South Dartmoor CTC


Monday 12 April 1993Tour: Cornish Coast Day 1 Camborne to Perranporth (20 mi)Sunny & warm
4 present: Neil Ault, Clyde Fare (12, London), Michael Jones, Jordan Walfall (14, London)
Michael and Clyde
Clyde Fare and Jordan Walfall, on the train to Cornwall
Clyde makes a meal of his bruised bananas
Neil helps carry the bikes over the style on the track to Perranporth YH
The magnificent Perranporth beach
Washing up in the small hostel kitchen
Jordan and Clyde on Perranporth beach
Clips from the original tour video, copied from edited videotape
Dates for the 1993 junior tour to the Cornish Coast were chosen to coincide with school holidays in Devon, but unfortunately children in most other parts of the country had to return to school much earlier. The result was that we only received applications from two London boys, Clyde Fare and Jordan Walfall. We decided to go ahead with a shortened version of the tour. With Michael and Neil our group size reached the impressive total of four.

We took a train to Camborne and then followed the coastal road through the seaside villages of Portreath and Porthtowan. After some tough hill climbing we finally reached Perranporth hostel, situated on a cliff overlooking the enormous beach, in good time for supper.

Clyde had brought a large assortment of fresh fruit with him, some of which had not travelled too well. The rest of us insisted that he consumed the bananas for supper, before they became inedible: judging by the way he forced them down it was clear he felt they had already reached that unhappy state!

We spent the hours of dusk roaming the beach and sand dunes. By the end of the evening we had concluded that it's not terribly sensible to run around sand dunes in the semi-darkness when there are low wires strung across at random locations.

Tuesday 13 April 1993
Tour: Cornish Coast Day 2 Perranporth to Treyarnon Bay (20 mi)Damp start, rain later
4 present: Neil Ault, Clyde Fare (12, London), Michael Jones, Jordan Walfall (14, London)
Jordan and Neil play with the radio controlled boats at Goonhavern
Clyde taking his panniers to the bike at Perranporth YH
Jordan and Clyde in the ball pool at Goonhavern
Goonhavern World in Miniature
Feeding the ducks at Trenance park, Newquay
Clyde Fare enjoys hot chocolate at the Trenance park cafe at Newquay
Neil Ault enjoying desserts at the cafe near Bedruthan Steps
Michael predicts rain ahead
Jordan Walfal at Treyarnon Bay YH
Clyde Fare at Treyarnon Bay YH
Washing up at Treyarnon Bay YH
Clips from the original tour video, copied from edited videotape
First stop today was the World in Miniature at Goonhavern, an interesting collection of man-sized models of the world's famous buildings and artefacts. Our planned pedal-boat session at Newquay could not take place because the boats hadn't been brought in yet for the new season. The cafe which overlooked the lake made a good lunch spot, however, and offered the youngsters an opportunity to make friends with the resident ducks.

We got some very unwelcome rain during the second half of the day. A short shower forced us to take shelter in the cafe near Bedruthan steps, but later, when we tried to explore the steps themselves (still closed after storm damage four years ago) we were caught in a torrential downpour that had us soaked in a matter of minutes. There comes a point when it is better to press on to the hostel than seek shelter, and this seemed to be such a moment. The thought of a warm dormitory spurred us on.

It was still raining when we arrived. The warden greeted us with a happy smile and directed us to the annex, a cold, spartan dormitory block across the yard from the main hostel. We felt sorry for ourselves until we discovered the hot shower. After supper we settled down in the warm common room near the open fire for a grand game of Monopoly, and finished the evening feeling that it was probably quite a good hostel after all.

Wednesday 14 April 1993Tour: Cornish Coast Day 3 Treyarnon Bay to Tintagel (24 mi)Cloudy
4 present: Neil Ault, Clyde Fare (12, London), Michael Jones, Jordan Walfall (14, London)
Clyde Fare at the Padstow café
The dog that kept us entertained on the beach
Riding along the Camel trail
Neil contemplates a speedboat ride at the Padstow café
The Donkey sanctuary
Riding along the Camel trail
Jordan, Michael, Neil and Clyde
Jordan, Neil, Clyde and Michael
Approaching Tintagel YH
Neil and Clyde
Neil and Clyde at Tintagel YH
Enjoying the views near Tintagel YH
Clips from the original tour video, copied from edited videotape
The beach at Treyarnon is secluded and very pleasant. We were entertained this morning by a dog that liked to jump into an ice-cold saltwater pool and swim around frantically, barking in agony!

Next stop was the picturesque fishing village of Padstow, where we enjoyed refreshments in the harbour area before setting off along the cycle path to Wadebridge. The path is a converted railway line and attracts a large number of people on bikes thanks to the cycle hire shops at either end. The path runs to about five miles, so we stopped half-way along for lunch.

