South Dartmoor CTC


Sunday 13 May 2007
Day ride: Converted to SocialTorrential rain
4 present: Olly Acland, Sam Acland, Dennis Ham, Michael Jones
Sadly our 2007 Dartmoor Letterbox Special had to be called off in view of the torrential rain that persisted all morning. This was the day the official Ten Tors event was cancelled and all the participants airlifted off the moor, so we didn't feel too bad for staying at Crofters for computer games!

Friday 18 May 2007
Evening ride: Landscove SchoolDry
7 present: Olly Acland, Sam Acland, Ash Freeman, Alex Harrigan, Michael Jones, Jordan Knight, Freddie Tyler
Jordan keeps a wary eye on the farmer who will shortly chase him to the final gateway
Preparing for the downhill through the next field towards Landscove
Trying to avoid the farmer's grass
The climb up Green Lane was made more complicated by a succession of tractors heading down with enormous trailers of grass - we had to keep dashing for passing places to avoid being squashed!

Michael brought the group to the promised downhill track, from Baddaford to Landscove, and they all thoroughly enjoyed the descents through several fields, taking care of course to avoid the rows of grass that the farmer was preparing for collection! Jordan got quite cross with the farmer when he got chased to the gateway at the bottom of the field.

Our route then took us into Landscove. Sam, Olly and Fred are all ex-pupils of Landscove primary school, and when they saw the playing field opposite the school they just couldn't resist the temptation to rediscover the pleasures of playing football there. Michael had some difficulty dragging them all away at 8.30, and when Sam then got some derailleur trouble there was no option but to take the shortest route home, back to Green Lane.

Sunday 20 May 2007
Morning ride: Steam Train SpecialSunny
2 present: Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
Zac welcoming the arrival of the 12.20 for Totnes
Zac playing signalman at Staverton signal box
Our planned ride to the Avon Dam - the most enjoyable and popular ride we ever run - was attended today by just Zac and Michael despite some near perfect weather conditions. Olly's birthday and GCSE revision were the chief causes of the desertion.

Zac loves the Avon Dam too, but as there were only two of us he decided to switch the ride, taking us along Colston Road to the riverside path at Staverton. We ventured into Staverton station and were greeted by the station master as Zac tried to get a milky bar from an antique chocolate vending machine. Zac asked more and more questions and the station master seemed very willing to answer them all. We ended up with Zac pulling some disused levers in the signal box and getting a full commentary on the signal and gate procedures as the 12.20 pulled into the station. Every action by the station master had to be logged in the special book in the signal box to ensure the highest standards of safety.

Friday 25 May 2007
Evening ride: Hembury FortSunny
2 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones
Returning to Buckfastleigh
Ashley Freeman on Hembury Fort
We're not quite sure what happened to everyone else tonight, but Ashley thoroughly enjoyed his first exploration of Hembury Fort and his tenth ride along his favourite downhill track - the Slalom. He overcame his dislike of the Hembury Hill climb by getting a percentage readout from Michael every five minutes!

Sunday 27 May 2007
Day ride (Car-assisted): Converted to SocialWet
2 present: Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
A forecast of torrential rain all day persuaded us to postpone the planned car-assisted day ride to Padstow and the Camel Trail to a date in July. The Acland family decided to do other things with the day but Zac spent the day at Crofters enjoying Doctor Who videos.

Friday 1 June 2007
Evening ride: Skerraton DownSunny
4 present: Sam Acland, Ash Freeman, Alex Harrigan, Michael Jones
Alex, Ashley and Sam on Skerraton Down
After some debate we settled on Avon Dam as a perfect destination on this warm sunny evening, but progress up Dean hill turned out to be so painfully slow that we had to switch to Skerraton Down - again! Ashley and Alex were talking, and Sam was recovering from a cold, but they all promised to do better next time!

On the way to the top of the open moorland Ashley and Alex ignored Michael's advice, took their own route through the gorse and ended up in a cul-de-sac of prickly bushes with no obvious way forward - Sam said it served them right.

