South Dartmoor CTC

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Sunday 2 January 1994Afternoon ride (Buckfastleigh): SpitchwickDry & bright
8 present: Neil Ault, Richard Burge, Tao Burgess, Michael Jones, Sebastian Lessware, Ian Luke, Arthur Stevens, John Stuart
Ian Luke, winner of our junior attendance trophy several years ago, emerged from a long hibernation to swell numbers for our afternoon ride to Spitchwick, the first ride of the new year.

Perfect weather conditions took us eventually to Buckland-in-the-moor, where we were tempted for a second time to enter the Round House cafe. John Stuart, who found himself unable to leave his expensive bike unattended, chose to eat his refreshments outside!

Sunday 9 January 1994Day ride: Slapton SandsWet after 2pm
7 present: Tao Burgess, Michael Jones, Sebastian Lessware, Jim Simmons (Adult, Devon), Arthur Stevens, Ken Twydell, Tom Widger
We’d all heard the forecast, so the first decision we made was to go to the cafe at Totnes for a drink. During our stay there Michael produced a map showing two cycle routes in the Totnes area proposed by South Hams District Council. It suddenly seemed a much better idea to try out one of these routes than to press on to a certain soaking at Slapton. First, however, we took a look at the new footbridge over the river Dart between Totnes BR station and Totnes Riverside station - a gate across the bridge was firmly locked, so our exploration was cut short!

The Littlehempston route was selected. It began with the track from Bridgetown to Gatcombe, which proved less arduous than we had imagined. At Broadhempston we concluded that the route was fine and diverted to Torbryan where we planned to enjoy lunch on a footpath. That was when the trouble started.

Just as we were closing the gate that led onto the path, a woman drew up in a red car and began shouting at us. It transpired that she lived in the area, was a member of the rambling club and had relatives who owned the land traversed by the path. Evidently she considered it her responsibility to harass anybody she found using the path who wasn’t a member of the rambling club!

We knew the path was a footpath and had planned to push the bikes half way along and then eat our lunch. The woman just didn’t believe us, being absolutely convinced that we were planning to ride as soon as she was out of sight, that we were rude and obnoxious and that we were chauvinists! Michael remained polite and calm throughout, but her only change of tack was to suggest that we had no right to push the bikes either, or to picnic. Clearly she was out to ruin our enjoyment of the countryside.

When Michael offered to bring everyone back she caved in and allowed us to continue, provided we didn’t ride the bikes and didn’t stop for lunch. She waited at the other end to make sure we hadn’t dawdled and to insist that we followed the difficult footpath over the styles and through the fields rather than continuing along the drive of the house. The Devon countryside is full of such pleasant people!

We concluded our ride with yet another visit to the Rising Sun Tea-rooms. It was raining heavily as we left: by the time we reached Buckfastleigh Arthur had decided that riding in the rain wasn’t quite as much fun as he had expected!

Friday 14 January 1994Social: Give Us A Clue
6 present: Neil Ault, Michael Jones, Martin Luke, Paul Oakley, Arthur Stevens, Eliot Thomas-Wright
The evening was a reasonable success, as usual. Paul’s flying impression of Batman stole the show.

Sunday 16 January 1994Morning ride (Buckfastleigh): Avon DamFine
15 present: Neil Ault, Richard Burge, Tao Burgess, Michael Jones, Don Malpass (Adult, Bovey Tracey), Edward Millard, Paul Oakley, Nick Radmore, Unknown Rider 1, Arthur Stevens, Philip Stone, Gavin Taylor, Eliot Thomas-Wright, Ben Widger, Tom Widger
Gavin Taylor, from Buckfastleigh, planned to follow us across the moor with his friend, keeping at a discrete distance, but he didn’t reckon on needing an allen key to tighten his handlebars! Fortunately, Michael and Richard had to stop near Water Oak Corner to replace a brake cable, so when Gavin arrived on foot a few minutes later he was able to borrow the tools he needed.

Sunday 23 January 1994Day ride: Bowerman's NoseDamp start, fine later
8 present: Neil Ault, Richard Burge, Tao Burgess, Michael Jones, Sebastian Lessware, Paul Oakley, Chris Platt, Arthur Stevens
Bob Taylor was waiting at the Bovey Tracey pick-up with a nearly new Dawes Super Galaxy. Michael had expressed an interest in buying it so that he would have a bike to ride while his Mercian was being renovated. After careful inspection a deal was struck and Bob delivered the bike to Buckfastleigh while Michael continued with the ride.