The afternoon delights included the donkey sanctuary near St Kew, the slate quarry and wind farm at Delabole and the steep climb to Tintagel. The weather was perfect as we descended the rough track to the hostel, situated spectacularly on the edge of a cliff overlooking the sea.

Thursday 15 April 1993Tour: Cornish Coast Day 4 Tintagel to Liskeard (29 mi)Hot & sunny
4 present: Neil Ault, Clyde Fare (12, London), Michael Jones, Jordan Walfall (14, London)
The lane to St Clear
Tintagel YH
Clyde Fare
The lane to St Clear
Clyde and Jordan say goodbye on the train from Totnes
Jordan Walfal
Clips from the original tour video, copied from edited videotape
The climb to Davidstow Moor was arduous in the sweltering heat. We felt we had earned lunch when we reached the top, and were entertained by Micro Lites as we tucked into our sandwiches. The route to Altarnun was relatively easy and took us through some attractive lanes lined with spring flowers. The A30 across Bodmin Moor was not particularly enjoyable, so we were pleased to reach the Jamaica Inn where welcome refreshments were available.

The final leg of the journey, following the River Fowey downstream to St Cleer and Liskeard, was easy going and particularly enjoyable. We cleaned out the reduced Easter eggs from Liskeard and finished the interviews for the video on the station platform before boarding our train for home. Highlights of the video will be shown in one of our winter socials.

The tour had been blessed with good weather for the most part, and two well behaved, responsible youngsters. The tour was the first to have fewer than eight participants, and was also the first on which Michael was able to relax!

Friday 16 April 1993Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): StavertonDry
11 present: Neil Ault, Tao Burgess, Peter Furneaux (Junior, Buckfastleigh), Philip Harler, Michael Jones, Chris Platt, Nick Radmore (Junior, Buckfastleigh), John Stuart, Adrian Teague, Shane Teague, Eliot Thomas-Wright
This ride turned into a repeat of the first evening ride, except that we missed out Landscove and it was Chris who fell into the nettles on the track descent to Pridhamsleigh instead of Adrian - his screams of anguish could be heard within a five mile radius!

Sunday 18 April 1993Day ride: Graetor VillageWindy with sunny spells
10 present: James Allason, Tao Burgess, Harry Hall, Lee Higman, Michael Jones, Sebastian Lessware, Bob Taylor, Eliot Thomas-Wright, John Unknown (Adult, Devon), Charlie Walker
Setting out along the tramway from near Haytor quarry
Setting out along the tramway from near Haytor quarry
Lunch near the bridge at Becka Brook
Video clips from today's ride
Seb left home very late this morning but he still managed to get to Bickington, totally out of breath, as we were climbing the hill to Haytor. The explanation for this unusual state of affairs was that he was looking after the house during his parents' absence, evidently leaving him somewhat disorganised.

The tramway led us behind Haytor, from where we took tracks to Hole rock and down to the footbridge by the Becka Brook. Some of the adult members of the group didn't seem too impressed with the rocky terrain, but everyone enjoyed lunch by the stream.

After a steep climb to the site of the medieval village of Graetor, Seb introduced us to an easier route around Hound Tor that avoided the final climb. The Paignton group wanted to get home early so they set off for home while the rest of us queued for refreshments from the ice cream van.

Friday 23 April 1993Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): Dean HillSunny
6 present: Clive Buckland, Richard Burge, Julian Duquemin, Philip Harler, Paul Oakley, Adrian Teague
Richard Burge led this short ride to the Shipley Bridge area since Michael was occupied at Plymouth's Theatre Royal.

Sunday 25 April 1993Day ride: CurtisknowleSunny
9 present: Neil Ault, Michael Jones, Chris Platt, Bob Taylor, Eliot Thomas-Wright, Andrew Walker, Charlie Walker, Ben Widger, Tom Widger
Tom Widger and Ben Widger
Tom Widger, with Ben Widger behind, near the lunch stop
Robert Walker
Andrew Walker
Michael Jones at the goat farm
The final climb through the woods
Chris Platt and Eliot Wright at the goat farm
Neil Ault and Robert Walker at the goat farm
Video clips from today's ride
From the Avonwick pick-up we rode along the river Avon to Diptford, descended the track from Curtisknowle and enjoyed lunch in the woods by the riverside. Tom was most envious of Michael and Neil who proceeded to heat and then eat a large can of Sainsbury soup.

The track back to Gara Bridge turned out to be rather muddy in places. Charlie took Andy home early while the rest of us pressed on to the goat farm for refreshments, bumping into Rob Spence from Torbay Section along the way. We got back to Buckfastleigh by 1520 which left Ben just enough time to watch another exciting episode of Star Trek from Michael's comprehensive video library before returning to Totnes.

