South Dartmoor CTC

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Saturday 7 August 1993Tour: Scottish Highlands and Islands Day 3 Crianlarich to Glen NevisWet start, drier later
18 present: Neil Ault, Jonathan Burgess, Arthur Caulfield, Ben Collins, Nick Green (11, Henley-on-Thames), Paul Hardman (15, Wigan), Michael Jones, Rufus Kahler, Anthony Long (15, Orpington), Matthew Muir, Matthew Pryer, Zachary Slatter, Paul Smith, Richard Sudworth, Robert Walker, Dan Whittle, Lukas Wooller, Tristan Wooller
Upper Tyndrum station - without the bikes
Crianlarich YH
Tristan Wooller
Nick Green, map-reading on the train to Fort William
Anthony Long and Paul Smith
Anthony Long
Richard Sudworth and Jon Burgess perform a unique bike dance at Fort William
The remote Rannoch Moor as seen from the train
Jon Burgess at Fort William
Zack Slatter at Fort William
Beginning the climb of Ben Nevis from the path outside the hostel
Arriving at Glen Nevis YH
Lukas Wooller on Ben Nevis
Richard Sudworth on Ben Nevis
A well earned rest on the surprisingly tiring descent
Lukas leads the pack on Ben Nevis
Extract from original tour video, copied from videotape
Saturday required us to get to Fort William by lunchtime. We planned to use the scenic rail route that crosses Rannoch Moor, but the train can't take more than two bikes. We had therefore arranged for a van to meet us at Upper Tyndrum station and take Jon, Neil and the bikes to Fort William by road. We had rain to contend with again, but once we were on the train the skies began to brighten up.

After lunch in Fort William we rode the few miles to Glen Nevis hostel, moved into our dormitories and then set about climbing Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in Britain. It was two hours before we hit the cloud level and decided to head back for supper.

Sunday 8 August 1993Tour: Scottish Highlands and Islands Day 4 Glen Nevis to GarramoreRaining all day
18 present: Neil Ault, Jonathan Burgess, Arthur Caulfield, Ben Collins, Nick Green (11, Henley-on-Thames), Paul Hardman (15, Wigan), Michael Jones, Rufus Kahler, Anthony Long (15, Orpington), Matthew Muir, Matthew Pryer, Zachary Slatter, Paul Smith, Richard Sudworth, Robert Walker, Dan Whittle, Lukas Wooller, Tristan Wooller
Glenfinnan Monument - spoiled by rain and midges
Preparing to leave Glen Nevis YH
Wet but still smiling
The group takes shelter from the rain
The beach near the hostel
Garramore YH - not child-friendly!
Paul and Richard leave our mark on the sand
Lukas Wooller takes flight off the top of the sand dunes
Richard Sudworth struggles against the inevitable
Matthew Muir tries to escape
Paul Smith carries Jon Burgess back to the hostel - as he has no shoes!
The dune-hopping queue
Supper at Garramore YH
Extract from original tour video, copied from videotape
Sunday's ride took us along the Road to the Isles as far as Garramore hostel. It started raining just after we left Fort William and didn't stop until ten minutes before we reached the hostel! Glenfinnan monument, which should have been a pleasant lunch stop, could only offer a snack bar and billions of biting midges. The lochs and mountains didn't look their best in the rain!

The silver sand beaches near the hostel made up for the miserable weather to a certain extent: magnificent unspoiled stretches of coast with glorious sand dunes kept us amused for an hour.

When we returned to the hostel for supper we discovered that the warden still enjoyed bossing children around: she refused point blank to give change for any notes, even though there was an enormous glass jar filled with donations on the reception desk. Consequently, many of the youngsters couldn't buy chocolate, wash their clothes or make telephone calls. The second problem was that the drying room heater was broken, so our clothes remained wet through the night.

