South Dartmoor CTC

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Sunday 5 September 2010
1015-1400
Morning ride: Converted to SocialLight rain
3 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
Poor weather again persuaded us to switch to a social today. WE watched the first part of Michael's video of the Scotland tour and played several network PC games.

Friday 10 September 2010
1900-2200
Evening ride: Cancelled
0 present:
Nobody except Michael was available for today's ride, so it was cancelled.

Sunday 12 September 2010
1015-1250
Morning ride: StavertonSunny
4 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
Zac had sore knees, Ash had sore knees and Callum had sore legs, but at least we managed to do a ride this week! We rode along Colston road, stopping briefly to chat with Michael's relative at Colston farm, then continued up the cycle path to Huxham's Cross. A new sign pointed down the hill to "Staverton Bridge Nursery" but our plans to check it out for a possible cafe didn't materialise: we got to the bridge and were looking everywhere, only to be told after a while that we had passed it on the way down the hill!

The riverside path was delightful today in the sunshine, although Michael felt a bit stupid riding Callum's little bike when he suggested a bike swap. After enjoying a chocolate break in the play park we headed back to Buckfastleigh via Abham and Caddaford.

Friday 17 September 2010
1900-2050
Evening ride: Holne WoodsSunny but chilly
3 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones
This excellent evening ride started with a ride along the old road to Ashburton, then when we found the park was busy we headed back through River Dart Adventures where there were still a surprisingly large number of campers. We then headed up the track from the back through Holne woods as darkness fell, needing our lights on full beams to navigate our way through the spooky darkness. An owl kept us company in the stillness, making the whole experience somewhat surreal.

We returned through Hembury. AS it was Zac's birthday tomorrow Michael had bought a chocolate birthday cake before the ride for us all to share when we got back. Sadly Zac chose to pursue other activities this evening, but we still celebrated his birthday by finishing half the cake!

Sunday 19 September 2010
1015-1245
Morning ride: Landscove CaféGrey but dry
3 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones
Callum & Ash on the bridlepath from Penn Farm
For this morning's ride we headed up Green lane and then took the track down towards Abham that now seems to have been adopted as home by a group of travellers. Skirting back around to Landscove we settled on one of the new outdoor tables at the garden centre cafe and enjoyed various tasty refreshments - the slab of coffee cake was easily big enough for two!

Our return route was up the hill to Penn farm, down the field path that today was heavily occupied by cows and then through the downhill woodland track that returned us eventually to Green Lane and home.

Friday 24 September 2010
1900-2050
Evening ride: Skerraton DownSunny but chilly
4 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
Our last evening ride of the season had to be something a little special, so armed with good lights we headed up through Dean to Skerraton farm and then joined the track that leads up to the open moor. It was still not totally dark as we made our way up through the burnt gorse. Halfway up Michael realised his pump had fallen off during the climb, probably a result of being caught in some gorse stalks, but there seemed little point in looking for it in the dark.

At the top we were rewarded with views of myriads of twinkling lights spread across the whole of South Devon. We stayed there chatting and taking photos until we got too cold, then enjoyed the descent across the moor to Cross Furzes and home.

Sunday 26 September 2010
1015-1330
Morning ride (Car-assisted): Hennock ReservoirsSunny with an autumnal chill
3 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones
Ash and Callum in the Tottiford reservoir
The completely drained upper section of the Tottiford reservoir
View to Tottiford dam
Ash & Callum on the path by the lower section of Tottiford
Trenchford reservoir
Tottiford reservoir from the dam
After some deliberation we settled on Hennock Reservoirs as the destination for this car-assisted morning ride. On arrival we rode the tracks around the Trenchford reservoir, noting that its water level was significantly below maximum. Going around the Tottiford however the reservoir seemed to be only half full. The rear portion of the reservoir, which is at a higher level, was completely drained and there was evidence of several stone artefacts exposed by the absence of water. We found out later that South West water had drained the reservoir last autumn for maintenance and that the foundations of ancient buildings had been uncovered as a result. Time Team even came to investigate in August, and programme being broadcast at some point in 2011. We just enjoyed the sunshine and the unusual opportunity to walk on the now grassy bottom of the reservoir.

The ride had been delightful but had also been rather short, so we finished with a spin down the hill to the village of Lustleigh where we were able to confirm that the cafe is still doing business.

Friday 1 October 2010
1900-2200
Social: Computer Games
4 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
Our plans to kick off our new social season with some badminton came to nothing when Michael found that there were no free courts anywhere in south Devon. When Squash was also unavailable we played a grand game of Lord of the Rings on the PC network, took a trip to Lee Mill so the youngsters could buy some good value snacks and then returned for a little Call of Duty.

