South Dartmoor CTC


Friday 13 March 2009
Social: Games Evening
4 present: Ash Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
Ryan's love for PC games would have kept us playing games all evening if Michael hadn't intervened and switched to a DVD for the last half hour! A very enjoyable evening however.

Sunday 15 March 2009
Morning ride (Car-assisted): Hennock Reservoirs (5 mi)Sunny and warm
3 present: Ash Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones
Ashley and Ryan on the Tottiford central path
Ashley and Ryan on the path that crosses the middle of the Tottiford reservoir
The path along the side of the Tottiford Reservoir, on the way back to the car park
Ashley and Ryan
Perfect weather encouraged us to try another car-assisted ride, this time to the Hennock reservoirs. We parked up in the car park and first rode all around the Tottiford reservoir path, including the far end section that Michael had never previously ridden. We stopped part way round for a "chocolate break" and the youngsters were totally awed by the peace and beauty of the area, the gentle sound of rippling water interrupted occasionally by the call of a duck or the bark of a distant dog.

Continuing along the interesting reservoir path we soon reached the road again and set off along the Trenchford path which had a different style altogether. This brought us eventually back to the car park, and since we needed to be home for lunch we decided to end the ride there and return another day for the longer route that includes the Kennick reservoir.

Friday 20 March 2009
Social: Squash
2 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones
Zac planned to join us for this trip to Torbay Leisure Centre for squash, but in the end couldn't get to us in time, so Ashley and Michael enjoyed an energetic 45 minutes of some of the best squash we have ever played.

Sunday 22 March 2009
Morning ride: Staverton (10 mi)Sunny
2 present: Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
Zac McGrath
Zac on Colston Road
With just two of us out for this Mother's Day morning ride we chose an easy route along Colston Road to Staverton, where we were surprised to see that the derelict warehouses near the station had been demolished and new stone-built residential units were being erected. After seeing one of the many steam trains arrive we took the riverside path to the recreation ground and enjoyed some light refreshments there before heading home via the daffodil-lined lanes near Abham.

Friday 27 March 2009
Social: Pool
4 present: Ash Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
For our final social of the season we planned to do ten-pin bowling at Plymouth, but when we got there Pool seemed cheaper and nearly as much fun, so we did that instead. By popular demand we concluded the evening by calling in to Sainsbury and Tesco on the way home, so the youngsters could buy a few snacks!

Sunday 29 March 2009
Morning ride: Hembury Woods (8 mi)Sunny
3 present: Ash Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones
Lower Hembury track
Ryan & Ash on the lower Hebury track
Ash and Ryan near Hembury Fort
A friendly St Bernard in Hembury
We had planned an easy off-road ride today to suit a new member, but when he didn't arrive our youngsters decided to stay with the original plan. Our ride took us along the lower track through Hembury Woods, and near the end we were amazed to spot thousands of tadpoles struggling to survive in a few centimetres of surface water.

Ashley insisted we stop for a "chocolate break" on the grassy verge at the top of the hill, then we headed for Hembury Fort where we met Robin Hood practicing his shooting. Well it was actually a 7-year-old dressed in the complete Robin Hood outfit including feather in his cap, and his aim improved dramatically when Ashley gave him a few tips!

We concluded an excellent ride with the descent of the ever-popular slalom track through Hembury Woods, meeting the most enormous St Bernard dog we had ever seen at the bottom. We arrived back at Crofters for around 1pm.

Friday 3 April 2009
Evening ride: Ashburton
3 present: Ash Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones
Our first evening ride of 2009 took us along the back roads to Ashburton and then through Rew to the woodland track that follows the river Ashburn back towards the town. There was enough light to see us through to the end, although everyone had very effective lighting. We then joined another path that continued along the river, but this turned out to be a little bumpy in places as the usual mud had dried into cracked pits. The old railway line brought us back to Peartree for the journey home, concluding a very enjoyable ride.

Sunday 5 April 2009
Morning ride: Bloody Pool (8 mi)Sunny
3 present: Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
On a delightful sunny morning we took quiet road up Dean Hill and then skirted around the bridge road before being drawn up to Bloody Pool by the sound of remote controlled aircraft. The flower-lined lanes reminded us that spring was well and truly here. The cars were parked at the top of the hill but the owners of the aircraft were away over the hill, so we didn't get any close-up views on this occasion.

