South Dartmoor CTC

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Friday 7 October 2011
1900-2200
Social: Ten-pin Bowling
6 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Callum O'Brien
We set off around 7.15, travelling down the A38. At one point we were undertaken by a crazy driver in a black car near Ivybridge. When we got to Plympton we were not surprised to find that the same black car had caused a pile-up on the dual carriageway.

We went to Sainsbury first at Marsh Mills for ten minutes, then proceeded to TenPin for our bowling session. There are no family deals after 7pm now, so they wanted £5.49 for each child and £6.99 for Michael - and that was for a single game! Michael declined to play, but the others had a good game and Ash won overall with a score of 114 with the rest all below 100. They all had fun regardless of their scores.

We played a little pool when we found some tables that actually worked, then returned home for 10pm exactly.

Sunday 9 October 2011
1015-1340
Morning ride: HolneSunny periods with occasional light drizzle
8 present: Tao Burgess, Lawrence Buttress, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Fionn Harding (15, Totnes), Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
The group outside Holne café and shop
Lawrence Buttress
Callum O'B stayed home with toothache today, but when Zac brought his friend Fionn on the ride we still had a respectable number of riders.

The plan this morning was to head for Venford Reservoir, but Lawrence was recovering from a cold virus that he picked up on Friday and was a good deal slower than usual. He lost us when he waited in Scoriton until we came back for him - he said he didn't know he was supposed to go on! On the climb from Michelcombe to Holne he slowed to a crawl so clearly we weren't going to make Venford today. We spent some enjoyable time in the park by way of compensation.

Fortunately the Holne café was close at hand and everyone wanted to go there, so we settled down for coffee, cakes and scrambled egg on toast. We then returned home via Hembury Woods where Tao and Ash rode all the way around the edge of the fort.

Friday 14 October 2011
1900-2200
Social: Music Quiz
7 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell
Lawrence was ill tonight but after an hour of chat and games everyone was up for a music quiz. Ash and Jerry were the team leaders, and we had rounds on pop music, TV themes and movie themes. Jerry proved quite knowledgeable, winning some of the rounds outright. By the end of the evening there were only two points separating the teams, so it was effectively a draw although Jerry's team did have the edge. Everyone really enjoyed the quiz and didn't want the evening to end.

Sunday 16 October 2011
1015-1300
Morning ride: Cancelled
0 present:
Michael was away in Paris today so the ride was cancelled.

Friday 21 October 2011
1900-2200
Social: Video Evening, Inception
7 present: Lawrence Buttress, Ash Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell
After a short session of games three of the group wanted to watch the movie Inception, so they watched most of it in the lounge on Blu-ray with surround sound and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Sunday 23 October 2011
1015-1515
Day ride: Gatcombe TracksWindy but long sunny periods
7 present: Tao Burgess, Lawrence Buttress, Ash Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Callum O'Brien
Ready to set sail, on Totnes quayside
Totnes quayside
The group at Littlehempston
Tao was late today, arriving at 10.40 instead of the usual 10.15, so we decided to do a local ride rather than the originally-proposed car-assisted ride to Exeter. Tao was pushing for something harder and full day even though Lawrence and Callum O’B probably weren’t fit enough for that, so we compromised by heading for Totnes with the option of going a little further if everyone was up for it.

We rode out along Colston road, delayed for a few minutes when Callum’s chain broke.
Then at Dartington, on the cycle path near the water wheel, Jerry’s tyre went flat: apparently he had broken off the end of his Presta valve earlier when pumping it with Michael’s pump but hadn’t mentioned this fact to Michael. To make matters worse his rim wouldn’t take a Schroder valve, so we had to take Ash’s Presta tube out to replace Jerry’s and then put Ash’s spare into Ash’s wheel. This was all rather a waste of precious tine. There was some amusement when we noticed that the tube Jerry took out had sellotape covering a small hole – he blamed Jack for suggesting the idea!

The wind was really picking up now, but it was still generally bright and sunny with occasional cloudy spells. We went to Morrisons café which turned out to be amazingly cheap. Lawrence bought a full fry-up and ate everything except the mushrooms and tomatoes which he gave away to Jerry. Callum had a hot dog, the rest of us had drinks and cakes. It was good to get a Latte for less than £1.50!

