South Dartmoor CTC

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Friday 29 July 2016
1900-2215
Evening ride: Converted to SocialLight rain
4 present: Tom Batten, Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, George Rogers
The rain prompted us to arrange a social tonight. We enjoyed an hour of badminton at Ashmoor with some excellent singles and doubles games, then finished with some computer games at Crofters.

Friday 5 August 2016
1900-2230
Evening ride: Dartington (9 mi)Sunny and warm
4 present: Tom Batten, Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, George Rogers
With Tom joining us again this evening we ran an easy ride along Colston Road towards Dartington. When we reached the main road he decided that would be a good halfway point, so we rode back to Charley's Cross and took the track over to Hole Farm.

From there we returned via Caddaford for 9.15, with Michael catching a Butterfree on his Pokemon Go app and then annoying everyone by hatching an Exeggcute from a 10km egg!

We finished the evening with the usual games social at Crofters.

Today's ride included a total climb of 156m.

Sunday 7 August 2016
1015-1410
Morning ride: Landscove (12 mi)Sunny and warm
5 present: Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, George Rogers, John Rogers, Will Rogers
The group at Pridhamsleigh (12:58)
The group at Pridhamsleigh (12:58)
A cloudy start had given way to warm sunshine by the time we finally got away at 10.45. We rode up Caddaford Hill and through Staverton with the intention of going to Fermoys, but then Will changed his mind and decided that Landscove café would be better today.

When we arrived we were disappointed to find a noticeboard that informed us that the café was unexpectedly closed today. While we stared at the sign to see if there had been some mistake a driver turned up with several passengers, saw the sign and promptly left in disgust.

We did the same, riding up the hill to Penn Farm and then down to Pridhamsleigh. Arriving at Dart Bridge we decided to try out the new café there that was combining antiques with refreshments - it was good food, but the prices were a little steep.

We returned home the short way and enjoyed a games social after the ride until 5pm.

Today's ride involved a total climb of 317m.

Thursday 11 August 2016
0800-2300
Tour: Yorkshire Dales & North York Moors Day 1: Home to Ingleton YH (18 mi)Cloudy start, rain for the final hour
6 present: Lawrence Buttress, Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, George Rogers, John Rogers, Will Rogers
Cycling through London between Paddington and Euston (11:45)
John and George on the train from Newton Abbot to London Paddington (11:11)
Dillan and George on the Virgin train from Euston to Lancaster (13:08)
Lawrence prepares to sew a button onto his shorts, on the Virgin train from Euston to Lancaster (13:06)
The Lune valley between Halton and Caton (16:42)
HD video footage from today's ride
Map of today's ride
This was to be our longest tour since Switzerland in 2013 and our youngsters were looking forward to it with eager anticipation as we met at Newton Abbot Railway station at 8.05. John and family were stocking up with sandwiches from a nearby shop and several bought coffees or Danish pastries from the station café before we boarded the 8.29 train for London Paddington.

We’ve visited the Yorkshire Dales on three previous tours, in 1987, 1992 and 1999, but we’ve never before ventured over to the North York Moors. Trains have changed a lot since our last visit, and this year we were unable to travel direct to Lancaster because Cross Country trains to Birmingham only allow two bikes per train. Instead we were all travelling to London Paddington and then taking Virgin trains from there to Lancaster.

The journey to London was comfortable and on-time. Will and Lawrence passed the time happily playing chess while the rest of us just relaxed and enjoyed the scenery. With the help of Google Maps we then navigated our way through quiet London streets from Paddington to Euston in around half an hour, arriving at a crowded station in time to purchase lunch from the local Sainsburys.

Virgin trains are normally limited to 5 bikes per train, and only four spaces were available to us on the 12.30 train when Michael made the booking. He had therefore booked two more on the subsequent 1.30 train. We had hoped to parley with the guard to see if he would let us all travel together, but Will went missing at the crucial moment so we stuck with the original plan. It was still quite stressful as we got stuck behind a huge queue of people trying to board the train and then had to walk the bikes right to the front of the train to find the bike spaces.

Everyone in the first group was very tired so they spent much of the journey trying to sleep, although Lawrence did find time to sew a button back onto his shorts before he, too, fell asleep. When we got to Lancaster at 14.54 we headed into town, found a Starbucks at George’s request and settled there for coffees and cakes. For those of us playing the new Pokémon Go game there was a Pokéstop right outside the café, so we could collect new items every five minutes without even leaving our seats.

