South Dartmoor CTC

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Friday 20 May 2011
1900-2115
Evening ride: River Dart Country ParkDry
6 present: Connor Beasley, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell
Our ride started out along the old Ashburton road, taking us quickly to the play park at Ashburton. We explored some of the lanes behind Ashburton, then headed to River Dart Country Park and up the steep path to Gallant Le Bower. We returned home via Hembury by around 9.15.

This was the first evening this season that we didn’t need lights.

Sunday 22 May 2011
1300-1730
Day ride (Car-assisted): CockwoodSunny
5 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell
The coast path near Dawlish
Callum, Zac, Jack and Ash on the coast path near Dawlish
Today we started later than usual, at 12.00, as we were planning to join the Devon DA 80th birthday celebrations at Cockwood village hall near Starcross, which we decided was a bit too far to cycle. When the bikes had been loaded into the car we set off around 1.15, and after being delayed by accidents on the A38 we finally parked the car at Ashcombe Village Hall at around 2.20.

It was a fabulous sunny day, although perhaps a bit on the breezy side. We took the lanes to Dawlish and then rode the path along the sea wall to Dawlish Warren – spectacular today in the sunshine. From there it was just a short ride around to Cockwood where we arrived at 3.15.

The hall was really small for the number of people, and as there we no chairs free we had to stand up for the whole time we were there. We paid our £4 each and received two below-average scones with plenty of cream but little jam, a square slice of anniversary cake with semi-liquid icing that had been made by two members and decorated intricately with the CTC logo, and a drink of squash. Some of our members didn’t get on with the food at all, but at least it was nice to be part of the club’s celebrations.

Kevin Presland was there and had a chat with some of our lads who knew his son from South Dartmoor School. He then wanted to ride back to Ashcombe with us, so we left around 4.10 and chatted happily all the way to the car. All in all we had a good day and got home by 5.45.

Friday 27 May 2011
1900-2100
Evening ride: Lud GateSunny but cold
7 present: Connor Beasley, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell, Brodie Scott
Friendly horses need attention
The group on the moor near Lud Gate
Brodie Scott with Ash and Zac
Brodie, Ash, Zac and Callum on the moor near Lud Gate
We rode up to Cross Furzes on a lovely sunny evening with a great turnout, and then on to Lud Gate. Ash somehow managed to burst his tube on the moor, and as he didn’t have a spare tube and had two holes the repair took around 15 minutes. This allowed everyone the time to get to know some friendly horses that were watching us from a nearby field.

By the time the tube was repaired the sun was low and it was getting cold – Michael’s fingers were freezing after repairing the tube. Most of the youngsters wanted to go back the way we had come as they were cold and wanted to be sure of enough game time! Ash, however, was determined not to miss out on the downhill to Chalk Ford so he pressed on at high speed and the rest of us went back home via Cross Furzes. Ash was pleased with himself when he arrived just 6 minutes after us, at 9.04.

Sunday 29 May 2011
1015-1250
Morning ride: StavertonCloudy with light drizzle
4 present: Connor Beasley, Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien
Fun at Staverton Play Park
Connor, Ash and Callum at Staverton Play Park
The weather may not have been perfect today but there was a very nice atmosphere on the ride – Callum O’B was full of enthusiasm and rode excellently. We started out along Colston Road, stopping briefly to chat with Michael’s relatives at Colston, then took the cycle path to Huxham’s Cross and the road to Staverton Bridge and the riverside path. We then took the woodland path past the imaginary swamp-piranhas and spent an enjoyable time in the park playing Frisbee, rocket and the swings as well as eating chocolate.

We returned home along the usual route past Abham and Caddaford, hitting each other if we saw a double digit registration plate on a passing car. We finally arrived home at around 12.50.

Friday 3 June 2011
1900-2200
Evening ride: Hembury WoodsHot and sunny
7 present: Connor Beasley, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell, Adam Wyeth
Summer river fun at Hembury
Ash, Connor, Callum and Adam enjoying the River Dart in Hembury Woods
This was a fabulously hot summer evening, so it wasn’t surprising that everyone like the idea of going to Spitchwick for a swim or that several had brought towels in anticipation. Unfortunately Callum O’B was being very slow up the hill today – he said he had sore eyes – so we changed the ride to include the inner track through Hembury Woods and a swim in the river there instead.