Tao and Michael decided on the shorter route home, so after spending a little leisure time at Totnes Quayside we took a link track Tao knew from Bridgetown through Bourton to the Gatcombe Tracks. Unfortunately this included a huge climb which really discouraged Lawrence – he ended up walking most of it. He does have some problems with his bike though, and he liked the idea of Michael doing some repairs to keep it going until he gets his new bike.

Ash and Zac did jumps at the bottom of the track into Littlehempston, then we returned straight home via Staverton with Lawrence picking up a bit of speed as we got closer to home. When we got home at 3.15 Callum was being asked by his parents to return home for a trip to London. For some reason he didn’t want to go and preferred to enjoy the social at Crofters, but after some persuasion he agreed to go on the understanding he would get to see Tin Tin on Wednesday. The rest of the group watched the conclusion of Inception while Tao went home and returned with a delicious-looking Apple Crumble, made with apples picked from Michael’s trees.

Friday 28 October 2011
1900-2200
Social: Charades and Computer Games
7 present: Lawrence Buttress, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Callum O'Brien
Everyone except Zac and Lawrence started the evening on the trampoline, then we moved on to a session of Charades which seemed to be popular with everyone. It was evidently not quite as popular as last week's music quiz, however, as they opted to return to computer games for the final hour.

Sunday 30 October 2011
1015-1240
Morning ride: River Dart Country ParkDry
6 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Callum O'Brien
There had been rain overnight and it was still raining a bit at 9.30, but it had stopped by 10.15 and remained dry for the morning. Lawrence left a note on Facebook saying he couldn’t come today.

Michael suggested a morning ride as there was a risk of rain in the afternoon, and we all agreed on Hembury woods and the track to River Dart Country Park. Several wanted to do the lower Hembury track but Callum O’B refused, saying he didn’t want to get muddy! So we went up the main hill through the woods, which caused a little friction between the two Callums.

Callum O’B took ages to get to the top, but once there he was fine. Someone had tied a piece of string across the side of the gate at the top of the Holne Woods track, but we got through that without too much difficulty and then enjoyed the excellent track descent to River Dart Country Park.

Something was afoot in the park today. In the place where the tents can usually be seen there were literally hundreds of cars parked everywhere, and the park seemed packed with thousands of people, mainly children. The explanation soon became apparent when we saw the BBC events staff: they were recording Live and Dangerous Days Out, and tickets had been available for some time from the BBC website. There were big marquees, presumably with animals the kids could touch, and lots of cheering and applause coming from within.

We didn’t stop, pressing on home for 12.40. This was perhaps a bit earlier than some had wanted, so we’ll try to ride further in future, but everyone was happy enough to play on the trampoline when we got back.

Friday 4 November 2011
1900-2210
Social: Bonfire Night
7 present: Lawrence Buttress, Ash Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Callum O'Brien, Gavin Pearson
Nobody had brought enough money for the proposed cinema trip to watch the movie In Time, so we contented ourselves with a trip to Tesco to buy food items like burgers and sushi and then returned to Crofters to eat it all around the bonfire that Gavin had lit - it took a while to get going as the wood was wet, but it got there in the end. We also had a few cheap Asda fireworks that had been donated to us to add a fizz to the evening, and Hayley kindly provided some cheesy things and some pumpkin seeds.

Sunday 6 November 2011
1015-1417
Morning ride: Avon DamSunny but slightly chilly (10°)
4 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell
The lane to Deancombe
Callum, Ash and Jack on the lane to Deancombe
View downstream from the Dam
The Avon Dam
The Avon Reservoir
Jack, Callum and Ash on the Dam
Jack politely refuses the ford at Cross Furzes
Only Jack and Callum joined us for the ride today. It was Lawrence’s birthday and we were disappointed not to be able to celebrate it with him.

We followed the original plan of riding to South Brent, and amazingly Callum was actually very fast – he loved the ride and didn’t complain once all day! We called in to the Co-op at South Brent, bought some Belgian buns and cookies and then decided to take the moderate off-road ride to the Avon Dam rather than my proposed extreme off-road route to Ugborough Beacon.