We returned via the long downhill past Nurston farm, managing to lose Zac when he took a right turn ahead of the main group. It's a good opportunity to remind members who are ahead of the group that they should always wait at junctions if they don't know which way to go. And anyone who lags behind can safely go past junctions if they don't find the group waiting there.

Monday 6 April 2009Tour: Exmoor and North Devon Coast Day 1 Home to Minehead YH (23 mi)Sunny with showers
4 present: Ash Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
HD video footage from today's ride
Our Easter tour began at Newton Abbot station when everyone met there at 9.15. The weather forecast did not look too promising, with patches of rain all around the south west, but on the weather maps the rain appeared to miss Somerset so we were hoping to miss the worst of it.

Our 9.35 train was more than half an hour late, and since the station was cold we enjoyed drinks in the station café to pass the time. When the train finally came the bikes were loaded on without problem and we got to Taunton station at 10.55. It was then that Michael realised he had left his satnav at home by mistake, pre-programmed with all the key locations of the tour. It would have proved useful to give the youngsters accurate indications of how far was left to each hostel, but this year they would just have to manage without that essential information.

We called in to the bike shop in Taunton to stock up on a few essentials – Ash bought a water bottle since he had left his at home, and Michael bought a new speedo. It’s a shame Michael didn’t think to buy a few spare tubes for his bike, as they would have come in handy later!

Next stop was the Morrisons supermarket, where we stocked up with snacks and supper for the night ahead. Then we were off at last, following the main A358 road north east towards Minehead. It was a fairly easy road and not too busy, but things didn’t go exactly according to plan. Michael got a puncture, and it happened just near the entrance to Norton Manor Camp, home of 40 commando Royal Marines. Michael stopped on the grassy verge outside the gates.

Rest of report to be written from the following notes.

Met at NA station 9.15, 9.35 train delayed by 33 minutes! Cold on station, so we had drinks in the station café. Forecast rain seemed to miss Somerset, but there was always a risk. Arriving Taunton 10.55 or so, Michael realised he had left his Satnav at home, in the camcorder bag that he took out at the last minute! Bike shop and food shop in Taunton, but Michael failed to buy the spare inner tubes he had neglected to pack, instead buying a speedo! And a water bottle for Ashley, as we had left his at home!

Main road to Willington and Watchet: Michael had puncture by army barracks, stopped to change tube for his spare that had a puncture (as damaged near valve), so had to fix that, army told Zac off for taking photos, and threatened him with police questioning him later! Michael should have fixed puncture yesterday, but ended up thinking it was just a leaking valve.

Then, just after Crowcombe, Michael had a blowout, tyre wall had cracked open (32mm Schwalbe) through being ridden flat I guess. No spare tube, so he rode the bike flat all the way down the hill and to the hostel!

At Watchet we had lunch in the café, plaice chips and peas for Michael, burger for Ash. Raining a little when we came out, but not too heavy and we carried on through Blue Anchor bay to the main road. Saw Dunster castle, all spirits high, but they wouldn't go the extra mile to Minehead to fix Michael’s wheel, so we went straight up to hostel, long track, lovely remote location, excellent hostel! Warden bit funny though, all shoes had to be left in the hall! And we had a cramped dorm, and warden would not change us over as we had booked late!

Showers, meals were beans on toast for Michael, noodles for Ash. Ryan fried sausages, stank the kitchen out, black on the outside, uncooked inside, looked horrible. Manhunt outside, against Michael’s advice as ground damp and drizzling, Zac almost made a big scene with Michael in his battle to prove he could force me to play the game he wanted to play. Ash slipped though, got his clean jeans muddy on the back, and that put him off totally from playing any more, now he wanted to go in. He really didn’t like being dirty. Inside we played Bomberman and then watched first half of I Robot. Lights out 10.30 or so. Window open and radiator off so nice and cool. Ash very tired as always. Warden told us forecast for tomorrow was sunny all morning, some showers afternoon, rain overnight from dark.

Tuesday 7 April 2009Tour: Exmoor and North Devon Coast Day 2 Minehead to Exford YH (16 mi)
4 present: Ash Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
The group outside Minehead YH
Minehead YH
Ryan and Zac tackle the scenic North Hill from Minehead
View of grounds from Minhead YH
Ashley, Ryan and Zac admiring the view at the top of North Hill
Gorse welcomes us to the top of North Hill
Half way down the Selworthy track
Beginning of the track to Selworthy
Picturesque Allerford
Ash, Zac and Ryan on the lawns at Selworthy
Lunch near Luccombe
Zac tackles the ford at Allerford
Highest road in southern England, Stoke Pero Common, 478m
Sculptures in the woods on Horner Hill
HD video footage from today's ride
Report to be written from the following notes.

