South Dartmoor CTC

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Friday 23 September 1994Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): MichelcombeLight rain
7 present: Neil Ault, Richard Burge, Julian Duquemin, Michael Jones, Ashley Loder, Roy Loder, Paul Oakley
After some indecision we decided to go for half a ride tonight, cycling through Buckfast, Hembury, Holne, Michelcombe, Scorriton and Combe before finishing with the killer hill to Cross Furzes. The final descent brought us past Crofters, so it wasn’t surprising that the second part of the evening was spent playing computer games.

Saturday 24 September 1994Weekend ride: Bellever Youth Hostel Day 1Dry
7 present: Neil Ault, Richard Burge, Julian Duquemin, John Hayes, Michael Jones, Keir Manning, Eliot Thomas-Wright
Eliot received a warm welcome today on the occasion of his first ride since he moved away from Buckfastleigh.

Saturday morning had been wet and the mist still lingered on the high ground as we rode through Hexworthy. Dartmoor always captures a mood, and today’s moorland crossing was a unique experience.

Eliot ran into some freewheel problems on the bridleway to Bellever Forest and had to be pushed along from time to time. We still managed to reach Bellever in plenty of time to play with Frisbees by the river before we settled into the warm hostel. There was a casualty, however: Neil fell onto some rocks, bruised his knees and found himself in a certain amount of pain for the rest of the evening.

The new warden made us very welcome at the hostel. Budgie and Julian created some very interesting meals of their own while the rest of us enjoyed hostel food. The remainder of the evening was spent playing games by the open fire in the cosy common room.

Sunday 25 September 1994Weekend ride: Bellever Youth Hostel Day 2Wet
7 present: Neil Ault, Richard Burge, Julian Duquemin, John Hayes, Michael Jones, Keir Manning, Eliot Thomas-Wright
Budgie started Sunday with another ingenious culinary creation, this time a combination of grapefruit and eggs - the rest of us could only look on with admiration from the safety of our cereal bowls.

The weather was not at all promising, however: the rain was still falling by the time we were ready to leave despite our many hopes that it would stop. Our planned visit to Princetown didn’t seem such a good idea under the circumstances, so we headed for Widecome’s Wayside cafe and hoped that things might improve.

They didn’t, so we sped through Buckland and Spitchwick and spent the afternoon at Crofters.

Friday 30 September 1994Evening ride (Buckfastleigh): Totnes RiversideGrey, then black!
10 present: Neil Ault, Richard Burge, Julian Duquemin, Michael Jones, Ashley Loder, Austin Loder, Roy Loder, Paul Oakley, Phillip Oakley, Philip Stone
Michael celebrated the last evening ride of the season by getting a puncture along Colston Road. Neil, who’d been having some bike problems, was riding Michael’s Dawes equipped with some makeshift lights.

Darkness fell as we rode the Totnes cycle path, but Philip Stone kept us all dazzled with his new high-powered front light. After meeting Dave Robinson unexpectedly outside Totnes pool we returned homewards via Rattery. Several of the lights gave up along the way (including Philip’s), which just goes to show that the brightest doesn’t always last longest! Everyone is advised to bring spare batteries with their lights.

Sunday 2 October 1994Afternoon ride: LittlehempstonIntermittent drizzle
12 present: Neil Ault, Richard Burge, Tao Burgess, Julian Duquemin, Michael Jones, Sebastian Lessware, Ashley Loder, Austin Loder, Paul Oakley, Phillip Oakley, David Robinson, Ken Twydell

Friday 7 October 1994Social: Annual General Meeting
14 present: Neil Ault, Richard Burge, Julian Duquemin, Jeremy Ford, Richard Goss, John Hayes, Michael Jones, Ashley Loder, Keir Manning, Paul Oakley, Phillip Oakley, David Robinson, Charlie Walker, Lorraine Walker
When the minutes of last years meeting had been read and agreed, Michael distributed the annual report and accounts which showed a 20% rise in attendances compared with last year’s figures.

Julian Duquemin was elected treasurer and section delegate, Richard Burge became publicity officer and Michael was re-elected as Section Secretary. Publicity representatives were elected as follows:


     Totnes   Tom Widger
PaigntonDave Robinson
TorquayDave Robinson
Newton AbbotEliot Thomas-Wright
AshburtonPhilip Stone
BuckfastleighPaul Oakley
South BrentJohn Hayes


Two motions were considered, all proposed by the Section Secretary:

A: The Section notes with regret that the absence of a South Area Co-ordinator for the year 1993/94 has resulted in the virtual collapse of attendances from the Paignton start, and proposes that until a new co-ordinator can be found all local rides from Paignton should be discontinued and all other starts from Paignton should be unsupervised, with the exception of the bi-monthly joint afternoon ride.