Views from the top to Buckfastleigh and the rest of South Devon were stunning as usual, although there was little time to enjoy them on the downhill to Cross Furzes.

Sunday 3 June 2007
Afternoon ride: Chalk FordDry but threatening
3 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
Michael decided that, after Friday's ride, Ashley needed some training in the art of hill-climbing. What better hill than Wallaford Road, all the way to Cross Furzes? We called in at Crofters so Ashley could add too much squash to his water bottle, then he set about the climb with determination and ended up amazing himself and everyone else by climbing the hill swiftly and without complaint! He promised never to worry about hills again.

Once we reached the open moor at Lud Gate Zac and Ashley spent some time damming up a stream before we set off down the hill to Chalk Ford. There were plenty of deer in the park but they were all well away from the gate, so we continued on down the stony track to Scoriton before heading home for a well-deserved social at Crofters.

Friday 8 June 2007
Evening ride: StavertonSunny
7 present: Charles Acland, Sam Acland, Ash Freeman, Alex Harrigan, Michael Jones, Tom Pearson (10, Buckfastleigh), Freddie Tyler
The group at Staverton recreation ground: Ashley, Tom, Freddie, Sam, Charles and Alex
New rider Tom Pearson, 10, demonstrated to everyone that he's a natural cyclist by completing this evening's ride effortlessly. We had to wait part-way along Colston Road when Alex rang up to say he'd forgotten the ride and wanted to come. He soon joined us and we continued to Dartington, with Tom telling us that every other house belonged to a member of his family!

Some other youngsters from Buckfastleigh happened to be at Staverton recreation ground while we played Frisbee there in the evening sunshine. We headed home along our usual route past Riverford with Tom assuring us he would be back again next week. This had been his longest ride ever.

Sunday 10 June 2007
Day ride: Ten Tors and LetterboxingSunny and warm
10 present: Charles Acland, Heidi Acland, Olly Acland, Sam Acland, Ash Freeman, Jack Greep, Henry Gunter, Jill Hockmuth, Michael Jones, Freddie Tyler
Jill and Heidi enjoying the Acland picnic blanket!
Ashley and Olly find the first letterbox at Saddle Tor
Ashley Freeman at Saddle Tor
Henry, Jack and Ashley at Saddle Tor
Several letterboxes at Pil Tor
Henry and Olly at Saddle Tor
The group at Top Tor
Sam, Ashley and Henry make another new friend
Ponsworthy Splash
Afternoon tea at The Green restaurant, Widecombe
Rope swing fun at Spitchwick
Michael had considered taking some to Haytor by car to ensure that we could complete the ride within a reasonable timescale, but everyone was quite strong enough when we met at the start so we set off together for Ashburton. We were pleased to see Jack Greep returning to club rides after a long break, and also Henry and his mum Jill from Exeter.

The sun was quite hot by the time we reached Bickington, but everyone coped well with the long climb to Haytor, Ashley putting his new hill-climbing skills into practice. There was an ice-cream van at the bottom and top of the hill near Haytor, but both sold only lukewarm drinks - much to Jack's disgust!

When everyone was doing the ten tors had walked up to Haytor and back we rode the short distance to Saddle tor where we settled down for lunch at 1.15. Michael was amazed when Heidi produced a picnic blanket from her bike and settled down on it with Jill - clearly the grass is no longer good enough for some of our members!

There was considerable interest in letter boxes in view of our missed letterbox special a few weeks ago, so our youngsters ran all over the tor finding dozens of boxes in various locations. We collected several stamps and left our own cat stamp in some of the boxes.

Michael took a minor tumble on the descent to the road while waiting for Heidi to walk in front of him, but with no harm done we continued to Hemsworthy gate and walked the short distance up the hill to Top Tor. The ladies settled on the rocks for a lengthy chat while the rest of us found letterboxes left right and centre and walked on to Pil Tor and Hollow Tor to find even more. The youngsters were most impressed with a box at Pil Tor that had an intricate dragon stamp with a gold ink pad. On the way back from Hollow Tor we were greeted by some very friendly dogs, and our youngsters just had to make a fuss of them.

