South Dartmoor CTC

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Sunday 14 July 1996
1000-1530
Day ride: Manaton WaterHot and humid, light rain later
6 present: Richard Burge, Tao Burgess, John Hayes, Llewellyn Holmes, Michael Jones, Craig McCracken
Report to be written from the following notes made at the time - please write a full report if you remember the details.

[Lots of dead animals on A38, lots of flies. Tao found correct track through woods, saved us an hour of clambering up steep slopes. Lunch on Green by Manaton Church. Very hot and humid & light drizzle began so decided to take shorter route to Widecombe where milk was in stock. Home via Buckland where bells ringing. Spitchwick where now quite damp, and Hembury. Home by 3.30. Pulse rates outside Widecombe shop ranged from 90-110 so everyone quite healthy.]

Friday 19 July 1996Evening ride: TotnesPerfect
17 present: Richard Burge, Julian Duquemin, Tom Fox, Richard Goss, Dayle Guy, Michael Jones, Ashley Loder, Austin Loder, Roy Loder, Keir Manning, Paul Oakley, Phillip Oakley, Gavin Pearson, Daniel Smith, Philip Stone, Dave Turrell, SpanishBoy Unknown (Junior, Spain)
Report to be written from the following notes made at the time - please write a full report if you remember the details.

[Colston Road. Dayle caught up with us after guessing our route. Cider Press centre track to Totnes, local children enquired about the club, MJ gave them a runs list. Return via Dartington YH & Rattery. Gavin did very well and promised to come regularly. Perfect evening weather-wise.]

Saturday 20 July 1996Weekend ride: Street / Cheddar YH Day 1 Home to Street YHPerfect hot weather
6 present: Richard Goss, John Hayes, Michael Jones, Keir Manning, Craig McCracken, Luke Whiting
Report to be written from the following notes made at the time - please write a full report if you remember the details.

[Perfect hot weather. MJ lost water bottle at North Curry. Luke fell off bike at Street hostel, landed on his head but no damage.]

Sunday 21 July 1996Weekend ride: Street / Cheddar YH Day 2 Street to Cheddar YH
6 present: Richard Goss, John Hayes, Michael Jones, Keir Manning, Craig McCracken, Luke Whiting
Report to be written from the following notes made at the time - please write your version of the report if you remember the details.

[Glastonbury Tor, avoided druggie, café at bottom. Wookey Hole caves, only three caverns but our group enjoyed it. Cheddar Gorge, Michael's ice-cream cone broke.]

Monday 22 July 1996Weekend ride: Street / Cheddar YH Day 3 Cheddar to Home
6 present: Richard Goss, John Hayes, Michael Jones, Keir Manning, Craig McCracken, Luke Whiting
Report to be written from the following notes made at the time - please write your version of the report if you remember the details.

[Wedmore Bakery -refreshments, lots of milk during day. Richard Goss slightly difficult. Keir soaked Craig at hostel.]

Tuesday 23 July 1996Evening ride (Junior): Chuley CrossWarm with sunny periods
8 present: Michael Jones, Gavin Pearson, Daniel Smith, Graham Smith, Holly Smith, Dale Turrell, Wendy Turrell, Adam Watkin (14, Buckfastleigh)
Report to be written from the following notes made at the time - please write a full report if you remember the details.

[Ashburton, Chuley Cross, long track descent, home via track down to High Beara. Weather warm sunny periods. Excellent ride.]

Friday 26 July 1996
1900-2133
Evening ride: Avon DamWarm and humid
11 present: Richard Burge, Tom Fox, Michael Jones, Oliver Lindley, Ashley Loder, Austin Loder, Paul Oakley, Phillip Oakley, Gavin Pearson, Daniel Smith, Philip Stone
Report to be written from the following notes made at the time - please write your version of the report if you remember the details.

[Avon Dam, water level a couple of metres down. Crofters by 9.33 as darkness was falling. Warm humid evening. Excellent ride.]

Sunday 28 July 1996Day ride: Leonard's CoveMostly dry
7 present: Richard Burge, Llewellyn Holmes, Michael Jones, Oliver Lindley, Craig McCracken, Eliot Thomas-Wright, Luke Whiting
Report to be written from the following notes made at the time - please write your version of the report if you remember the details.