The words “whenever we can find a leader” were appended to the motion. The motion was then carried.

B: That the Ilsington hotel should be used once again this year for the Christmas Lunch ride on 18 December.

There was some concern about the quality of food at Ilsington, but the price and venue were good so the motion was carried.

Other Business
1. Several of the younger members said that they would like weekly socials this year instead of fortnightly socials. Michael agreed to offer weekly socials until Christmas for a trial period, and to continue them through to Easter if they were well supported.

2. An ice-skating social was proposed for Plymouth Pavilions. Michael said he would include this in the spring programme if possible.

3. The 20% increase in attendances was very encouraging, but it was agreed that every effort should still be made during the coming year to recruit additional children and adults to the club.

Sunday 9 October 1994Day ride: Hitchcombe WoodPerfect October weather
13 present: Neil Ault, Toby Bastin, Richard Burge, Ben Hobday, Michael Jones, Alex Lessware, Paul Oakley, Jack Oliver (13, Moretonhampstead), Harry Staniland, Philip Stone, Ken Twydell, Luke Whiting (13, Poundsgate), Tom Widger
Harry brought his two friends Luke and Jack along with him today, meeting us at the Chudleigh Bridge pick-up.

The plan was to get to the destination for lunch, but as we neared the Christow BMX track it became obvious that we would have to drop in for some cycling fun. Once there we met up with some of the local youngsters that we had met on our last visit, so we ended up staying there for one hour and lunch.

Ken, who attempted an early return home, was punished with a puncture (you just can’t rely on these shopping bikes for serious cycling) but Ben stayed with us as we rode the tracks through Cod Wood from Steps Bridge - very enjoyable today in the dappled sunlight. Alex and Ben had a minor crash along the way, but there was no damage.

The second track through Hitchcombe Wood was rougher but tremendous fun. Eventually we emerged at Fingle Bridge and set about climbing our third path of the day, the Hunter’s Path. It was during the long descent that we nearly bumped into Dave Humphreys, one of our Paignton members who hasn’t been out cycling for a very long time.

When Luke had finished playing with his burst drink can at the Chagford stores, he and his two friends decided to ride back to Jack’s house at Moretonhampstead while the rest of us began the long haul back to Buckfastleigh and Totnes.

This was a day when we could have made good use of the burger van at Hound Tor, so of course this was the day that it wasn’t there. It was also the day that we could have done without any further incidents, but that was not to be.

It was during the descent of Ausewell hill that we encountered the two mounted horses riding in the same direction. Michael slowed the group down, told them to ride single file and cautiously overtook the horses on the right-hand side of the road when he felt sure the riders knew we were there, giving them a very wide berth. Toby followed close behind, but as they went past one of the horses shied. The rest of the group very sensibly stopped behind the horses, and Michael and Toby, who were already beyond the point of no return, continued down the hill to remove the object of the horses’ fears.

A following motorist (presumably an equestrian enthusiast) chose to see the incident very differently, however, and worked himself up into a fuming rage within five seconds: it took Michael (and the gentleman’s wife) several minutes of calm responses to convince him that we were not, in fact, an irresponsible bunch of hooligans. Fortunately nobody was injured, but the incident serves as a reminder that you can never be too careful with horses - and irate motorists!

We finally arrived home at 5.30 after a thoroughly enjoyable but physically demanding ride.

Friday 14 October 1994Social: Computer Games
15 present: Neil Ault, Richard Burge, Julian Duquemin, Jeremy Ford, Richard Goss, Andrew Guy, Dayle Guy, John Hayes, Michael Jones, Austin Loder, Keir Manning, Edward Millard, Paul Oakley, Phillip Oakley, Philip Stone
The first of our new-style weekly socials was well supported and turned out to be a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

Sunday 16 October 1994Morning ride (Buckfastleigh): PinchafordAutumnal
14 present: Neil Ault, Richard Burge, Tao Burgess, Garry Davies (Junior, Brixham), Julian Duquemin, John Hayes, Michael Jones, Alex Lessware, Edward Millard, Paul Oakley, Phillip Oakley, David Robinson, Philip Stone, Tom Widger
Having climbed Ausewell hill there was an almost unanimous decision to change the destination to the Round House cafe at Buckland in the Moor. Well, these rides are for fun, and we’re not totally inflexible!

After some adequate refreshments we descended through delightfully autumnal woodlands to Spitchwick where we met one of our October 1993 new riders, Mark Barber, with his Mum.

Tao fell off during the descent of the Hembury Woods track, but he wouldn’t admit it to anyone!

Friday 21 October 1994Social: Computer Games
14 present: Neil Ault, Richard Burge, Julian Duquemin, Richard Goss, Dayle Guy, Michael Jones, Ashley Loder, Austin Loder, Keir Manning, Edward Millard, Paul Oakley, Phillip Oakley, Philip Stone, Gavin Taylor
This proved to be another very enjoyable indoor games evening.