Autumn leaves adorned the route from Gidley Bridge to Shipley Bridge – Callum did so well he was actually leading at one point. There were, predictably, lots of people at Shipley, and as we rode up the path to the reservoir Callum revealed that he had never been here before.

We ate our food by the reservoir and spent a little time walking along the dam for some photographs. Eventually we set off across the moor for home at around 1.20: it turned out to be quite muddy and boggy in places, but there were fabulous views across South Devon from the top of the Abbots Way.

Once we had negotiated the muddy bits near Water Oak Corner everyone enjoyed the final downhill moorland track to Cross Furzes. After a few more photos by the clapper bridge we returned via Wallaford Road for around 2.17. Congratulations to Callum on his best ride for ages.

Friday 11 November 2011
1900-2230
Social: Badminton
7 present: Julian Duquemin, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell
After some games and chat at home we set off at around 8.10 in the car for our booked badminton courts at Paignton, calling in at Morrisons Paignton on the way to buy some discounted snacks. We had two courts booked for the rather steep price of £16, and after moving some towels off one of the courts that were designed to catch the rain that had been leaking through the roof we ended up playing on two adjacent courts.

We all had some excellent games: Michael, Julian and Ash played three 2v1 games with varying results. Everyone had a lot of fun, and Callum O'B demonstrated that he is actually quite good at the game.

It was 10pm when we finally left, leading to a late return to Buckfastleigh at 10.30.

Sunday 13 November 2011
1015-1520
Day ride: Fermoy's Garden CentreCloudy with sunny periods
7 present: Lawrence Buttress, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell
Zac, Lawrence, Jack, Callum O'B, Ash and Callum F at Fermoy's Garden Centre, Ipplepen
Zac rang at 9.50 to say he had a puncture but his Mum would take him to get two new tubes from Big Peaks and he would therefore be a little late. He got here by 10.25 but took another half an hour to change the tube, so it was 11am when we finally got away on our planned route to Fermoy’s Garden Centre.

We took the usual route past Caddaford and through Staverton. Near Ambrook we came across a farmer who was struggling to get his Land Roved out of a field. Things were harder for him because he had a trailer attached that contained six bullocks. Ash decided we should stop and help him, so most of us spent some time heaving away while the farmer sat at the wheel. Jack stood back and watched, saying it was the Farmer’s problem, not his! It took a lot of effort and a great many attempts, but just when Michael was about to pull out our troops we managed to get it out.

We arrived at Fermoy’s at 12.40. Lawrence had the small roast at Michael’s suggestion but then moaned constantly that he needed the full roast despite his small size! When he had polished off the small roast he attempted to prove his point by going up again for £2 of chips! Unfortunately he ended up proving himself wrong: even though he shared them out he still couldn’t manage the few he kept back for himself. Most other people had pasties, although Ash, in contrast to Lawrence, couldn’t manage all of his.

The pet store had changed in that the furry animals and birds had now moved down with the rest of the pets. We headed back around 1.50 or so, following the usual route through Denbury and Broadhempston. Callum F was still looking around for some off-road. He had declined the woodland tracks at Orley Common on the way out, but now he was organising a group who wanted to ride Beaston! Lawrence was getting tired, the majority wanted to get home and the track would have been very muddy today, so Michael had to overrule on this occasion. He did promise a Dartmoor off-road ride next week however if the weather was suitable, and that seemed to satisfy everyone.

Friday 18 November 2011
1900-2220
Social: Cinema Trip, In Time
5 present: Neil Ault, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
Everyone liked the idea of a cinema trip tonight so we headed to Plymouth by car for the 7.50 showing of the movie In Time, meeting Neil at the cinema. The whole place was heaving with visitors and it took Michael some time to find a parking space.

The film turned out to be very entertaining even if the underlying concept was a bit ridiculous.

Sunday 20 November 2011
1015-1552
Day ride: DartmeetCloudy start, sunny later
7 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell
Ash, Callum F, Zac, Jerry and Callum O'B on the bridleway to Combestone
The stone footbridge on the bridleway to Combestone
Crossing the stepping stones ndear Dartmeet
Stepping stones across the West Dart River
We had a good turnout, but somehow Jack got the false impression at the start that nobody wanted to help him adjust his disc brakes so he went home. He wasn’t waiting for us in the car park and we didn’t see him anywhere on the way past his house, so we had no choice but to continue with the ride.

