South Dartmoor CTC

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Tuesday 1 August 1995
0800-1900
Tour: Norway Day 7 Boverdalen to Skjak (23 mi)Warm and dry with sunny spells
5 present: Julian Duquemin, Kieron Green (11, St Albans), Nick Green, Michael Jones, Graham Taylor (16, Stanford-le-Hope)
Re-mastered video footage from today's ride
Nobody was in much hurry to get up this morning after yesterday's tiring ride, so we watched the young toll-collector opposite the hostel taking money from visitors who wanted to travel up the mountain road to Raubergstulen, a base camp used by explorers of the Jotunheim Mountains.

When we eventually set off, another 12 miles of downhill riding through the fertile agricultural land at the base of the valley brought us eventually to the tourist village of Lom where a very attractive café provided us with excellent drinks and exceptional chocolate cakes.

We then spent some time browsing the many shelf-loads of trolls in the gift shops. Nick couldn't resist buying an attractive Norwegian towel and a "reindeer leather" bookmark as a gift for his family at home. After lunch by the water feature in the town square we had a look around Lom's most famous building, a wooden Stave Church built in 1158, although we couldn't get inside. Before we left the village we were amused by the Norsk Fjell Museum which had grass growing on all its roofs: several garden sprinklers were working flat out to keep the grass happy in the dry weather.

The remaining 11 miles to Mogard, Skjak were generally flat and agricultural so we were not too late arriving at the hostel. This was a grade 2 hostel that consisted of a range of separate 4-bed wooden cabins, each with its own basic kitchen facilities (well table, chairs and a fridge), sandwiched between farms. It was a great place to spend the night with the large river nearby and the backdrop of tall snow-capped mountains.

[This report was written by Michael from memory in 2014 as no notes were written at the time. If you took part in the ride and you remember additional details about today's ride, please sent them to Michael.]

Wednesday 2 August 1995Tour: Norway Day 8 Skjak to Hellesylt (50 mi)
5 present: Julian Duquemin, Kieron Green (11, St Albans), Nick Green, Michael Jones, Graham Taylor (16, Stanford-le-Hope)
Re-mastered video footage from today's ride
Kieron had some difficulty cutting his loaf of bread at breakfast time, seeing as there were no knives provided in the "kitchen" - he hacked at it with a pocket knife and the result was not particularly successful.

With a long ride ahead of us and a ferry to catch we were doing our best to get Kieron ready to leave by 9am, but since the main hostel building didn't open until 9 it was 9.05 when we we finally set off. It actually turned out to be a bit of a trick, because once Kieron was on his way Nick just couldn't resist trying out the swing that was positioned tantalisingly by the exit posts, and Michael couldn't resist popping into the hostel reception building with his camcorder - it was more like a café than a reception.

One of the intriguing sights we saw in the early parts of the climb was an agricultural shed containing a pump, presumably for bringing water up from the river, but the roof was another of those strange affairs with grass on top. Maybe they needed to camoflage the pump house during the war.

At the Donfoss bridge we just had to stop to look at the River Visa: it was terrifyingly large and fast and made a tremendous noise as it crashed its way over the rocks. We wandered along the side of the river to get a bit closer to the action and felt awed by the power of the water. We don't get rivers like this in the UK.

Our road followed the river right up into the mountains so we had more chances to get close as we progressed.

.. To be continued

[This report was written by Michael from memory in 2014 as no notes were written at the time. If you took part in the ride and you remember additional details about today's ride, please sent them to Michael.]

[The following plans for today's ride were published in advance of the tour.]

[The longest day of the tour involves a gradual 44 mile climb followed by a rapid 1038m descent in the last six miles along a road that can only be described as looking like a helter-skelter. It twists and turns its way in seemingly endless hairpin bends until it brings you to Geiranger, on the edge of Geiranger fjord. This is one of the most spectacular fjords in all Norway. Sheer rock walls rise out of the fjord, encompassed by towering mountain peaks. Old farms cling to the narrow ledges of rock, while foaming waterfalls plunge into the fjord. A ferry, offering full English commentary, will take you on a 1¼ hour cruise along the fjord: you'll see the famous water falls - the Seven Sisters, the Suitor and the Bridal Veil - and pass the abandoned mountain farms of Skageflå and Knivsflå before reaching the lofty Pulpit Rock. You get off at Hellesylt, location of the grade 2 hostel that will be your home for the night.]

