South Dartmoor CTC

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Monday 2 January 2006
1015-1430
Morning ride: Denbury (22 mi)Sunny
5 present: Kane Edwards, Dennis Ham, Josh Ham, Michael Jones, Joe Venables
Dennis, Kane and Joe on Denbury Green
Dennis, Kane and Joe on Denbury Green
With excellent weather encouraging us and several new bikes in the group we decided to ride to Fermoys for the first ride of 2006. We got as far as Staverton before Josh's new bike developed a problem with the bottom bracket that couldn't be fixed on the road. Josh was understandably disappointed that his new bike had failed after just a week, and sadly he had to wait to be collected by his father.

The rest of the group continued through Torbryan to Ipplepen where the garden centre was crowded with shoppers eager to buy up the hugely discounted Christmas gifts. After we had enjoyed some excellent refreshments Dennis and Kane were still ready for more, so we extended the ride by continuing on to Denbury and then investigating the prison there - a path through the grounds gave us all a good view of the layout of the complex which turned out to be much larger than any of us had imagined!

Our final route home took us through Woodland and Landscove. Many congratulations to both our younger riders who amazed us all with their high speed and enthusiasm! It looks like we'll be able to ride longer and farther on future rides!

As a reward we organised a social trip to Plymouth to watch the new Narnia film - and of course Josh was allowed to come!

Friday 6 January 2006
1900-2200
Social: Badminton
5 present: Kane Edwards, Dennis Ham, Josh Ham, Michael Jones, Joe Venables
Badminton was the activity of choice this evening for most members, but the nearest free court was at Paignton. The youngsters enjoyed the long drive almost as much as the badminton!

Sunday 8 January 2006
1015-1200
Morning ride: Skerraton (4 mi)Snow
4 present: Kane Edwards, Dennis Ham, Josh Ham, Michael Jones
Dennis, Kane and Josh
Our youngsters enjoying the snow near Gidleigh Bridge
Josh got a little muddy within minutes of the last photo
Everyone started the ride with enthusiasm today despite the cold weather. We climbed Dean hill which warmed everyone up, and then the snowflakes started to fall. Even then the youngsters were keen to do an adventurous ride, so we changed direction and headed up the hill towards Gidleigh Bridge.

By the time we reached the top the snow was quite heavy and all the youngsters wanted to head for home once the group photo had been taken. The descent to Nurston made everyone even colder, so the warm Crofters clubroom was particularly welcome when we arrived.

Friday 13 January 2006
1900-2200
Social: Games Evening
5 present: Kane Edwards, Dennis Ham, Josh Ham, Michael Jones, Joe Venables
We'd been out a lot on recent socials, so this evening we enjoyed a cheaper social on the computer games.

Sunday 15 January 2006
1015-1245
Morning ride: Skerraton Down (6 mi)Cloudy with rain later
7 present: Donald Comer-Calder, Dennis Ham, Josh Ham, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath (10, Totnes), Gavin Pearson, Joe Venables
Josh, Dennis, Zac, Donald, Joe and Gavin just beyond the gateway to the open moor, on Skerraton Down
New rider Zac said he did lots of cycling so we started our ride with a climb from Dean Prior towards Harbourneford. In fact Zac found it a bit tiring, so we switched direction and took the steep climb up to the Nurston road. We kept our eye on the clouds as the forecast was for rain starting between 12 and 1, but it seemed ok as we entered the rough track that leads up to Skerraton Down.

The first drops of rain began to fall as we rode and pushed our bikes up the rough slopes to the ridge, and by the time we had reached the top it was clear that the rain had come early and we were going to get wet. We proceeded down the hill with all speed, feeling somewhat relieved when we finally reached Cross Furzes. The final 2-mile descent of Wallaford Road was cold and wet, making everyone very glad of the Crofters clubroom and its warm refreshments.

Friday 20 January 2006
1900-2200
Social: The Great Tesco LanYop Party
5 present: Kane Edwards, Dennis Ham, Josh Ham, Michael Jones, Joe Venables
Just in case you don't know what a Tesco LanYop party is: we visited Tesco at Lee Mill, bought some expensive yoghurt drinks called Yops, returned to the clubroom and played exciting multiplayer PC games on the network (LAN) while enjoying the drinks!