[Decided to go to Slapton instead of Leonard's Cove. MJ bought Frisbee at Torcross which later cracked. Everyone got covered with pebbles. Home via Stokenham, Avonwick, South Brent where rain commenced. Called in at Higher Poole Farm (MJ's relatives at East Allington) for water.]

Friday 2 August 1996Evening ride: Ashburton Tracks
11 present: Richard Burge, Ron Fox, Tom Fox, Michael Jones, Oliver Lindley, Ashley Loder, Austin Loder, Keir Manning, Paul Oakley, Phillip Oakley, Philip Stone
Report to be written from the following notes made at the time - please write a full report if you remember the details.

[Pottering tracks ride. Tried reservoir track behind Pear Tree - no access at top and owner sent us back, through town centre to meet Budgie on other side, up past Druid then down to Mill, footpath through woods towards school then Paul introduced us to the Terrace Walk. Home via Pridhamsleigh.]

Sunday 4 August 1996
1530-2330
Tour: Scotland Day 1 Home to London (1 mi)Dry
14 present: Tao Burgess, Julian Duquemin, Alasdair Green (10, St Albans), Kieron Green, Nick Green, John Hayes, Matthew John, Michael Jones, Oliver Lindley, Craig McCracken, Jamie Stephens (14, Wolverhampton), Eliot Thomas-Wright, Luke Whiting, Fergus Worthy (15, Droitwich)
Craig McCracken
Eliot Thomas-Wright
Luke and Oliver unloading bikes at London Paddington
John Hayes
The group at London Euston station
New video footage from today's ride, never previously released
It seems that no report or notes for this tour were written at the time, so we are inviting everyone who took part in the tour to make a contribution to the notes below that we are compiling from memory. Please watch the video and maybe look at your own photos from the tour and then send us notes about anything interesting you remember about this day. Tell us also if you see any errors in the notes. We will add all contributions to the notes as they come in, and will then write a full report in due course. If you are one of the many people on the tour who took a camera, please also send us any good photos you have – you will see that the only photos we have at the moment are low-resolution captures from the camcorder. Contact Michael via the Facebook group Friends of South Dartmoor CTC. (January 2015)

Trains from Devon were restricted to 6 bikes, so Michael took group 1 on the 1521 train from Newton Abbot, arriving at Paddington 1850. He took with him Tao, Eliot, Craig and John. Julian took the second group on the 1627 from Newton, arriving 1955. He took Luke and Oliver with him, then collected Nick and Matthew from Reading at 1909. We all met at Paddington.

We then took our bikes on the underground to London Euston. We had originally planned to all take the 21.10 sleeper train to Fort William with our bikes, but an error by a BR travel clerk at Torquay meant the bunks were never booked before she resigned her post, so we had to change the arrangements. We loaded all our 10 bikes onto the 21.10 sleeper train, but we ourselves had to take the later 23.30 sleeper train to Glasgow, which left us with a helpful two hour wait at Euston. Meanwhile Fergus and Jamie boarded the Fort William sleeper at Crewe at 23.34, added their bikes to our 10 and slept in the two bunks that were available on that train.

Sunday 4 August 1996Afternoon ride: Moothill Cross
3 present: Richard Burge, Paul Oakley, Philip Stone
Report to be written from the following notes made at the time - please write a full report if you remember the details.

[Staverton - Ipplepen to Newton Abbot then on to Ashburton, back road.]

Monday 5 August 1996
0700-2300
Tour: Scotland Day 2 Glasgow to Glen Nevis YH (4 mi)Damp
14 present: Tao Burgess, Julian Duquemin, Alasdair Green (10, St Albans), Kieron Green, Nick Green, John Hayes, Matthew John, Michael Jones, Oliver Lindley, Craig McCracken, Jamie Stephens (14, Wolverhampton), Eliot Thomas-Wright, Luke Whiting, Fergus Worthy (15, Droitwich)
Matthew John
Eliot Thomas-Wright and Luke Whiting
Oliver Lindley
John Hayes and Michael Jones
Alasdair Green admires the view
The mountain walkers at the start of the Ben Nevis climb
Glen Nevis YH common room
Lochan Meall, half-way to the top and the highest point we reached
Craig McCracken, Fergus Worthy and Oliver Lindley
New video footage from today's ride, never previously released
It seems that no report or notes for this tour were written at the time, so we are inviting everyone who took part in the tour to make a contribution to the notes below that we are compiling from memory. Please watch the video and maybe look at your own photos from the tour and then send us notes about anything interesting you remember about this day. Tell us also if you see any errors in the notes. We will add all contributions to the notes as they come in, and will then write a full report in due course. If you are one of the many people on the tour who took a camera, please also send us any good photos you have – you will see that the only photos we have at the moment are low-resolution captures from the camcorder. Contact Michael via the Facebook group Friends of South Dartmoor CTC. (January 2015)