On the way back to the station Michael suddenly had a thought that someone might have left a helmet at the café, so unusually he looked around to check and sure enough Lawrence was helmet-less. He went back to retrieve it and we arrived at the station in plenty of time to meet John and Will on their slightly delayed 16.01 arrival.

So now we had 18 miles to ride at the very end of the day – not ideal, but unavoidable in view of the trains. Weather conditions were cloudy but dry for the first part of the ride as we followed the relatively flat cycle route north-east along the Lune valley. We made good speed, but by the time we reached Low Bentham there was some light drizzle dampening our spirits. Fruit cake kept us going, but the drizzle turned to rain as we climbed higher.

It was on the approach to Ingleton that Lawrence’s new bike ran into a problem: one of his extra-long rack bolts decided to unscrew itself, do a runner and then evade capture. Michael replaced it in the rain with a short bolt by leaving out the spacer, but the frame has weak outer threads so we had to replace it at least twice more during the tour.

So finally we arrived at Ingleton at around 6.30 and spent half an hour in the co-op buying food for our evening meal and breakfast. We then headed across the road to the hostel, relieved to find a good drying room and a spacious, comfortable bedroom. Showers were OK but had the shower heads fixed to the wall which limits their effectiveness, so 5/10 for the showers.

We ate our meals in the dining room looking out through the large windows at the rain lashing the gardens. We all slept like logs from the moment we hit the pillows.

Total climb today was 197m.

Friday 12 August 2016
0800-2300
Tour: Yorkshire Dales & North York Moors Day 2: Ingleton to Malham YH (20 mi)Cloudy but dry
6 present: Lawrence Buttress, Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, George Rogers, John Rogers, Will Rogers
Ingleton youth hostel (9:54)
Ingleton youth hostel (9:52)
Café stop in Clapham (12:14)
The descent to Clapham (11:16)
Austwick (12:32)
Some of our members took photos of themselves with only part of the name showing (12:31)
Little Stainforth (13:25)
A Prize Bull at Wood End (12:47)
Scaleber Force waterfall between Settle and Malham (16:40)
The Naked Man café in Settle - an excellent place for lunch (14:54)
Scosthrop Moor (17:24)
Scaleber Force waterfall (16:43)
The descent to Kirkby Malham (17:36)
View to Malham Cove from the descent to Kirkby Malham (17:36)
Malham (17:55)
HD video footage from today's ride
Map of today's ride
Dillan was ready first this morning so Michael suggested he might like to help the group by unlocking the bike shed and bringing out the bikes. Evidently he didn’t fully understand what Michael meant, as ten minutes later we found that he had only taken out his own bike and then locked the shed again!

We got away rather later than planned at around 10.15 on a cloudy but dry morning with the intention of calling in at one of the cafes in the village. Michael checked them all out and discovered that none of them could make a proper latte, so we contented ourselves with a short visit to the old fashioned sweet shop. A local woman overheard us discussing lunch at Settle and advised us to go to the Naked Man café, although advised that unfortunately (from her point of view) there would be no naked men there.

One of the options today, a visit to White Scar caves, seemed like too much of a detour as it involved climbing a hill for a mile or two. So we followed the old road to Clapham, pausing along the way to look at an old house where one side was collapsing and the other side was clearly lived in by a gardening enthusiast.

On arrival at Clapham we parked the bikes outside the first café we came to but were then told by the proprietor that they were full. Moving to the second café they had plenty of space but couldn’t make a latte. Michael went back to the first café and found we could eat on the tables outside, but on further questioning he found they couldn’t make lattes either, so we returned to the second café and made the best of “instant lattes”. John ordered fruit cake and got a lump of cheese with it, a local tradition that left John feeling he wouldn’t particularly want cheese with his cake again.

Ingleborough Show Cave is a twenty minute walk from Clapham and since it was quite late and we wanted lunch in Settle we decided to visit them another day. The lane route selected for us by Google Maps took us through some delightful scenery. A village pub at Austwick called the Game Cock provided amusement for some who took photographs of themselves with only the second word of the name visible. A Prize Bull near Wood End stood on a mound for us to show off his credentials.

We were soon entering Settle, crossing the river Ribble that was a dirty brown colour as a result of the hill peat. We wondered whether it would be difficult to find the Naked Man café, but we needn’t have worried as it occupied the central location in the town square. If the sign of a good café is lots of customers, this was a very good café indeed. We had to wait a few minutes to get a table, but it was well worth the wait. The soups were excellent, and some people had huge Yorkshire puddings with sausages. For those of us following Pokémon Go there was a Pokéstop right outside the café and free Wi-Fi inside the café.