It was now past three o'clock and everyone was getting very thirsty, so we made the decision that six tors and loads of letterboxes would be quite enough for this year's event. Bonehill, our final tor of the day, provided plenty more letterboxes and even a junior letterbox owner who didn't want us to look while he hid his new box!

A brisk and steep downhill brought us quickly to Widecombe where we were very disappointed to discover that the village store was closed! It always used to be open on a Sunday afternoon, but now, according to the sign on the door, it closes at 12! We went to the Green restaurant and ordered multiple drinks and a free glass of water each, enjoying them in the cool of the garden. Fred helped Ashley fill all the water bottles from the back room, but he wasn't very popular when Michael found that his drink tasted remarkably like Tesco Value hand wash!

We took the short route home via Ponsworthy, pausing briefly at the ford to see if anyone could slip off their bike while riding through the water. Ashley tried to emulate Tao's route (from our 1993 rides DVD) and ended up not only coming off but also landing face first in the water - much to everyone's amusement!

Temperatures were much cooler as we descended through Leusdon. Spitchwick was crawling with visitors, more than we had ever seen there before: there was no room for us to ride around, so we quickly moved on to an unobserved rope swing and allowed the youngsters a minute or two each before we pressed on to New Bridge and home.

Fred left us at the top of Holne Chase while the rest of us headed back to Hembury Woods. This was Henry's first attempt at the Slalom track, and he had to admit it was a lot of fun. Ashley seemed to have even more energy at the end of the ride than he had when he started, and Jack had done remarkably well considering he hadn't been out with us for ages. We were all tired when we got home, but everyone agreed it had been a perfect moorland adventure.

Friday 15 June 2007
Evening ride: RatterySunny
4 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Tom Pearson
Tom finally makes it into the tree
Tom and Zac try to climb the tree near Marley Head
Ashley returned home with a bad migraine just a few minutes into the ride which left three of us to complete the climb of Dean hill and the loop around Zempson. On the way towards Marley Head the lads spotted a tree that looked good for climbing. They spent a good ten minutes trying to find a way up into its welcoming branches, but in the end the only way up was from Michael's shoulders - and Tom was the only one light enough to make it!

We completed an enjoyable ride with the climb from the viaduct to Rattery and Pennywell Farm.

Sunday 17 June 2007
Morning ride: FermoysSunny
8 present: Charles Acland, Heidi Acland, Olly Acland, Sam Acland, Conor Allen, Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Jordan Knight
Ashley and Olly at Broadhempston Play Park
The group at Fermoys
Jordan performs a death-defying leap off Broadhempston Play Park's fort
We maintained a good speed on this sunny morning ride to Fermoys, travelling out via Caddaford and Staverton. We enjoyed light refreshments in the cafe, at the end of which Heidi kindly presented Michael with a Doctor Who Father's Day card, signed by all the youngsters!

We rode home through Denbury and Broadhempston, stopping briefly at the play park so that Jordan could jump off the fort repeatedly for the camera. Congratulations to new rider Conor for an excellent performance!

Friday 22 June 2007
Evening ride: BuckfastSunny
2 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones
With just Ashley and Michael out this evening and a busy weekend ahead we decided on a short ride via Buckfast to the woods near Hapstead. We explored a new path through the woods today, the first part of which had a stream running down the middle. There were also a couple of gates and a delightful bridge to negotiate, but we decided it was definitely a track to try again.

