South Dartmoor CTC


Sunday 1 January 2012
Morning ride: Hembury WoodsCloudy and chilly with heavy showers
3 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones
We organised a short ride to Hembury Woods this morning in view of the weather forecast. At 11am we were just debating whether or not the riverside track looked too muddy when the rain began. We headed back as quickly as possible, taking the woodland track shortcut to the Hapstead road and getting home for 11.30. At least we completed a ride of sorts.

We had a games social after the ride that involved Halo and Lord of the Rings.

Friday 6 January 2012
Social: Pool
6 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Callum O'Brien
We went to Plymouth this evening for some games of Pool at Tenpin. Everyone enjoyed the games so much that we carried on playing until 9pm, encouraged by one table that gave us a few free games. Jerry managed to lose all his games, but Ash and Michael had two close games winning one each on the black ball.

We called in to Tesco on the way home and returned by10pm.

Sunday 8 January 2012
Morning ride: Skerraton DownCloudy but dry, 10°
6 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell
The track over Lambs Down to Cross Furzes (12:11)
The track over Lambs Down to Cross Furzes (12:10)
We rode up Dean hill, then took the Moorshead Cross lane over to Skerraton Down as most of the group preferred that to the Avon Dam today. This involved taking the bridleway up to the moor and then following a path across the open moor to Skerraton Down. Jerry didn’t much like the off-road but still enjoyed the ride.

After having fun on the descent to Cross Furzes Callum O’Brien tried riding the ford and got his feet wet, which didn’t leave him feeling too happy. Jerry needed a little encouragement to keep to the left down Wallaford Road, but we all managed to negotiate the hill safely and got back to Crofters for 12.40.

There was a social after the ride until 2.30 in which we all played a massive team game of Lord of the Rings.

Friday 13 January 2012
Social: Games Evening
6 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell
Michael had a loan car today that could only seat five people, so that ruled out the possibility of going out anywhere. Jack, Callum F and Michael played a game of Lord of the Rings against 3 brutal enemies, which meant that Jack and Callum earned their shop rewards for completing the next stage of their training. Callum O’B played Two Worlds 2 and Ash and Jerry played with the drum kit and Halo.

We concluded the evening with Halo and a movie and TV music quiz which everyone really enjoyed.

Sunday 15 January 2012
Morning ride: River Dart Country ParkSunny but cold, 6°
8 present: Lawrence Buttress, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell
Lawrence, Ash, Callum O'B, Callum F, Zac, Jerry and Jack at Holne Play Park (11:43)
Callum O'Brien at Holne Play Park (11:42)
Callum Freeman at Holne Play Park (11:44)
Our plan on this very sunny but chilly morning was to head for Venford Reservoir, but after leaving late at 10.32 Jerry and Jack were slowing us down by stopping for serveral chats, and then Lawrence was a bit slow as well. We split for the climb to Holne, with the shortcut steep hill brigade narrowly winning the race despite Ash pushing hard on the Michelcombe route. By the time we reached Holne Park it was 11.30 and everyone voted to visit the café and head for River Dart instead of Venford. We still found time to play in the park first though.

Starting down the River Dart track we noticed that several trees had been felled near the upper end: clearly it is harvesting time for parts of the woodland. We stopped to play on the snake slide in the park before heading home along the old Ashburton road for 1pm. There was a social after the ride until 2.30 which included Lord of the Rings and trampolining.

Friday 20 January 2012
Social: Music Quiz and Superstore
7 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell
As there were seven out this evening we took the opportunity to go out in the car, but not until we had enjoyed a music videos quiz where Michael showed a still frame from a famous music video, then ran the video with no sound before finally adding sound if nobody guessed the song correctly. Everyone actually enjoyed that a lot, and it was 9pm before we decided to call it a day: Ash’s team (with Jack and Zac) marginally won 46 to 43 against Jerry and the two Callums.

We concluded the evening with a visit to Tesco at Lee Mill. Michael used the opportunity to buy a car wash, but the machine had run out of soap so he had to content himself with a value wash for £2.50 which didn’t do a particularly good job. Ash and Callum cleverly decided to come back with their mother who happened to be also doing shopping at Tesco, but she took a lot longer to return than they had expected so they missed the end of the social.

Sunday 22 January 2012
Morning ride: BroadhempstonBreezy and chilly, 10°
6 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Callum O'Brien
Callum O'B, Ash, Callum F, Zac and Jerry at Broadhempston Play Park (12:10)
The group at Broadhempston Play Park (12:00)
We passed a “Road Closed” sign at the start of Old Totnes Road, but it wasn’t actually closed at all. We continued up Green Lane, down the track to Riverford (past the traveller camp) and then on into Staverton. We spent five minutes playing in the park where Ash declined to do the back flip off the swing that some of his “friends” had suggested.

