South Dartmoor CTC

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Wednesday 10 May 2006
1800-2015
Evening ride (Junior): Staverton (10 mi)Sunny and warm
10 present: Glen Fulford (9, Buckfastleigh), Sarah Fulford (11, Buckfastleigh), Dennis Ham, Matthew Hamlyn-White, Amie Jardine (10, Buckfastleigh), Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Sylvan O'Rowan (10, Buckfastleigh), Joe Venables, Megan Venables
The group on the Staverton riverside path: Glen, Sylvan, Amie, Sarah, Zac, Megan and Dennis, with Matthew and Joe behind
Our first junior ride of the season got off to an excellent start with 10 riders heading out along Colston road. Things went well until Michael's left pedal worked lose and refused to allow itself to be screwed back into the crank! With the damage already done to the threads he rode on with the pedal becoming more angled with every turn of the wheels.

Everyone made good progress, so when we got to Staverton we had time for our customary visit to the island for stone skimming - a new skill for some of the youngsters that will no doubt come in useful to them one day! While returning home past Riverford Michael's pedal came out altogether, so he was forced to limp home with just one pedal - much to the amusement of the rest of the group

Friday 12 May 2006
1900-2140
Evening ride: Holne (11 mi)Dry and sunny
5 present: Kane Edwards, Glen Fulford, Michael Jones, Ben Parker, Joe Venables
Footbridge at the end of the track in Burchett's Wood
Kane, Glen, Joe and Ben in Burchett's Wood
Nine-year-old Glen proved just how capable and enthusiastic he is by transferring to Fridays for his second ride with us and performing as well as everyone else! The fun started with a ride through Burchett’s Wood, which turned out to be just as muddy in places as it always has been despite the recent dry weather. We temporarily mislaid Kane at Michelcombe when he stopped without warning to chat with a friend, then rode up to Holne Play Park to introduce Glen to the delights of Frisbee throwing.

It was only when we were approaching Hembury Woods that Michael noticed that Glen wasn't wearing his helmet. He thought he had left it at a junction near Gallant Le Bower, but Michael detected a certain amount of uncertainty, so as we were running fairly late he decided to go back later for it in the car. Meanwhile we concluded the ride with a dark descent through some of Hembury's interesting tracks.

When Michael and Joe went back later to find the helmet, it wasn't at the junction at all! They eventually found it back at Holne Play Park!!

Sunday 14 May 2006
1015-1515
Day ride: Tuckenhay (28 mi)Sunny and warm
2 present: Jack Greep, Michael Jones
Jack made a welcome return to club riding after a break of nearly two years, but proved that he had lost none of his skills by riding a full day ride with no trouble at all! We followed Colston Road to Dartington, then took the cycle path alongside the river Dart to Totnes. We made such good time that we could afford to stop in a cafe for refreshments in the morning sunshine before pressing on to the Ashprington cycle path, offering spectacular views of the river Dart. We stopped for lunch by the stepping stones near Bow Bridge, entertained by a family of ducklings that got separated from their mother. Jack seemed pleased with his home-made pasta and tuna!

The climb up corkscrew hill was challenging to the say the least, but Jack was still powering up the hills all the way to the Dartmouth road. The ride back across the rolling South Hams hills was fast and enjoyable, but just after Diptford Jack learned that it's best to ride slowly when the lane if covered with freshly-deposited cow droppings - especially when you don't have mudguards!

We continued home at a fast pace via Rattery, arriving back at Buckfastleigh by around 3.15.

Wednesday 17 May 2006
1800-2015
Evening ride (Junior): Converted to SocialHeavy rain
4 present: Glen Fulford, Dennis Ham, Michael Jones, Joe Venables
Our second junior ride was called off because of the bad weather, but a computer games social kept everyone positively occupied for the evening.

Friday 19 May 2006
1900-2200
Evening ride: Converted to SocialHeavy rain
4 present: Dennis Ham, Michael Jones, Ben Parker, Joe Venables
Further heavy rain forced us to cancel our second ride this week. Everybody wanted to go to Pizza Hut at Plymouth instead, so we all enjoyed a very tasty meal while the rain continued throughout the evening.

Sunday 21 May 2006
1015-1045
Morning ride: Buckfast (3 mi)Rain
3 present: Dennis Ham, Josh Ham, Michael Jones
Josh seemed keen to do a ride today regardless of the weather, but when we actually reached the start he decided that a short ride through Buckfast would probably be quite sufficient!

Wednesday 24 May 2006
1800-2015
Evening ride (Junior): Converted to SocialHeavy rain
3 present: Glen Fulford, Dennis Ham, Michael Jones
Our third junior ride was called off because of the bad weather, but again a computer games social kept everyone positively occupied for the evening.

Friday 26 May 2006
1900-2130
Evening ride: Broadhempston (9 mi)Dry
4 present: Glen Fulford, Dennis Ham, Michael Jones, Joe Venables
Dennis requested that we visit "the park with the rocket ride" this evening and Glen wanted to find as many puddles and as much mud as possible! We headed up Green Lane, then down the track towards Riverford - a small stream running down one of the ruts allowed Glen and Dennis the opportunity to practice getting muddy!