Saturday 23 June 2007Weekend ride: Tintagel YH Day 1 (21 mi)Mainly dry
6 present: Charles Acland, Olly Acland, Sam Acland, Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Freddie Tyler
The Wallace & Gromit Anti Pesto van at Week St Mary
Unpacking the bikes at Langdon, near Canworthy Water
The Bude canal
Olly and Charles on the cyclepath into Bude
Lunch overlooking Bude beach
Raft race on the Bude canal
Fred mourns the loss of the top half of his very expensive icecream at Boscastle
Ashley & Olly find a small cave by the side of the coast road
Boscastle, still under recon-struction after the floods of 2004
Ashley at Boscastle
The approach to Tintagel youth hostel
With two last minutes cancellations we were down to six for our major summer weekend trip to Tintagel. The weather had been unsettled for weeks but we were hoping that the forecast dry spell on Saturday afternoon would materialise.

Everyone was loaded into our two Volvo estates before 10am but our journey had two interruptions, the first by Charles to refuel his car at Lee Mill and the second by Michael to buy an OS map at Launceston. He couldn't find his own Bude map at home, so had reserved one at Smiths in Launceston and then programmed his Satnav to take us straight to the shop! It worked almost faultlessly, and Olly and Ashley were able to nip out to buy the map in no time at all.

Very heavy showers accompanied our journey, leaving the youngsters rather concerned about the ride, but the rain stopped as we parked and not a drop more fell for the rest of the day! Bearing in mind the forecast for rain tomorrow morning we parked the cars at Langdon, near Canworthy Water and just a few miles from Tintagel.

We took the flat cycle route the three miles to Week St Mary, where we were surprised to see that Wallace and Gromit were in town - the “Anti Pesto” van was parked in the town square! We bought some refreshments in the post office, then, in view of the increasing sunshine, we decided to continue along the cycle route to Bude. We were very careful of course not to tell the youngsters that we were heading away from the hostel!

The route was relatively flat despite dire warnings from a local resident, taking took us along a scenic canal path into Bude. This was the first ever club visit to Bude, and we were greeted by a raft and canoe race on the picturesque canal where many youngsters and the watching crowd were making a great deal of noise.

We bought lunch at the local Post Office, then Ashley demonstrated his local knowledge by leading us all to a grassy bank overlooking the main beach. We ate our lunch there whilst watching a very red gentleman helping his children to build a sandcastle that was taller than himself!

At 2.30 it was definitely time to be heading for Tintagel. We took the coastal road, also part of the cycle route, which proved fairly easy as far as Widemouth Bay but then gave us a few challenges in the form of single arrow and even double arrow climbs. Olly and Ashley were pleased to take a short rest in a little cavern that we found on the side of one of the climbs.

We had thought about visiting Crackington Haven, a popular but secluded beach, but that would have involved another descent and climb that would have been a hill too far for our tired younger riders, so instead we took the main roads to Boscastle, scene of major floods in 2004 and a smaller repeat flood just a few days earlier. The cafe owner seemed pleased to tell us that he was closed at 5.05 even though he could see six of us with money to spend, so we spent our money instead in the local shop buying expensive organic ice creams. Fred bought two flavours in his cone, then managed to let the chocolate part fall to the ground just seconds after taking the first bite! He was so frustrated that he actually scooped up the bits that weren't in contact with the ground!

We had a look at Boscatle youth hostel where the warden showed us photographs of the 2004 flood - rivers could be seen flowing out of the hostel windows! Now it had all been redecorated inside and looked immaculate if a little modern.

The last four miles to Tintagel were hilly, but everyone coped after the rest at Boscastle. As we clocked 30 miles we stopped at the Londis supermarket in Tintagel: it offered a good range of food and drinks, including the special kind of Polos that Fred likes! The sun shone for us as we negotiated the track that leads across the headland, and suddenly there was the hostel, hidden from view until the last, offering spectacular views of the coast from its secluded location.

We had dormitory 1, not our favourite dorm but comfortable nevertheless and offering reasonable sea views. When everyone had showered and beds had been made we set about preparing food in the modern kitchen. There was initial concern about the tap water, which looked more like milk as it came out of the tap, but after being left to settle for a minute or so it turned clear, suggesting the colouration as mainly air bubbles. And speaking of milk, Michael spent considerable time introducing the youngsters to the delights of condensed milk, which he had purchased to go with his tinned raspberries. Everyone tried it, but only Fred was a true convert, finishing off the tin and asking for his membership card for the Condensed Milk Club!