We rode up to Scoriton where our friendly dog Ben was out again, then took the lane to Michelcombe and up to Holne. Kevin Presland and the Torbay group came up behind us at the seat junction above Holne just at the point in the ride when Michael was feeling really drained from his recent virus and was wondering whether he would be able to do the full ride to Dartmeet. Callum O’B was also feeling tired so we all rode up to Venford at various speeds, chatting along the way By the time we reached the top Kevin’s group had gone on and the rest of us were feeling somewhat better, so we decided to press on to Badgers’ Holt despite Ash’s kind advice that Michael shouldn’t push himself onwards if he was feeling unwell.

We took the track from Combestone Tor to the stepping stones: it was quite muddy in places, and there was a lot of mud in the narrow gateway near the bottom of the final field – so muddy in fact that Ash got stuck in it!

The river was fairly high today so two of the stepping stones only had small dry areas and the water was quite deep around all of them. As we did our best to carry the bikes across the river Jerry thought the whole situation was crazily fun and adventurous, so he insisted on some photos for the website.

We reached the Badgers’ Holt café at 1.12. Most people wanted to stop there, so we went inside for a very enjoyable break. Ash had chocolate cake and a hot chocolate, Michael had coffee cake and a hot chocolate, but both of them felt the drinks were tasty but too small – yes they were in mugs, but they were the smallest mugs they had ever seen! Zac had a burger with loads of mustard. He also had a black and white cat on his lap that drooled onto him, although he didn’t notice the drooling!

As we were leaving the café at 1.45 some were filling their water bottles, so Michael sent Callum O’B on ahead up Dartmeet Hill on Callum F’s bike, accompanied by Ash, with clear instructions for Ash to keep him moving until he got to the top. He was making excellent progress, but as soon as the rest of us got near Callum F shouted to Callum O’B to stop, then swapped bikes back again! Callum O’B then pushed his bike – slowly – to the top, and we ended up waiting fifteen minutes for him. Thanks Callum F!

Next we rode the famous Dr Blackall’s drive in what was now a quite sunny and pleasant afternoon. Zac almost skipped the final downhill part of the track saying he had had enough of off-road for one day, but in the end we all did it and enjoyed it as always.

Callum O’B was slow again up to Gallant le Bower, so Michael sent the three on that wanted to ride Hembury Woods track and we met them at the car park near the bottom of the woods. We passed Jerry’s grandparents at Coronation Seat and got home by 3.25 for an hour of computer games.

Friday 25 November 2011
1900-2200
Social: Video Evening, Surrogates
6 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Callum O'Brien
Most in the group had not seen tonight's movie, Surrogates, before, and it proved a very popular choice with everyone except Ash, who said he had seen it multiple times before. Everyone left at 10 after a short game of Modern Warfare 2.

Sunday 27 November 2011
1015-1340
Morning ride: HolneSunny, 11°
6 present: Lawrence Buttress, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Callum O'Brien
Callum O'B, Callum F, Lawrence, Ash and Zac at Holne
Arriving at Holne from the Michelcombe road
Lawrence was out on his brand new Trek 3700 disc bike today, and he was clearly very pleased with it. Michael had decided to lead the ride by car today as he was still not feeling up to cycling after his recent virus. Michael suggested Diptford as a good destination today but Ash managed to persuade everyone to vote for the shorter ride to Chalk Ford and that is what we ended up doing.

Lawrence rode well up Wallaford Road on his new bike. At Cross Furzes Ash, Callum F and Callum O’B wanted to ride the track to Chalk Ford, so the rest of us rode down to Scoriton where we had to wait 25 minutes for them to emerge from the track. They were all muddy and wet but had clearly enjoyed the ride.

We went on to Michelcombe and met ex-member Ricky Dixon digging a hole by the side of the road to lay a pipe. We had a nice chat with him – he is now working for the Department for International Development.

At Holne everyone liked the idea of a café stop, and Lawrence and Callum O’B ordered their usual meal of scrambled egg on toast. The elderly American chap who was serving half remembered some of our names from the last time we saw him.