Fergus and Jamie arrived at Fort William at 10.25 and unloaded all 12 bikes for us. They met Kieron and Alasdair who were already in Scotland on a family holiday.

The rest of us had a more difficult journey. We arrived at Glasgow Central station at 06.50, although they thoughtfully gave us until 07.15 to disembark. We then had to ride the mile or two across Glasgow to get to Queen Street station where we caught the 08.12 train to Fort William. The only compensation with this arrangement was that we got great views across Rannoch Moor, one of the most remote and scenic parts of the railway network. This finally got us to Fort William at 11.49 where Fergus and Jamie were waiting with all our bikes. We were welcomed by rain.

We looked at the shops in Fort William (there were a lot of outdoor equipment shops) and bought food for lunch and supper. We then rode the few miles out to Glen Nevis hostel. An easy path up Ben Nevis started opposite the hostel, so the plan was to walk to the top during the afternoon. There was low cloud and drizzle however, so some did not want to walk at all. The rest of us got around half way before we reached the fog and decided it would be safer to return to the hostel.

We played pool and other games in the hostel common room.

Tuesday 6 August 1996
0800-2300
Tour: Scotland Day 3 Glen Nevis to Armadale YH (46 mi)Sunny periods
14 present: Tao Burgess, Julian Duquemin, Alasdair Green (10, St Albans), Kieron Green, Nick Green, John Hayes, Matthew John, Michael Jones, Oliver Lindley, Craig McCracken, Jamie Stephens (14, Wolverhampton), Eliot Thomas-Wright, Luke Whiting, Fergus Worthy (15, Droitwich)
Glenfinnan Monument, Lochaber
Nick and Matthew outside Glen Nevis YH
Kieron Green
Fergus Worthy on Glenfinnan Monument
The Glenfinnan Viaduct, later used in the Harry Potter movies
Glenfinnan Monument at the head of Loch Shiel
Lunch stop on the Road to the Isles, probably near Lochailort
New video footage from today's ride, never previously released
It seems that no report or notes for this tour were written at the time, so we are inviting everyone who took part in the tour to make a contribution to the notes below that we are compiling from memory. Please watch the video and maybe look at your own photos from the tour and then send us notes about anything interesting you remember about this day. Tell us also if you see any errors in the notes. We will add all contributions to the notes as they come in, and will then write a full report in due course. If you are one of the many people on the tour who took a camera, please also send us any good photos you have – you will see that the only photos we have at the moment are low-resolution captures from the camcorder. Contact Michael via the Facebook group Friends of South Dartmoor CTC. (January 2015)

We left the hostel very early (probably around 8.30am), returned down the road to Fort William and then navigated to the Road to the Isles, otherwise known as the A830 to Mallaig. We stopped at the grocery store at Corpach to stock up with lunch and supper. We then followed the road along Loch Eil to Glenfinnan, site of the monument at the head of Loch Shiel, stopping there probably around 11.30. It is the monument to the clansmen who followed Prince Charles Edward Stuart when he raised his standard there in 1745 in the third attempt to reinstate the Stuart kings on the throne of Britain and Ireland. A few of us climbed to the top, which was quite scary for some in view of the lack of barrier, but the views were excellent. We could also see the Glenfinnan viaduct, for the railway line which runs alongside the road all the way from Fort William to Mallaig.