Tintagel castle was the destination for our evening excursion. We parked the bikes at the top of the steep path and walked down to the ruins in the fading evening light. The main ruins on the island were closed but we got a good feel for the scale and history surrounding the place, reputed to be associated with King Arthur. Michael found a very slippery stone near the cove that left him flat on his back in half a second, but there was no harm done and we were soon heading back up to the bikes, disappointed that the land rover service was not operating!

As usual on these weekends Michael had brought his laptop for gaming fun, but the decision of where to play remained to be decided. The kitchen / common room seemed ideal in terms of space, but when Michael suggested this to the warden she seemed more concerned about maintaining peace and quiet for the few adults who were reading there - it seems that youth hostels are no longer primarily for youngsters! So we set up the game in the dormitory and enjoyed 45 minutes of fun before settling down for a quiet night.

Sunday 24 June 2007Weekend ride: Tintagel YH Day 2 (22 mi)Sunny start with shower later
6 present: Charles Acland, Olly Acland, Sam Acland, Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Freddie Tyler
The group at Tintagel YH
Olly and Ashley outside Tintagel youth hostel
The ancient church at Tintagel
Tintagel YH
Tintagel Toy Museum
Inside Tintagel Toy Museum
Ashley and Olly show off their face paints, applied during the homeward journey
Olly enjoying home-made fudge
The forecast rain was nowhere to be seen as we were eating breakfast. After packing the bikes and admiring the magnificent coastal views in the morning sunshine we set off for the village to explore the local shops. First off was the Tintagel Toy Museum, displaying a huge range of antique toys and figures as well as offering newer items for sale. Ashley bought a dragon for his bedroom, and Olly took the lucky dip and ended up with some face paints! After another supermarket stop we called in to Granny Wobblys fudge pantry where the proprietor was making more fudge in a huge caldron on the stove. After trying several samples we bought a few flavours for our journey home, but Butterscotch was definitely the most popular.

Today we had to ride just 12 miles to return to the car. We set off up the long climb from Tintagel, pausing on the way up to wonder what went on at Thermo Fisher Scientific. Nothing on the signs gave a clue, and peering into the nearest window to read the sign on a bucket only revealed the words "Paper Towels Only". We decided that something dodgy must go on there, but a later check of the internet revealed that it "designs and produces innovative chemical Building Blocks and Screening Compounds, and provides Medicinal Chemistry for the drug discovery industry".

The forecast rain rolled in just after reaching the top, light at first but getting us nicely wet by the time we reached the cars. The advance planning for the car location was now fully appreciated, and we felt ourselves very fortunate to have secured such generally good weather over the weekend in what had otherwise been a very unsettled week.

Michael used his Satnav to take us home by the shortest route, via Launceston, Tavistock and Princetown. It was indeed a scenic route, but Olly and Ashley were more interested in using the time to paint their faces rather than admire the views!

This had been an excellent weekend with generally good weather and some brand new cycling territory. The youngsters amazed us all by riding more than 30 miles after 12pm on the Saturday, so congratulations to everyone who took part.

Friday 29 June 2007
Evening ride: River Dart AdventuresDry
6 present: Sam Acland, Ash Freeman, Alex Harrigan, Michael Jones, Jordan Knight, Tom Pearson
Resting part-way up Shuttaford Hill
Acrobatics on Shuttaford Hill
Our ride this evening took us through Buckfast to the lower Hembury track, which turned out to be a little muddy after all the recent rain.

The downhill track to River Dart Adventures was the main attraction this evening, but as Michael wanted to be sure nobody took the wrong turning near the bottom (as they did last time) he told everyone to wait at the first cross tracks they came to! He found them waiting around the first corner at a junction he hadn't even noticed before, so told them the correct cross-tracks was about three times as far down the track! When he got there with Tom, the rest had once again shot straight past, so high on speed that they forgot all about waiting anywhere!