Monday 9 August 1993Tour: Scottish Highlands and Islands Day 5 Garramore to RaasayWet start, dry but windy later
18 present: Neil Ault, Jonathan Burgess, Arthur Caulfield, Ben Collins, Nick Green (11, Henley-on-Thames), Paul Hardman (15, Wigan), Michael Jones, Rufus Kahler, Anthony Long (15, Orpington), Matthew Muir, Matthew Pryer, Zachary Slatter, Paul Smith, Richard Sudworth, Robert Walker, Dan Whittle, Lukas Wooller, Tristan Wooller
Neil Ault, Richard Sudworth and Lukas Wooller
Ben Collins & Nick Green in the crowded Mallaig ferry café
The Isle of Skye
Paul Hardman, Anthony Long and Dan Whittle
Tristan Wooller decides on a new hat in the Pipers Moon cafe at Luib, Isle of Skye
The Cuillin Hlls on the Isle of Skye
The road to Sconser, Isle of Skye, with Raasay in the distance
Lukas Wooller & Paul Hardman in the Pipers Moon café
The road to Raasay hostel
The ferry arrives at Raasay
Paul Hardman
The youngsters enjoy the cosy common room at Raasay YH
Matthew Muir
Richard Sudworth
Tristan Wooller
Matthew Pryer
Lukas Wooller
Extract from original tour video, copied from videotape
On Monday morning ... it was raining again. We had to catch the 1045 ferry from Mallaig to the Isle of Skye, so we had to get wet. The cafeteria on the boat was somewhat crowded, but at least it was warm. When we disembarked half an hour later the rain had stopped, and the ride around the island was a much happier affair than it might have been. A stiffening headwind made the final leg to Sconser somewhat difficult, but we managed to arrive a few minutes before the departure of the last ferry to the Isle of Raasay.

The hostel on Raasay is just a few miles' climb from the ferry terminal. The views across the Sound to Skye were spectacular, and the cosy common room in the hostel helped make this one of the best hostels on the tour.

Tuesday 10 August 1993Tour: Scottish Highlands and Islands Day 6 Raasay to ApplecrossMainly dry with sunny intervals
18 present: Neil Ault, Jonathan Burgess, Arthur Caulfield, Ben Collins, Nick Green (11, Henley-on-Thames), Paul Hardman (15, Wigan), Michael Jones, Rufus Kahler, Anthony Long (15, Orpington), Matthew Muir, Matthew Pryer, Zachary Slatter, Paul Smith, Richard Sudworth, Robert Walker, Dan Whittle, Lukas Wooller, Tristan Wooller
Boarding the ferry for Kyle at Kyleakin, Isle of Skye
Outside Raasay YH
Plockton
The group takes a snack break on the mainland
The start of the big climb to the Pass of the Cattle
Nick Green & Paul Hardman admire Loch Carron
The view back to road from the first hairpins at the top of the pass
Foothills of the climb
Matthew Pryer explains how an annoying driver told him to "hurry up" during the climb
Paul Hardman takes drastic measures to keep warm at the top
Pizzas finally arrive at the Applecross campsite
The restaurant at Applecross campsite
Extract from original tour video, copied from videotape
On Tuesday the mileage was supposed to be 48 miles, but in fact Michael had copied a misprint from some previous tour: the true mileage was nearer 72 miles! We managed to get back to Skye and down to Kyleakin by late morning, and enjoyed an early lunch when we reached Kyle on the mainland. An unscheduled detour to Plockton didn't help us, and when we had ridden around Loch Carron it was late afternoon. We still had to climb the highest road in mainland Britain to reach Applecross, and supper was due to be served at the campsite there at about 7pm.

We rolled in about an hour late, at 8pm, and the food was very, very welcome. All that remained was to ride to our four bed and breakfasts and enjoy a touch of luxury until morning.