We were racing for the 1645 ferry from Mallaig to the Isle of Skye. We stopped for lunch at some point along the road, probably near Lochailort, then stopped at Arisaig so that Michael could make a telephone call from the phone box - I believe we were running late and Michael wanted to warn the ferry company not to let the last ferry leave without us. There was a very long layby opposite the post office and café: the group stopped near the middle and the phone box was at the near end. He took his bag containing all the important documents for the tour, including ferry and rail tickets and of course his wallet, to the phone box. He got out the tour info sheet to look up the phone number he needed, but needed to get something else from his bike. He ran back to the bikes to get what he needed, leaving the bag in the phone box for a few seconds. By the time he returned to the box, the bag and all its contents was gone. Michael went back to the bikes in case he had absentmindedly taken it back again and left it there, but then the lads reported that they had seen 2 or 3 new age travellers walking out of the box with a bag! They were looking inside to see what was in it and ran off down the road. They really hadn't realised it was Michael's bag!

So now we had a very big problem. But the immediate problem was not to miss the ferry and to somehow get on it without tickets. We sped along to Mallaig as fast as we could along thew twisty, hilly little road, with cloud increasing and we believe some unpleasant rain. We probably arrived a little after the 16.15 arrival deadline. Michael then entered into negotiations with the ticket office: surprisingly they were quickly able to look up the details of the purchase, which was made by fax on 9th July, so we were allowed to travel. A very efficient office.

We arrived at Armadale on the Isle of Skye by 17.15 and quickly found the youth hostel there, a new one for our tours, replacing Garramore which had sadly closed last year. After showers and meal preparation most of the group played chasing games in the extensive grounds that surrounded the hostel, running all around it and also slipping down through a wooded area into the road below and running back around to the hostel drive.

But poor Michael had to spend most of the evening on the telephone. First he rang the police, who sadly reported that a camp of New Age Travellers not far from Arisaig had been causing countless problems in the area. They were most unhelpful, saying it was very unlikely the items would be recovered - it sounded like the police were scared of them! He then had to ring all his banks and credit card companies to cancel his cards. Finally he had to plan how to manage the next two ferries without tickets, and most worryingly, how to get home on the trains without tickets! It was all a bit of a nightmare.

Wednesday 7 August 1996Tour: Scotland Day 4 Armadale to Raasay YH (35 mi)Cloudy and overcast
14 present: Tao Burgess, Julian Duquemin, Alasdair Green (10, St Albans), Kieron Green, Nick Green, John Hayes, Matthew John, Michael Jones, Oliver Lindley, Craig McCracken, Jamie Stephens (14, Wolverhampton), Eliot Thomas-Wright, Luke Whiting, Fergus Worthy (15, Droitwich)
Jamie Stephens outside Armadale YH
Armadale youth hostel
Lunch at Broadford, Isle of Skye
View over the Sound of Sleat from Armadale YH
Fergus Worthy dutifully stows the communal milk onto his rack
Craig McCracken
Julian, Tao and Oliver at Luib
Café stop at Piper's Moon, Luib, Isle of Skye
Luke Whiting prepares to catch jumping crabs at the Sconser ferry, Isle of Skye
Eliot effects essential mudguard repairs near Luib
View across the Narrows of Raasay to the Isle of Skye, from Raasay youth hostel
A sheltered area to enjoy the crossing on the Sconser to Raasay ferry
Fergus, Alasdair and Kieron enjoy home-cooked food at Raasay YH
Cramped cooking conditions in the kitchen at Raasay YH
Eliot Thomas-Wright at Raasay YH
Matthew John prefers his creamed rice with nutmeg
Matthew John makes tea
John Hayes, Oliver Lindley, Luke Whiting and Nick Green, slaving over hot stoves at Raasay YH
View across to Skye on the climb of Dun Caan, Isle of Raasay
Luke Whiting enjoys his speciality dessert - Peach Angel Delight with tinned custard
Tao and John at the to of Dun Caan, Isle of Raasay
Near the top of Dun Caan, Isle of Raasay
New video footage from today's ride, never previously released
It seems that no report or notes for this tour were written at the time, so we are inviting everyone who took part in the tour to make a contribution to the notes below that we are compiling from memory. Please watch the video and maybe look at your own photos from the tour and then send us notes about anything interesting you remember about this day. Tell us also if you see any errors in the notes. We will add all contributions to the notes as they come in, and will then write a full report in due course. If you are one of the many people on the tour who took a camera, please also send us any good photos you have – you will see that the only photos we have at the moment are low-resolution captures from the camcorder. Contact Michael via the Facebook group Friends of South Dartmoor CTC. (January 2015)

Midges were a serious problem as we waited outside Armadale hostel for everyone to be ready to leave - and for Michael to finish taking video clips. The hostel was nothing special, but the views across to the mainland were impressive. And it was exciting to be on our first island of the tour.