Having ridden along the old railway track to Lustleigh we were disgusted to find that the Primrose Cafe was closed! We would have gone to the cafe in Bovey if we’d known, but now we were there we’d just have to go without our refreshments.

Disaster struck for Tao at the top of the Cleave: his front tyre burst, evidently caused by a poorly adjusted brake block. The split in the tyre was so long that it could not be repaired, so he decided to hobble on with us to the nearest telephone (Manaton) and then ring his parents.

The telephone marked on the OS map turned out to be non-existent, the nearest one being a long walk in the wrong direction from Manaton Church. Influenced in part by the good progress he had maintained thus far, Tao decided to continue with the ride.

There was a snack van at Hound Tor, so we decided that we could stop for hot food and drinks while Tao struggled on. When we felt he had a sufficient lead we set about catching him up, but as we rounded each corner there was still no sign of him. Clearly this was a young man to be reckoned with!

We finally caught him near Cold East Cross, from where he set off down the hill towards Bickington and home.

Friday 28 January 1994Social: Computer Games
7 present: Neil Ault, Michael Jones, Martin Luke, Paul Oakley, Chris Platt, Arthur Stevens, Eliot Thomas-Wright
Another exciting Crofters computer-games social, where 4-player Lotus ruled the evening.

Sunday 30 January 1994Day ride: Ringmore (41 mi)
6 present: Neil Ault, Richard Burge, Michael Jones, Sebastian Lessware, Arthur Stevens, Tom Widger
Having ridden through Avonwick and California Cross we decided to explore a circular route near Ringmore recommended by the Heritage Coast. First on the list was Blackberry Lane, which turned out to be too muddy even for the mountain bikers. We stopped half-way along for lunch in a peaceful glade before struggling on through the mire.

The tarmac route through Ringmore to Challaborough beach proved much more interesting. We spent some time walking around on the fascinating coastal rock formations before climbing out of the bay by way of the easterly road through Bigbury. It was during the descent to the Aveton Gifford tidal road that Arthur, a recent recruit to the sport, lost control on a bend and found himself in the mud! Fortunately no real damage was done.

We had planned a well-earned tea stop at the Avon Mill cafe near Loddiswell, but when we arrived we were dismayed to discover that it was closed for the winter! If we wanted refreshments we’d just have to ride all the way to South Brent - and of course that’s exactly what we did.

Sunday 6 February 1994Afternoon ride: BroadhempstonDull, dry & warm
8 present: Tao Burgess, David Cutts, Michael Jones, Paul Oakley, Arthur Stevens, Philip Stone, Eliot Thomas-Wright, Ken Twydell
Ken Twydell managed to persuade Dave Cutts, not seen on a bike for months, to join us for this February afternoon ride. The cafe at Fermoy’s garden centre, Ipplepen, proved irresistible once again.

Friday 11 February 1994Social: Video
6 present: Richard Burge, Julian Duquemin, Dayle Guy, Michael Jones, Paul Oakley, Eliot Thomas-Wright
A videotape detailing the construction of bicycles and their components kept the few attendees happy this evening.

Sunday 13 February 1994Day ride: Exeter Ship CanalVery cold & windy
5 present: Richard Burge, Tao Burgess, Michael Jones, Sebastian Lessware, Ken Twydell
Michael was the only person to have any real enthusiasm for continuing to the destination, but Tao, Budgie, Seb and Ken didn’t want to appear weak-kneed so they agreed to proceed.

The track alongside the ship canal was, not surprisingly, almost deserted today. We tried to enjoy lunch in the shelter of a bank, but it was just too cold to stand around for long. We sped on to Exeter and then returned via Shillingford St George and Haldon.

At Chudleigh, Ken suggested a cafe he knew of near the lower reaches of the village. It was called the Wheel Croft and turned out to be excellent in every respect (food quality, price and atmosphere). We’ll no doubt be returning again!

Sunday 20 February 1994Morning ride (Buckfastleigh): HaytorRain
4 present: Richard Burge, Edward Millard, Paul Oakley, Philip Stone
Budgie led Paul, Philip and Edward on a wet morning ride to Scoriton, Holne and Combe.

Friday 25 February 1994Social: Board Games
6 present: Neil Ault, Richard Burge, Michael Jones, Paul Oakley, Chris Platt, Eliot Thomas-Wright
Risk proved to be our favourite board game yet again.

