South Dartmoor CTC

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Friday 20 July 2012
1900-2115
Evening ride: Ashburton (11 mi)Sunny and warm
6 present: Ash Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, John Rogers, Will Rogers
There was a general consensus to go to Ashburton this evening so to make a change we took the shortcut up to Druid, which looked very different in this unusual direction, then headed down to Belford Mill where most of us took the track but John and Will waited for us at the end.

We followed Balland Lane past the school, paused a while in the park and then took the usual road back to Buckfastleigh at Will’s request rather than the Pridhamsleigh road that Michael had suggested. John kindly supplied free chips for everyone as we passed his shop, and these were eaten at Crofters whilst playing Lord of the Rings.

Sunday 22 July 2012
1015-1400
Morning ride: Torbryan (16 mi)Superb weather
8 present: Lawrence Buttress, Ash Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell, John Rogers, Will Rogers
Broadhempston Park (13:11)
A steam train passes through Staverton Station (11:09)
We headed out past Caddaford and Staverton towards Torbryan on a perfect sunny morning. A steam train was departing Staverton Station as we passed. Callum and Lawrence were keen to press on to Fermoy’s Garden Centre at Ipplepen but Jerry and Jack wanted the shorter route via Torbryan. In the end Torbryan was selected.

There is a very interesting and scenic footpath that runs from Torbryan to Tornewton. We have used it on several previous occasions and quickly learned that the occupants of The Old Rectory, near the end of the path, have a severe dislike of cyclists: every time we approached they somehow spotted us and came down to complain, even if we were literally as quiet as mice.

It has been several years since we last used the path but Michael was taking no chances on the house having changed hands. Everyone was told to stop talking as we neared the house and to push the bikes as quietly as possible, just in case the same people were in residence. If he had hoped that this time we could get through without incident he was to be disappointed.

A woman was up in the garden that overlooks the path and of course just happened to be looking our way as we crept past. She marched down to the gate, intercepting us before we could get past, and started to tell us off for cycling along a public footpath. She must spend a large part of her life watching for cyclists just so she can complain at them.

Michael pointed out that we were fully aware of her attitude from our last visit a few years ago and so we were taking great care to push the bikes and be as quiet as possible. She then disputed that we even had the right to push bikes along a footpath, but Michael assured her that this is perfectly within the law. She didn’t think we were right and said she would “take advice” on the matter, but nevertheless thanked us in the end for being considerate.

We arrived at Broadhempston community shop and café at 12.30 only to discover that it closed at 12.00, as Michael had feared. Everyone was thirsty so we got some cheap 25p per pint soft drinks form the Monks Retreat and drank them in the park and on the table outside. There was time for everyone to climb onto a container located in the park for a group photo before we set off again.

We took the short route home via Green Lane, arriving later than planned at around 2pm. There was a games social after the ride until 3.50.

Friday 27 July 2012
1900-2045
Evening ride: Kings Wood (5 mi)Sunny and warm
3 present: Tao Burgess, Ash Freeman, Michael Jones
Tao joined us this evening so we decided to try a new ride. Ash led us up tracks through Kings Wood from Hapstead to Bowerdon. The final sections were a bit overgrown, but overall this was an easy route up we quickly got through to his parents’ house.

We continued up to the road and on to Cross Furzes. Ash and Tao would have liked to continue to Chalk Ford, and ordinarily so would Michael, but tonight was the opening ceremony of the UK 2012 Olympics and Michael was keen to watch this historic moment. On the way down Wallaford Road we returned to Kings Wood to ride another track down to the Hapstead road, bringing us back to Crofters by 8.45. We had missed the pre-ceremony but were just in time to watch the impressive opening ceremony.

Sunday 29 July 2012
1015-1600
Morning ride: Converted to SocialHeavy showers
3 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Jack Parnell
The forecast of showers was not exactly promising for today’s ride, but a very heavy shower arrived just as we were ready to leave so we agreed on a Command and Conquer 3 games social at Crofters with some televised Olympic sports squeezed in for good measure. Everyone left at 4pm.

