South Dartmoor CTC

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Friday 11 May 2012
1900-2128
Evening ride: Skerraton DownSunny, 13°
7 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell, George Rogers, John Rogers, Will Rogers
The group on Skerraton Down (20:49)
It was a superb sunny evening, but as we rode up the hill past Nurston the sun was always just behind the hill. We felt sure we’d catch it on Skerraton Down, but we got there just as the sun set behind the horizon. At least it gave us a good sunset photo.

It was a bit chilly up on the moor but everyone seemed to enjoy the ride, including Will and George, although perhaps John was not quite so enthusiastic about all the off-road riding. It was dark at 9.15 as we reached the road at Cross Furzes, so in fact we did need the lights that Michael said we wouldn’t need. We got home for 9.28 after the long and chilly descent of Wallaford Road, and finished the evening with hot drinks and some games of Modern Warfare 3 on the PCs.

Sunday 13 May 2012
1015-1320
Morning ride: Diptford (15 mi)Sunny, 16°
5 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell, George Rogers
Callum, Ash, George and Jack on the bridge over the Avon near Diptford (11:51)
Ash and Jack on the road from Avonwick to Diptford (11:48)
Bridge over the Avon near Diptford (11:52)
Will and John were recovering from a 50-mile Dartmoor ride yesterday but George still joined us and rode really well today.

We rode up Dean hill and through South Brent without stopping. We then rode along the Cobbly Walk track in Avonwick and crossed the main road to the Diptford road. We stopped beside the river Avon at a spot Michael knew, but the river was too high to have very much fun on the rocks.

Further along the road we stopped at a disused bridge for a chocolate stop: it was a real sun trap so we didn’t really want to leave.

We continued on up the hill to Diptford village then returned via the viaduct and Rattery, admiring the many alpacas that resided in the fields on the left past the viaduct. We got home for 1.20 and played on Modern Warfare 2 and the trampoline until 2.30.

Today's ride involved a total climb of 368m.

Friday 18 May 2012
1900-2200
Evening ride: Converted to Social
3 present: Neil Ault, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien
Ash was unwell this evening and Callum O'B didn't really want to do a ride if Ash had to stay home, so we organised a social this evening. Neil joined us and we played several games of Modern Warfare 3 which was great fun for everyone.

Sunday 20 May 2012
1015-1215
Morning ride: Chuley Cross and Olympic FlameDry
5 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, John Rogers, Will Rogers
The Olympic Flame Relay at Totnes (14:17)
Will, Callum, Ash and John near Baddaford Farm (11:32)
The Olympic Flame (14:18)
Ash was still recovering from a virus he picked up on Friday. He was really suffering by the time we got to Ashburton, but after a rest he decided to continue. Chuley Hill drained him again so from the top we headed back to Five Lanes.

Michael had planned to go via Green Lane but Ash and Callum really wanted to ride the rough track down to Dart Bridge. Michael advised against it but allowed John to make the final decision as he really doesn’t like off-road much. After some deliberation he decided to give it a go, but this did turn out to be a mistake as it was really muddy: Ash and Callum thoroughly enjoyed it but the rest of us just coped as well as we could.

We returned home via Austin’s Bridge for 12.15, played some games and then set out by car at 1.50 for our very special trip to Totnes. We parked on Barrack’s Hill at 2.03 and walked down to the Totnes bypass just as the advance runners were passing through. Next came the Coca Cola advance party, then Lloyds and finally the Olympic Torch itself with its runners and coaches. It made a great sight and was well worth the effort of a trip to Totnes. We got home for 2.37.

Friday 25 May 2012
1900-2140
Evening ride: Hembury WoodsDry
6 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, George Rogers, John Rogers, Will Rogers
River Dart Country Park (21:00)
George, Will, John, Ash and Callum at River Dart Country Park (21:00)
We rode to Hembury Woods and then John and Will went up the main hill while the rest of us took the lower track along the Holy Brook. Callum climbed the usual tree halfway along, then we met the others at Humphreys Cross.

We continued to River Dart Country Park, walking down to the lake for some fun in the semi-darkness, then returned along the old Ashburton road, getting back for around 9.40.

Sunday 27 May 2012
1015-1415
Morning ride: TotnesCloudy but dry
4 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, Will Rogers
The riverside path at Totnes (11:49)
George changed his mind about coming at the last minute, so John had to stay home with him too. There had been some rain earlier in the morning at 6.30 and it was forecast to be cloudy until lunchtime, which it was. We considered a few routes but it didn’t take long for everyone to settle on Totnes for a café stop.

We rode out via Colston Road and the Dartington Cycle Path at a very good speed with everyone on top form. The youngsters all climbed into a tree along the riverside path to pose for a photo. The only shower of the day arrived at the most opportune moment – just as we were arriving at Morrisons, our chosen café stop.

After some excellent value food and some unusually friendly banter between Callum and Will we set off around 12.30 and returned via Littlehempston and Totnes by the remarkable time of 2.15, which shows that everyone was on good form. There was a games social until 4.15 that involved Modern Warfare 2 and Ghost Recon.