Continuing to Broadhempston via the lower lane and the school we had some Frisbee fun in the park there for ten minutes. They really wanted to ride Beaston tonight, so after detouring around Ron Greet we took the track, accompanied by some other cyclists that were going the same way. The track was quite muddy in places but there were no real lakes today.

To finish the ride we returned via Landscove and Green Lane, getting home for 1.20. There was a trampoline social after the ride until 3.30.

Friday 27 January 2012
Social: Games and Music Quiz
7 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell
CoB wanted to play badminton, Callum F wanted to do bowling but Zac and Jack had no money and didn’t want to go anywhere. So we were stayed in again and CoB wasn’t too happy about that. Plans were made to go out for the next two socials regardless.

As usual they couldn’t really agree on what they wanted to do, so Jack and Zac played solo games on their PCs while the rest played yet another music quiz. This time Michael got everyone to write down five of their favourite tracks, and he used all those tracks for the quiz so at least someone would know every track. They liked that I think, and Zac came in to join us too when he realised what we were doing.

Sunday 29 January 2012
Morning ride: Burchetts WoodVery cold, 4°, rain/sleet later
7 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell
Callum Freeman (11:31)
A short rest on the climb from Mill Leat towards Ridgey Cross (11:31)
Tree climbing at Humphrey's Cross (12:01)
It was very cold (4 degrees) this morning with a forecast of rain and sleet coming in after 12.30. Everyone was out today except Lawrence who used the excuse that it was “too cold”.

Michael had thought about Ashburton as a destination today, but it was so cold on the way down Crest Hill that he changed it to Burchett’s Wood: this was still a bit muddy at the start but the second half is now much dryer and more enjoyable than it used to be.

We rode up the steep hill past Mill Leat Farm, pausing part-way up for a rest and some photographs. They saw an intriguing cow way up in a high field and asked Michael to photograph it, but it was so far away that it came out as little more than a dark blur.

We took the lane down past Shuttaford and up the other side to Humphrey’s Cross where there was the inevitable rush to climb the tree. We planned to ride the Slalom through Hembury Woods but when we got to the entrance gate it looked a bit muddy and only Ash and Callum O’B wanted to ride it. They followed the usual route via the Fort path while the rest of us took the road and waited at the lower car park. We chatted with the Scottish owner of a car that had very large alloy wheels and was interested to hear the cost of replacement tyres was easily twice that of anyone else’s tyres.

We got home by 12.35 as planned, but in the end the rain didn’t arrive properly until after 4pm. There was a social after the ride that included Risk on the PCs at Zac’s suggestion, although there was a slight delay as it needed to be installed on all five PCs before we could play. There was half an hour for trampoline fun before everyone left at 3.30.

Friday 3 February 2012
Social: Ten-pin Bowling
5 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien
Tenpin at Plymouth were charging extortionate fees of £5.50 per teen and £7.50 per adult, and that was for just a single game! Normally we would have bought two games, but at these prices we made the most of our single game. Callum F got a few flukes and won with the rather mediocre score of 94. Michael came second with 89, then Jerry, Ash and Callum O'B with just 39. It was disappointing that nobody got over 100, but we all had fun and finished off the evening with some games of Pool.

After calling in to Tesco at 9.17 we came across a rather dangerous situation in the road near South Brent. A car had apparently hit the central reservation and was now blocking the fast lane at an angle with no hazard lights. Another vehicle was straddling the hard shoulder and left-hand lane, and a few people were standing on the side of the road. One of them was waving a torch. There was hardly any traffic on the road, so some nifty braking was required to reduce speed to a safe level.

We got home safely for 9.53, allowing the youngsters a little time to eat their food and buy drinks from the club shop before they left at 10.

Sunday 5 February 2012
Morning ride: TotnesDry with sunny spells, 5-7°
6 present: Lawrence Buttress, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien
Callum O'B, Callum F, Jerry, Lawrence and Ash at Totnes weir (11:49)
Jerry, Callum O'B and Ash give Lawrence a hard time at Totnes weir (11:48)
Much of the UK had received a blanket of snow overnight, but of course we didn’t get any here in South Devon. We had dry, sunny conditions although it was quite cold. Lawrence asked for toast as soon as he arrived, but Michael was already preparing it for him in anticipation of his request. He still got the last word however by asking for a second piece.

There was general agreement that we should ride towards Dartington, so we set off around 10.35 along Colston road. Lawrence was on good form today and CoB was on top form, so we made such good speed that Michael decided we could go on to Totnes.