Friday 3 August 2012
1900-2050
Evening ride: HolneDry start, rain later
6 present: Tao Burgess, Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, John Rogers, Will Rogers
The forecast showers were not in evidence at the start so we rode via Buckfast to Scoriton, Michelcombe and Holne where we played with the Frisbee and tennis ball in the park.

Then it began to rain. We headed home through Hembury as quickly as we could, but by then it was very heavy. Tao wanted to ride the slalom through the woods so Ash reluctantly followed him, bringing us home in a rather wet state by 8.50. We concluded the evening with a social at Crofters that involved Tao, Ash and later Callum playing a car game while Will and Michael played Lord of the Rings.

Sunday 5 August 2012
1015-1330
Morning ride: Converted to SocialHeavy showers
4 present: Neil Ault, Ash Freeman, Jerry Johnson, Michael Jones
Heavy rain overnight had given way to heavy showers just before the start of the ride, so when Jerry arrived at 10.25 he was not too keen to cycle even though things had dried up a little. He elected to convert the ride to a games social that included Modern Warfare 3, Command and Conquer 3 and the Olympic men’s singles badminton final. There were several more showers during the morning so staying home was probably the right decision.

Friday 10 August 2012
1900-2200
Evening ride: Cancelled
0 present:
This evening's ride was cancelled because Michael was away - at the Olympics.

Sunday 12 August 2012
1015-1325
Morning ride: Staverton Garden CentreDamp start, dry later
4 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell
It had been raining on the morning of the final day of the Olympic Games, and it was still a bit damp when Callum and Jack arrived just after 10.30. We played some games for a while, then set off for a ride at 11.20 when things had dried up. We followed Colston Road to Dartington and then called in to the garden centre café at Staverton. The coffees and hot chocolates were just what Michael and Ash needed but the cups were rather small for £2.20. The cakes looked interesting but when we discovered that they all contained ginger we decided to stay with drinks only and enjoyed them on the tables outside overlooking the river.

We returned home via Abham and the main road, getting back by around 1.25 for some games of Minecraft. There was also time to watch the broadcast footage of the Olympic diving competition that Michael and Ash had seen live on Friday or Saturday.

Friday 17 August 2012
1900-2200
Evening ride: Cancelled
0 present:
Michael was away again this evening so the ride was cancelled.

Sunday 19 August 2012
1015-1520
Morning ride: Converted to SocialRaining
3 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien
It was raining this morning at 10.15 and it was still raining by 11.00 so the youngsters decided on a sport social. After some games of Minecraft we drove to Ivybridge to play squash from 12.35 to 1.20 and then returned home for computer games until 3.20.

Friday 24 August 2012
1900-2200
Evening ride: Cancelled
0 present:
Michael was away AGAIN, this time in Paris, so the evening ride had to be cancelled.

Sunday 26 August 2012
1015-1300
Morning ride: Cancelled
0 present:
Michael was still in Paris, so the ride had to be cancelled.

Friday 31 August 2012
1900-2120
Evening ride: Staverton (11 mi)Dry
7 present: Jacob Cacchione (12, Totnes), Will Cecil-Jones (15, Ludlow), Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, John Rogers, Will Rogers
Will brought his friend Jacob out for his first ride today, and Callum brought his friend Will Cecil-Jones who was down in Buckfastleigh to stay with his father who happens to be captain of the cricket team. In view of the new arrivals we did an easy ride along Colston Road to Staverton where the youngsters insisted on playing in the park despite the fact that it was dark.

We returned home via Abham as usual by 9.20, with everyone doing well and enjoying the ride. There were some games of Modern Warfare 3 until the club closed at 10.05.