This turned out to be a good choice as we had a full half an hour to spend in the water. Everyone except Jack, Callum O’B and Michael went in by a little waterfall that provided a great deal of entertainment for bathers and watchers alike.

When we got back to Crofters at 9.30 Michael had to spend ages cooking noodles as everyone seemed to be strangely hungry!

Sunday 5 June 2011
1015-1300
Morning ride: CancelledLight rain
0 present:
With Callum O’B away on a family camp, Zac working and Callum F and Connor off with Ash’s Mum again we decided to cancel the ride so that Ash could focus on GCSE revision.

Friday 10 June 2011
1900-2110
Evening ride: Belford MillDry but cool
8 present: Connor Beasley, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Callum O'Brien, Adam Wyeth
Our ride this evening took us along the old road to Ashburton, along the path past the park, up to Belford Mill and down the woodland track to Ashburton again. Jerry had never been on this track before, and as it was not too muddy today he enjoyed it a lot.

We returned home via Druid and the old Ashburton road for around 9.10.

Sunday 12 June 2011
1015-1400
Morning ride: Converted to SocialHeavy rain all day
7 present: Connor Beasley, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, Adam Wyeth
It rained heavily all day today – the first real rain we have had for ages, and just in the nick of time as apparently the South West region is on the verge of a drought.

We organised a games social at Crofters finishing at 2pm.

Friday 17 June 2011
1900-2200
Evening ride: Converted to SocialRain
6 present: Connor Beasley, Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell, Adam Wyeth
The rain was supposed to stop between 6.30 and 7.30, but it didn’t so we ended up playing games at Crofters all evening.

Sunday 19 June 2011
1015-1310
Morning ride: StavertonCloudy with sunny spells & light showers, 14°
5 present: Connor Beasley, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien
Connor, Ash and Callum on Staverton Island
Stone-skimming on Staverton Island
Zac was having problems persuading his boss not to make him work on Sundays, but the rest of us rode along Colston Road to Staverton where we arrived at the station just as a steam train was passing through. We chased it along the riverside path to the foot crossing, arriving just before it.

By way of a change we crossed the gate (that was always locked on Sundays) and skimmed stones across the river from the beach on the far side of the island – Connor got quite good by the time we left. Nipping up through the woodland path we spent a little time playing on the swings in the park, then when we heard the whistle we raced back to the station in time to see the same train returning to the station on its way to Buckfastleigh. The vintage Milky Bar machine was working so we all exchanged our money for old pennies and bought tasty chocolate bars.

We returned along the usual route past Hole Farm and Abham for 1.10 and enjoyed an after-ride computer games social at Crofters until 3pm.

Friday 24 June 2011
1900-2200
Evening ride: Converted to SocialRain
7 present: Connor Beasley, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell
With rain continuing all evening we changed the ride to a games social, and for the most part spent the evening on the PCs. Unbeknown to Michael three of the lads popped out to use the trampoline in the rain and ended up really quite wet, so perhaps we should have gone on the ride after all.

Sunday 26 June 2011
1015-1310
Morning ride: Holne (12 mi)Hot and sunny, 24°
5 present: Connor Beasley, Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell
Michelcombe
Callum, Connor, Jack and Ash at Michelcombe
Ash, Callum, Jack and Connor on the track through Holne Woods
The track through Holne Woods
Ash threatens to dispose of Callum's bike in Holne Woods
Today was a one-day heatwave, but Jack had to leave by 2pm so we contented ourselves with a ride through Buckfast and Michelcombe to Holne play park where we spent some time playing on the rope swing and slides. Ash annoyingly had another front puncture, caused by sharp rim tape.

Holne Community Shop and Tearooms was disappointingly still not open despite its previously advertised opening date in May, so we returned home via the track to River Dart Country Park and then along the old Ashburton road. Everyone was pleased to reach the relative coolness of Crofters, although many later went out to enjoy the trampoline.