We left there at around 12.55 and all but Zac rode the slalom track through Hembury Woods. We met Jack near the top, out for a ride on his own, then got home for around 1.40. Ash uncovered the trampoline with a little help from the two Callums, and once they had put the safety net back on they were able to enjoy some quality time on the trampoline in the afternoon sun. Zac, Lawrence and Michael played some games of Call of Duty 4 which Zac won clearly by killing Lawrence a lot! Everyone left at 3.30.

Friday 2 December 2011
1900-2200
Social: Movie Quiz
4 present: Ash Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien
We tried a new kind of quiz tonight – a movie quiz. Michael showed a carefully-chosen still frame from a top-300 movie, then if nobody recognised it he would run the clip forward until somebody worked out what it was. Jerry won by a small margin with Ash a close second. We concluded the evening with another music quiz which everyone thoroughly enjoyed as usual.

Sunday 4 December 2011
1015-1255
Morning ride: Belford MillCloudy, 10°, rain by afternoon
7 present: Lawrence Buttress, Ash Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell
Callum considers the possibilities before having a go
An unexpected rope swing overhanging the River Ashburn on the Belford Mill track
The group on the Belford Mill track
Lawrence gets some assistance from Ash to return to the bank
All our regular riders were out today except Callum F who was in Gloucester. Lawrence got Michael to make him a toast and marmalade breakfast, then everyone took a look at Callum O’Brien’s new bike, which turned out to be exactly the same model and colour as Lawrence’s Trek.

Michael was around 80% fit now after his recent cough, so he was back to cycling today. Zac suggested Ashburton and everyone seemed happy with that so we followed our usual route along the old Ashburton road and then took the old railway track to the park where some played for a short time and others stayed outside in the hope that the rest would then finish quicker.

The woodland track back from Belford Mill was a bit muddy today. Halfway along the track we found a rope overhanging the river which provided much entertainment. Callum plucked up courage to have a go after watching the others and had no problems, but Lawrence needed some help to return to the bank when he took his turn.

Leaving the woods we noticed a pair of dirty shorts hanging from a bramble by the gate and wondered how they got there. We then returned past South Dartmoor School and along the old railway line, reaching Buckfastleigh by 12.55. Lawrence did will today, and Callum’s new bike made a huge difference to his performance.

Friday 9 December 2011
1900-2210
Social: Games and Superstore
7 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell
The youngsters spent the first couple of hours playing computer games, then we went to Tesco at Lee Mill for some snack shopping.

Sunday 11 December 2011
1100-1630
Day ride (Car-assisted): Christmas Lunch, IlsingtonRain
7 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell
Yesterday’s forecast of rain from 10-3 was now changed to rain from 11-3, so we abandoned any idea of cycling to the Christmas Lunch and met at Crofters at the later time of 11am. Lawrence had said he would pay on the day but didn’t pay, didn’t tell us anything and didn’t turn up, so he got a poor grade from Michael today.

There wasn’t a lot of rain on the way up in the car, just some light drizzle. We chose our meals from the menu at the reception desk, then everyone went swimming for £5 each. Everyone had a great time in the pool, Jacuzzi and sauna, especially Jack, Jerry and Callum OB who had not been here before.

For starters several had potato and leek soup which was really tasty – Callum OB liked it so much he made it last nearly 20 minutes, much to everyone’s annoyance. The main course was more of a mixed bag as usual. Those who had beef liked it very much. Callum OB decided anything on his turkey plate that had made contact with the cranberry sauce was inedible, which absurdly meant he ate hardly anything. And whilst everyone else thought the roast potatoes were superb, Callum F thought they tasted “like s**t”. Michael’s mushroom risotto was just about acceptable. Desserts were great again, with most having sticky toffee pudding and three having cheesecake. All the plates were empty by the end and everyone had clearly enjoyed the meal overall.

It had been raining hard while we were eating and it was still raining as we left. In fact it rained all the way home, so everyone was grateful we had come by car. We got back to Crofters by 3.30 and had a games social until 4.30. Most had a lot of fun on Halo Reach, but Zac preferred a solitary game of Call of Duty 4.

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