Sunday 2 September 2012
1015-1200
Morning ride: Hembury Woods (8 mi)Patchy rain
4 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, Will Rogers
The forecast "patchy rain" hadn’t started by 10.15 so we set off on a ride towards Venford. There was some light rain by the time we got to the back of Buckfast however, so we diverted to the lower Hembury track. Near the Shuttaford end the rain got heavy so we sheltered under the bushes for 10 minutes until it finally stopped.

We continued up the lane to Humphreys Cross, then Callum and Will decided it was very likely to rain again soon and rejected Michael’s suggestion of Holne café. Instead we headed back to the Crofters café via Hembury hill, arriving (dry) by 12.00.

There was a games social after the ride until 3pm although Will left at 1pm as he was annoyed with some of the online players in Modern Warfare 3.

Friday 7 September 2012
1900-2125
Evening ride: Chalk FordSunny and warm
4 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, Will Rogers
As the weather was so perfect we agreed to head for Chalk Ford on the moor. It took us longer to climb to Cross Furzes than we had planned but we pressed on to Lud Gate. It was nearly dark during the moorland descent to Chalk Ford, but Will coped well despite his misgivings about off-road rides.

On the way down the stony track to Scoriton we passed a police car that had driven up to the top and just stopped to wait for something. By the time we reached Scoriton at 8.45 it was actually dark. Callum then discovered he had a puncture so we ended up spending twenty minutes fixing it with the help of some bike lights. We eventually got home by 9.25 leaving us a little time for some games at Crofters.

Sunday 9 September 2012
1015-1322
Morning ride: Bickham Bridge (17 mi)Sunny start and fairly warm
3 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Jack Parnell
Ash and Jack on Bickham Bridge
Bickham Bridge
Jack and Ash
Bickham Bridge
Jack chose Bickham Bridge over Totnes as he didn’t want to stop at a café, so we decided to do a fast, non-stop ride to the destination for a change. We set off at 10:30, rode up Dean Hill and then down to South Brent where Ash found it very hard not to stop at the co-op for refreshments. From Avonwick we rode up the hill to North Huish and then, for the first time in years, went straight on to the excellent downhill lane to Bickham Bridge for 11:40.

It was cloudy and breezy now but there was no rain around as Michael spent ten minutes photographing the bridge from various angles: Ash and Jack were too engrossed in conversation to go exploring.

We left at 11:50, heading home via Diptford. Rain was forecast for tonight and this probably explained why we saw several farmers out working hard to bring in the hay. We took the short route back via Edeswell viaduct and Rattery, although the final hill proved a bit tiring for Jack who had not been out for several weeks. We got home by 1:22, pleased to have ridden a little further than usual and to have returned close to our 1pm target time.

The social after the ride included some games of Halo on the Xbox console.

Today’s ride included a total climb of 443m.

Friday 14 September 2012
1900-2045
Evening ride: Hembury Woods (8 mi)Dry
3 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Will Rogers
Ash was a bit under the weather with a cold today and Will didn’t have his lights so we decided on a shorter ride than usual, entering Hembury Woods through the fence half-way up the hill. We explored some of the interconnecting paths that lead to the far side of the wood, then returned along the riverside path in the dark. The final section of the path had now slipped even further into the river but we managed to get through with some cooperation.

We got home for around 8.45 and agreed it had turned out to be a very good ride. We finished the evening with some games of Modern Warfare 3 on the PCs.

Sunday 16 September 2012
1015-1510
Day ride (Car-assisted): Lustleigh Cleave (10 mi)Dry with sunny spells
4 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell
Callum loves his soup at the Primrose Café, Lustleigh
Fixing Callum's puncture on the road to Lustleigh
Jack and Ash on the lane to Lustleigh Cleave
The Primrose Café, Lustleigh
Ellimore Farm
A particularly unpleasant hill on the lane to Lustleigh Cleave
The leat at Lustleigh
Ash, Callum and Jack in the woods at Lustleigh Cleave
The empty pad we saw on the way out now had a private helicopter on it, much to Ash's delight
The path through the centre of Lustleigh
Callum came up early this morning with a puncture, but when Michael removed the tube he discovered a hole so tiny that it would have easily lasted all day with a good pump. And the reason he hadn’t tried pumping it was … he didn’t have a pump! Michael suggested buying a pump might be an urgent priority.

