South Dartmoor CTC

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Friday 16 May 2014
1900-2200
Social: Supermarket Special
4 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, George Rogers
Our plans for ten-pin bowling had to be abandoned for reasons beyond our control, so instead we padded out a trip to a popular supermarket near Ivybridge with a new computer game that Callum found available for free download.

Sunday 18 May 2014
1015-1345
Morning ride: Dartington (12 mi)Warm and sunny
5 present: Lawrence Buttress, Dillan Edwards (12, Totnes), Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, George Rogers
The group near Staverton
New member Dillan said he hadn't ridden a bike for two years before today, so the effort he put into all the hill climbs along Colston Road certainly impressed us. Once he had figured out how to use the gears we made good speed and had time to take the cycle path down to the Cider Press centre where three of our team ordered bacon baps for some reason unknown to Michael.

We returned home via Staverton Bridge and Hole Farm. George enjoyed the ride so much that he decided to seriously consider booking up for the summer tour!

Friday 23 May 2014
1900-2330
Social: Cinema Trip to X-Men: Days of Future Past
8 present: Neil Ault, Lawrence Buttress, Dillan Edwards, Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, George Rogers, John Rogers, Will Rogers
We travelled to Plymouth in two cars, calling at Tesco on the way down for the purchase of refreshments. The film, released today, was worth every penny of its $200m production budget, so everyone went home having had a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

Sunday 25 May 2014
1015-1440
Morning ride: Holne (10 mi)Mainly dry with sunny spells and showers
6 present: Lawrence Buttress, Dillan Edwards, Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, George Rogers, John Rogers
George, Dillan, John and Lawrence at Michelcombe
Lawrence was late - again - but after a few brake adjustments we eventually set off through Buckfast to Scoriton, where our favourite dog Leo seemed very pleased to see us. We took the scenic route through Michelcombe and soon found ourselves at the Holne café again where various cakes, scones and soups were well received.

George wanted to show Dillan the fort so we returned via Hembury Woods, meeting Ash at Gallant Le Bower who had yet another excuse for being late. Dillan found that he liked the off-road riding through the woods, but only Ash and Lawrence braved the muddy slalom today.

Friday 30 May 2014Social: Supermarket Special
4 present: Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, George Rogers
We enjoyed several computer games during the first half of the evening, but Dillan really wanted a trip out so we popped down to Tesco to get a few discounted snacks and drinks and then returned home to enjoy them.

Sunday 1 June 2014
1015-1430
Morning ride: Fermoys Garden Centre (19 mi)Dry and warm with sunny spells
2 present: Michael Jones, John Rogers
Our start was delayed this morning when Michael discovered a flat tyre caused by an enormous thorn. Only John and Michael took part in the ride today so we were able to enjoy a faster-paced ride that took us up Green Lane, through Broadhempston and on to Ipplepen. We had a great refreshment stop at Fermoys garden centre - the only real difficulty was trying to choose from the huge range of cakes and flans on offer.

We returned at a good pace via Fishacre Barton and Staverton, feeling very satisfied to have ridden a good mileage for a morning ride.

Friday 6 June 2014Social: Badminton
4 present: Dillan Edwards, Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien
We had to hurry to Ashmoor tonight as they were closing at 9pm for some reason. When Dillan went in he could hardly hit the shuttle at all, but when he came out he was hitting a good many shots like a pro and actually won some points in a game! And Callum, well he's getting up to a very good standard and gave both Michael and Ash some excellent games. We rounded off the evening with some PC games at Crofters.

Sunday 8 June 2014
1015-1415
Morning ride: South Brent Island (11 mi)Mainly dry with sunny spells
3 present: Lawrence Buttress, Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones
Lawrence showing how easy it is to flit about on the rocks on the river Avon at South Brent
Lawrence and Dillan on the Island at South Brent
Lawrence learning a new lesson
Lawrence was late again so it was after 10.50 when we finally set off up Dean hill. Dillan's bike proved far from easy to ride up the hill so Lawrence kindly offered to swap bikes - suddenly Dillan was leading the climb.

We called in at South Brent co-op to buy some tasty refreshments. The two lads almost bought a big tub of Ben and Jerry's ice cream until they realised there were no spoons available - and Lawrence would not tolerate any skin to ice-cream contact whatsoever! We then wandered down to the island for the first time in the club's history, discovering a grassy recreation space surrounded by two strands of the Avon river.

After enjoying our little feast Lawrence and Dillan spent some time crossing the river using the rocks as stepping stones. Lawrence was just showing how easy it was to jump across, even on one foot, when he discovered that it wasn't so easy after all and ended up with his feet in the river.

With Lawrence no longer able to feel his feet we decided to finish our tour of South Brent with a ride along the riverside track and then returned through Harbourneford. Now Lawrence was regretting his offer of letting Dillan use his bike 4 minutes for every minute he rode his own bike: he kept to his word but made sure Dillan kept moving by waving a stinging nettleafter him as he climbed the hill.