Wednesday 11 August 1993Tour: Scottish Highlands and Islands Day 7 Applecross to TorridonMainly dry
18 present: Neil Ault, Jonathan Burgess, Arthur Caulfield, Ben Collins, Nick Green (11, Henley-on-Thames), Paul Hardman (15, Wigan), Michael Jones, Rufus Kahler, Anthony Long (15, Orpington), Matthew Muir, Matthew Pryer, Zachary Slatter, Paul Smith, Richard Sudworth, Robert Walker, Dan Whittle, Lukas Wooller, Tristan Wooller
One of the B&Bs at Camustiel, near Applecross
A luxurious breakfast at one of our five B&Bs
Nick Green outside Mrs Fergusson's B&B
Lukas Wooller admires Mrs Fergusson's adorable cat
Jon Burgess, Nick Green and Matthew Muir feed the friendly - but greedy - Applecross ducks
Paul Hardman performs a ventrilo-quist act with Mrs Fergusson's cat - ably assisted by Paul Smith!
Paul Smith surveys the damage to Matthew Pryer's freehub
Applecross Post Office & general stores - the only shop for miles!
The group rests within sight of Torridon
Extract from original tour video, copied from videotape
Wednesday was altogether easier, taking us around the new coastal road from Applecross to Shieldaig, and then on to Torridon. We passed some deserted houses along the way that made us realise just how harsh the climate can be in these parts. Matthew Pryer had a problem with his Shimano freehub in that it freewheeled in both directions: he went on ahead with Paul and managed to get to the hostel just before us.

Thursday 12 August 1993Tour: Scottish Highlands and Islands Day 8 Torridon to Carn DeargMainly dry with sunny intervals
18 present: Neil Ault, Jonathan Burgess, Arthur Caulfield, Ben Collins, Nick Green (11, Henley-on-Thames), Paul Hardman (15, Wigan), Michael Jones, Rufus Kahler, Anthony Long (15, Orpington), Matthew Muir, Matthew Pryer, Zachary Slatter, Paul Smith, Richard Sudworth, Robert Walker, Dan Whittle, Lukas Wooller, Tristan Wooller
Torridon YH
Robert Walker & Richard Sudworth entertain some youngsters at Torridon YH
The warden's secret weapon against the midges, loaned to us while we waited in the porch
Avoiding the midges in the porch of Torridon YH
The picture postcard setting of the jetty at Loch Maree
The youngsters sing an original song to celebrate our entry into the Ben Eighe National Nature Reserve
Tristan Wooller finally plucks up enough courage to get in the loch
Jon Burgess is the first to enter the icy waters - but he was out within 20 seconds!
Jon Burgess tries his luck on the rope swing near Kerrysdale
Investigating an unusual rope bridge across the river Kerry
Matthew Muir neglected to raise his legs before starting his swing
The naughty youngsters refused to help him back to the bank
Jon Burgess tries again - but slips off the rope at the far point of his swing! His wallet got every so slightly wet!
Lukas Wooller remains dry on a daring swing
Jon Burgess decides he is just too long for the swing, but finds a solution that only wets his hair
Extract from original tour video, copied from videotape
Thursday took us through the nature reserve to Loch Maree, where a number of foolhardy individuals tried to swim in the icy waters. By the time we reached Gairloch we had investigated an HEP station, a rope bridge and a swing overhanging a river - Jonathan Burgess got ever-so-slightly wet!

Friday 13 August 1993Tour: Scottish Highlands and Islands Day 9 Carn Dearg to UllapoolWet start, then dry but windy
18 present: Neil Ault, Jonathan Burgess, Arthur Caulfield, Ben Collins, Nick Green (11, Henley-on-Thames), Paul Hardman (15, Wigan), Michael Jones, Rufus Kahler, Anthony Long (15, Orpington), Matthew Muir, Matthew Pryer, Zachary Slatter, Paul Smith, Richard Sudworth, Robert Walker, Dan Whittle, Lukas Wooller, Tristan Wooller
Rufus Kahler takes a break
A wet start at Carn Dearg YH
Jon Burgess and Paul Smith with Gruinard Island beyond
Matthew Pryer and Richard Sudworth race to catch the plastic bag in the strong wind
The track at Dundonnell
The estuary at Dundonnell
The unusual footbridge that leads to the climb from Dundonnell
Paul Smith hates the mud on the Dundonnell track
Waiting at the Altnaharrie ferry jetty
Richard Sudworth at the top of the climb
Lukas Wooller and Paul Hardman give a rendition of their specially-composed song "Cleaning Frenzy"
Disembarking at Ullapool, on the other side of Little Loch Broom
Extract from original tour video, copied from videotape
On Friday morning it was raining again, but things soon brightened up for our push to Ullapool. We decided to take the short cut over the hill to the privately-run ferry, even though they had told us by telephone that we might arrive too late for all of us to get across. Did they leave some of us on the beach overnight? Of course not, but we had to pay £4 each to get across in two loads!