Friday 1 June 2012
1900-2140
Evening ride: HolneWarm with sunny spells
5 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, John Rogers, Will Rogers
This evening we rode to Scoriton, up the steep hill to Holne and then on to Hembury where we rode to the hidden glades at the end of the left-hand fork from the top gate. After spending twenty minutes playing Frisbee we took the middle track down through the woods, which was actually quite rideable, and then followed the riverside track towards the car park. It was along here that a tree root caught hold of Michael’s toe-strap, bringing the bike down with such force that the left-hand side of his handlebars was distorted totally out of shape. No amount of brute force from those present would bend it back, so he had to complete the rest of the journey with a very odd-looking handlebar.

We got home for 9.40 and played the usual games until 10.05.

Sunday 3 June 2012
1015-1255
Morning ride: South BrentPatchy rain and drizzle
7 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell, George Rogers, John Rogers, Will Rogers
Callum was here early, then Jack rang to say he had a puncture and came up to mend it. It turned out to be so slow that it didn’t really need mending for the ride, and he didn’t have a pump, but as we had got the wheel off we changed it for one of Ash’s tubes while Michael fixed the puncture.

We finally left around 10.55, planning a short ride in view of the rather miserable weather. George felt tired so John took him home from the bottom of Dean Hill. The rest of us continued to South Brent Co-op for refreshments. John met us there while we were sheltering from a patch of real rain.

We returned home via Lutton and Nurston, getting back for 12.55. There was the usual games social after the ride until 3.35.

Friday 8 June 2012
1900-2000
Evening ride: Cross FurzesDry
2 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones
In view of the low turnout, Ash and Michael did a short ride up to Cross Furzes and back at a good, steady pace.

Sunday 10 June 2012
1015-1435
Morning ride: Converted to SocialRain all morning
3 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien
Callum was very pleased to come up when he found the ride was cancelled, as he was sore from Paintballing yesterday. We spent the morning playing various games on Xbox and PC, including several games of Modern Warfare 3. The social finished at 2.35.

Friday 15 June 2012
1900-2045
Evening ride: Cross FurzesWindy & chilly
4 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, Will Rogers
Weather was not great this evening so we contented ourselves with riding up to Cross Furzes and then home via Buckfast for 8.45. Ash couldn’t resist calling in to his house along the way to check out a new motorbike that was waiting for him there!

We finished the evening with some computer games until 10.00.

Sunday 17 June 2012
1015-1210
Morning ride: HolneSunny periods
3 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Adam Wyeth
Ash and Adam at Gallant Le Bower
Ash and Adam at Gallant Le Bower, near Holne
We welcomed Adam back to the club today, out for the first time in nearly a year. He was on his father’s mountain bike as he had written his own bike off in a crash. He made himself very useful by pulling Michael’s handlebars back to virtually their original shape after Friday’s unfortunate incident in the woods.

The forecast was for sunny periods this morning but some showers during the afternoon. Adam preferred a short ride and liked the idea of Holne, so we rode out via Buckfast, Scoriton and Michelcombe at a very good speed.

We took a few tree-climbing photos at Galant Le Bower and then proceeded to Hembury Fort. From there Adam didn’t like the idea of the slalom track so Michael took him by road while Ash rode the track. We got home for 12.10 or so and played several games of MW3 until 3.30.

Friday 22 June 2012
1900-2130
Evening ride: Belford MillDry & breezy with sunny spells
6 present: Ash Freeman, Liam Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, John Rogers, Will Rogers
Ash’s brother Liam joined us this evening for his first ride with the club, using the club bike. We took the old road to Ashburton, followed the lane out to Belford Mill and then joined our usual woodland track back towards Ashburton. Today, however, we were in for a shock as the whole first section of the wood (all the coniferous trees) had been felled since our last visit. The area looked barren and bleak so we were glad to get past the rough section and re-join the unspoiled deciduous track further down.

To extend the ride a bit we headed across to Holne Bridge and then tackled Holne Chase in the upward direction. This all got a bit much for Callum who ran out of energy a third of the way up, but eventually we reached the top and returned via Hembury Hill for 9.30. Congratulations to Liam for doing so well.

We rounded off the evening with some games until 10.10.

Sunday 24 June 2012
1015-1245
Morning ride: AvonwickDrizzle followed by sunny spells
5 present: Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, John Rogers, Will Rogers, Adam Wyeth
Callum arrived late at 10.28 but just caught us as we were leaving. We had a bit of a damp start so we headed up Rattery hill and then made good speed to Rattery. By way of a change we took the right turn to Crabbers Cross, continued down to the Edeswell viaduct and then took the link road to Shorter Cross.

At Avonwick Adam and Callum rode the Cobbly Walk track and we then rode up the lane to South Brent where we all bought refreshments from the Co-op. From there we headed back via Harbourneford, arriving at Buckfastleigh by 12.45.

Callum had been very fast and very friendly today which helped make this a very enjoyable ride. We played games of Modern Warfare 3 after the ride until 3.30 today.