John needed some pedals from the cycle shop and everyone needed to get food from the co-op, so it was well into the afternoon when we finally set off up the very steep hill towards Malham. The leading youngsters sadly decided not to wait at the top and had to be called back by phone for our visit to the Scaleber Force waterfall. This turned out to be great value for money, as it cost absolutely nothing and was very impressive after the recent rains. The only difficulty, for John at least, was a rather steep path down to the bottom.

Another climb brought us to the top of Scosthrop Moor ready for an exhilarating descent to Kirkby Malham. On the way down we stopped to take some photos of Malham Cove, an impressive Limestone feature that we planned to inspect in more detail next morning.

Michael broke a spoke on the way from Kirky Malham to Malham but it didn’t affect the wheel too badly. Malham was a delightful village with a river that came almost up to the road. The hostel was close to the centre, located in its own grounds. At first it looked as though the warden was going to charge us £3 extra because the youngsters weren’t YHA members, but Michael explained that they were covered on the adult cards so he telephoned head office and realised his mistake.

The showers in our annexe building were examples of the very best YHA showers – removable shower heads, high flow volume, plenty of space and excellent temperature control. We had to carry out meals from the members’ kitchen in the annexe to the dining room in the main building, but this was only a minor inconvenience in what turned out to be an excellent hostel.

Michael, George and Dillan took a short walk through the village after dark in the rain, discovering a footbridge over the Malham Beck River near Beck Hall that was decorated with brightly coloured lights.

Today's ride included a total climb of 506m.

Saturday 13 August 2016
0800-2300
Tour: Yorkshire Dales & North York Moors Day 3: Malham to Hawes YH (26 mi)Drizzle and light rain turning brighter after lunch
6 present: Lawrence Buttress, Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, George Rogers, John Rogers, Will Rogers
The path to Malham Cove (10:15)
Malham youth hostel (9:59)
Malham Cove (10:20)
George approaching Malham Cove (10:19)
George and Dillan at Malham Cove (10:36)
The Malham Beck emerging from the cave system behind Malham Cove (10:33)
Malham Cove from Ewe Moor (11:26)
The recent trend of hammering coins into tree branches and making wishes has reached Malham Cove (10:40)
Moor Head Lane after the phone incident (14:24)
A quarter of the way along Moor Head Lane - the "short-cut" to Helwith Bridge (12:41)
First stage of the climb through Ribblesdale (15:59)
Leaving the café at Horton-in-Ribblesdale (15:42)
Widdale Head - top of the hill and crossing into Richmondshire (17:27)
The Ribbleshead Viaduct (16:37)
Approaching Hawes, in Widdale (17:59)
HD video footage from today's ride
Map of today's ride
We awoke to intermittent drizzle and light rain this morning, which made the task of carrying breakfast across to the dining room a little unpleasant. We didn’t manage to get away by the 9.30 target, but I suppose 10am was not as bad as it could have been.

We rode the short distance to Malham Cove, parked the bikes by the path and then walked to the cove itself. The Malham Beck was running quite high after recent rains so we were unable to cross to the far side, which would have given us access to the path up to the front ledge of the cove. Having said that, Lawrence managed to find a way across, although the price he paid was wet feet.

The cove was colossal, dwarfing us as we stood near the base. It had once been an impressive waterfall, but over the years the river carved its way into the limestone and now emerges at the bottom of the cove. We were surprised to find hundreds of coins hammered into the roots and trunks lying around the cove. Apparently this is a fashionable trend in the Yorkshire Dales and surrounding area, and supposedly brings good fortune to the donor.

The drizzle turned to rain and mist as we climbed the hill to the left of the cove, and by the time we all regrouped near Malham Tarn it was really quite unpleasant. Michael’s plan to take a closer look at the Tarn did not seem so attractive now, so we contented ourselves with a video shot from our vantage point and then headed with all speed towards Helwith Bridge.

Once we had dropped below the cloud line the mist and rain disappeared miraculously. Our problems, however, were far from over. Google Maps was recommending the best cycling route today, and its next recommendation was a track short-cut called Moor Head Lane. It started fine, but then the muddy patches started to appear, and finally deep muddy pools surrounded by bogs. To be fair Michael did give everyone the option of going back and taking the much easier road alternative, but everyone felt we had already done the worst so we would carry on.