We spent the morning riding across the island through Isleornsay , stopping at Broadford to buy lunch, supper and breakfast and then settling down to eat lunch on some convenient picnic tables by the sea. This was an enjoyable stop where the younger members had a lot of fun running around chasing each other. Fergus, who seemed to have plenty of spare carrying capacity on his rack, had been nominated to carry two cartons of the group milk, although he did make a little fuss about having to carry so much.

Riding around the coast we then stopped at the only café in the area, the Piper's Moon café at Luib, which we have used on previous tours to the area. A number of tame sparrows sat on the fence as we walked in. There were gifts and souvenirs on sale as well as drinks and cakes - Oliver bought a Haggis tooth!

Riding around the coast road to Sconser we had a good view of the salmon farm in Loch Ainort, with huge fish leaping out of the enclosed waters. We got to Sconser pier a little early for our ferry, which gave Luke time to try some crabbing with a line that just wasn't long enough to reach the water - he said he hoped the crabs would jump up to it, but none seemed interested as he and Craig dangled it off the edge of the pier.

The weather wasn't really warm or inviting, so instead of standing on deck to enjoy the crossing to the Isle of Raasay, most of the group huddled together in the passenger cabin.

Raasay is a small island that has only one shop and a few houses. When we arrived we had to ride two and a half miles which involved a climb through a forrest, but when we reached the hostel at the top we were all stunned by the location. The hostel itself is a small wooden building with a cosy members' kitchen and common room, and the views across the sea to Skye were unparalleled.

We were sleeping in the annexe building on the ground behind the main hostel. This was divided into two sections: we had one half, the other was occupied by a group of geologists who seemed to want to go to bed when the sun went down and get up when it rose.

Mealtime in the small kitchen was somehow more enjoyable than any other hostel we had visited. People were bustling in every direction to cook their food on the small number of stoves available. Some didn't bother and just ate food straight from the tin. The atmosphere was really happy and friendly after the day's long ride.

When the washing up had been done on a rota basis in the single sink and complaints from the geoligists about the noise level had been dealt with, Michael started organising the evening activity - walking up the island's impressive mountain, Dun Caan, which looks remarkably like a volcano from some angles. For some reason half of the group felt they had done quite enough exercise for one day and were content to settle down by the fire in the common room: Julian generously agreed to supervise them!

So Fergus, Jamie, Tao, Kieron, Asladair and John joined Michael on the walk, and for them the rewards were great indeed. We cycled the couple of miles to the start of the path, then walked up to the various stages. There were glorious sunset views over the Sound of Raasay. We reached a couple of lakes near the summit that again offered fabulous views. Once we reached the top we could see all around the small island - to Skye, even back to the mainland. The silence was breath-taking, only broken by Tao doing his echo joke.

It was after dark when we returned, and by this time Julian, along with the warden, was panicking about our late return. Michael explained that it takes a certain amount of time to climb the mountain and return and there was no way we were going to come back early and miss the summit.

Thursday 8 August 1996Tour: Scotland Day 5 Raasay to Stockinish YH (40 mi)
14 present: Tao Burgess, Julian Duquemin, Alasdair Green (10, St Albans), Kieron Green, Nick Green, John Hayes, Matthew John, Michael Jones, Oliver Lindley, Craig McCracken, Jamie Stephens (14, Wolverhampton), Eliot Thomas-Wright, Luke Whiting, Fergus Worthy (15, Droitwich)
The cramped annexe at Raasay YH
Our annexe dormitory at Raasay YH, open to the wilderness outside
New video footage taken on today's ride - clips are short because the charger was broken at Raasay
It seems that no report or notes for this tour were written at the time, so we are inviting everyone who took part in the tour to make a contribution to the notes below that we are compiling from memory. Please watch the video and maybe look at your own photos from the tour and then send us notes about anything interesting you remember about this day. Tell us also if you see any errors in the notes. We will add all contributions to the notes as they come in, and will then write a full report in due course. If you are one of the many people on the tour who took a camera, please also send us any good photos you have – you will see that the only photos we have at the moment are low-resolution captures from the camcorder. Contact Michael via the Facebook group Friends of South Dartmoor CTC. (January 2015)