Sunday 3 October 2010
1015-1240
Morning ride: River Dart AdventuresDry & breezy with sunny spells
3 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Jack Parnell
Jack and Ash in Holne Woods
Last night's forecast of heavy rain all night and continuing until late afternoon proved somewhat inaccurate: it certainly rained all night, but everything had cleared through by the time our ride started. New rider Jack (he came on a social earlier in the year), who had already ridden out from Staverton, had no difficulty with our ride this morning which started by riding along the lower Hembury track. The Holy Brook was in full flow today but there seemed to be nearly as much water running down the track as well!

From Gallant Le Bower we rode down the track through Holne Woods past the newly-felled timber and on through River Dart Adventures where all the campers had finally gone home.

Friday 8 October 2010
1900-2200
Social: Pool
4 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones
We had to change our plans again this evening: when we arrived at the Tenpin bowling centre in Plymouth we discovered that all the lanes were booked out until 10pm. Well we all enjoy Pool, so we decided to do that instead. Two of the tables we chose decided to eat our money without giving us a game, but once that had been sorted by the staff we had several good games on two adjacent tables. Tesco provided refreshments on the way back, then we finished with a game of Call of Duty on the PC network.

Sunday 10 October 2010
1015-1255
Morning ride: StavertonGrey start, sunny later
3 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Jack Parnell
Ash and Jack on the lane from Staverton to Abham
We were a little late starting today as Jack forgot to ring to let us know he was coming on the ride. We set off as soon as we could for a leisurely jaunt along Colston Road to Staverton Bridge and the riverside track. In the park Jack was telling us how he loves pushing his younger brothers as high as possible on the bucket swing as they really don't like it, but we soon discovered that Jack doesn't like it either!

We returned to Buckfastleigh via Abham.

Friday 15 October 2010
1900-2200
Social: Badminton
5 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
We managed to find two badminton courts free this evening, but only at Coombeshead School at Newton Abbot, and only from 9pm until 10pm. We played various computer games in the clubroom first, then set off for Newton and had some great games of badminton - some of our members are showing definite signs of improvement. The only downside was that the three without racquets were charged £1.40 hire fee each on top of the court costs, so we may have to give Coombeshead a miss until we all have our own racquets.

Sunday 17 October 2010
1015-1615
Day ride: Widecombe-in-the-MoorPerfect sunny weather
4 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones, Jack Parnell
Jack, Ash and Callum climbing rocks at Bonehill
Glorious weather at Bonehill Rocks
Widecombe Green
Cafe on the Green at Widecombe
Doctor Blackall's Drive
View of the Dart Valley from Dr Blackall's Drive
The downhill trach near Deadman's Corner
Today's perfect weather was just too good to waste on a morning ride, and as we were long overdue for a Dartmoor ride we headed up to Cold East Cross via Ashburton and Ausewell hill.

First stop was Bonehill rocks, one of the many Devon locations used by Steven Spielberg in his recent shooting of the film War Horse. The youngsters spent 25 minutes climbing the rocks and looking for letterboxes before we descended the hill to Widecombe for a welcome refreshment stop in the Cafe on the Green.

Jack and Callum bought extra drinks from the shop near the village green and after soaking up the tranquil village scene we took the road to Ponsworthy with its steep descent to Ponsworthy bridge.

Now came decision time: we could take the easier route home via Leusdon and Spitchwick, or tackle an extra climb for the reward of Dr Blackall's drive. Michael was very impressed when the youngsters chose the more adventurous option, and we were soon chatting with a pair of interesting cyclists from London on the climb through Lock's Gate Cross.

We pumped our tyres at the car park at Bel Tor Corner: Callum refused to accept that the reason for Michael's new pump falling apart was anything to do with the way he had been using it! After the initial rough section of the track we quickly found ourselves looking over some of the most spectacular views in Devon and thoroughly enjoyed the track as it wound its way along the upper edge of the Dart valley. As usual we took the track descent to New Bridge: it was a little overgrown today but we still managed to have a lot of fun negotiating the twists and turns.

At New Bridge car park we chatted briefly with South Hams CTC while enjoying ice creams from the van, then returned home via Hembury Woods which concluded one of the best rides so far this season.

Friday 22 October 2010
1900-2200
Social: Ten-pin Bowling
3 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones
Callum really wanted to do ten-pin bowling this evening so we booked two games at Plymouth for the usual high Friday night prices. Michael came out first in both games with Ash taking it in turns for second place. After a little time on the arcade games we called back to Tesco Lee Mill for some snack purchases and a browse of the recent games releases.