Saturday 14 August 1993Tour: Scottish Highlands and Islands Day 10 Ullapool to AchmelvichDamp start, sunny later
18 present: Neil Ault, Jonathan Burgess, Arthur Caulfield, Ben Collins, Nick Green (11, Henley-on-Thames), Paul Hardman (15, Wigan), Michael Jones, Rufus Kahler, Anthony Long (15, Orpington), Matthew Muir, Matthew Pryer, Zachary Slatter, Paul Smith, Richard Sudworth, Robert Walker, Dan Whittle, Lukas Wooller, Tristan Wooller
Our annexe dorm at Achmelvich YH
Nick Green carries his panniers up the path to Achmelvich YH
Heading for the beach near Achmelvich YH
Achmelvich YH
Paul Hardman and Lukas Wooller march across the silver sand to the dreamy sound of the harmonica
Paul Hardman plays his harmonica to complete the atmosphere for this most perfect evening of all evenings
Lukas Wooller, Ben Collins and Richard Sudworth exploring rock pools
Anthony Long, Paul Smith and Robert Walker play frisbee in the tranquil waters of this unspoiled beach
Michael Jones is interviewed on camera by Paul Hardman
Just over the grassy hill, another perfect silver sand beach waiting to be explored by anyone who can find it
Nick Green conducts his interview with dignity
Dan Whittle does his best not to laugh during his interview
Jon Burgess hopes to return again next year as co-leader - if Michael will let him!
Rufus Kahler, evasive to the last, is finally caught and brought to the camera for his interview
Paul Hardman and Nick Green immerse themselves in a magnificent sunset on the most special beach in the world
Extract from original tour video, copied from videotape
Saturday's ride from Ullapool to Lochinver was marked by occasional drizzle and dull skies, but the scenery was remote and beautiful. Achmelvich hostel is situated beside quiet silver-sand beaches, and the evening was definitely the best of the whole tour - you'll just have to see the video to understand.

Sunday 15 August 1993Tour: Scottish Highlands and Islands Day 11 Achmelvich to Carbisdale CastleDry, with a tailwind
18 present: Neil Ault, Jonathan Burgess, Arthur Caulfield, Ben Collins, Nick Green (11, Henley-on-Thames), Paul Hardman (15, Wigan), Michael Jones, Rufus Kahler, Anthony Long (15, Orpington), Matthew Muir, Matthew Pryer, Zachary Slatter, Paul Smith, Richard Sudworth, Robert Walker, Dan Whittle, Lukas Wooller, Tristan Wooller
Rufus Kahler takes another rest
Achmelvich YH, from the garden gate
Lukas Wooller relates the tongue twister about Willy Wooller's woolly willy warmer
Anthony Long
Our first view of Carbisdale Castle YH
Paul Smith, pleased with his latest bike repair
Tristan Wooller and Paul Smith spend £6 each on a buggy ride
Matthew Pryer tells us all the benefits of living near Wigan
The entrance to Carbisdale Castle courtyard
The rest of the group watch the many ciruits of the two buggies
Extract from original tour video, copied from videotape
On Sunday we rode from the west coast to the east coast, ably assisted by a tailwind. We arrived at Carbisdale so early that there was time for some to take rides on motorised buggies - £6 for fifteen minutes around a dirt track!


Carbisdale Castle hostel is definitely the largest and most spectacular in Scotland. It boasts 230 beds, towers, halls lined with statues and valuable works of art, secret passages and numerous grand rooms including a library. We didn't notice any ghosts on this occasion, even though some of us slept in the Spook Room!