Sunday 23 October 1994Day ride: Buckland-Tout-SaintsSunny start, showers later
12 present: Neil Ault, Richard Burge, Tao Burgess, John Hayes, Michael Jones, Alex Lessware, Ashley Loder, Austin Loder, Paul Oakley, Gavin Taylor, Ben Widger, Tom Widger
Neil got a puncture on the way to Totnes, but it took an hour to fix it because the valve had broken and he didn’t have a spare tube! In view of the time and the weather forecast we decided to divert the ride to Rolster Bridge near Harbertonford: surrounded by falling leaves this made an excellent lunch spot.

Next we followed some little-used lanes to Diptford, at which point Tom decided to get a puncture as well. Did he have a spare tube or a puncture kit? No sir, he did not. So he had to rely on the generosity of his club friends to get him rolling again, a generosity which he rewarded by leaving us at Avonwick!

The rest of the group headed for the Copper Kettle cafe at South Brent, with Michael reminding everyone of the importance of bringing basic puncture equipment with them on every ride. We reached Buckfastleigh at 3.30pm and spent the afternoon at Crofters, well pleased to be out of the rain.

Friday 28 October 1994Social: Computer Games
12 present: Neil Ault, Richard Burge, Julian Duquemin, Jeremy Ford, John Hayes, Michael Jones, Keir Manning, Edward Millard, Paul Oakley, Phillip Oakley, Philip Stone, Gavin Taylor
The atmosphere was definitely electric at this popular games evening.

Sunday 30 October 1994Day ride: Graetor RocksLight rain turning heavy
7 present: Neil Ault, Toby Bastin, Richard Burge, Garry Davies, Llewellyn Holmes (12, Totnes), Michael Jones, Keir Manning
The weather forecast was bad as we assembled at the Bickington pick-up in light rain. Michael strongly advised taking a brisk back-lane return to Buckfastleigh as soon as possible, but a majority wanted to continue with the ride as planned, including all the younger members!

That decision proved to be a big mistake. First we took the muddy track to Ilsington that succeeded only in getting everyone without mudguards totally filthy. Then, as we approached Haytor, the cold rain lashed down, driven at force by the strengthening winds. We made use of what little shelter the Haytor toilet block could offer for lunch, but it was already partially occupied by a group of four Plymouth teenagers who were close to finishing a Duke of Edinburgh award hike across the moor.

Now, at last, everyone agreed that it was time to go home. Getting home involved riding into the teeth of the bad weather between Haytor and Cold East Cross, but we managed to reach Buckfastleigh by 2pm and spent the rest of the afternoon playing computer games and appreciating the comforts of home.

Friday 4 November 1994Social: Cinema Trip: The Lion King
17 present: Neil Ault, Richard Burge, Tao Burgess, Julian Duquemin, Richard Goss, Dayle Guy, John Hayes, Michael Jones, Ashley Loder, Austin Loder, David Loder (6, Totnes), Sue Loder (Adult, Totnes), Keir Manning, Paul Oakley, Phillip Oakley, Philip Stone, Eliot Thomas-Wright
This hugely popular Disney animation, which also proved to be a big hit with our members, was all the more enjoyable for being seen as part of such a large and friendly group. We were fortunate that Richard, Dayle, Julian and Michael were happy to transport the whole crew to and from Plymouth’s Odeon cinema.

Saturday 5 November 1994Weekend ride: Maypool Youth Hostel Day 1Grey but dry
10 present: Neil Ault, Richard Burge, John Hayes, Ben Hobday, Michael Jones, Keir Manning, Paul Oakley, Phillip Oakley, Philip Stone, Eliot Thomas-Wright
After a late start (all Michael’s fault) Neil found himself in trouble again when his chain slipped on Luscombe hill. He fell off and bruised his ribs again, but seemed to be able to continue with the ride.

We were very late at Totnes, but Eliot was still waiting, patiently. By the time we had ridden to Galmpton via Parliament Hill the time was 5.45, which left us in a slight dilemma. The youth hostel had decided not to organise their own fireworks display this evening because (they said) there would be a better display on offer in Galmpton village at a lower price. First they told us the display started at 6.30 so we’d arranged to have our hostel meal at 5.30. Then they telephoned us to say that the display was actually going to be at 6pm, so we changed our mealtime to 7.30. Now we decided that we wouldn’t have time to go to the hostel first to drop our bags, so we rode straight up to the display on the Brixham road.

When we arrived we were informed that the display wasn’t due to start until 6.45!! Frustrated, we rode to the hostel, cancelled our hostel meal (there was snack food available at the display), booked ourselves into a dormitory and rode back to the display.