Thursday 3 August 1995Tour: Norway Day 9 Hellesylt to Stryn (32 mi)
5 present: Julian Duquemin, Kieron Green (11, St Albans), Nick Green, Michael Jones, Graham Taylor (16, Stanford-le-Hope)
Re-mastered video footage from today's ride
[This report needs to be written by Michael from memory in 2014 as no notes were written at the time. If you took part in the ride and you remember additional details about today's ride, please sent them to Michael.]

[The following plan for the day was published in advance of the tour]

[The ride to Stryn involves a couple of climbs to 390m and 245m but is not too strenuous. Watch out for more examples of Norway’s modern schools complete with athletic circuits. The village has a population of about 2000, and whilst tourism is becoming ever more important, farming is still the main line of business. The hostel is a luxurious grade 3.]

Friday 4 August 1995Tour: Norway Day 10 Stryn to Byrkjelo (36 mi)
5 present: Julian Duquemin, Kieron Green (11, St Albans), Nick Green, Michael Jones, Graham Taylor (16, Stanford-le-Hope)
Re-mastered video footage from today's ride
[This report needs to be written by Michael from memory in 2014 as no notes were written at the time. If you took part in the ride and you remember additional details about today's ride, please sent them to Michael.]

[The following plan for the day was published in advance of the tour]

[The first half of day 10 will be spent riding around the Innvik fjord, situated in a wild and beautiful valley. If the weather is good you may be able to take a dip in the cool waters! In the afternoon there is a major mountain climb of 630m followed by a descent to the grade 2 hostel in the farming village of Byrkjelo. You’ll be enjoying hostel meals again but your bike may have to share the haybarn with the chickens overnight!]

Friday 4 August 1995
1900
Evening ride: South BrentDry
8 present: Neil Ault, Richard Burge, Tao Burgess, Ashley Loder, Austin Loder, Roy Loder, Don Malpass, Phillip Oakley
Today's ride took us up Dean Hill, through Harbourneford and Bloody Pool to Shipley Bridge and then on down the lane to South Brent. We then went down to Avonwick but took the left turn up the steep lane to Marley Head.

Return was via the viaduct, Rattery and Pennywell Farm.

Saturday 5 August 1995Tour: Norway Day 11 Byrkjelo to Forde (40 mi)
5 present: Julian Duquemin, Kieron Green (11, St Albans), Nick Green, Michael Jones, Graham Taylor (16, Stanford-le-Hope)
Re-mastered video footage from today's ride
[This report needs to be written by Michael from memory in 2014 as no notes were written at the time. If you took part in the ride and you remember additional details about today's ride, please sent them to Michael.]

[The following plan for the day was published in advance of the tour]

[Your day will start with a ride to the tiny hamlet of Skei, situated 200m above sea level at the northern end of the Jölstra Lake. The lake itself, situated to the west of the massive Jostedal glacier, which is the greatest icecap in Europe, is a great attraction and is noted for its large trout. The area is a centre for local arts and crafts: tapestries and runners are woven in the farms to ancient patterns and in authentic natural dyes and many of these can be seen at the local weaving workshop. Next you’ll ride the whole 16-mile length of Lake Jölstra, and after a look at the Huldrefossen waterfall you’ll reach the village of Førde, at the head of Sunn fjord. The countryside here is more open and possesses a unique charm and beauty all its own. There are idyllic woodlands, pastureland and gentle hillsides, as well as mountains and lakes. The hostel is grade 2 and self-catering only.]

Sunday 6 August 1995Tour: Norway Day 12 Forde to Balestrand (39 mi)
5 present: Julian Duquemin, Kieron Green (11, St Albans), Nick Green, Michael Jones, Graham Taylor (16, Stanford-le-Hope)
Re-mastered video footage of today's ride
[This report needs to be written by Michael from memory in 2014 as no notes were written at the time. If you took part in the ride and you remember additional details about today's ride, please sent them to Michael.]