Sunday 22 January 2006
1015-1600
Day ride: Totnes Longmarsh (16 mi)Sunny periods, cold start
8 present: Donald Comer-Calder, Kane Edwards, Henry Gunter, Dennis Ham, Josh Ham, Jill Hockmuth, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
Totnes weir
Henry, Kane, Dennis, Michael, Josh, Zac and Donald on the Totnes cycle path
Dennis and Zac at Littlehempston
Longmarsh, Totnes
The youngsters explore underneath Littlehempston Bridge
For Zac's second ride we decided to go for a slightly easier destination. We rode along Colston road, then took the cycle path from Dartington to Totnes, pausing only to look at the weir that was today much tamer than it had been on our last visit. Arriving in Totnes for mid-day we headed up the main street and settled in the Barrel House cafe at the top of town for an order of 6 luxury hot chocolates. The young man making the drinks took considerable time to get them just right, then brought them proudly on a tray, complete with flakes. Unfortunately Zac and Dennis decided to squabble over one of the drinks and ended up emptying its contents all over the table and themselves! Michael and Jill felt a bit like being in charge of a bunch of chimps as a replacement drink was generously prepared "on the house".

The weather was excellent today and the youngsters had done well to get to Totnes. Their reward was a ride to steamer quay and then along the riverside at Longmarsh. We've never ridden here before, and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the ride.

We needed to head for home, but Zac was slowing down as we rode along the main road to Littlehempston. We paused for fun at Littlehempston Bridge, then continued on through Staverton, finally reaching Buckfastleigh at around 3.45. It had been a long ride, but the youngsters had thoroughly enjoyed their outing.

Friday 27 January 2006
1900-2130
Social: Games Evening
5 present: Kane Edwards, Dennis Ham, Josh Ham, Michael Jones, Joe Venables
Computer games were the centre of attention once again this evening, with Lord of the Rings definitely attracting most interest.

Sunday 29 January 2006
1015-1530
Day ride: Broadridge Woods (22 mi)Sunny, cold start
7 present: Tao Burgess, Donald Comer-Calder, Nick Comer-Calder, Dennis Ham, Josh Ham, Michael Jones, Joe Venables
Joe, Josh, Tao and Dennis in Broadridge Woods
It's been a long time since we ventured into Broadridge Woods near Newton Abbot, but today everyone wanted to go that little bit further than usual - and the weather was perfect! Nick and Donald had to be back for lunch so they headed back for Ashburton once we had passed Woodland. The rest of us continued through warm country lanes to Chercombe Bridge and then joined the path through the woods towards Bradley. The youngsters couldn't resist stopping to explore some old lime kilns lurking behind the trees.

We avoided Newton by taking the lane out to East Ogwell. From there Tao led us on an interesting shortcut to Two Mile Oak - Dennis wasn't too impressed with all the climbs as he was rather hungry, but he felt much better after we had eaten lunch at Fermoys. Everyone was on top form for the final journey home through Broadhempston and Staverton, but the youngsters did feel a little tired when they settled down for their refreshments at Crofters!

Friday 3 February 2006
1900-2200
Social: Games Evening
5 present: Kane Edwards, Dennis Ham, Josh Ham, Michael Jones, Joe Venables
Another quiet evening of computer games and DVDs kept everyone happily entertained.

Sunday 5 February 2006
1015-1300
Morning ride: Holne (10 mi)Sunny
11 present: Donald Comer-Calder, Nick Comer-Calder, Dennis Ham, Josh Ham, Hugo Hunt (Junior, Devon), Michael Jones, Unknown Rider 1, Lukas Unknown (Junior, Devon), Tom Unknown (Junior, Devon), Joe Venables, Oscar Wiessler (Junior, Devon)
The group near Shuttaford, at the end of the Lower Hembury track
Today was the day after Donald's ninth birthday, and by way of celebration he had invited four of his friends to join him on a special club cycle ride to Holne. Two parents helped to run the ride, but Michael had to run the support vehicle as he was still recovering from a virus. Dennis, being Dennis, just had to make sure the support vehicle was needed by overtaking Joe and then going over his handlebars - he was OK once he had been patched up.

Some of the new youngsters had cycled before so they had no difficulty with the ride along the lower Hembury Woods track. Even Tom and Lukas, who were relatively inexperienced, did remarkably well and didn't complain at all about the big hill up to Holne! The best part of the ride was the downhill woodland track into River Dart Adventures which offered plenty of opportunity for fun and adventure. A short ride along the old Ashburton road then brought us back to Dart Bridge, from where the birthday brigade returned to Donald's house at Buckfast for a birthday lunch and the rest of us returned to Crofters for an afternoon social - which included selecting and buying a few exceptional fireworks for our social next Friday evening!

Friday 10 February 2006
1900-2200
Social: Games Evening
5 present: Kane Edwards, Dennis Ham, Josh Ham, Michael Jones, Joe Venables
The usual fun evening of computer game battles kept everyone happy for hours.