The cycle path from Totnes was fun so we rode it all the way to Totnes Bridge, pausing at the weir for some interesting action photos involving the hapless Lawrence. Morrisons provided an enjoyable café stop, although some of our group ate way more than Michael advised: Lawrence again bought a fry-up and Callum O’B bought chicken nuggets. Callum F and Jerry limited themselves to buying 10 doughnuts for £1, probably for reasons of finance.

Michael suggested the more ambitious return over Rattery by way of a change, and since he didn’t hear any objections we followed the route from Dartington past the old South Devon Farmers site and rode straight up the hill towards Rattery Sawmills. Lawrence was now beginning to regret eating the large meal and promised not to have it again, but he still managed OK up the hill, delaying us only by 10 minutes or so. CoB stayed near the front all the way. We got home by 2.00, just ten minutes later than Michael had predicted at Totnes.

There was time for Modern Warfare 2 and trampoline fun after the ride.

Friday 10 February 2012
Social: Badminton
6 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Callum O'Brien
Michael had been unable to book badminton courts by the time everyone arrived, but after ten minutes he tried the YMCA in Plymouth and found that they had two courts available.

We played from 8pm to 9pm, paying £6 for each court and £1 entry per person, so it turned out to be quite expensive in the end. Our two courts were at right angles to each other, which was a little distracting, but Ash found that the main problem was the professional trampolining that was taking place over the barrier: people kept shooting up close to roof height from time to time, and Ash was just dying to have a go. Most of us had fun though, and CoB did very well in his games.

We called in to Tesco as usual on the way home and returned by 10.02.

Sunday 12 February 2012
Morning ride: AvonwickCold start 3°, sunny later 8°
4 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones
Jerry, Ash and Callum at Avonwick (11:48)
Bridge over the Avon at Avonwick (11:48)
It seems as though CoB’s reason for not coming today was that Michael mentioned a hill in one of the potential destinations today.

In view of the very cold start everyone wanted the ride to be morning only, so we rode up Dean Hill and down to South Brent. Nobody except Ash liked the idea of going on to Ugborough Beacon or the Avon Dam, so we had fun in the Play Park and then rode down to Avonwick, stopping briefly for photos at the little bridge over the river.

Jerry and Callum declined the Cobbly Walk track shortcut and took the road alternative. We then proceeded towards Diptford along the riverside road, then Callum insisted we took the Diptford Downs shortcut back towards Rattery, so we missed out on Diptford itself.

It was sunny now and much warmer for our return via Shorter Cross and the viaduct road to Rattery. Michael would have loved to ride further, but evidently this was quite far enough for Callum.

There was a social after the ride until 3.30 involving games of Modern Warfare 2 with Ash and Michael against Jerry and Callum which ended in a draw.

Friday 17 February 2012
Social: Music Quiz and Trampolining
5 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien
Everyone wanted to stay in tonight, so we did a music quiz of games themes which Ash’s team won, then the youngsters spent half an hour on the trampoline while Michael did some editing of the Scotland 2010 video. They all watched clips of that at 9.55 and didn’t want to stop. It seems they are all keen to book for our upcoming Easter Tour.

Sunday 19 February 2012
Morning ride: Whiddon Farm TrackSunny but chilly 6°
6 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell
Zac, Callum F, Ash, Callum O'B and Jack (12:02)
The junction between the Whiddon Farm track, Belford Mill track and the road (12:01)
Continuing along the Belford Mill track (12:04)
Looking back to the Whiddon Farm track we have just descended (12:03)
Cob was in fine form this morning. We rode to Ashburton, took the old railway track into town and then rode past the school, up Balland Park and up the hill behind Ashburton to Owlacombe Cross. Callum O’B was dragging his feet a bit up the hill, but the youngsters sorted him out by making him angry – he then powered up the hill staying in first place all the way.

The youngsters wanted to be home for 1pm, so we took the Whiddon Farm track as originally planned. This was fun, although CoB was annoyed that he had his jeans on as they got rather muddy on the descent.

To conclude a good ride we took the woodland track from Waterleat and returned home via Ashburton Park where we stopped for a few moments to ride on the ramps.

We got back at 1pm. Zac rushed off to go and watch the movie War Horse with his Mum, which as many will know was filmed on Dartmoor. The rest stayed for a trampoline and Halo social until mid-afternoon.

Friday 24 February 2012
Social: Pizza Hut
6 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Callum O'Brien
Initially Jerry and Callum O’B didn’t want to go out, but in the end we went to Pizza Hut at Plymouth and booked a table at 8.10 for 8.30. We played doubles Air Hockey in Tenpin which everyone found to be great fun, then we took our table for pizza.