[The following plan for the day was published in advance of the tour]

[Changed planned route to one that included a rather dubious tunnel at Hoyanger. Travelled 14 miles south to Sande, with a climb of just 400m, where we stopped for food at the Sande hotel. Continued south another 9 miles to Vadheim, then another 16 miles along the Sognefjord to Hoyanger and continued on to the tunnel. Here we realised the tunnel was so long it would be unsafe to cycle, so we had no choice but to return to Hoyanger and take a bus all the way to Balestrand, a further 26 miles - just as well we didn't have to cycle it, or this would have been a very long day.

The village of Balestrand, population 700, stands on the edge of Sognefjord on a short promontory of farmland and orchards backed by snow-capped mountains. Passenger ferries and fishing boats line its little quay, while in the village there are a few shops, a cafe, a handicraft centre and hundreds of delightful brightly-painted wooden houses. The hostel is a luxurious grade 3, providing Norwegian-style evening meals for the whole group.]

Sunday 6 August 1995
1415
Afternoon ride: Fishacre BartonDry
12 present: Neil Ault, Richard Burge, Tao Burgess, Allen Davies, Garry Davies, Pearl Davies, Phillip Davies, Kevin Keeble (Junior, Brixham), Keir Manning, Phillip Oakley, Chris Platt, Eliot Thomas-Wright
The Buckfastleigh starters took the main road to Charlie's Cross and then rode through Staverton to Fishacre Barton. Once everyone had gathered at the destination, Fermoys was selected as the tea stop for the afternoon. We had to beat the new 4.30 closing time so we went through, or rather past, Broadhempston, Denbury and Two Mile Oak.

After tea the Brixham group and Newton Abbot group (Eliot and Chris) headed to their homelands. The Buckfastleigh group returned via Littlehempston, Landscove and Green Lane.

Monday 7 August 1995Tour: Norway Day 13 Balestrand to Voss (55 mi)
5 present: Julian Duquemin, Kieron Green (11, St Albans), Nick Green, Michael Jones, Graham Taylor (16, Stanford-le-Hope)
Re-mastered video footage from today's ride
[This report needs to be written by Michael from memory in 2014 as no notes were written at the time. If you took part in the ride and you remember additional details about today's ride, please sent them to Michael.]

[The following plan for the day was published in advance of the tour]

[After your traditional Norwegian breakfast you’ll ride the five miles back to Dragsvik to catch the early morning ferry across Sognefjord to Vangsnes. The major climb begins after just a few more miles, climbing through numerous hairpin bends and a tunnel to a height of 986m. The long descent to Voss is gradual with the exception of a short hairpin descent along the way. Watch out for the goats grazing on the grassy roofs of isolated wooden farm houses, and the famous brown goats-milk cheese on sale nearby. Voss is a famous alpine resort situated on Lake Vangsvatnet, boasting a modern, purpose-built grade 3 hostel complete with electric doors. You’ll enjoy another hostel meal before settling down in the very comfortable six-bedded dormitories.]

Tuesday 8 August 1995Tour: Norway Day 14 Voss to Bergen Ferry (2 mi)
5 present: Julian Duquemin, Kieron Green (11, St Albans), Nick Green, Michael Jones, Graham Taylor (16, Stanford-le-Hope)
Re-mastered video footage from today's ride
[This report needs to be written by Michael from memory in 2014 as no notes were written at the time. If you took part in the ride and you remember additional details about today's ride, please sent them to Michael.]

[The following plan for the day was published in advance of the tour]

[After breakfast there should be time to enjoy a cable car ride to the restaurant at the top of Mount Hangur, which offers fabulous views across the whole lake and the nearby mountain ranges. You’ll also have an opportunity to look at the local folk museum, wooden church and excellent shops. Another electric train will speed you back to Bergen in time for lunch. Then you’ll have an hour or two to purchase those souvenirs that you earmarked on day 3. You’ll board the ColorLine ferry at 3.30pm ready for a 5pm departure, so take a last look at the magnificent country that you are about to leave behind. The duty-free chocolate shop opens as soon as the ship leaves Bergen!]

Wednesday 9 August 1995Tour: Norway Day 15 Ferry to Home (10 mi)
5 present: Julian Duquemin, Kieron Green (11, St Albans), Nick Green, Michael Jones, Graham Taylor (16, Stanford-le-Hope)
Re-mastered video footage from today's ride
[This report needs to be written by Michael from memory in 2014 as no notes were written at the time. If you took part in the ride and you remember additional details about today's ride, please sent them to Michael.]