We returned to Buckfastleigh along the old Ashburton road and concluded an enjoyable evening with computer games at Crofters.

Sunday 1 July 2007
Afternoon ride: Hillside Nursery TearoomsSunny
7 present: Olly Acland, Sam Acland, Dennis Ham, Josh Ham, Michael Jones, Jordan Knight, Zac McGrath
Ice creams and drinks at the garden centre tearooms
On the track to Landscove, a few seconds before Jordan lost sight of his left shoe!
Olly, Sam and Zac go fishing - in the garden centre pond!
Olly seemed surprised when we took the old Ashburton road to get to Landscove: being an ex-pupil of Landscove primary school he thought he knew everything there was to know about getting there! He was reassured when he saw the sign to Landscove, although wasn't so happy when he saw where it was pointing - up the steep hill to Chuley cross!

We turned left at Parkfield cross and then took a vote on whether to take the muddy track or the Thornecroft lane route to Landscove. There were some tense moments when the votes were evenly split, but eventually Jordan swung the decision by changing his vote (under a little pressure) in favour of the track.

The field sections were fine, but around one of the middle gates there was what can only be described as a mud bath. Jordan was beginning to regret his change of vote as he carefully picked his way through the mud. A few seconds later he chose just the wrong spot to step and his foot became totally submerged in the quagmire. He hopped around swearing for at least a minute during which time of course he got even muddier - poor Jordan!

The gardens at the Hillside tearooms have been improved recently with the addition of lawn seats and a circular pond where the large oak seat and table used to be. We enjoyed Salcombe Dairy ice creams and other refreshments, then the youngsters had a lot of fun running around the many paths that surround the garden, hiding from each other.

On the way out Olly, Sam and Zac practiced their fishing skills by trying, unsuccessfully, to catch fish from the nursery fishpond, and Dennis found himself in deep trouble with Michael for interfering with one of the lemons in the greenhouse.

After a few minutes playing in the nearby playing field we headed home via Green Lane, delayed a little by Olly who suffered the consequences of trying to turn on gravel. Fortunately he was wearing gloves and long trousers, so he got away with just a few bruises.

Friday 6 July 2007
Evening ride: Totnes Cycle PathSunny
7 present: Sam Acland, Tao Burgess, Julian Duquemin, Ash Freeman, Matthew Hamlyn-White, Michael Jones, Freddie Tyler
The group on Vire Island, Totnes
Tao, Matt and Julian by Totnes weir
One of our most regular riders from the 1990s, Julian Duquemin, made a surprise return to the club this evening whilst taking a week's holiday from his London job. Tao and Matt got to hear of it and turned out too, so the ride became something of a reunion! It was also a chance for Julian to show off his new Specialized road bike and for Matt to show off his very expensive new off-road bike! Tao and Michael were very content with their normal mounts.

All that was needed to make the evening perfect was to do one of their favourite rides. It had been too wet recently to consider the Avon Dam, but Totnes cycle path certainly qualified as an excellent evening ride. Our youngsters rose to the challenge of what was a longer evening ride than usual, completing the ride along Colston road in double quick time. Julian, having a road bike, avoided everything that looked even remotely like a track, and Matt, whilst taking every opportunity there was for off-road riding, proceeded with caution to avoid the possibility of anything chipping his new paintwork. The youngsters wanted to try it, but he refused unless they were prepared to pay a cash deposit that exceeded £1000.

The cycle path was fun and the weir had a good flow after the recent rains. When Julian had met up with us on the bridge at Bridgetown we popped down to Vire Island for a short exploration then headed home via Dartington and Rattery. The youngsters performed remarkably well on what they saw as an unwelcome climb, particularly Ashley who is now showing real ability at his new sport. A final downhill past Pennywell Farm brought us back to Buckfastleigh for 9.35, but the senior members were keen to continue their evening at Crofters with a pre-release viewing of the 2006 Switzerland DVD.