Everyone loved the meal of course, including Jerry and CoB. Jerry had ice cream factory, Zac had nachos and the two Callums shared a medium pizza. Ash and Michael tried the new individual cookie doughs, but they seemed small and expensive compared to the older sharing ones.

Sunday 26 February 2012
Morning ride: Staverton (11 mi)Sunny, 11°
8 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, George Rogers (9, Buckfastleigh), John Rogers (Adult, Buckfastleigh), Will Rogers (12, Buckfastleigh)
John, Callum O'B, George, Will, Ash, Callum F and Jerry near Staverton Park (11:44)
The group near Staverton Park (11:44)
Our family of new riders arrived early at 10.05 on a lovely sunny morning around. John didn’t like the idea of off-road much at this point, so we did Colston Road and continued up to Charlie’s Cross. Will was very chatty with everyone and thought this was a much better way of going to Totnes than along the main road. All the new riders did well and seemed to very much enjoy the ride.

We rode down the hill to Staverton Bridge, then followed the riverside path to the railway crossing and took the path shortcut to the park. I don’t think anyone really believed Michael’s story of piranha fish inhabiting the swap, but it did ensure everyone rode carefully along the boardwalk.

We spent a very happy time in the park playing with the Frisbees. It was gratifying that our regular youngsters were so welcoming to the new riders.

John thought it best to return by the easiest route, so we took the lane through the woods to Abham. All went well until we came down the hill past Caddaford. John went ahead with his two lads but just past the bottom George found some mud on the side of the road and came off and then Will rode into him. Fortunately George got away with minor grazes, but he wasn’t feeling up to cycling so John walked him home. Will was fine however and came back with us to Crofters for the games social. On the way back Callum O’B managed to get a puncture in Old Totnes Road and unbelievably rang his Dad to get collected even though he could have walked it in ten minutes.

The youngsters spent a good deal of time on the trampoline, then finished with some Call of Duty 4 on the PCs which Will enjoyed a lot. Everyone left at 3pm.

Friday 2 March 2012
Social: Video Evening, Real Steel
6 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, George Rogers, Will Rogers
Everyone liked the idea of watching the movie Real Steel so we started the movie at 7.25 and paused it halfway through for a short interval. It was a really good movie and everyone enjoyed it a lot, making numerous comments throughout. We concluded the evening with a few games where Ash and Michael played Modern Warfare 2 with Will and George.

Sunday 4 March 2012
Morning ride: HolneEarly showers, then sunny & dry
7 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, John Rogers, Will Rogers
Jerry, Will, Callum O'B, Ash (if you can see him), John and Callum F at Michelcombe (11:55)
John and Will arrived early at 10am, but when Jerry, Callum F and Callum O'B arrived at 10.15 CoB had a puncture. He had remembered to fix the puncture he got last week but had got Callum F to fix it for him. Callum had changed the tube, but it still had a puncture. A shower arrived anyway so everyone went in to play computer games while Michael fixed the puncture. It turned out Callum F had forgotten to check for thorns: he had left a huge thorn in the tyre which had punctured the new tube in two places.

We finally got away at 10.55 just as another shower came along, but this was the last and it was sunny and dry as we headed along the Buckfast road from Dart Bridge. We followed the route originally planned, to Michelcombe for a photo and then on up the hill to Holne for a café stop. Will did really well, and both he and John wanted to book for the Easter tour which was very encouraging.

When CoB had finished his delicious carrot and coriander soup we returned home via Hembury, giving the track a miss today in view of the recent rain. Will was going out for a family meal today but he desperately wanted to come up for games, so his father agreed he could come up for twenty minutes or so. We got back at 1.15 and he managed to play half an hour of Lord of the Rings before John collected him at 1.45. The rest left at 3.35.

Friday 9 March 2012
Social: Ten-pin Bowling
7 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, George Rogers, Will Rogers
We went to Tenpin at Plymouth for bowling this evening, encouraged by Jerry’s gift of three bowling vouchers (from cereal packets) that allowed three juniors to go in free. We all played on one lane so it took an hour to finish our game. Young George charmed his way into everyone’s affections and got lots of encouragement from birthday boy Ash.

Some members of the Freeman household came to watch as they were in the area. When we had finished, the youngsters notices that the local Britain’s Got Talent celebrity Michael Collins was outside giving autographs, so we had to wait until Jerry and Zac had finished chatting with him before we could finally get away. The delays meant we had to skip Tesco tonight and head straight home, but there was still time for everyone to come in for a slice of Ash’s chocolate birthday cake – including John when he came to collect the boys.

If you have enjoyed reading these reports please send us a comment using the form on our Contact page