Friday 13 June 2014
1900-2215
Social: Pool at Tenpin
5 present: Dillan Edwards, Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, George Rogers, John Rogers
After some discussion we decided on a trip out to Plymouth where we played pool, air hockey and other games at Tenpin. The youngsters couldn't resist buying some drinks and other snacks at Tesco on the way home.

Sunday 15 June 2014
1015-1400
Morning ride: Belford Mill (11 mi)Turning hot & sunny
5 present: Lawrence Buttress, Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, George Rogers, John Rogers
Dillan Edwards
Lawrence gets air in Whiddon Scrubs wood
The path out of Woodencliff Wood
We took the old road to Ashburton and then the path through the park where we were surprised to see a new BMX park was under construction - the fences and warning signs hadn't managed to stop some youngsters trying it out.

Back lanes took us past the uniqely-shaped Belford Mill and then began the fun descent through Whiddon Scrubs wood. Lawrence couldn’t resist doing some jumps by the river Ashburn, then George tried some too. Everyone was loving the off-road so we detoured to include the Terrace Walk path, offering magnificent views over the unspoiled valley we had just traversed.

George and Dillan had a desire for pasties from the Spar, although George's £2.70 medium pasty seemed better value than Dillan's £3.50 large one. We ate our refreshments in the park and returned via Dart Bridge in what was now quite a hot afternoon.

Friday 20 June 2014
1900-2200
Social: Games Evening
2 present: Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones
We enjoyed an evening of computer games, accompanied by Ash at the start of the evening. We also managed to include a trip to Newton Abbot as Dillan wanted to spend some of his money.

Sunday 22 June 2014
1015-1730
Day ride (Car-assisted): Hunters' Path (15 mi)Sunny and very warm
7 present: Lawrence Buttress, Dillan Edwards, Ash Freeman, Arthur Hocking (14, Newton Abbot), Michael Jones, George Rogers, John Rogers
Lawrence on the Hunters' Path
John on the Hunters' Path
Hunters' Path
Dillan and Arthur on Hunters' Path
The group at Fingle Bridge
The group on the Fishermans' Path
Lawrence’s late arrival at 10.30 when we were all loaded up and ready to leave meant we had to use three cars to get us to Steps Bridge with our bikes. We eventually started riding along the flat woodland track through Dunsford Wood at around 11.45. A short section of road then brought us to another rougher track along the river Teign from Clifford Bridge.

Despite the many people milling around the delightful Fingle Bridge, queues in the restaurant were virtually nil so we were able to order our drinks and food really quickly. The food was all up to the usual excellent standards, except perhaps the carrot soup which was a bit bland.

At 1.30 we set off on the loop, climbing the path through the woods to the Hunter’s Path. George found the climb tough in the afternoon heat but felt better when he emerged at the top. The views across the Teign valley were spectacular and the paths offered a great deal of enjoyable cycling.

We returned to Fingle via the lower Fisherman’s path along the riverside. This was a good deal rougher than the high oath and involved a few sets of steps cut into the bank, but everyone helped share the load and Michael ended up being very impressed with the younger riders for doing so well. Dillan, who was on the club bike for the first time this week, showed a huge improvement in his speed.

After refilling out water bottles at the restaurant we headed back along the riverside path to the cars at Steps Bridge, concluding an excellent ride. New rider Arthur did very well and seemed keen to return next week for another adventure.

Friday 27 June 2014Social: Music Quiz
3 present: Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, George Rogers
After the customary trip out to buy some food the youngsters enjoyed a TV themes quiz followed by a movie themes quiz. The score at the end of the evening was a dead draw.

Sunday 29 June 2014
1015-1530
Morning ride: Totnes Cycle Path (16 mi)Sunny and warm, turning showery
8 present: Dillan Edwards, Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, George Rogers, John Rogers, Will Rogers, Alastair Shapland
Refreshments at Morrisons, Totnes
Alastair Shapland on the cycle path near Huxham's Cross, Dartington
The gates are finally opened
Waiting for the train to clear the crossing at Staverton steam railway station
In view of the fine weather we decided on an extended morning ride, heading out along Colston road to Dartington and then on to Totnes via the cycle path. The first shower of the day began as we neared Totnes station so we headed straight for the Morrisons cafe, popular with our group because it offers some of the best value refreshments we have found anywhere. There was a twenty minute wait for hot food but that didn’t stop several ordering bacon rolls and chips.

Plans to visit Long Marsh were abandoned in view of the now unsettled weather, so when a dry patch came along we headed up Totnes main street and down past the castle. Unfortunately this was exactly the moment that the heaviest shower came along. Michael was in the support car today as he was a little unwell, and he received many envious looks from those stuck out in the rain.