After pushing his bike along a long boggy detour to avoid a muddy pool, Michael noticed that his phone/satnav was no longer attached to his handlebar mount. He searched his bar bag to no avail and concluded that it must have somehow been knocked off his bike on the boggy detour. He spent half an hour retracing his steps back along the track while the others stayed by his bike eating lunch and ringing the phone, but there was no sight or sound of the phone at all. When he returned everyone except Will started searching the bog while Will kept ringing the phone, but still it could not be found.

Time was pressing on. In desperation Michael returned to his bike to search his bar bag again. To his intense embarrassment he found the phone – it had somehow slipped down between the bag and the inner liner. Once removed from the bag the ringtone could be heard easily, but it remains a mystery why nobody could hear it earlier. Michael apologised unreservedly for the delay and gave apple pies to everyone.
Finally we continued down the track, which was now all downhill and much drier than before. Looking on the bright side, the track had allowed us to see the real nature of the Yorkshire Dales scenery in a way that road routes never can. And the sun was out now, so we all felt much better as we eventually reached tarmac near Helwith Bridge.

We followed the road north-westwards, planning to stop at the first café we found. That turned out to be at Horton-in-Ribblesdale, so we bundled inside and were not too concerned that once again they didn’t have the ability to make a proper latte. Will finally caved in and decided to buy a couple of slices of Michael’s delicious coffee cake, purchased yesterday in Settle.

Next was the rather long drag up through Ribblesdale, ending at the Ribbleshead Viaduct. Steam train enthusiasts can often be seen waiting here with cameras on tripods for a glimpse of a steam train crossing the viaduct, and that’s probably why there is usually an ice cream van there. Today was no exception, although we didn’t see any tripods.

Some more climbing took us eventually to Widdale Head from where we enjoyed the very long descent to Hawes in brilliant sunshine. Michael, who had just discovered that he had broken a spoke on the way to Malham, now found that his freehub was not working, so he had to keep pedalling on the final section of downhill. If he had bothered to look more closely he would have seen that part of the broken spoke was stopping the freehub from turning.

A group of Preston cyclists passed us on a weekend trip to Hawes that apparently involved riding 70 miles each day: some of the cyclists didn’t have many good things to say about the person who organised it!

We reached Hawes youth hostel at around 6.10pm with food very much uppermost in our minds as we hadn’t had chance to buy any food today. The warden told us that the only supermarket in Hawes closed at 6pm. When Michael expressed disbelief she asked what we expected in a small place like Hawes! Michael knew what he expected, but that wasn’t going to change the situation. So he asked about hostel meals which would be served at 7pm. Again the response was unhelpful: meals had to be ordered by 6pm, so we were just too late. When Michael pressed her she made enquiries and found that chef could manage fish and chips, but that was all. Michael would gladly have taken her up on that offer, but nobody else was interested. All she could suggest was that there were several restaurants and cafes that should be open in the town, so after quick showers Michael, Dillan and George set off to investigate.

The “small place” of Hawes turned out to be rather bigger than we had been led to believe. It had multiple inns, a garage, a plumber, a club, clothes shops, several banks, electrical shops, art shops, two antique shops and many fast food outlets and restaurants. It was much bigger than Buckfastleigh in terms of the shops available, presumably because it serves a wide rural area, so we did feel it was not at all unreasonable to expect a supermarket that opened until 10pm. We wondered if it had been bought up by the takeaway shops and closed early each day to reduce competition.

Having checked out the Chinese restaurant at the lower end of the town we eventually selected the pizza café near the hostel and rendezvoused there with the rest of the crew. The pizzas were tasty and excellent value, providing us with more than any of us could eat, so it turned out to be a nice break from self-catering.

Today's ride included a total climb of 600m.