Monday 16 August 1993Tour: Scottish Highlands and Islands Day 12 Carbisdale Castle to EdinburghDry
18 present: Neil Ault, Jonathan Burgess, Arthur Caulfield, Ben Collins, Nick Green (11, Henley-on-Thames), Paul Hardman (15, Wigan), Michael Jones, Rufus Kahler, Anthony Long (15, Orpington), Matthew Muir, Matthew Pryer, Zachary Slatter, Paul Smith, Richard Sudworth, Robert Walker, Dan Whittle, Lukas Wooller, Tristan Wooller
A seal displays in the Cromarty Firth near Inverness
The hall of statues in Carbisdale Castle YH
Neil Ault leads the pack across the Kessock bridge
The Kessock bridge, leading to Inverness
The Forth road bridge, from the train en route to Edinburgh
Some of the bikes packed into the guard's van, leaving just enough space for the two catering trolleys
Extract from original tour video, copied from videotape
Michael expected a headwind for Monday's ride (there had been one on every previous tour) so we left very early to be sure of catching the only train from Inverness. In the event the air was calm and the ride was relatively easy. We arrived in time to buy pizzas and do some souvenir shopping, and then set about the task of loading bikes into the guard's van. This was a tricky operation: the train is only supposed to take ten bikes, but the station manager had promised that he would try to fit all the bikes onto the train. Fortunately we got them all on.

Edinburgh was alive with the Edinburgh Festival, but we were only interested in getting to the hostel. Being an inner city hostel there were electronic security gates and closed circuit television cameras at the entrance. And this was the only hostel where our milk and bread had not been reserved!

Tuesday 17 August 1993Tour: Scottish Highlands and Islands Day 13 Edinburgh to HomeSunny
18 present: Neil Ault, Jonathan Burgess, Arthur Caulfield, Ben Collins, Nick Green (11, Henley-on-Thames), Paul Hardman (15, Wigan), Michael Jones, Rufus Kahler, Anthony Long (15, Orpington), Matthew Muir, Matthew Pryer, Zachary Slatter, Paul Smith, Richard Sudworth, Robert Walker, Dan Whittle, Lukas Wooller, Tristan Wooller
Michael Jones, at a loss for words after receiving a special birthday card signed by everyone on the tour
The entire group wish Michael a happy birthday outside Edinburgh YH
Daniel Whittle, unable to retrieve his bottle of coke from the track
Richard Sudworth, Ben Collins and Matthew Pryer board the train for Wigan
Extract from original tour video, copied from videotape
On Tuesday morning we rode back to Edinburgh station and assigned groups of three, four and five to another five train services - it was a bit tiring running between the twenty different platforms at Waverly station. The last laugh of the tour was had by Michael, Neil and Robert who saw Daniel (from Cheddar) buy a huge bottle of coke for the journey home and then drop it between our waiting train and the platform. No matter how much he pleaded with the station staff they wouldn't let him go down to get it, so he just had to buy another one!

We had a lot of fun on this tour despite some unfortunate weather during the first few days. We're all looking forward to next year's trip to Norfolk, Suffolk and the Fens - will you be joining us?

Friday 20 August 1993Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): StavertonWarm and balmy
8 present: Neil Ault, Richard Burge, Jeremy Ford, Matthew Jeffery, Michael Jones, Paul Oakley, Phillip Oakley, Philip Stone
After riding up Green Lane we decided to take the track to Staverton, and found the scenery spoilt by some 'travellers' who had settled in the lane with their ramshackle vans. We continued to Staverton and returned via Colston.

Sunday 22 August 1993Day ride: Fernworthy ReservoirCloudy but dry, cool
12 present: Helen Adams (19, Devon), Richard Adams, Richard Burge, Michael Jones, Keir Manning, Paul Oakley, Philip Stone, Bob Taylor, Eliot Thomas-Wright, Bill Tuft, Robert Walker, Tom Widger
This was an excellent ride, taking in the best of the moorland scenery. It was a little cold when we sat down by the reservoir for lunch, so we didn't stay long.