Sunday 12 February 2006
1015-1430
Morning ride: North Huish (15 mi)Sunny and warm
5 present: Donald Comer-Calder, Nick Comer-Calder, Josh Ham, Michael Jones, Joe Venables
Donald had enjoyed the muddy descent past Manor Farm
Nick, Donald, Joe and Josh on the quaint little bridge over the River Avon, between North Huish and Diptford
View south from the bridge towards Loddiswell
View north from the bridge towards Diptford
Looking for a more adventurous ride today we set off up Dean Hill towards South Brent. Nick was encouraged by Michael's comment that Plymco at South Brent offered pastries as part of their Cuisine de France range. When we arrived, however, we discovered that the range had been discontinued over two years ago! As Nick said, at least the thought of the pastries had made the last 10 minutes of the ride much more enjoyable!

Riding through Avonwick we took the lane route to North Huish and then the long steep descent past Manor Farm to a delightful bridge at the bottom over the river Avon. The weather was perfect this morning and everything looked wonderful in the morning sunshine. Those without mudguards had collected excellent mud streaks on the way down the hill.

On the ride home via Diptford and Rattery, Joe tried the touring bike that Josh was riding and decided that it really was ridiculously easy compared with a mountain bike.

Friday 17 February 2006
1900-2130
Social: The Great Tesco Chocolate Pudding Social
4 present: Kane Edwards, Dennis Ham, Josh Ham, Michael Jones
Following the popularity of our last visit to Tesco a few weeks ago, demand was high for a repeat visit. Kane wasn't so enthusiastic at first, but he warmed to the idea when he spotted huge racks of discounted chocolate puddings! The youngsters really enjoyed their trip out, and enjoyed eating the puddings even more!

Sunday 19 February 2006
1015-1115
Morning ride: Bilberryhill (3 mi)Cloudy, rain later
6 present: Kane Edwards, Dennis Ham, Josh Ham, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Gavin Pearson
The morning weather forecast suggested continuous rain by 11am, so Michael arranged a short excursion through Buckfast, confident that rain would be falling within minutes. Well eleven o'clock came and went and there was still no sign of rain, so we extended the route a little by taking the track through the woods near the cricket pitch, getting back to Crofters by about 11.30. The rain didn't come until nearly 1pm, but perhaps it was better to be sure of staying dry than to risk a total soaking!

Friday 24 February 2006
1900-2145
Social: Cinema Trip, Chicken Little
5 present: Kane Edwards, Dennis Ham, Josh Ham, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
Tonight's cinema trip was arranged at the specific request of the younger riders. The film was at Vue cinema, Plymouth, and provided an entertaining night out for everyone.

Sunday 26 February 2006
1515-1745
Afternoon ride: New Bridge (14 mi)Cold with sunny intervals
3 present: Dennis Ham, Josh Ham, Michael Jones
Dennis and Josh on the track in Holne Woods
Dennis and Josh on the track in Holne Woods
Another glorious sunset
Beside the River Dart in Holne Woods
Josh and Dennis were both keen for some new territory today and the weather was very encouraging. We rode up to Holne via the steep Holy Brook lane and then took the Two Moors Way track through Holne Woods to New Bridge. There was a lot of mud near the upper sections but the river views and woodland paths made it a very enjoyable excursion.

Being February there was no ice cream van at New Bridge today, so we climbed back towards Hembury and then finished the ride with the long track descent to River Dart adventures, returning via the old Ashburton road.

Friday 3 March 2006
1900-2145
Social: Tesco Chocolate Pudding Night #2
5 present: Kane Edwards, Dennis Ham, Josh Ham, Michael Jones, Joe Venables
There was considerable indecision tonight about whether to stay in to play the newly-arrived game Battle for Middle Earth 2, or go on yet another excursion to Tesco for the purchase of chocolate puddings. Clearly the decision was just too difficult to make, so we did both and had a grand evening!

Sunday 5 March 2006
1015-1300
Morning ride: Landscove (10 mi)Sunny
4 present: Kane Edwards, Dennis Ham, Josh Ham, Michael Jones
Kane was slower than usual today as he was riding a borrowed bike, so we contented ourselves with a modest ride through Pridhamsleigh and Baddaford to the cafe at Landscove garden centre. When scones and hot drinks had been consumed we set off in search of some tracks and found two that took us from Abham to Charlie's cross, both rather muddy and wet but fun nevertheless. Kane didn't like the tracks much, so we returned on the main road just to keep him happy.

Friday 10 March 2006
1900-2200
Social: Ten-pin Bowling
4 present: Dennis Ham, Josh Ham, Michael Jones, Gavin Pearson
Our long-awaited trip to Plympton Mega Bowl finally took place tonight, although it got off to a sticky start when Michael's car developed a fault just outside Buckfastleigh. We swapped to Gavin's car and managed to squeeze two good games of bowling into our special priced Family Hour for just £4.50 including show hire! Gavin won the first game and Michael won the second.

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