Sunday 14 August 2016
0800-2300
Tour: Yorkshire Dales & North York Moors Day 4: Hawes to Grinton Lodge YH (18 mi)Mainly sunny and warm
6 present: Lawrence Buttress, Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, George Rogers, John Rogers, Will Rogers
Sampling cheeses in the Wensleydale Creamery Visitor Centre, Hawes (10:54)
Hawes youth hostel (9:49)
Wensleydale Creamery, Hawes (11:16)
The Visitor Centre at Wensleydale Creamery, Hawes (11:14)
Hardraw Force waterfall (12:28)
Hardraw Force waterfall near Hawes (12:27)
Lunch in Wensleydale, between Hardraw and Bainbridge (13:45)
George under Hardraw Force waterfall (12:29)
George the bully (13:55)
View towards Hawes in Wensleydale from the lunch stop (13:48)
View towards Aysgarth in Wensleydale, from Askrigg Common (14:49)
Skeldale House, Askrigg, location used in the TV series All Creatures Great and Small (14:25)
Swaledale from Whitaside Moor (16:03)
View back over Wensleydale to Semer Water, from near the top of Askrigg Common (15:11)
The ice cream parlour at Reeth (17:35)
Reeth Village Green (17:35)
Football in the grounds of Grinton Lodge youth hostel (20:38)
HD video footage from today's ride
Map of today's route
As there was also a bicycle shop in Hawes Michael rang early to book his bike in for a spoke replacement at 10am. He had hoped to get everyone out by 9.30 so we could visit the cheese factory first, but of course that was an impossible demand for our slower members so we ended up going to the bike shop first.

Stage 1 Cycles was located in the old station building. The mechanic was pleased to have an excuse to miss church apparently, and he fixed the spoke in half an hour while we browsed the shop and took advantage of the café.

Next stop was the Wensleydale Creamery, home of the world famous cheese. The tour area was closed today but the visitor centre made up for it with samples of many delicious flavours available free to everyone. The café looked superb too, with real lattes, but sadly we really didn’t have time to stop.

After calling in at the now-open Spar we took the small detour to Hardraw Force waterfall. Lawrence refused to pay the £2.50 entry fee, but the rest of us wandered up the valley to the very impressive falls. It was possible to walk behind them, and the younger riders discovered a set of steep steps that led to the top. Michael followed at high speed and called a halt to their adventures as they were just going underneath a fence!

Heading towards Bainbridge we stopped at a footpath on the right hand side of the road that allowed us to have lunch in a field. There were spectacular views along Wensleydale towards Hawes, allowing us to immerse ourselves in the picturesque Dales scenery. The youngsters spent a good deal of time enhancing their photography skills.

Next stop was the village of Askrigg, used as a location in the TV series All Creatures Great and Small (for the benefit of those who remember it). We then started the big climb of the day, over Askrigg Moor and out of Wensleydale into Swaledale. The climb was tiring in the afternoon heat so we stopped a few times, mainly so that the younger members could inexplicably perform some gym exercises by the side of the road.

Lawrence led the group down the other side into Swaledale, and predictably he didn’t stop once to admire the outstanding views. We pressed on to Reeth where we were impressed with the enormous village green and the wide range of shops and cafes. We all visited the post off and general stores, then some had ice creams while others went to the café at the bottom of the village. There was a draughts set available to the ice-creamers, but Michael soon found out and put a stop to that rather lengthy avenue of fun.

As we were looking at the Dales Bike Centre by the bridge at the bottom Michael rang the hostel to enquire about evening meals and was told by the warden that one of us had left a wallet in the post office. Apparently we had mentioned we were staying at the hostel tonight so the shopkeeper knew who to ring. The lost wallet belonged to Lawrence of course, so he went back with Will to get it while the rest of us watched some presentations taking place outside the bike shop for a mountain bike competition.

Grinton Lodge hostel was only a mile away, but it involved a long steep climb in the heat that was not especially welcome. When we saw the hostel, however, we felt it was all worthwhile. Surrounded by unspoiled Dales scenery it was once a hunting lodge. We were told by the warden that it is a real money spinner for the YHA, and as we explored the many large rooms and extensive grounds we could understand why. We had been allocated to the Cogden room which must have been the most spacious and magnificent dorm we had stayed in for many years. We had our own en-suite shower which, while suffering from the flaw of a fixed shower head, was nevertheless modern and hot.

Things got even better when we settled into the dining room for the evening meal: we had unlimited iced water on the table and waiter service for our individually-prepared meals. For some strange reason there were Pokémon popping up every so often in the hostel, which proved a distraction for some.

After the meal the youngsters went out to play football in the grounds with some other children staying at the hostel, and by all accounts had a good time. The only problem was the mosquitoes that swarmed around anyone who stayed outside for more than five minutes.

Today's ride included a total climb of 495m.