At Green Combe, the road climbs to a junction with the main road and then doubles back to the left, opening up the possibility of a short cut across a stretch of moorland. Robert decided to try it, but he ran into some boggy ground in the middle and was still picking his way through as the rest of us sailed past on the road.

Return was via the long descent from Shapley Common to Widecombe. We tried the Green cafe (after Dave Robinson's recommendation), but when we still hadn't been served twelve minutes after sitting down we decided to move across to the Wayside cafe.

Friday 27 August 1993Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): Hembury WoodsPerfect
6 present: Peter Bonnet, Michael Jones, Paul Oakley, Philip Stone, John Stuart, Eliot Thomas-Wright
Hembury Woods was selected again - for some reason the younger riders seem to like the track descent from the fort which they have named 'The Slalom'. John Stuart wasn't sure about it, but gave it a good try.

Sunday 29 August 1993Day ride: Slapton Sands (40 mi)Warm and sunny
14 present: Helen Adams, Richard Adams, James Allason, Neil Ault, Michael Jones, Ben Nute (Junior, Devon), Paul Oakley, Philip Stone, Bob Taylor, Gary Taylor, Andrew Walker, Charlie Walker, Ben Widger, Tom Widger
This was a straightforward ride, but tiring nevertheless. The hard work seemed well worthwhile as we lay on the quiet beach in the sunshine. When most people had either been buried in pebbles or had pebbles piled inside their shirts we set off for home via Strete and Tuckenhay, stopping off at Forces Cross for light refreshments.

Friday 3 September 1993Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): Avon DamPerfect evening
7 present: Neil Ault, Peter Bonnet, Julian Duquemin, Michael Jones, Paul Oakley, Philip Stone, Eliot Thomas-Wright
Our famous Moorland Special took us once more past Shipley Bridge to the Avon Dam, which was full to overflowing. It was getting dark as we began the trek across the moor to Water Oak Corner, and there was a moment of concern while Michael did his best to find the post that marked the Abbots Way. We were soon on the right track again, rolling down across the fields with lights blazing.

Sunday 5 September 1993Afternoon ride: Chalk FordFine and sunny
10 present: Richard Adams, Peter Bonnet, Tao Burgess, Michael Jones, Alex Lessware, Ben Nute, Paul Oakley, Eliot Thomas-Wright, Ben Widger, Tom Widger
At Cross Furzes we discovered two groups of adults in two cars, conversing and looking lost. It seemed they were trying to get to Cross Furzes where they hoped to be able to gain easy access to some real moorland scenery. Michael explained that they were at Cross Furzes and pointed to the moorland scenery they were planning to visit. When they saw it they decided that it wasn't moorish enough and set off to explore elsewhere. They overtook us up the track to Lud Gate without asking any further advice, and of course discovered that it turned into a stony track. When we reached them they were having another conference and didn't think they needed any more help thankyou! We left them to it and enjoyed the real moorland descent to Chalk Ford.

As usual there was a mad race down the rough track into Scorriton, and as usual the high speed resulted in a puncture - Ben on this occasion. Will they ever learn? I don't think so!

Friday 10 September 1993Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): Chuley CrossDry but chilly
6 present: Neil Ault, Julian Duquemin, Michael Jones, Paul Oakley, Phillip Oakley, Philip Stone
A short ride took us to Landscove via green Lane and then homewards by way of Chuley Cross and Pridhamsleigh.

Sunday 12 September 1993Day ride: Exeter Ship CanalVery wet
1 present: Michael Jones
Today's ride was cancelled as a result of the extremely bad weather.

Friday 17 September 1993Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): HolneDry but cold
8 present: Neil Ault, Julian Duquemin, Matthew Jeffery, Michael Jones, Paul Oakley, Phillip Oakley, Philip Stone, Eliot Thomas-Wright
Yet another request for Hembury Woods brought us back to Hembury Fort in the near darkness. It was a little difficult to negotiate the twisty track under these conditions, but Neil and others still tried to go fast. The result was that Neil got a branch in the eye: fortunately no serious damage was sustained.

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