We paid £1 each to go in, the fireworks didn’t start until 7pm and were all over by 7.20! The bonfire was good, but some Wally put some old fireworks on it and almost caused an incident. We felt that the Buckfastleigh display was usually far superior, and wondered why Torbay were so backward!

Back at the hostel, Richard, Neil and Michael were still cooking their meal when Ken turned up with his family. They chatted with us in the kitchen and then joined us for our Crazy Post game in the hall which saw everyone running crazily up and down the staircase and around the upper balcony trying to find the right post-box for their mail!

Sunday 6 November 1994Morning ride (Paignton): Mansands & Berry HeadSunny
20 present: Neil Ault, Richard Burge, Allen Davies (9, Brixham), Garry Davies, Pearl Davies (Adult, Brixham), Phillip Davies (Adult, Brixham), John Hayes, Ben Hobday, Michael Jones, Ashley Loder, Austin Loder, Roy Loder, Keir Manning, Alison Marr (Adult, Torquay), Peter Marr (Adult, Torquay), Paul Oakley, Phillip Oakley, Philip Stone, Eliot Thomas-Wright, Ken Twydell
Several members joined us at Maypool hostel for our morning ride to Brixham, including Graham from Plymouth CTC. There was a muddy lake at the lower end of the track descent to Mansands, however, and Graham refused it!

The climb towards Brixham turned out to be very muddy, which pleased about half of the group. Shortly afterwards Neil got a puncture and discovered that he didn’t have tyre levers, spare tube or pump. This caused considerable delays, so let this be a warning to all the other members who ride their bikes without essential tools and spares.

We rarely ride to Berry Head so the steep cliffs and lighthouse (the smallest in Britain according to the Davies family) provided an interesting sight for most of us.

Sunday 6 November 1994Afternoon ride (Buckfastleigh): Old Forge TearoomsSunny
15 present: Neil Ault, Richard Burge, Tao Burgess, Peter Hawkins (14, Woodleigh), Ben Hobday, Michael Jones, Ashley Loder, David Loder, Roy Loder, Sue Loder, Paul Oakley, Harry Staniland, Philip Stone, Gavin Taylor, Luke Whiting
Ben got a puncture on Parliament Hill, so we were very late for the Totnes meeting point. New rider Peter had been waiting for an hour, and since he had to get back to boarding school that evening he decided to go home rather than join us for the ride to Holne. Eliot, seeing that Tao wasn’t at Totnes, also decided to go home, and Keir accompanied him: little did they know that Tao was waiting at Buckfastleigh!

When we finally arrived at the Buckfastleigh start we were just half an hour late. Sue and David were waiting to join us on the ride, but Austin was tired so they had to go home with him. The rest of us stocked up with food at the garage and proceeded to the destination.

When we got to the cafe we found that it was closed for the winter! This was the last straw, so Michael agreed to offer a full cafe service at Crofters - ably assisted by Tao. There was a proper menu that included savoury snacks like cheese on toast, and the whole event turned out to be a good deal more successful than the ride!

Friday 11 November 1994Social: Indoor Games
13 present: Neil Ault, Richard Burge, Julian Duquemin, Jeremy Ford, Richard Goss, Dayle Guy, Llewellyn Holmes, Michael Jones, Austin Loder, David Loder, Paul Oakley, Phillip Oakley, Gavin Taylor
Julian got rather carried away with his computer game this evening: he was playing Canon Fodder, and at the end of each game he would stand to attention and salute his dead army personnel!

Sunday 13 November 1994Day ride: HarfordFoggy, damp and windy
15 present: Neil Ault, Richard Burge, Richard Goss, Peter Hawkins, Sam Hawkins (13, Totnes), Michael Jones, Ashley Loder, Austin Loder, Roy Loder, Keir Manning, Adam Murray (13, Devon), Paul Oakley, Harry Staniland, Philip Stone, Luke Whiting
The forecast was poor, and when Neil got a puncture on the way to Avonwick we decided to shorten the ride. After an extended stop at South Brent’s Copper Kettle cafe we climbed to Shipley Bridge and joined the Abbots Way bridleway across the moor from Avon Dam to Buckfastleigh, taking care not to lose our way in the fog. Roy entertained us on the top of the hill by taking a dive into a moorland puddle.

Friday 18 November 1994Social: Junior Tour Previews
16 present: Neil Ault, Richard Burge, Julian Duquemin, Jeremy Ford, Richard Goss, John Hayes, Michael Jones, Ashley Loder, Austin Loder, David Loder, Roy Loder, Keir Manning, Edward Millard, Paul Oakley, Phillip Oakley, Philip Stone
There was a good turnout for this evening’s video and slide presentation which gave members a taste of what to expect on the two 1995 junior tours to Cornwall and Norway. The video was from the 1993 junior tour to the Cornish Coast and the slides were from the 1989 tour of Norway.

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