Friday 1 July 2011
1900-2115
Evening ride: Skerraton DownWarm but cloudy
8 present: Connor Beasley, Ash Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell, Adam Wyeth
Callum O’Brien was back on his old bike today as his new one had a broken derailleur. He was slow for the first part of the climb past Nurston but then seemed to find some new gears and led the way up the track to the top of Skerraton Down – I think he surprised himself with his new turn of speed.

It was fabulous on Skerraton this evening – perfectly quiet and warm. We enjoyed the descent to Cross Furzes as always, although this evening the lads noticed some Year 9 pupils camping nearby, something we have never seen in this quite stretch of moorland.

We got home around 9.15 and the youngsters enjoyed some trampolining and Call of Duty 4 at Crofters.

Sunday 3 July 2011
1015-1630
Day ride (Car-assisted): Ayrmer Cove (15 mi)Hot and sunny
4 present: Connor Beasley, Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien
Callum, Ash and Connor on the tidal road
The Aveton Gifford tidal road
Heading off along the tidal road
Ash watches a remote-controlled speedboat heading up the Avon estuary
Connor and Ash head out to join Callum in the water
Ayrmer Cove
Connor, Callum and Ash test the water temperature
Today’s ride turned out to be especially good fun for everyone who took part. We parked the car on the road just beyond California Cross on a hot and sunny morning and rode the short distance through the lanes and down the hill to Aveton Gifford. We took the tidal road towards St Anne’s Chapel, entertained along the way by a man playing with his expensive radio-controlled speedboat on the river.

Ash was impressed with the luxury properties on the climb to St Anne’s, many of which had remote controlled gates and multiple garages. He imagined some might have underground garages full of luxury cars, rather like the game Test Drive that he plays frequently at the moment.

We bought some refreshments at the shop and sat down on the seat outside to eat them, then rode down the hill to the village of Ringmore. We had planned to take the bridleway down to the cove but ended up on the footpath instead which involved a style and a pleasant path across a field.

It was hot and sunny when we arrived at the beach. After eating lunch on the sand we explored the sea, trying to find our way out to one of the rocky islands: there were large patches of spooky-looking seaweed but we found a way that largely avoided that. The rocks underfoot were a bit sharp but we soon reached the island and then discovered a fabulous sheltered pool which kept the youngsters happy with endless dives.

Returning to the bikes we followed the bridleway back to Ringmore and then took the main road back to the car from St Anne’s Chapel. The lads really enjoyed today’s ride which was easily the best of the summer so far.

Friday 8 July 2011
1900-2115
Evening ride: Hembury WoodsLight drizzle
5 present: Connor Beasley, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien
The dry forecast turned out to be incorrect this evening, so we arranged a shorter ride around Hembury. Once the few who had temporarily abandoned us at The Orchard had met up with us again at Buckfast and Callum O’B had been persuaded that Hembury wasn’t such a bad destination after all we rode along the lower Hembury track and then branched up to the right halfway along. This would normally have brought us out halfway up the main hill, but we struck out upwards partway along and came out right on the top corner – a bit scratched maybe, but nobody was missing!

We amused ourselves in the fort area by climbing trees and then rode down the Slalom track through the woods on the way home. There was the usual trampolining and computer games fun when we returned at 9.15.

Sunday 10 July 2011
1015-1510
Morning ride: Fermoy's Garden Centre (19 mi)Sunny intervals
7 present: Connor Beasley, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, Brodie Scott
One of the residents of the Bird of Prey Centre near Fermoy's
Jerry, Callum F, Brodie, Connor, Callum O'B and Ash at Fermpy's Garden Centre
Broadhempston Play Park
Leaping fun at Broadhempston Play Park
On a cloudy but dry morning we had a good turnout and, happily, everyone seemed up for a slightly longer ride today. We rode through Caddaford and arrived at Staverton Station just as a steam train pulled in. There were calls for fun in the park as we rode past, but Michael kept everyone focussed on the destination and was impressed when we arrived at Fermoy’s garden centre by 11.55.