At some point yesterday evening Eliot managed to drop Michael's camcorder battery charger. It looked OK afterwards, but it had one minor problem: it wouldn't charge batteries any more. So when Michael awoke this morning expecting to find his batteries fully charged, they were in fact close to empty. So the only shots we were able to capture today were in the hostel dormitory. Michael was not amused, as there was nowhere anywhere near our location that would stock a replacement charger. He did spend much of the day trying to think of solutions however.

Our immediate problems however were how to ride 33 miles to the far end of Skye in time to catch the only ferry to the Outer Hebrides at 18.20. The first part of solving that problem involved catching an early ferry from Raasay back to Sconser - we either went for the 8.00 or 9.00 ferry, probably the 9.00. There was a rush to get everyone ready in time, and then we had to make a mad dash down the hill to the ferry terminal. Julian went ahead with several to make sure the ferry didn't leave without us, so they had cycled down the ramp and were waiting impatiently while the ferryman was trying to leave. Alasdair was last to arrive: he raced down the ramp at high speed with his usual wide grin all over his face. As Julian watched he realised Alisdair was showing no signs of braking or slowing down - and he was heading straight for the back end of one of the cars on the ferry. At the last minute he reached out and "clotheslined" him off his bike, thereby bringing him to a halt. His bike, however, changed directing and crashed into Michael's bike, and that caused a problem with his derailleur that continued for several days. That moment lives in Julian's memory to this day.

We need more detail from other members on what happened today, but we would have aimed to ride to Portree to buy lunch, supper and breakfast, and then would have either ridden the longer route to Uig via the Old Man of Storr rock formation, or taken the shorter more direct route. I think we would have taken the shorter route as we had far enough to ride as it was. Maybe someone also remembers the weather conditions and where we ate lunch. Photos would help us pin things down, so please let us have anything you have.

We were supposed to arrive at Uig no later than 1750 in time to catch the three times a week 1820 ferry to the isle of Harris. Again we had booked the tickets in advance but had to make sure we could board without tickets. I think the Mallaig Office had printed off receipts for us to use and also notified the Uig office, which made the process quite easy.

The enormous ferry was due to arrive at Tarbert at 2005. There was then a 7-mile ride to be carried out from the ferry terminal to the remote hostel at Stockinish. I seem to remember it was cold and wet and a rather unpleasant ride in the descending darkness.

The hostel was very simple, but the whole area was totally still and quiet, unlike any place we had ever stayed before - although the bad weather and our late arrival meant we didn't get much chance to appreciate that until next morning.

[You can see more video shots of Raasay hostel in the reports for 9/10 August 1993.]

Friday 9 August 1996Tour: Scotland Day 6 Stockinish to Stornoway B&B (43 mi)
14 present: Tao Burgess, Julian Duquemin, Alasdair Green (10, St Albans), Kieron Green, Nick Green, John Hayes, Matthew John, Michael Jones, Oliver Lindley, Craig McCracken, Jamie Stephens (14, Wolverhampton), Eliot Thomas-Wright, Luke Whiting, Fergus Worthy (15, Droitwich)
The coast near the hostel
Preparing to leave the remote Stockinish YH
Balallan Post Office and Shop, on the Isle of Lewis
Craig, Matthew and others
Matthew John and Nick Green at the Stornoway guest house
The cramped interior of Balallan shop
Relaxing with drinks in the TV lounge at the Stornoway guest house.
Alasdair Green and Craig McCracken at the Stornoway guest house
New video footage taken on today's ride - clips are short because the charger was broken at Raasay
It seems that no report or notes for this tour were written at the time, so we are inviting everyone who took part in the tour to make a contribution to the notes below that we are compiling from memory. Please watch the video and maybe look at your own photos from the tour and then send us notes about anything interesting you remember about this day. Tell us also if you see any errors in the notes. We will add all contributions to the notes as they come in, and will then write a full report in due course. If you are one of the many people on the tour who took a camera, please also send us any good photos you have – you will see that the only photos we have at the moment are low-resolution captures from the camcorder. Contact Michael via the Facebook group Friends of South Dartmoor CTC. (January 2015)

Michael discovered this morning that if he put a camcorder battery on charge for a few minutes he was able to get up to a minute or so of video footage from the camcorder before having to charge it again. Using this method he managed to start taking some video footage again today, although of course the clips were fairly short in length.