Sunday 27 February 1994Day ride: Topsham BridgeDry, sunny intervals
9 present: Neil Ault, Tao Burgess, Michael Jones, Sebastian Lessware, Paul Oakley, Chris Platt, David Robinson, Philip Robinson, Tom Widger
For a change we tried the track descent to Topsham Bridge from Moreleigh. It turned out to be very rough and muddy, so Chris, Neil, Paul and Tao chickened out half-way down and took the escape track back to the road at Preston Farm. Those of us who continued had to contend with rocks, mud, nettles and a lake of muddy water that stretched across the lane.

We ate lunch on the path of the old railway line, overlooking the river Avon in full flood, and returned via South Brent and the Copper Kettle cafe.

Sunday 6 March 1994Afternoon ride (Buckfastleigh): Stert BartonGrey, cold
8 present: Neil Ault, Tao Burgess, Michael Jones, Don Malpass, Paul Oakley, David Robinson, Eliot Thomas-Wright, Ben Widger
We found a long and devious route through Avonwick and Diptford to the interesting lanes around Stert Barton. Return was via Tigley and Rattery. We were pleased to welcome Dave Robinson on this afternoon’s ride, and sorry that Janet and Chan Beevers were not able to join us as planned.

Sunday 13 March 1994Day ride: Cotley CastleDry, cold & very windy
3 present: Tao Burgess, Michael Jones, Kevin Presland
The turn-out would have been just two if Kevin Presland hadn’t decided to drop in on the ride unexpectedly. The cafe at Caononteign Falls is not Kevin’s favourite, but we nevertheless enjoyed some excellent drinks there before pressing on through the Teign Valley.

If the name Cotley Castle had conjured up images of towering stone walls and pointed turrets in our minds, we were certainly disappointed with the circular bank that we found in the woodlands on Haldon! It was peaceful and sheltered, however, and made an excellent lunch stop.

Sunday 20 March 1994Morning ride (Buckfastleigh): Dr Blackall's DriveDry, cold & sunny
8 present: Neil Ault, Chan Beevers (Junior, Totnes), Janet Beevers (Adult, Totnes), Richard Burge, Michael Jones, Sebastian Lessware, David Robinson, Ben Widger
We rode through the River Dart Country Park on the outward journey, struggled up Holne Chase and descended speedily to New Bridge. Janet and Chan did well considering they had ridden from Totnes, but it seemed sensible to rest at New Bridge while the regulars climbed to Poundsgate and did the famous track descent back to New Bridge.

Dave Robinson had joined us again from Paignton, but today he was on his son’s bike and complained bitterly about the hard saddle.

Sunday 27 March 1994Day ride: Shire Horse CentreRain
8 present: Richard Burge, Tao Burgess, Michael Jones, Alex Lessware, Sebastian Lessware, Andrew Walker, Charlie Walker, Tom Widger
Michael had car problems and the forecast was bad, so the ride was diverted to the Copper Kettle cafe at South Brent, where Plymouth Section were comfortably ensconced. They didn’t seem worried about the prospect of rain, but as we set off for Buckfastleigh the first drops began to fall. A social at Crofters seemed to be the order of the day.

Friday 1 April 1994Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): StavertonCold, one shower
7 present: Neil Ault, Richard Burge, Andrew Guy, Matthew Hamlyn-White, Michael Jones, Paul Oakley, Eliot Thomas-Wright
Good Friday was our first evening ride of the season. Blessed with the company of Matthew Hamlyn-White and his sidekick Andrew Guy we enjoyed a leisurely ride through Staverton, Landscove and Pridhamsleigh.

Sunday 3 April 1994Afternoon ride: Easter SpecialRain
11 present: Neil Ault, Daniel Broadbent, Richard Burge, Tao Burgess, Michael Jones, Alex Lessware, Don Malpass, Paul Oakley, John Stuart, Eliot Thomas-Wright, Tom Widger
John Stuart, back in Devon for Easter, and Daniel Broadbent from Totnes boosted numbers to 11 for today’s wet Easter ride to Broadhempston. Everyone was determined to attend the ride despite the rain because Michael had promised an Easter egg for all those who turned up!

Michael selected a tortuous route to Broadhempston to make certain that everyone earned their eggs. Surprisingly, however, the ride was great fun - once we were wet the rain didn’t really bother us!

The ride was concluded with a visit to Landscove for afternoon tea. We would have sat in the cafe for the remainder of the afternoon, but the queues were building for our seats.

Friday 8 April 1994Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): CancelledWet
1 present: Michael Jones
Ride abandoned owing to bad weather.

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