Five ordered hot food, and as the sun was out now we tried one of the outside tables. This turned out to be a bit unstable however, and it soon got a bit chilly, so we moved inside to a large round table. After looking around both sections of the pet store we crossed the car park to check out the new falconry centre: the birds here were impressive, especially the Hedwig lookalike and the other large owls. Apparently anyone can fly a bird from the glove for £35 per hour!

We left around 1.25 and headed back to Broadhempston via Denbury. After playing in Broadhempston Play Park for fifteen minutes we headed home via Green Lane, arriving back at 3.10 for a trampolining and Call of Duty social until 4.30.

Friday 15 July 2011
1900-2100
Evening ride: Converted to SocialDamp
7 present: Connor Beasley, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell
The forecast this evening was for occasional spells of light rain, and since it was dark, gloomy and drizzling at seven o’clock it didn’t take us long to decide on running a social instead of a ride. We spent an enjoyable evening on Modern Warfare 2, Halo and trampolining.

Sunday 17 July 2011
1015-1240
Morning ride: South BrentSunny with showers
5 present: Connor Beasley, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones
The unsettled weather continued today with a forecast of showers, so we settled on a morning-only ride in the Dean direction. Callum O’B was for some reason unhappy about the hills or the direction or something, and after waiting for him halfway up he then decided to go home, leaving the rest of us to continue to South Brent.

We bought a pack of ten delicious doughnuts from Plymco to share, rode along the riverside path and then, after some debate, decided to ride up through Lutton to Bloody Pool. Everyone was quite fast now so we rode it easily and got home for 12.40, getting soaked by a nasty shower as we came into Buckfastleigh. As usual there was a social after the ride that involved Modern Warfare 2 and trampolining.

Friday 22 July 2011
1900-2100
Evening ride: AshburtonSunny & warm
6 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell
The afternoon rain gave way to a wonderful sunny evening so we organised a varied ride to Ashburton that took in Pridhamsleigh, the railway path, the park path, the main street, South Dartmoor school and the Terrace Walk where a new kissing gate had been installed since our last visit that made it much easier for us. The views were superb here this evening, so Michael was frustrated that he had forgotten his camera.

From here we took the shortcut track from Headborough Farm towards The Lanterns that turned out to be not so muddy this evening, then returned home for 9pm. Congratulations to Callum O’B who rode terrifically tonight, making up for last week!

Sunday 24 July 2011
1015-1510
Morning ride: DartmeetCloudy with drizzle
5 present: Julian Duquemin, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones, Jack Parnell
Ash helps his friend across the stepping stones
Ash and Callum start the tricky crossing of the West Dart River stepping stones near Dartmeet
Ash, Callum, Jack and Julian on Dr Blackall's Drive
Dr Blackall's Drive, from near Mel Tor
Some of our members were apparently “too sleepy” to come out today, but we proceeded with our planned ride to Dartmeet with Julian adding to our numbers.

We made good speed through Buckfast, Scoriton and Michelcombe, then raced a horse up to Holne. Whilst the weather was mainly dry at Holne it turned damp on top of the moor as we rode past Venford and Ash and Callum were getting anxious about the dark clouds. We took the track over the moor from Combestone Tor right down to the stepping stones over the Dart: the water level was not too high today so we were able to cross easily, although Jack was happy to let Ash carry his bike over.

We arrived at the Badgers Holt restaurant by 12.30 or so, enjoyed some tasty refreshments and then Ash purchased a doggy tax disc holder from the gift shop for his mother’s birthday. We then tackled the big climb of Dartmeet Hill which turned out to be hot work at times.

Dr Blackalls Drive offered the usual spectacular views over the Dart Valley, but progress was interrupted when Ash got a pinch puncture. Things were delayed further when Michael discovered that Jerry had failed to put the cap back on the repair fluid, leaving it solid and useless. Julian saved the day by loaning Ash his own spare tube.

We concluded a good ride with the rapid descent over the moor to New Bridge, the climb to Hembury and the final descent of the Slalom track. Arriving home by 3.10 we finished off the day with some Modern Warfare 2, although Julian spent some of the time watching the Tour de France.

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