Everyone just wanted to sit around this morning and lap up the tranquility of this beautiful place. The landscape was barren, even birds seemed to be absent, but the desolate sea views would remain with us for a very long time.

The ride today took us northwards back to Tarbert, up a long and nasty hill and then on through the Isle of Harris to the Isle of Lewis. I don't remember much about this ride, but we probably bought lunch from Tarbert and probably ate it after the downhill after the climb. We then stopped in the afternoon at a shop at Ballalan not too far from Stornoway to buy some refreshments, where Michael again managed a few video clips, probably by asking the shopkeeper for the use of a mains socket. We need you all to remember the details of today's ride.

There is no youth hostel in Stornoway, so Michael had arranged for us to stay in a guest house. Normally we would expect to have to split such a large group over several guest houses, but as luck would have it this year the Tower guest house happened to be totally empty on the night we were staying, so we had 5 twin rooms, 2 single rooms and 2 folding beds! Price was very reasonable at £16 per person. Mrs Barr was also able to offer half price evening meals for everyone for the price of £4.50 each. We even got coffee in the TV room after the meal. Everyone enjoyed a night of relative luxury for a change.

Tao, who was sharing a room with Olly, was impressed to find tea-making facilities in his room and decided to treat Olly and himself to a little luxury. There was no table available to pour the tea, so when he had boiled the kettle he sat on the bed, clasped the first cup firmly between his legs and started pouring. The cup only reached half full when something went wrong and the boiling water overshot the cup and went all over Tao's thighs. He was wearing cycling shorts so they kept the boiling water pressed tightly against his skin, and because the cup was also half-full of water and his hands were full he couldn't get up. He just had to sit there enduring the pain while his skin was scalded - it was so bad that the skin started peeling soon afterwards.

Friday 9 August 1996Evening ride: Spitchwick
4 present: Richard Burge, Keir Manning, Paul Oakley, Philip Stone
Report to be written from the following notes made at the time - please write a full report if you remember the details.

[.]

Saturday 10 August 1996Tour: Scotland Day 7 Stornoway to Ullapool YHSunny start
14 present: Tao Burgess, Julian Duquemin, Alasdair Green (10, St Albans), Kieron Green, Nick Green, John Hayes, Matthew John, Michael Jones, Oliver Lindley, Craig McCracken, Jamie Stephens (14, Wolverhampton), Eliot Thomas-Wright, Luke Whiting, Fergus Worthy (15, Droitwich)
Julian, Fergus and Oliver in a Stornoway café
Tower guest house, Stornoway
Jamie, Fergus and Oliver
Waiting to board the Ullapool ferry at Stornoway ferry terminal
Julian catches up with the latest BMX news
Fergus putting something unfriendly in Craig's hoodie
Fergus, Jamie, John, Craig and Kieron
Oliver Lindley
Nick, Matthew, Julian, Craig and Oliver on the Ullapool ferry
Luke points out Scotland for the viewers
Craig, John, Oliver, Fergus and Julian passing the time on the very long ferry journey
Live musical entertainment on the ferry
New video footage taken on today's ride - clips are short because the charger was broken at Raasay
It seems that no report or notes for this tour were written at the time, so we are inviting everyone who took part in the tour to make a contribution to the notes below that we are compiling from memory. Please watch the video and maybe look at your own photos from the tour and then send us notes about anything interesting you remember about this day. Tell us also if you see any errors in the notes. We will add all contributions to the notes as they come in, and will then write a full report in due course. If you are one of the many people on the tour who took a camera, please also send us any good photos you have – you will see that the only photos we have at the moment are low-resolution captures from the camcorder. Contact Michael via the Facebook group Friends of South Dartmoor CTC. (January 2015)

After a luxury breakfast in the guest house and a leisurely start we had the rest of the morning free to wander around Stornoway shopping for souvenirs and enjoying drinks in a local café.