Monday 15 August 2016
0800-2300
Tour: Yorkshire Dales & North York Moors Day 5: Grinton Lodge to Osmotherley YH (38 mi)Hot and sunny
6 present: Lawrence Buttress, Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, George Rogers, John Rogers, Will Rogers
Lawrence in the courtyard of Grinton Lodge youth hostel (9:47)
One of the grouse that woke some of us, outside our dorm at Grinton Lodge youth hostel (7:20)
Preparing to leave Grinton Lodge youth hostel (9:48)
The idyllic location of Grinton Lodge youth hostel (9:48)
Grinton Lodge youth hostel (10:14)
Another hosteller has attached a backpack to his bike with the help if squash rackets (10:00)
Lunch in Bedale (14:11)
Hutton Hill near Finghall (12:08)
The entrance to Osmotherley youth hostel (18:22)
Crossing the Wensleydale Railway at Springwell Lane, Northallerton (15:33)
Lawrence starts his enormous home-baked roast at Osmotherley youth hostel (20:07)
HD video footage from today's ride
Map of today's route
Michael was awakened at 7.15 by a very strange noise from the gardens below our dorm window. As he crept out of bed and manoeuvred himself towards the window he really had no idea what kind of creature he would find. It turned out to be a pair of grouse having a discussion on the wall, so he quickly grabbed his camcorder and captured the scene. We found out later that grouse are bred for game in the area and that people pay £7000 per day for the privilege of hunting them. The warden said the grouse season had just begun on Friday and he felt the birds came into the YHA grounds because they knew it was safe there!

The self-catering kitchen was a bit cramped but there was a TV in the adjacent dining area that was showing the Olympic Games. Unbelievably Team GB was second in the medal table having just overtaken China – clearly that would not last, but it felt good for now.

Today was going to be one of our longer days, so Michael got everyone up earlier than usual. Sadly we still ended up leaving at 10.15, but it is supposed to be a holiday so Michael wasn’t too concerned.

Returning down the hill we had climbed last night we headed eastwards out of the Yorkshire Dales national park and through the flat agricultural lowlands that link to the North York Moors. There were lots of tractors out on the lanes, some of them very large indeed. Google Maps picked an easy quiet route through the lanes that took us through Newton-le-Willows. There was a sign to a café but it would have meant a half mile detour, so we just pressed on to the market town of Bedale, our planned lunch stop.

The town was bustling with many interesting shops, including an enormous co-op and some top quality bakeries. It was now very hot indeed, so after buying our lunches we settled down on some seats in the shade of a tree to eat it. Michael and George got out their smartphones and took the Pokémon Gym in the centre of the town.

We had to follow the main road towards Northallerton for a while, but then we found a useful cycle route into the centre that took us along some quiet lanes and tracks and across a level crossing. We had a slight problem when Google tried to send us along a track that was clearly closed off and overgrown, but once we had found a way around we soon arrived in the town centre.

The first shop we saw was Costa, but when we got inside some of us were so hot and thirsty that we only wanted iced water. Fortunately the staff were happy to oblige, providing free refills as required. We all needed the rest so it was a very welcome stop. We then moved on to the huge Sainsburys where Michael, Dillan and George bought the ingredients for a pasta bake and the rest bought the various elements for a roast chicken dinner! Michael was sceptical that the roast would work out, but Lawrence seemed confident.

The final haul to the North York Moors national park involved a gradual climb on the main road followed by a steeper climb up to Osmotherley itself. The hostel was called Cote Ghyll Mill and didn’t seem to have any obvious YHA signs, but it was certainly an interesting building in a very pleasant location.

Everyone started preparing the food as soon as we got in, and showers had to be fitted in around the cooking schedule. We all ended up sitting down for our respective meals at around 8pm, and I have to say that all the food looked, smelled and tasted excellent. This got everyone into the club record books, as nobody has ever cooked pasta bake before in the oven, and a roast has certainly never been attempted on our tours.

Today's ride included a total climb of 375m.