Early start, part of deal for last night not going to bike shop. Left by 9.12, but Zac's panniers not attached properly so slight delay on the track.

To Tesco, where we bought food for 24 hours, Zac then Ash left helmets in store! Straight to bike shop where Michael bought and changed tyre and tube, and bought two spare tubes, within 15 mins, but Zac then delayed us trying to get his rack straight from when he kicked it earlier! Took old tyre to recycling centre round corner.

Into town, bought pasties for lunch, then started the climb, surprisingly nice weather, sunny and mainly blue skies. Ash led all the way up the climb and was positive too, loving it really. Would have liked Michael’s Satnav to give readouts.

Chocolate break at top, then on to Selworthy turn, pausing at a viewpoint to see Wales coast and make some calls. Track was great, stopped three times down the track for video and photos.

Selworthy quiet but café open so we went there for drink and caramel shortcake. Then on down next track, all rode the ford except Michael, no problems. And re-rode for video, except Ash who felt once was enough!

Lunch in field near Luccombe, nice time, sunshine, and only 2pm or so. Left there around 2.20 after some fun.

First climb was kindof OK although Ashley beginning to get a bit annoyed, his knees were hurting him a bit I think, so Michael let him go on ahead to sort himself out. At top, sculptures in forest made a digression for us. Then Cloutsham ford, on with climb, Ash better now but it was very tiring.

Highest road in southern england, 450m or so, and a very strong headwind now to make it unpleasant. Ryan finally led to the top, finding a routine of 10s breaks then carrying on. Well done Ryan. Then down final hill, Ash wanted to lead, Zac annoyed so Michael took lead again for second part.

Arrived 5.40 or so, just as well we allowed more than 3 hours for that journey! Australian assistant wardens, we were in annexe, showers were a bit cool but Ash turned down the flow and it was fine then. Meals were Tesco pasta bakes, Ash ate more than half his this time, very tasty. But he couldn't eat his syrup pudding.

Then played frisbee in garden (Ash stopped any talk of Manhunt), two little girls joined in who seemed to really annoy Ashley, he just wanted to hit them! Bomberman, on Michael’s bunk, then conclusion of I Robot. Then they all wanted a ghost story, so Michael told them the story of the lady going up to the church. Ash fell asleep first, then Ryan, but Zac heard to the end and thought it was good! Windows wide, rained from dusk all night, very heavy. Forecast excellent tomorrow, rain Thursday!

Wednesday 8 April 2009Tour: Exmoor and North Devon Coast Day 3 Exford to Lynmouth B&b (23 mi)
4 present: Ash Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
The group outside Exford YH
Exford YH
Lunch at Challacombe
Ryan & Ash stunned by the size of their teacakes at Simonsbath
The coast path to Woody Bay, near Heddon's Mouth Cleave
Hunters Inn
Ryan and Ashley
Zac & Ashley on the coast path
Coast path to Woody Bay
Ash & Ryan admire the views
The final climb to Lee Abbey
Fabulous views on the coast path to Woody Bay
Coast path to Lynton
Coast path to Lynton
HD video footage from today's ride
Report to be written from the following notes.

Lovely morning, hounds woke us up, nice breakfast, set off a bit later than planned at 9.45, looked into shops, then started climb, Ryan suffering a little today with sore knees.

Simonsbath sadlery shop where mother and daughter arguing about money, sheeps milk icecreams were bad, lovely café with best hot chocolates and HUGE teacakes, Ryan gave Ash two pounds for eating his - punches!

On to shop, bought pasties and ate them outside shop at around 12.50, Ash not that hungry though after teacake! Next climb, loads of lambs everywhere, Blackmore Gate, took Parracombe dip then Hunters Inn path, arriving there around 2.40, very good timing really. Ice creams, photos, then coast path.

Everyone loved it today, lovely weather, superb views, stunning. Stopped lots of times to admire and enjoy, nice photos hopefully, Ash once again leading but Ryan staying with him and Zac struggling as he was saddle sore but determined not to walk at all on the tour!

Lovely descent to Lee Abbey, although complaints from Zac about surprise hill. Walked around Valley of the Rocks, then coast path in lovely sunshine. Rode up to station, bought food from supermarket, then down path to Lynmouth, pizza and chips in fish shop but would not give refills for half price! So they lost out there.