Friday 30 April 1993Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): Venford ReservoirSunny
7 present: Neil Ault, Julian Duquemin, Philip Harler, Daniel Harris (Junior, Buckfastleigh), Michael Jones, Paul Oakley, Nick Radmore
Having spent an hour or so climbing up to the reservoir, we took our usual track across the moor, struggling through the gorse until we found the path to Michelcombe. It is a steep descent through a secluded valley - a truly delightful ride for those who like a challenge.

Sunday 2 May 1993Afternoon ride (Buckfastleigh): Old Forge, HolneSunny
5 present: Neil Ault, Michael Jones, Sebastian Lessware, Ben Widger, Tom Widger
Seb Lessware
Ben Widger
Ben Widger
Ben Widger
Riding the slalom track in Hembury
Seb, Ben and Tom joined Michael and Neil for this afternoon jaunt to the famous cafe on the moor. We returned via Hembury Woods where Michael recorded some moving pictures of Seb and Ben descending the twisty track which our members have named the Slalom.

Friday 7 May 1993Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): Avon DamSunny but cold
10 present: Neil Ault, Joseph Bellows, Julian Duquemin, Dayle Guy, Philip Harler, Martin Hills, Michael Jones, Paul Oakley, Chris Platt, Eliot Thomas-Wright
This is one ride that we'll never forget. There is a walkway running along the top of the dam with a shoulder-high wall on either side. As usual, some of the youngsters walked along to the centre, but Dayle thought he would add variety by taking his bike and riding along the top of the inside wall for a short distance. Then he had the bright idea of jumping his bike off the wall, dropping down to the walkway. Everyone strongly advised him against such a foolhardy manoeuvre, but they all stayed to watch just in case he decided to proceed. The thought of an audience was just too much for Dayle - the original showman - so he attempted the stunt. A loud explosion accompanied the bursting of a tyre and tube; closer inspection revealed the front wheel was a write-off. He had no choice but to push all the way back across the moor to Cross Furzes.

Julian had raced back to get his car for the final leg of the journey: he was driving up the road as the rest of us were riding down to Buckfastleigh. We tried to stop him to invite Dayle, Martin and himself back to Crofters for a drink, but he just swerved madly round us and sped off into the distance. Presumably Dayle never got the invite, and probably thought us most unfriendly!

Sunday 9 May 1993Day ride: Lustleigh CleaveCloudy, some drizzle
9 present: Neil Ault, Tao Burgess, Michael Jones, Alex Lessware, Sebastian Lessware, Gavin Taylor, Eliot Thomas-Wright, Charlie Walker, Tom Widger
Taking the path through Lustleigh to the Primrose café
Carrying the bikes onto the old railway track at Bovey Tracey
Alex and Seb Lessware
Alex Lessware at the Primrose café
Alex Lessware makes a new friend
Neil Ault & Eliot Wright
Tom stirs his soup with an improvised "stirring rod" watched by Eliot Wright & Gavin Taylor
Lunch in Lustleigh Cleave
The precarious journey across the footbridge to Houndtor Wood
Alex Lessware, demonstrating a "pose"
Video clips from today's ride
We couldn't work out why Dave Robinson wasn't out today, given the opportunity to visit the Primrose cafe and see how the new owners were looking after it's reputation. We quickly established an acceptable discount structure for our group. The cakes weren't quite as good as they used to be, but overall the establishment seemed acceptable.

Having descended the steep, rough track to the river Bovey, Tom produced his own tin of soup and waited patiently until Michael and Neil had finished with the gas stove. Unfortunately he had forgotten to bring a spoon, so he improvised a stirring rod by rolling up some tin foil.

The very steep climb through Houndtor Wood is never popular, although the woodland tracks to Becky Falls provide suitable compensation. We returned via Hound Tor and Cold East Cross.

Friday 14 May 1993Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): HolneCold, strong breeze
6 present: Neil Ault, Jeremy Ford, Philip Harler, Michael Jones, Paul Oakley, Eliot Thomas-Wright
Our special dispensation from the management of River Dart Country Park is still effective, so we rode through the grounds, stopping momentarily to try out the new tubular slide adjacent to the Anaconda Run. Return was via Holne.

Sunday 16 May 1993Day ride: Slapton SandsVery wet
2 present: Neil Ault, Michael Jones
There was little enthusiasm for a ride in today's appalling weather, so the ride was abandoned.

Friday 21 May 1993Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): CroftersVery wet
3 present: Neil Ault, Philip Harler, Michael Jones
Once again the ride was abandoned, although today Michael offered an alternative Computer Games social at Crofters. At least the reservoirs should be well filled for the summer!