The rain stopped after fifteen minutes or so and it stayed dry and sunny for the remainder of our journey. We returned via Staverton, help up briefly by a passing steam train.

Friday 4 July 2014Social: Games evening
4 present: Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, George Rogers
Callum introduced everyone to a new free Steam game on the PC network, but we managed to sort out rough plans for our Summer tour to the Yorkshire Dales before the gaming began. Dates for the tour will be 18-22 August inclusive.

Sunday 6 July 2014Morning ride: Chalk FordSunny start, showers later
4 present: Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, George Rogers, John Rogers
Taking the bridleway down to Chalk Ford
The open moor near Lud Gate
Chalk Ford
After a rather late start we headed up Wallaford Road to Cross Furzes so that George could try out his new bike and Dillan could get some training in for the forthcoming summer tour. Both lads rode all the way up (to John and Michael’s surprise) but when they were given a choice of off-road to Chalk Ford or lanes to Holne café they unanimously decided that both should be included in the ride!

John didn’t like the stony track to Lud Gate very much but everyone enjoyed the moorland descent to Chalk Ford – the deer were clearly visible in the deer park opposite. Sadly there were no piglets this year in the field on the other side of the ford, and to add further disappointment Leo (the dog) was not waiting to greet us at Scoriton!

We rode briskly up the hill to Holne as the first real showers began to come along, but the really heavy showers came while we were in the café enjoying hot snacks.

We returned via Hembury hill, meeting Ash for the last fifteen minutes of the ride home.

Sunday 13 July 2014Morning ride: Hembury WoodsDry with sunny spells
3 present: Lawrence Buttress, Arthur Hocking, Michael Jones
Lawrence and Arthur commence the descent of the slalom track
Lawrence and Arthur emerge from the Hembury moat near the fort
Lawrence and Arthur didn't feel like riding too far today, so when Lawrence told Arthur about all the off-road fun to be had in Hembury Woods he was keen to investigate. We rode up the lower Hembury track first, which today was so overgrown in parts that we couldn't avoid getting scratched from time to time.

We found the same problem in the 'moat' around Hembury fort, although here the main offender was bracken. It was so bad that we decided to give it a miss today and cut across the grass, although Lawrence still had to join the moat path at the lower end in his attempt to emulate Ash's jump: sadly the results were unremarkable, and all Lawrence got to show for his efforts were some scratches on his leg!

Arthur really enjoyed the descent of the steep, twisty 'slalom' track through the woods, and got even more entertainment when Lawrence overshot the path and ended up in a holly bush - he blamed his brakes but independent tests suggested they were working fine. All that was bruised was his pride however, and he seemed much happier on the final stretch of track when his front brake had been adjusted.

Friday 18 July 2014Social: Pizza Hut
5 present: Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, George Rogers, John Rogers
It was George's birthday yesterday so John kindly treated the younsters to some pizza at the newly-refurbished Pizza Hut near Plymouth's Barbican. Entertainment for the evening was provided by Neil's car, a Nissan Micra, which required a complicated and illogical series of actions simply to open the boot let alone start it - Michael had to ring Neil for help!

Sunday 20 July 2014
1015-1430
Morning ride: DartingtonSunny with occasional showers
4 present: Lawrence Buttress, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, John Rogers
Callum and Lawrence in Staverton park
As Lawrence was running late again we started by discussing our proposed summer tour. It was agreed that to attract the maximum number of riders we would shorten the trip to just one or two nights away and make it more local.

Lawrence suggested a destination this morning so we rode briskly out along Colston Road and down the cycle path to Dartington. We stopped for refreshments in the Venus café only to find the now Lawrence didn't want to buy anything. Callum bought chips for a change and John, trying to be healthy, baulked at the price of his orange juice.

A shower dampened things down on our way to Staverton but cleared up in time for some frisbee fun in the park. Callum is moving to Newcastle within the next 10 days so we made the most of our final ride home with him through Caddaford. Hopefully he will be able to join us for our summer tour.

Friday 25 July 2014Evening ride: HemburyVery hot and sunny
3 present: Ashley Challis (17, Ashburton), Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien
Our plan to reintroduce summer evening rides on a trial basis did not work out too well when some who had said they would be here failed to arrive. Callum arrived for his final event with us in jeans and was not surprisingly complaining of the oppressive heat. We also had new rider Ashley Challis who preferred cycling to computer games, so we planned a short ride through Hembury that would enable to him to return home before dark.

Things didn't work out quite as planned in that Callum found the heat so unbearable that he had to go home before we even reached Hembury, so Michael and Ashley continued along the lower Hembury track where the usual summer camp was in full swing. He's a good cyclist so we hope he will be back again for Sunday's ride.

I'm sure everyone in the club would like to wish Callum the very best for his future when he moves to Newcastle on Monday. We very much hope he will be able to join us on tours and weekend rides from time to time.

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