Bath hotel, long maize to get to room 25, three flights of stairs, very spacious room, got an extra bed put in and still plenty of space, but only had a bath, and requested tubes leaked and did not work. Also no duvets. Rads off and windows open, then bomberman while we took it in turns to bath, then beds together for Last Mimzy, up to 10.30. Ash took double bed, Michael had extra single nearby. All wanted ghost story, Michael thought it was a bit late, but Ryan started one that was really not very good at all, by which time Ash was asleep. Paid £2 for internet tonight to find out that not much rain tomorrow after all!

Thursday 9 April 2009Tour: Exmoor and North Devon Coast Day 4 Lynmouth to Home (17 mi)
4 present: Ash Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
Bird of prey near Lynton
The Bath hotel, Lynmouth
Leaving the cafe at Blackmoor Gate after a very wet morning ride
HD video footage from today's ride
Report to be written from the following notes.

8.30 breakfast, not away until 9.45, Zac had full breakfast.

Souvenir shops near hotel, Ash bought dog mug, then negotiated cliff railway discount, no charge for kids bikes (normally £3 each), kids single was £1.10. Michael charged £1.25 each.

At top we set off for B road, but patch of rain unluckily hit us, started as very light drizzle, Ash in bad mood at start of climb as knees hurting and he wanted to go on the bus, but he pressed on, rain got worse, others wanted bus too, but we made it to the top, bad rain by then, everyone finding it difficult, bus was planned from Blackmore, passed us on way there.

Café was great, everyone happy then, esp Ashley, who had improved since reaching the top. Teacakes and hot chocs and puddings, juke box. Planned for 1.35 bus, nobody on it so persuaded driver to let us on it, £9 for all 4 of us, bargain!

More patches of rain even though worst was over. Pizza hut in Barnstaple, then no problem getting on 3.43 train to Exeter. Started listening to music, so Michael got out Bomberman, then everyone happy. 14 mins delay on train from Exeter, so into Newton at around 5.45. Ryan and Zac's parents there, delayed by traffic.

Sunday 12 April 2009
Morning ride: Hembury Woods (8 mi)Sunny
3 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Stephen Rundell (15, Devon)
Stephen & Ashley in Hembury Woods
New rider Stephen very much enjoyed his introductory ride along the riverside tracks in Hembury Woods - and the Frisbee and chocolate break at the top! He kept us amused by falling off three times, but the earth was soft so he came to no harm.

Friday 17 April 2009
Evening ride: Hembury
3 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Tom Pearson
We were pleased to welcome Tom back to club rides after an absence of more than a year. To ease him gently back into cycling we took the lower Hembury track to Shuttaford and, after a few rounds of Frisbee in the glade beyond Hembury Barn, we rode down the track that follows the northern edge of the wood, emerging as darkness fell.

Sunday 19 April 2009
Morning ride: Cancelled
0 present:
There were no participants out for today's ride.

Friday 24 April 2009
Evening ride: Staverton
3 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Tom Pearson
This was a very enjoyable ride that took us along Colston Road, where we stopped briefly at Colston Farm to chat with Michael's relatives. From Staverton Bridge we took the riverside path to the village and then returned via Abham. Tom enjoyed the ride so much that he thought he might be interested in a weekend ride to Street.

Sunday 26 April 2009
Morning ride: Converted to SocialShowers
3 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
Zac was tired and didn't much care for the showers that were buzzing around, so we played some games at Crofters and then did badminton at Ashmoor.

Friday 1 May 2009
Evening ride: Cross FurzesLight drizzle and mist turning heavy
3 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Tom Pearson
We planned a ride to Chalk Ford this evening, but as we climbed the hill towards Cross Furzes the slight mist and light drizzle at the bottom turned to thick mist and heavy drizzle by the time we reached the top. Tom's solution to the problem was to simply ride back down the hill again to home, so that is what we did.

Sunday 3 May 2009
Morning ride: Converted to Social
2 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones
Zac had told us he was coming today, but as he didn't arrive we decided to run at games social at Crofters.

Friday 8 May 2009
Evening ride: DartingtonDry
3 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Tom Pearson
Ashley and Tom, Colston Road
Ashley and Tom at Luscombe Farm on Colston Road
Our ride today took us out towards Staverton, probably via Green Lane, and homewards along Colston Road where we stopped for some photos.

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