Everyone agreed on a car-assisted ride to Lustleigh today, to make the best use of the good weather. We just managed to find a parking space by the entrance to the railway path at Bovey Tracey at 11.00 despite there being loads of other cars there for a nearby football match, but perhaps we should find a better place in or near the town for a future ride.

We set off up the path at 11.15. The entrance gate was well hidden now by large trees that had grown up over the years. Everyone enjoyed the railway path, and the subsequent lane towards Lustleigh looked great in the morning sunshine. We soon realised however that Callum had another puncture. This time pumping was not going to be satisfactory as it went down again in ten minutes, so we had to carry out a repair. There were two new holes now and Callum was a bit frustrated, but he was fine again once we had fixed it.

We took the interesting path through the centre of the village which brought us to the Primrose Café. Everyone except Jack wanted to go in for refreshments, but he still joined us anyway. It was very pleasant inside, although much quieter than it used to be in the old days. Prices were good, there was a small range of very tasty cakes and Callum was very satisfied with the home made leek and potato soup for £4.95. The proprietor was very impressed to find a boy who liked quality soup. She told us that Roger Olver, the owner of the café in the 1990s, had recently bought the Welcome Inn on Exeter quayside, converted it to the Welcome Café by Easter and was now selling his usual high quality range of cakes there. We decided to go there as soon as possible.

We took the lane past Ellimore that includes a very steep climb at the end, then proceeded up to the Cleave where we followed the path into the woods. Michael offered a prize to the first person who could spot the cave: Ash climbed a tree and spotted it, although it actually turned out to be more of an overhanging rock than a cave.

After some running-around fun we were surprised to find that Callum was up for extending the ride to the top of the hill, so we rode on up to Sanduck Cross and down the Mapstone lane back to the village, stopping to look at the massive granite boulder by the side of the lane and again to explore the tunnel where the leat emerged near the café.

Heading back to the railway track we continued to admire the very expensive houses in the area. At Knowle House, however, we noticed that something had changed since the outward journey: the flat platform that we had seen in the garden now had a helicopter on it. Ash or course was very excited about this. We discovered later that the owner runs a helicopter business.

We found two South Dartmoor School youngsters off the side of the railway track practicing BMX-style tricks that looked rather dangerous. After chatting with them briefly we followed the track back alongside the main path and reached the car by 2.35.

We were home by 3.10 after a very successful ride. The youngsters played Minecraft after the ride and were happily planning a beach ride next Sunday and perhaps Plym Valley, Exeter Ship Canal and Haldon Forest in the subsequent weeks.

Today's ride included a total climb of 257m.

Friday 21 September 2012
1900-2110
Evening ride: Ashburton (10 mi)Dry
6 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, George Rogers, John Rogers, Will Rogers
George wanted a fairly easy ride so we went to Ashburton (as Jack wasn’t out) and spent some time in the park as it got dark. We then did a loop around the back of South Dartmoor School, some of us trying a new downhill track to Emmetts Park.

The path along the A38 brought us easily back to Peartree and made a pleasant change from the usual route. We then returned home along the old Ashburton road for 9.10 and played several games of Modern Warfare 3 until 10.10 when the club closed.

Today's ride involved a total climb of 144m.

Sunday 23 September 2012
1015-1500
Morning ride: Converted to SocialHeavy rain all day
6 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, Jack Parnell, George Rogers, Will Rogers
The forecast of heavy rain all day proved totally accurate, so we arranged a social that started with computer games. At 12.30 or so we drove to Ivybridge and played squash on two courts from 1pm to 1.50. We had some good games, and Callum proved to be actually quite a good player.

We returned to Crofters for 2.10 for more games until 3pm.

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