Sunday 23 May 1993Day ride: Rough Stuff EventSunny & warm
13 present: Peter Bonnet (9, Buckfastleigh), Tao Burgess, Philip Harler, Thain Hatherly, Michael Jones, Sebastian Lessware, Paul Oakley, Chris Platt, Gavin Taylor, Andrew Walker, Charlie Walker, Robert Walker, Ben Widger
Tao Burgess and Paul Oakley at the finish
Chris Platt cleans the mud off his bike, watched by Peter Bonnet
The refreshment trailer, courtesy of Arthur's wife
Phillip Harler cleans his bike
Peter Bonnet cleans his bike
Clear evidence of the muddy conditions
Returning to Buckfastleigh after the event
Arthur Browne announces the results
Video clips from today's event
The Rough Stuff event is a rough riding competition organised for the benefit of all CTC groups in Devon. The start this year was near Landscove, and the weather seemed set for a perfect day despite the forecast of rain.

The only problem (for some of us, anyway) was that many weeks of rain had left most of the tracks in the area extremely muddy. The route was acceptable until we reached the track from Baddaford Farm to Lower Combe. Half way along we discovered a huge sea of mud that stretched from one side of the lane to the other and was more than twenty paces long. We carefully picked our way through, but Peter quickly became stuck. Michael had to struggle past him with his own bike, then come back and take Peter's bike. By this time he was a little muddier than usual, but still Peter was stuck. He had to return again to lift Peter out of the mud, but even that was not the end of the matter - his shoes steadfastly refused to come with him! A further journey had to be made to recover the shoes, by which time Peter, Michael and the shoes were plastered in thick, gooey mud.

Congratulations to Gavin Taylor, who was judged first junior rider. Thanks to Arthur Browne of Exeter for organising the event, and his wife for bringing along drinks and home-made buns.

Friday 28 May 1993Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): StavertonWarm & sunny
6 present: Neil Ault, Peter Bonnet, Richard Burge, Julian Duquemin, Philip Harler, Michael Jones
The weather was perfect for this easy ride along Colston road to Staverton Bridge. The temptation of the riverside track to the village was, as usual, irresistible.

Sunday 30 May 1993Day ride: Petre's CrossVery wet
2 present: Neil Ault, Michael Jones
Further unsettled weather forced cancellation of our classic moorland track ride.

Friday 4 June 1993Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): Hembury WoodsOvercast but warm
10 present: Neil Ault, Peter Bonnet, Richard Burge, Julian Duquemin, Jeremy Ford, Matthew Hamlyn-White, Philip Harler, Matthew Jeffery, Michael Jones, Eliot Thomas-Wright
Peter was struggling as we climbed through Hembury Woods, but the track descent to Holne Bridge was more enjoyable for him, despite the very muddy sections at the bottom. Julian and Richard, it seemed, made the right decision to take the road alternative on this occasion.

Sunday 6 June 1993Afternoon ride: Invitation RideWarm & sunny
22 present: James Allason, Peter Bonnet, Tao Burgess, Ben Hobday, Karina Hobday, Roxanne Hobday, Dave Humphreys, Michael Jones, Alex Lessware, Sebastian Lessware, Edward Millard (Junior, Ashburton), Paul Oakley, Philip Stone (11, Ashburton), Bob Taylor, Debbie Twydell, James Twydell, Ken Twydell, Paul Twydell, Julie Twydell-Hobday, Andrew Walker, Charlie Walker, Tom Widger
Peter Bonnet hangs around at Broadhempston play park
Julie Twydell opens the family sandwich box
The group enjoying the magnificent gardens at the Hill House café
Heading towards Landscove church and garden centre
Debbie Twydell
Dave Humphreys
Philip Stone entertains the resident dogs
Ben Hobday
Video clips from today's ride
Our two new members joined us today after a chance meeting at the end of Friday's evening ride. We met up with our Paignton and Totnes contingents at Broadhempston, spent some time playing in the park and then took up Julie's suggestion of trying a new cafe at Landscove. The staff were very busy today, but allowed us to serve ourselves on the magnificent lawns with cans of drink and cups of tea. Two dogs seemed eager to fetch balls and sticks for our youngsters despite the excessive heat.

During the return to Buckfastleigh, Paul took a detour around Lower Combe and then decided to try a track that took his fancy. He forgot that the rest of us were waiting for him. Tao kindly cycled around the hilly detour in his attempts to locate him, but eventually we gave up and went home. In fact Paul had tried the Baddaford track (mentioned under the Rough Stuff report), discovered the mud and then beaten a hasty retreat.

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