[The following plan for the day was published in advance of the tour]

[The return journey will be similar to the outward journey, with plenty of sea all around! As you arrive at South Shields at about 4.30pm, expect to be surprised at how crowded our little island appears after the wide open spaces of Norway. You’ll ride back along the cycle path to Newcastle BR where the tour ends. If you’re not being collected you’ll probably continue homewards on the overnight trains.

The tour finishes at Newcastle station on Wednesday 9 August at 1730, but once again participants will continue by train. The group will take the 1840 train from Newcastle, dropping Graham at Stevenage at 2128 and arriving King’s Cross at 2158. Kieron and Nick will be collected off the train at King’s Cross. Michael and Julian will then take the 2350 overnight train from Waterloo to Newton Abbot, arriving 0452.
Other option: 1730 from Newcastle, Arrive Stevenage 2010, King’s Cross 2038, then 2115 Paddington to Exeter, arrives 0015]

Friday 11 August 1995
1900
Evening ride: Venford ReservoirHot & sunny
9 present: Neil Ault, Richard Burge, Tao Burgess, Michael Jones, Ashley Loder, Austin Loder, Roy Loder, Ken Oakley, Phillip Oakley
Report to be written from the following notes made at the time - please write a full report if you remember the details.

[Hot and sunny with flies. Buckfast, lower Hembury track, Holne, Venford (very low), walked on reservoir banks (dried up). Return through Michelcombe and Scoriton. Lots of flies around.]

Sunday 13 August 1995
1000
Day ride: Redlake TramwayDry
7 present: Tao Burgess, Richard Goss, John Hayes, Michael Jones, Keir Manning, Phillip Oakley, Eliot Thomas-Wright
Report to be written from the following notes made at the time - please write a full report if you remember the details.

[Michael bought last pint of milk at garage at Avonwick but shared it with Eliot who also wanted one. Philip filled water bottle from car wash. Kids couldn't resist shouing "Fore!" at golfers. Lunch on Ugborough Beacon, good views all around. Rough moorland to Stone Row / Redlake Tramway then along the tramway to Petre's Cross. Descent to river Avon, Keir hit a pothole and fell off. Avon Dam half full, Controlled descent to Cross Furzes and Wallaford.]

Friday 18 August 1995
1900-2140
Evening ride: Buckland-in-the-MoorHot
9 present: Neil Ault, Tao Burgess, John Hayes, Michael Jones, Jake Lane, Ashley Loder, Austin Loder, Craig McCracken, Phillip Oakley
Report to be written from the following notes made at the time - please write a full report if you remember the details.

[Weather: hot. Youngsters voted to go to Spitchwick. Hembury hill. Spitchwick common very dried up. Craig in water first, Neil and Tao followed. Neil did a jump, Tao declined. Met Marcus Allen and Mark Morris. Returned via Buckland - younger ones went into Harry Staniland's house there. Returned via Ashburton. Jake, Ashley and Austin hadn't brought lights and were told they wouldn't be allowed next time without them. Returned 9.40.]

Sunday 20 August 1995
0930-1645
Day ride: Blackpool SandsVery hot and sunny
5 present: Richard Burge, John Hayes, Llewellyn Holmes, Michael Jones, Phillip Oakley
Report to be written from the following notes made at the time - please write a full report if you remember the details.

[No-one at the Totnes pick-up except Torbay Section, who didn't hang around. Harbertonford, Washbourne Road, long climb to Forces Cross. Main road, then Bowden to Blackpool. Beach was swarming; car parks full, queues of cars going up and down road, queues of people at the shop. On to Dartmouth where "Gateway" visit for drink, then Higher Ferry to Kingswear. Paignton sea front swarming and dried up (arid). Preston Down Road to Marldon (Budgie thought it was longer than the usual route). Home via Staverton and Caddaford, by 4.45. Weather very hot and sunny.]

Friday 25 August 1995
1900
Evening ride: ParkfieldSunny & breezy
11 present: Neil Ault, Carrie Burgess, Tao Burgess, John Hayes, Martin Hills, Llewellyn Holmes, Michael Jones, Ashley Loder, Austin Loder, Phillip Oakley, Paul Thorp
Report to be written from the following notes made at the time - please write a full report if you remember the details.