Tuesday 16 August 2016
0800-2300
Tour: Yorkshire Dales & North York Moors Day 6: Osmotherley to Helmsley YH (18 mi)Hot and sunny
6 present: Lawrence Buttress, Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, George Rogers, John Rogers, Will Rogers
Cod Beck Reservoir, near Osmotherley (10:26)
Osmotherley youth hostel (9:32)
Enjoying the tranquility of Cod Beck Reservoir (10:30)
Cod Beck Reservoir (10:26)
View to Arden Great Moor from Low Cote Farm (11:45)
Heather on the North York Moors (11:39)
Leaving the café near Hawnby Bridge after a very long refreshment stop (14:45)
View to Hawnby Moor from Low Cote Farm (11:45)
Michael tries George's shades (15:56)
The track near Crabtree Hall, Rievaulx (15:56)
Rievaulx Abbey (16:09)
Rievaulx Abbey (16:02)
The start of the Cleveland Way near Rievaulx Bridge (17:02)
Rievaulx Abbey (16:10)
Steep steps on the Cleveland Way (17:36)
Griff Lodge on the Cleveland Way (17:25)
Helmsley Castle (17:48)
Removing the gate makes things much easier (17:48)
Lawrence tastes his home-made flapjack, made for Michael's birthday, at Helmsley youth hostel (21:17)
HD video footage from today's ride
Map of today's route
Leaving the hostel later than planned at 10.15 on another fabulous sunny morning we rode up the hill and turned right onto a track that led us past Cod Beck Reservoir. The water level was on the low side today, leaving plenty of beach space for to skim stones across the tranquil waters.

Our chosen route led us up a woodland climb and then down a stony track to the moorland lanes at Solomon’s Temple. We have never visited the North York Moors before, but as we rode on towards Hawnby we discovered that in many ways it is similar to Dartmoor. Large areas are covered with heather, often cultivated to encourage the grouse which feed on it, and the lanes have typical moorland grass verges as they dip and climb through the delightful scenery.

Michael had planned a coffee stop at Hawnby but after the late start and a few stiff climbs it was 12.30 before we finally arrived, descending the steep hill to Hawnby Bridge. The café seemed more like the dining room of a private house, and when we asked to use the facilities we were directed up some stairs to the owner’s bathroom! Once again she couldn’t do a proper latte, so she provided two huge cafetieres of filter coffee and one tiny jug of hot milk. We needed two more milk jug refills, each of which seemed to take forever, but the cakes were delicious and the female proprietor made us very welcome. Her 15-year-old son helped with the serving and explained how he has to travel 9 miles each day to get to school at Ryedale.

It was now lunchtime and we were faced with the choice of a very large climb to see the Sutton Bank viewpoint and visitor centre, which involved a detour, or having lunch here and taking the more direct route to Helmsley. Well the prices of the soups here were cheap and everyone was enjoying the stay, so we ended up choosing the second option. We had been there nearly two hours when we finally emerged into the afternoon sunshine ready for the second half of our journey.

We followed the river Rye down through Rye Dale and then branched off the main road to take the track to Rievaulx via Crabtree Hall. The youngsters seemed very amused to see Michael wearing shades partway down the track.

Rievaulx Cistercian Abbey is now just an impressive ruin, but until 1538 it was one of the wealthiest abbeys in England. It is now owned and managed by English Heritage, and they have built an impressive visitor centre with glass-fronted café. Will was interested to look around but in the end nobody wanted to spend £5 each on entry so we contended ourselves with viewing it from the café where we were actually able to buy real lattes!

Continuing on our way we took the Cleveland Way track up through Whinny Bank Woods and then on through a steep dip that involved some steps – I’m not sure what John thought about the route at that point as he was staying remarkably quiet! Further along Lawrence came to a kissing gate that looked like it would be a problem for our bikes: he was very impressed when Michael wandered up and lifted the gate off its hinges, saying he would never have thought of doing that.

After negotiating a few more gates that necessitated bike lifting we rode down past Helmsley Castle and arrived in the town square at around 6.30. We all bought provisions from the co-op and some collected Pokémon while they waited outside. We then rode the short distance to the hostel, nestled between houses on a rather ordinary-looking town street.

Lawrence shared oven-baked fish, chips and peas with Michael and Dillan, then unexpectedly he made and baked a tray of flapjack for the group in celebration of Michael’s birthday tomorrow. It really was very tasty, and as far as I know this is another first for South Dartmoor cycle tours. Shortly afterwards Will was taking an unusual interest in Pokémon-Go by asking to see Michael’s favourite Pokémon. The reason became apparent next morning.

Michael had a craving for ice cubes for some reason, so he, Dillan and George walked back to the co-op and bought a 2kg bag of them. Only George had internet access here, as his phone was registered with EE, but he kindly offered to share his internet connection for the walk so we could do some Pokémon hunting along the way. When we started back, however, he broke his agreement and turned off his hotspot so that he alone could have poke-fun on the return journey.

The dorm was hot overnight but we opened the fire door to make it cool and airy. There was also a large bowl of ice cubes to share, and several took advantage of the offer before they all turned to water.