Friday 29 June 2012
1900-2120
Evening ride: StavertonGrey & cloudy but dry
4 present: Ash Freeman, Liam Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien
There had been rain earlier and there was rain forecast for later, but for our ride it was just grey and cloudy all evening with no real rain at all. Liam was out on Callum F’s bike today. We rode along Colston Road and spent a little time chatting with Michael’s relatives at Colston Farm as they were all outside.

Callum was complaining about a cracked rib up the hills so we went to Staverton Bridge and rode along the riverside path to the park. We then took the usual route home via Abham, although Liam broke away from the group to take his own route back to Crofters where we all met at around 9.20. We finished the evening with the usual computer games.

Sunday 1 July 2012
1015-1310
Morning ride: Landscove Café (9 mi)Dry
3 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Jack Parnell
Exploring a side track on the way to Higher Penn, Landscove (11:28)
Exploring a side track on the way to Higher Penn, Landscove (11:27)
Jack and Ash at the Hill House Nursery, Landscove (12:23)
With just three of us out and Ash being rather tired after not sleeping too well we abandoned our planned ride to Exeter in favour of an excursion that took us up Green Lane, down to Baddaford Farm and then up the track from Bulland to Parkfield.

We took the lane towards Higher Penn, pausing along the way to ride up and down the track that leads to the higher Parkfield road - merely because Ash and Jack like tracks. It was then all downhill to Landscove where we spent a very enjoyable time at the Hill House nursery tearooms with hot and cold drinks and scones.

We returned home via the direct route to Green Lane, getting back for around 1.10. Ash and Jack played a game of Lord of the Rings against three medium enemies which ended inconclusively before the after-ride social ended at 3.30.

Friday 6 July 2012
1900-2045
Evening ride: Cross Furzes (7 mi)Light drizzle, then dry
7 present: Ash Freeman, Liam Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, John Rogers, Will Rogers
The forecast was for rain this evening and overnight, but with only the lightest drizzle at 7pm we decided to take a chance on a ride. We rode to Buckfast Abbey and then up the long hill to Cross Furzes. Unfortunately Jerry felt ill on the way up after eating coffee cake and cream before he came out, so Ash stayed back with him and brought him along at his own pace while the rest of us continued to the top and returned home with the long downhill to Wallaford Road. Jerry and Ash arrived a few minutes later.

There was the usual games social after the ride where everyone played Lord of the Rings online.

Sunday 8 July 2012
1015-1300
Morning ride: Holne (10 mi)Sunny and warm
3 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien
Ash and Callum at Holne café with the cute pony and handsome horse (12:29)
With just three of us out again on the first sunny Sunday for months Michael had to work hard to even get agreement on a ride to Venford. We finally set off at 10.50, riding through Buckfast and up past Hawson Court. Callum was riding fast at this point – he said he had a bowl of cereal before he came on the ride!

We rode through Scoriton and Michelcombe, but then Callum was a bit slower as we reached the park so we stopped there for a break. By the time we had finished playing Frisbee everyone wanted to go to the Holne café, so we went there for a drink and a cake and admired a delightful pony and horse tethered outside as we left.

On the way home Ash and Callum rode the track through Hembury from the fort but couldn’t understand why Michael didn’t join them – until they discovered how muddy the track was after recent rains.

We got home for 1pm and spent the afternoon playing Lord of the Rings online and watching Murray lose to Federer in the Wimbledon final.

Friday 13 July 2012
1900-2200
Evening ride: Converted to SocialHeavy drizzle
7 present: Connor Beasley, Ash Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, John Rogers, Will Rogers
The forecast had been dry tonight but there was heavy drizzle when everyone arrived at Crofters at 7pm. It was really too wet to cycle so Michael booked two badminton courts at Ashmoor from 8pm to 9pm. Annoyingly it had stopped raining when we drove there.

We kept changing opponents so everyone got a chance to show off their skills. It was a good evening and the youngsters thought it made a nice change. We finished the evening with computer games at Crofters until 10pm.

Sunday 15 July 2012
1015-1350
Morning ride: Avon DamSunny
5 present: Ash Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell
Half-way up to the Avon Dam (12:17)
Jack, Jerry, Ash and Callum at Shipley Bridge (12:00)
The Avon Dam (12:50)
The Avon Dam (12:48)
Heading along the path to the Abbots Way behind the Avon Reservoir (13:03)
The group selected Avon Dam as a destination today, partly because Jerry had never been there with us before. Callum did will all the way up to Shipley Bridge, where we stopped for ice creams, but then slowed down a bit on the way up to the reservoir. Everything looked great in the summer sunshine and today we had time to enjoy it, so we stopped at various places to have some fun.

The reservoir was full to overflowing today. After walking across the dam to the centre we returned across the moor as usual, passing several groups of Dartmoor ponies enjoying the fine weather. Jerry was very impressed with the views and loved the ride. We got back for 1.50 or so as planned and enjoyed some Lord of the Rings online and some trampolining until 3.40.

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