Sunday 8 July 2007
Day ride (Car-assisted): Padstow and the Camel Trail (22 mi)Sunny and warm
9 present: Charles Acland, Heidi Acland, Olly Acland, Sam Acland, Ryan Edmondson, Henry Gunter, Jill Hockmuth, Michael Jones, Freddie Tyler
Olly and Henry
Henry Gunter at the Dunmere car park near Bodmin
Olly and Freddie, on the Camel Trail between Wadebridge and Padstow
Freddie and Sam
Lunch at Padstow harbour
Lunch at Padstow harbour
The Sea Fury speedboat
The Brass Band keeps us entertained over lunch
Henry on the Sea Fury
The Sea Fury speedboat
The lads find a shrew on the Camel Trail
Ryan on the Sea Fury
Video footage from today's ride
Our special car-assisted ride to Padstow and the Camel trail, postponed from May, attracted the maximum nine participants that we could carry in our two cars, but we were disappointed that more of our junior members didn't seem to be interested in what was always going to be one of the best rides of the summer.

With 6 bikes and 4 people packed into Charles' car and 3 bikes and 5 people in Michael's car we finally set off at around 10.45 for the hour-long journey to Bodmin. There was a single shower on the way down, but by the time we parked in the Camel Trail carpark the sun was shining and summer stayed with us for the rest of the day.

Michael had brought his new high-definition camcorder on the ride today, making sure it was working well for the forthcoming Lake District tour. The camcorder offers true high-definition recording, which consequently also allows much higher quality still frames to be taken from the video than are possible with standard-definition video. Compare the widescreen stills attached to this report with those taken on our 1993 Easter tour to see the improvement.

We made good speed along the Camel Trail through Wadebridge despite the huge number of cyclists, as we didn't want to be too late for lunch. The tide was in and the Camel estuary looked magnificent in the afternoon sunshine. Poor Freddie, who has a Giant Rock mountain bike, was devastated to see that almost every other bike on the trail was a Giant Rock too! Many had numbers on them however, so we presumed that one of the hire shops probably had nothing but Giant Rocks for hire!

Many of the group headed for Rick Stein's fish and chip shop when we arrived at Padstow and were very pleased with their purchases, but Michael, who wasn't so keen to part with £7 for battered fish fried in "beef dripping", preferred the wide range of vegetarian pasties in the Presto pasty shop. Everyone settled down on a conveniently-vacated seat amidst the bustle of Padstow harbour and were royally entertained by a brass band that struck up nearby. It really was a surreal atmosphere with the attractive boats and the moving music, which included the theme from the film The Mission.

There was time for shopping, then we headed around to the other side of the harbour for the main attraction of the day - the fifteen-minute speedboat trip around the estuary. Initial interest from the majority fizzled down to just three takers for the trip for some inexplicable reason, so only Henry, Ryan and Michael ended up enjoying what must be one of the most exciting boat trips available anywhere in the south west. The driver performed plenty of twists and turns than ensured Ryan got soaked by the spray - but that's all part of the fun! The 'landies' bought BB guns from the local shops and seemed very happy with their purchases.

Time was pressing so we reluctantly said goodbye to the bustle of Padstow and headed back along the trail, over the railway bridge and through Wadebridge. Olly was smart enough to spot and capture a tiny shrew by the side of the trail, which he proudly showed off to the rest of the group.

Everyone was strangely tired when we got back to the cars, so the journey home was relatively quiet. We made it back to Buckfastleigh by 6.25 after what had been an action-packed and very enjoyable day.

Friday 13 July 2007
Evening ride: Converted to SocialTorrential rain
5 present: Olly Acland, Sam Acland, Michael Jones, Jordan Knight, Zac McGrath
Torrential rain led to this evening's ride being cancelled and replaced with a social at Crofters.

Sunday 15 July 2007Morning ride: CancelledRain
0 present:
Today's ride was cancelled owing to the bad weather.

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