We had to check in at the ferry terminal by 13.25 so we could load our bikes onto the 14.10 departure for Ullapool. It was very relaxed and pleasant waiting in the afternoon sunshine. Michael got access to a power point and so was able to take several video shots in between frequent charges. This was the biggest ferry yet, partly because it covers one of the longest ferry routes in Scotland. I seem to remember Tao had taken some sea-sickness tablets as he doesn't like boats. Once again things had been sorted out so that we didn't need our printed tickets.

The journey took 2 hours 40 minutes, arriving at Ullapool at 16.50. This ferry had many places to sit and relax in comfort, and various restaurants to keep us all fed. We even had a local entertainer who sang gaelic songs without music - Alasdair didn't look too impressed on the video.

Ullapool hostel was situated on Shore Street overlooking the picturesque Little Loch Broom. It was a great hostel with a very cosy dormitory. We had plenty of time to cook our meals, and I suspect we made use of the gift shop late opening to go and do a little more shopping before bedtime.

Sunday 11 August 1996Tour: Scotland Day 8 Ullapool to Achmelvich (34 mi)Sunny
14 present: Tao Burgess, Julian Duquemin, Alasdair Green (10, St Albans), Kieron Green, Nick Green, John Hayes, Matthew John, Michael Jones, Oliver Lindley, Craig McCracken, Jamie Stephens (14, Wolverhampton), Eliot Thomas-Wright, Luke Whiting, Fergus Worthy (15, Droitwich)
The dining room at Ullapool YH
Ullapool YH
Little Loch Broom from the youth hostel
View across Little Loch Brook from the youth hostel
Frisbee on the beach outside Ullapool YH
Nick, Julian and Tao outside Ullapool YH
The idyllic Achmelvich beach, near Achmelvich YH
Frisbee at Drumrunie, the lunch stop
Tao on Achmelvich beach at sundown
Cycling on the dunes between Achmelvich hostel and the beach
New video footage taken on today's ride - clips are short because the charger was broken at Raasay
It seems that no report or notes for this tour were written at the time, so we are inviting everyone who took part in the tour to make a contribution to the notes below that we are compiling from memory. Please watch the video and maybe look at your own photos from the tour and then send us notes about anything interesting you remember about this day. Tell us also if you see any errors in the notes. We will add all contributions to the notes as they come in, and will then write a full report in due course. If you are one of the many people on the tour who took a camera, please also send us any good photos you have – you will see that the only photos we have at the moment are low-resolution captures from the camcorder. Contact Michael via the Facebook group Friends of South Dartmoor CTC. (January 2015)

The day dawned bright and sunny, with mist rolling across the loch providing great views from our dormitory windows. There was a relaxed atmosphere as we gathered outside in preparation for departure, and again Michael was able to grab some video shots with frequent recharges - sadly the length of time available from each re-charge seemed to be reducing to seconds now, so it was quite a lot of work to get the shot we achieved.

Today's ride was taking us towards the far North, where A-roads look like quiet country lanes and the true grandeur of Scotland opened out in front of us. After buying lunch and supper from the well-stocked Ullapool shops we rode along the main road as far as Drumrunie where we turned left for the "Mad Little Road to Wester Ross". Here we stopped for lunch and some Frisbee fun.

The road continued true to its name all the way to Lochinver, taking us past some remote coastal scenery along the way. We had the chance to climb, or part climb, the Stac Pollaidh mountain, but I have a feeling we didn't have time today. We probably bought a few extra provisions from the shops in Lochinver before pressing on the final few miles to the hostel, out on the coast.

Achmelvich is a most idyllic spot with silver sand beaches and fabulous sunsets. Once supper had been prepared we spent an enjoyable evening exploring the beaches, swimming, playing Frisbee and cycling along the sand dunes. This was one of the most enjoyable evenings of the tour.

The hostel was a bit cramped but we managed a fair night's sleep as we were all so tired.

[You can see a full video of this route, including both hostels, in the report for 14 August 1993.]

Sunday 11 August 1996Day ride: Exeter Ship Canal
2 present: Richard Burge, Llewellyn Holmes
Report to be written from the following notes made at the time - please write a full report if you remember the details.

[Gappah - Starcross - Dawlish Warren - Dawlish - Teignmouth golf course - Kingsteignton - Newton Abbot - then to Torquay, back through Marldon - Landscove.]

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