Sunday 24 October 2010
1015-1315
Morning ride: Chalk FordSunny with blue skies but chilly
3 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones
Callum & Ash on the moor near Chalk Ford
After some debate we settled on Chalk Ford as our destination today, tackling the climb to Cross Furzes fairly rapidly. The moorland grass on the downhill to the destination was damp but not too slippery. We searched in vain for any sign of the family of piglets that we had seen during the summer, but sadly they were all gone - we didn't really want to think too much about where!

With time to spare we detoured through Michelcombe to Holne where we paid a final visit to the local shop and cafe that will be closing next weekend - the coffee cake and hot chocolates were most welcome, but Michael didn't get on to well with the multitude of enormous dogs that came in with two other customers during our stay. We returned home via Hembury hill, once again missing our favourite Slalom track in order to get home close to 1pm.

Friday 29 October 2010
1900-2200
Social: Games Evening
4 present: Josh Davey (12, Buckfastleigh), Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones
Josh was given special permission to come to this evening's social as he was keen to join the cycling club, but this didn't prove too productive as he hadn't realised the cycle rides were on Sundays and conflicted with activities in his other sports club. Nevertheless we spent a very enjoyable evening playing team games of Call of Duty and introducing Josh to the Lord of the Rings PC game.

Sunday 31 October 2010
1015-1215
Morning ride: South BrentCloudy start, rain later
6 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Jack Parnell
A wet visit to South Brent playpark
With a rather unsettled outlook we set off up Dean hill and followed through to Harbourneford, planning to turn back at the first sign of rain. Unfortunately the leading riders neglected to wait before descending the hill to South Brent, so Michael was unable to warn them that the small drops of rain that had begun to fall were a sure sign of worse to come.

Since we were in the village we bought some refreshments from the coop and ate them under the shelter of the shop front, but by now the rain was settling in for the morning so there was nothing for it but to head for home as quickly as we could. Zac and Jack had no coats and Zac and Ryan were wearing jeans, so by the time we had taken the main road back to Marley Head and then cut back to Dean hill for the final descent they were thoroughly drenched. They didn't seem to mind, although they were very grateful for the warm fire and computer games on offer at the clubroom after the ride.

Friday 5 November 2010
1900-2200
Social: Fireworks
4 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones
Impressive fireworks at Plymouth
With our social falling on Bonfire Night this year it seemed clear what we would be doing, but it took a little while to decide which event to attend. In the end we headed for Mountbatten in Plymouth which offered us an excellent view of the firework display coming out of the Citadel on the Hoe. Ash took his camera and managed to get some spectacular long-exposure shots of the display, and we all bought some ice-cream boats coated with chocolate and fudge from the ice cream van.

We called in to Tesco on the way home and still had time for a game of Call of Duty when we got back to the Clubroom.

Sunday 7 November 2010
1015-1335
Morning ride: TotnesFine and sunny
4 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones, Jack Parnell
Autumn on the Totnes cycle path
Jack, Ash and Callum on the Totnes cycle path
Jack and Ash on the Totnes cycle path
Fabulous autumn leaves adorned our route along Colston Road and along the cycle path to Dartington. Today we were able to continue along the riverside path to Totnes where even more spectacular colours awaited us. This really did turn out to be a fabulous cycle ride.

We haven't visited the Barrel House cafe for a long time, and today it proved just as welcoming as ever with an open fire burning just inside the door and comfortable sofas arranged conveniently nearby. The hot chocolates and teacakes were excellent and we really didn't feel like leaving.

Our return route along Barracks Hill took us down memory lane for Jack who had lived in Dartington when he was younger and had frequently visited his gran at Week. The farm lanes took us quickly to the hill leading to the timber yard and we returned to Buckfastleigh via the Pennywell downhill.

Friday 12 November 2010
1900-2200
Social: Charades & Music Quiz
5 present: Julian Duquemin, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
It was good to see Julian this evening, visiting his friends in Devon for the weekend. Zac had his foot in plaster and Julian didn't have his sports clothing so Callum's suggestion of badminton was always going to be a non-starter. Instead we had a very enjoyable evening playing games at Crofters. Most of the time was spent on Charades, where Julian's attempts to mime the movie Madagascar came to nothing when everyone totally failed to get his mime for "Mad" and failed to realise that his mime for "Petrol" was supposed to mean "gas"! He did get them to guess "car" but sadly that wasn't enough for them to have any clue what movie he was talking about. Ash came first and Julian came a close second.

Next up was a short music quiz where Zac seemed unfamiliar with almost every genre of music Michael came up with. Julian and Callum were the clear winners here, but everyone had fun. We concluded a great evening with a team game on Call of Duty, where Julian and Zac's ploy of closing the door to their room so they could discuss tactics in private failed to make any noticeable difference to the magnitude of their trouncing!

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