Following the riverside track to Staverton we then rode on to Broadhempston where the rocket ride in the play park kept the lads amused for minutes! To our surprise the park was full of children tonight, and Michael met Jenny Grieveson who used to ride with the club many years ago. For the homeward run we took the alternative route to Green Lane via Lower Combe, with Glen very much enjoying the last few splashes of the ride.

Sunday 28 May 2006
1015-1545
Day ride: Dartmeet (18 mi)Sunny
4 present: Jack Greep, Dennis Ham, Josh Ham, Michael Jones
Dennis, Jack and Josh after crossing the flooded stepping stones at Dartmeet
Refreshments stop on the track from Combestone Tor to Dartmeet
Dennis, Josh and Jack at Bel Tor Corner
View to the Dart Valley from Bel Tor Corner, on Dr Blackall's Drive
Dennis and Josh make a new friend
A Dartmoor pony shows unusual interest in Dennis' bike on Dr Blackall's Drive
Jack wanted another long ride but Dennis and Josh weren't so sure today, so we compromised by riding through Buckfast and Holne to Venford reservoir and then taking the bridleway down through Combestone. We paused for refreshments at the first stream crossing, then found that the path became rather muddy in places after the recent rain. The descent across the sheep-filled fields was great fun as always, but then we hit a major problem. Many of the stepping stones across the river Dart were submerged by the swollen river!

It was a long way back to the road with a lot of climbing, and we were all looking forward to the Badgers Holt cafe. After much thought we decided to remove our shoes and socks and take the plunge so to speak! Michael made several trips to carry all the bikes, but Jack, being a cadet, thought he could carry his own. Unfortunately one of the submerged stones was a little greener and more slippery than he had thought, and when everyone looked around to see what had caused the squeal they saw Jack submerged up to his waist! Michael took his bike for him so that he could pick his way across to the far bank and change into some drier clothes.

The cafe at Badgers Holt provided us with two large plates of very tasty chips and some drinks. We weren't too impressed that they tried to charge 25p to refill Dennis' water bottle - they maintained that they don't have mains water there, so they cannot provide water free as the law demands!

The next challenge was Dartmeet hill, but all the lads coped well, riding most of the way at a good pace. To conclude a fun and adventurous ride we rode Doctor Blackall's drive, pausing at Beltor Corner to admire the spectacular views from the vantage point of a huge slab of granite.

Wednesday 31 May 2006
1800-1905
Evening ride (Junior): Hembury Woods (4 mi)Sunny and warm
4 present: Dennis Ham, Josh Ham, Michael Jones, Joe Venables
Michael had to get back early today as there were no real juniors out, but since the weather was so perfect we enjoyed a short spin through some of the more interesting tracks in Hembury Woods.

Friday 2 June 2006
1900-2115
Evening ride: Chalk Ford (9 mi)Sunny and warm
3 present: Josh Ham, Michael Jones, Joe Venables
Joe and Josh on the open moor near Lud Gate
On a perfect summer's evening we climbed the long hill from Buckfast to Cross Furzes and then rode the long stony track to Lud Gate, the gateway to the open moor. The views were fantastic in the setting sunshine and we were almost loathe to descend the long downhill path to Chalk Ford.

There were no deer visible in the deer park as we rode alongside the fence towards Scoriton, so we parked the bikes and walked a little way along the path to Scoriton Down, which runs right through the park. It wasn't long before we were rewarded with the sight of a fine pair of stags that watched our every move with very little fear. The rest of the herd soon became visible in the adjacent paddock, so we felt the excursion had been well worthwhile.

We completed an excellent evening ride with careful navigation of the long stony track into the village, returning via Oaklands Park.

Sunday 4 June 2006Morning ride: CancelledSunny
0 present:
Today's ride was cancelled as all our riders were involved with other activities.

Wednesday 7 June 2006
1800-2000
Evening ride (Junior): Hembury Woods (4 mi)Sunny and warm
4 present: Dennis Ham, Michael Jones, Sylvan O'Rowan, Joe Venables
Dennis and Joe have a water fight in the river Dart
Sylvan, Dennis and Joe in Hembury Woods
Dennis finishes off his attack on Joe
Joe Venables
It was a warm evening and everyone wanted some good tracks, so we headed for the top of Hembury and took some new tracks down through the woods to the river. When we got there, Joe and Dennis headed for the water, neither of them planning to get wet. But Dennis started a water fight with Joe and it wasn't long before they were both drenched to the skin. We weren't far from home however and they had great fun with the water, so no harm was done.

