charlie Walker, Robert Walker
The ride through Gappah to Haldon was uneventful, and even at the Obelisk the most exciting spectacle was Neil and Michael cooking their soup again - it seems that Dave Robinson has started a trend without even showing us his Primus!

It was on top of Little Haldon that the main event of the day took place. Seb was showing off again by riding his mountain bike off the road towards the surrounding heathland. He saw what appeared to be a low grassy bank and decided at once that it would form the ideal resource for a jumping demonstration. Did he think to check the far side before launching himself over the top? Of course he didn't. He just rode at that bank for all he was worth.

We saw him reach the bank. We heard him squeal. Then both he and the bike disappeared from view. There had been a much larger drop on the far side than he had expected, but fortunately the main damage was to his pride.

We looked in at the Texas Homestore cafe in Kingsteignton, but as there was nowhere safe to leave the bikes we pressed on to Fermoys at Ipplepen for drinks and cake before returning home for about 5pm.

Friday 19 March 1993
Social: Board Games
5 present: Neil Ault, Richard Burge, Michael Jones, Chris Platt, Eliot Thomas-Wright
Risk formed the main entertainment this evening.

Sunday 21 March 1993Morning ride (Buckfastleigh): Gatcombe TracksDry
10 present: Neil Ault, Thain Hatherly, Michael Jones, Alex Lessware, Sebastian Lessware, Paul Oakley, Chris Platt, Eliot Thomas-Wright, Ben Widger, Tom Widger
Michael had to get home by 12.45 today, but when we reached the destination he became tempted by the track descent into Totnes which he had never yet ridden. Assurances from the Totnes lads that it was an excellent descent persuaded him to try it. Regrettably, it turned out to be as much uphill as it was downhill, so he was late home.

Sunday 28 March 1993Day ride: Blackpool SandsCold & windy
12 present: James Allason, Neil Ault, Michael Jones, Alex Lessware, Sebastian Lessware, Graham Moates, Paul Oakley, Claire Unknown (Junior, Paignton), Andrew Walker, Charlie Walker, Robert Walker, Ben Widger
From Totnes we rode through Bowden and Tuckenhay to Higher Tideford, where Graham Moates and his friend Claire passed us in their car. They decided to take the car a little further before unpacking the bikes, but we had completed the descent through the second Bowden and started to eat lunch at the beach before we saw them again.

Michael's soup failed to heat properly today, the stove being adversely affected by the cold wind. The conditions didn't stop an elderly gentleman from going for a swim at the beach, however, a ritual he has performed daily for many years. It really was very cold today, so we could only assume that he was totally mad.

We cycled on to Dartmouth after lunch. The Paignton brigade then crossed the ferry to Kingswear while the rest of us popped in to the Spinning Wheel cafe for toasted teacakes and drinks. Michael made the mistake of ordering an expensive milkshake after the proprietor assured him it was "large" - it turned out to be less than a quarter of a pint!

The forecast rain finally caught up with us as we rode back towards Totnes, making the return journey somewhat miserable.

Friday 2 April 1993Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): LandscoveDry
8 present: Tristan Allen, Neil Ault, Philip Harler, Michael Jones, Paul Oakley, Adrian Teague, Shane Teague, Eliot Thomas-Wright
Phillip was asked this evening why he hadn't been cycling for the past six months. "I've been waiting for the evening rides to start up again," he said, "and this year I'm not going to miss a single ride."

Phillip had brought along some of his friends for our first evening ride of the new season, notably Tristan Allen, and Shane and Adrian Teague. We hadn't ridden far, however, before we had our inaugural crash, caused on this occasion by Neil moving out without first checking that there were no other cyclists behind him.

Our route encompassed the riverside track from Staverton bridge, the quiet village of Landscove, several hills (about which Adrian complained unceasingly) and a series of three slightly muddy tracks that brought us eventually to Pridhamsleigh. The highlight of the evening came as Adrian descended the final track in near-darkness. He tried to go fast even though he couldn't see clearly where he was going, hit a rut and found himself falling off the edge of the track into a nest of stinging nettles and brambles!

Sunday 4 April 1993Afternoon ride: West OgwellSunny
13 present: Neil Ault, Tao Burgess, Aaron Goddard (Junior, Devon), Ben Hobday, Michael Jones, Sebastian Lessware, Charles Staniland, Harry Staniland (Junior, Buckland-in-the-moor), Eliot Thomas-Wright, Andrew Walker, Charlie Walker, Lorraine Walker, Robert Walker
Harry and his father arrived at Buckfastleigh just as we were leaving, so they drove on to Peartree and met us there. We were delayed when we noticed an upturned pregnant ewe in a field near Chuley Cross. Closer inspection revealed that she had been struggling there for a considerable time: she was very pleased to find herself on her feet again and quickly trotted off to join the rest off the flock.

We had arranged to meet Seb at the crossroads near Lake farm "sometime after 2.45pm". When we arrived it was nearly 3.15 and Seb had just started to wander towards Pulsford. A posse was sent after him and eventually we rendezvoused near Wotton farm.

With all these delays it was 3.32 before we arrived at West Ogwell. Our pickup time there should have been 3.15pm, but the newsletter said it was 3pm. Charlie's Paignton contingent had arrived before 3pm, and at 3.31 they decided not to wait any longer and went off to Fermoys. The rest of us couldn't have known this of course, so we assumed they hadn't arrived yet and waited until 4.10, passing the time by playing with Michael's new camcorder!

Eventually we gave up and went home. The problem was that the Section's procedural documents have not been updated or distributed since 1989. We'll correct this very soon so that such misunderstandings cannot arise again.

Friday 9 April 1993Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): SpitchwickSunny
8 present: Neil Ault, Philip Harler, Martin Hills, Michael Jones, Paul Oakley, Adrian Teague, Shane Teague, Eliot Thomas-Wright
Paul Oakley
Adrian Teague, with Phillip Harler looking on
Video footage taken on today's ride
This was a perfect evening for Hembury Woods and Dartmoor. There was nobody else around at Spitchwick so the youngsters rode around on the grassy heath, dipping an occasional wheel into the cool waters of the Dart. Adrian was determined to be the star of the Section's first video, so he fell off his bike backwards and was rewarded with a round of applause.

The majority were in favour of returning by the same route so that they could descend the Hembury track in the dark. Michael, who had just cleaned and serviced his bike ready for Monday's Cornish Coast tour, foolishly allowed himself to be persuaded to join the others down the track. During the descent he found out that he had put his rear brake shoes on the wrong way around: the result was that one of his new, expensive Campag blocks slid out of its shoe and was lost in the woodland debris of the path. He spent ten minutes trying to find it with the help of a dynamo light before he finally had to admit defeat.

Sunday 11 April 1993Afternoon ride (Buckfastleigh): Easter SpecialWet
9 present: Neil Ault, Tao Burgess, Lee Higman (13, Buckfastleigh), Michael Jones, Sebastian Lessware, Paul Oakley, John Stuart, Eliot Thomas-Wright, Ben Widger
The only special thing about today's ride was the weather - specially miserable! We braved the elements as far as Gidley Bridge and then returned speedily to Crofters for an indoor Easter Special, consisting mainly of computer games and Star Trek videos.

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