[Weather: sunny and breezy. Green Lane. Track to Staverton. Broadhempston play park. Lanes to Parkfield Cross. Mobile phone transmitter at Chuley. Track through field, then additional track in the dark and uphill to Green Lane. Lovely ride.]

Sunday 27 August 1995
1000
Day ride: Manaton WaterSunny, warm & breezy
8 present: Neil Ault, Richard Burge, Tao Burgess, Richard Goss, John Hayes, Michael Jones, Ashley Loder, Phillip Oakley
Report to be written from the following notes made at the time - please write a full report if you remember the details.

[New destination. Old lady on electric wheelchair nearly ran us over at Ashburton. Old lady walking up the middle of the road made a good obstacle course. Looked at new Mountain Bike Centre at Ashburton. On to Budgie Box (Caton) and Bovey Tracey where met Tao. Old railway track towards Lustleigh then new lane connection to Manaton Old Road - brand new for most of us. Delightful woodlands by river Bovey. Fallen trees across the path made the going tough. Scrambled up to higher path and had lunch. New track to Water then new track to Manaton - very interesting. Then new track to Foxworthy Bridge little detour around road. John puncture on next new track. Familiar track to North Bovey ford. Tao stung by wasp twice. Road to Yarde Farm then new track over the hill, again interesting. Unfriendly owner of farm at the end, said he thought we were damaging the environment and then walked away. Some disagreement, then eventually all went to Widecombe - Tao and Michael swung the vote because they wanted two pints of milk each. Holiday-makers stuck in lane congestion, got cross when we rode through. Leusdon ducks. Spitchwick. Two Dawlish boys interested in bikes. Home via Hembury. Michael puncture at Coronation Seat, Buckfastleigh. Weather: dry, warm and breezy with lots of sunshine.]

Friday 1 September 1995Evening ride: Belford Mill (13 mi)Sunny
12 present: Neil Ault, Richard Burge, Tao Burgess, Julian Duquemin, Richard Goss, John Hayes, Michael Jones, Austin Loder, Keir Manning, Craig McCracken, Phillip Oakley, Leigh Searle
Report to be written from the following notes made at the time - please write a full report if you remember the details.

[Weather: sunny. Old road to Ashburton past Lanterns hotel track then uphill and right turn pas Druid down to junction. Past wedge-shaped house (Belford Mill) then woodland path. South Dartmoor school. Lane towards Glendennings. Footpath to Mountain Bike Centre. Through Ashburton railway station then uphill to Chuldey Cross. Home via track and Green Lane as last week. Keir fell off three times. Excellent ride. Watched film Airplane 2 at Crofters.]

Sunday 3 September 1995Afternoon ride: Ten Commandments Stone
12 present: Neil Ault, Richard Burge, Tao Burgess, Julian Duquemin, Richard Goss, Michael Jones, Sebastian Lessware, Keir Manning, Craig McCracken, Phillip Oakley, Chris Platt, Eliot Thomas-Wright
Report to be written from the following notes made at the time - please write a full report if you remember the details.

[Hill climb to Ten Commandments Stone. Richard told 5 off for riding 5 abreast; warning required for Keir. Letters on Stone painted black. Very windy. Track to Cold East Cross. Track to Buckland. Tea at Round House café, Buckland - ushered into back room, very fast service. Spitchwick, New Bridge, Hembury. Good ride.]

Tuesday 5 September 1995Evening ride (Junior): StavertonSunny
5 present: Joseph Dunkeley (Junior, Devon), Michael Jones, Austin Loder, Craig McCracken, Gavin Pearson
Report to be written from the following notes made at the time - please write a full report if you remember the details.

[Weather was sunny - no showers, despite several during the day. Colston road, Gavin’s pedal came off (He was on Jacob’s bike), MJ put it back on as well as he could with his cone spanner, on to Staverton, back towards Landscove, down to Sparkwell and then Beeston half-way, left for farm track, Joe came off in a pit but generally OK, then track short-cut, Austin puncture, no pump but presta so used MJ pump, two no lights (Joe and Gavin) so put lights front, back and middle, green lane, pedal fell off again as approached BFL, darkness fell on apprach, MJ escorted home. Reminded to bring lights next week.]

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