Friday 9 June 2006
1900-2115
Evening ride: Skerraton Down (8 mi)Sunny and warm
3 present: Glen Fulford, Dennis Ham, Michael Jones
Glen and Dennis
Glen and Dennis arrive on the open moor at Skerraton Down
Great views across the whole of South Devon from Skerraton Down
It was another perfect night for a Dartmoor ride, so Michael made Glen and Dennis climb all the way up the hill past Nurston farm and then up the track to Skerraton Down. The views from the top were magnificent as always, and both lads agreed it had been well worth the effort to get there. But of course there was still more fun to be had with the long downhill to Cross Furzes, and the further downhill to Buckfastleigh. All in all, this was another superb evening ride.

Sunday 11 June 2006Morning ride: Unknown Destination
1 present: Michael Jones
Report and attendance to follow

Wednesday 14 June 2006
1800-2000
Evening ride (Junior): AshburtonMainly dry
4 present: Dennis Ham, Matthew Hamlyn-White, Michael Jones, Sylvan O'Rowan
Joe would have joined us this evening, but he was late to the start and just missed us as we were heading out on the old Ashburton road. We rode to Belford Mill (the long, wedge-shaped building behind Ashburton) and too the usual track through the woods along the river. At the far end a van driver had cleverly parked his van to almost completely block the exit from the path to the road - we had to squeeze between the van and some nettles to get out! We returned home via Ashburton and Peartree, arriving just as the rain was beginning to come in.

Friday 16 June 2006
1900-2130
Evening ride: Avon Dam (13 mi)Sunny and warm
3 present: Michael Jones, Gavin Pearson, Joe Venables
A warm and tranquil scene at the Avon Dam
Gavin and Joe at the Avon Dam
Gavin needed to start training for the summer tour today after completing his studies. He is concerned about knee pain, but tonight seemed the perfect night for a visit to the Avon Dam, and Gavin didn't complain despite the large range of hills.
On the ride up to the dam we noticed several pieces of animal, including what looked like a tail.

The dam was nearly full and the whole area was tranquil and warm, inviting us to stay longer than we planned. The return across the moor was as pleasurable as always, and Gavin didn't feel too bad considering it had been his first ride for several months.

Sunday 18 June 2006
1015-1530
Day ride: Goodrington Sands (34 mi)Sunny and warm
2 present: Tao Burgess, Michael Jones
With just Tao and Michael in attendance today there was nothing stopping us from enjoying a longer ride. We sped through the lanes to Red Post and Marldon, then took the lane to the delightful village of Cockington. We needed refreshments, but as we didn't want to stop cycling for too long we selected the village shop rather than the cafe. Sadly, however, the shop took longer than the cafe: there was just a single shopkeeper to serve customers, and whilst she was very friendly she would have needed two more clones of herself working flat out to work as fast a single shopkeeper anywhere else! We had to wait while she prepared what seemed like an endless sequence of ice creams from the freezer for one customer, then when she returned to the desk she had to answer the phone - well, I suppose we weren't really in a hurry!

We rode past the various refreshments on offer at Paignton sea front, continued to the harbour area and then took the cliff path through the golf course, an area neither of us had explored before. Tao, who seemed to be unusually keen to avoid upsetting pedestrians, pushed along the wide promenade to Goodrington, only to be overtaken moments later by a policeman riding a police bicycle! He decided at that point that perhaps it was ok to cycle after all!

Tao bought fish and chips, Michael bought sandwiches and both enjoyed hot doughnuts on Goodrington beach before we continued along the coastal path to Broadsands. This section involved a lot of steps, both up and down, but the views were tremendous. To conclude an excellent ride we returned home via Waddeton, Parliament Hill, Totnes and the cycle path to Dartington and Colston.

Wednesday 21 June 2006
1800-2000
Evening ride (Junior): StavertonDry
5 present: Glen Fulford, Dennis Ham, Matthew Hamlyn-White, Michael Jones, Sylvan O'Rowan
Matthew had a strong desire to ride through Hembury woods tonight, but the youngsters had other ideas and insisted we went to Staverton. Riding standards from Glen and Dennis left much to be desired during the first part of the ride through Caddaford, but when they had received a lecture from Michael things improved significantly. We had time to skim stones across the Dart at Staverton Island and throw Frisbees before returning along the same route to Buckfastleigh.

Friday 23 June 2006
1900-2140
Evening ride: Buckland-in-the-Moor (13 mi)Dry
4 present: Glen Fulford, Dennis Ham, Michael Jones, Joe Venables
Joe, Glen and Dennis at Spitchwick
The lads wanted to go to Spitchwick, and since Michael felt Glen was probably ready for a longer ride now we set off through Hembury Woods and down the hill to New Bridge. There were a few people enjoying the setting sun at Spitchwick, but that didn't stop Dennis and Glen from having a dip in the cool waters.

Refreshed and ready for anything we took the longer route home via Buckland. Michael kept the lads moving fast by offering a chocolate bar to the first person to reach the top, so by the time we had enjoyed the long downhill to Ashburton and returned along the old road to Buckfastleigh, both lads had performed incredibly well and felt very pleased with themselves.

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