Today's ride included a total climb of 465m.

Wednesday 17 August 2016
0800-2300
Tour: Yorkshire Dales & North York Moors Day 7: Helmsley to Whitby YH (32 mi)Hot and sunny
6 present: Lawrence Buttress, Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, George Rogers, John Rogers, Will Rogers
Café stop in Kirkbymoorside (11:50)
Preparing to leave Helmsley youth hostel (9:25)
Lunch near Hartoft (14:44)
George rides through Appleton-le-Moors (12:44)
Hartoft Moor (15:05)
View towards Rosedale Abbey from Hartoft Moor (15:05)
RAF Flyingdales radar installation, Saltergate (16:07)
Michael leads the group over Hartoft Moor (15:15)
Egton Bridge (16:29)
The land owner strims one of the grouse hides on the moor before the descent to Egton Bridge (16:07)
Station Square, Whitby, where we stopped at the co-op (18:22)
An unpleasant warning sign after passingt through Egton Bridge (16:32)
George arrives at the top of the steep climb from the town (18:58)
Whitby swing bridge (18:48)
Entrance to Whitby youth hostel through the grounds of Whitby Abbey (19:01)
View back to Whitby from near the hostel (18:58)
A birthday meal at Whitby youth hostel (20:31)
HD video footage from today's ride
Map of today's route
As we were getting ready for breakfast Michael was presented with a birthday gift and card signed by everyone – an unexpected boost on a morning when he was feeling a little under the weather from a cold and cough. The gift was a packet of cheddar biscuits and cream cheese, and the wrapper had been adorned with Will’s excellent drawing of an Exeggcute Pokémon!

For the first time we actually got away close to 9.30 as planned for the longest ride of the tour. Michael had more than a kilo of ice cubes to use up, so he shared some out in the hostel courtyard and carried the remainder in the bag on the back of his bike. The few that remained by the time we reached Beadlam were stuffed into Lawrence’s thermos flask.

The first part of our route was mainly A-roads, so we got to Kirkbymoorside at the sensible time of 10.15. We missed the co-op and had to double back to the town centre. The first bakery we found was rather small scale, having only seven or eight items on display, but she had more out back and was happy to make sandwiches and rolls to order. The delicatessen down the street (Scrumptious Deli) offered far better value, however, so most of us stocked up there for lunch.

As this would be our only chance for a café stop all day we asked someone in the street for her recommendation of the best café. She advised Bridget’s Café, so we all trooped in and ordered real lattes that were very hot but very tasty. She didn’t quite produce them all in the five minutes she promised, so by the time we had finished it was 11:50 - much later than we had planned. Michael was falling asleep and wondered whether he should be cycling at all in his current state, but he felt OK again once he was on the bike.

We returned to the main road for a few miles, then turned left for Appleton-le-Moors. Michael got a puncture along the way which necessitated a repair stop, but Lawrence refused to stop because there were too many flies buzzing around. He eventually found a seat under some trees that seemed to be relatively fly-free, so we repaired it there.

After riding through Appleton-le-Moors George got a nosebleed that took nearly half an hour to get under control. It was now 1.30, the time we had planned to stop for lunch, but Michael insisted we pressed on up the climb that would take us right over the centre of the moors. We finally stopped on a grassy verge near Hartoft at around 2.15pm and found out deli lunches to be very tasty.

We continued the gradual climb and were soon crossing the heather-topped high moors. It really hadn’t seemed like too bad a climb when we reached the top, certainly not as steep as the climbs in the Dales. As we looked around we noticed some strange stone enclosures that turned out to be grouse hides: we wondered what chance the grouse would have to escape their hunters, but concluded that at £7000 per day the hunters probably expected the odds to be stacked in their favour. IN the distance we could see an unusual pyramid-shaped building that later turned out to be RAF Flyingdales radar installation near Saltergate.

The descent to Egton Bridge was long and very steep in places, so most of us enjoyed that. The 33% climb on the other side of the river, however, was not so welcome. Lawrence, Will and Dillan took the lead, with Lawrence tasked to be leader and to stop everyone at regular intervals. Unfortunately when Lawrence stopped with Dillan about two thirds of the way up, Will decided to continue to the top on his own. Meanwhile George had managed to get a jammed chain near the bottom that took John a good twenty minutes to repair, so Lawrence had been waiting half an hour by the time we were all together again. Will had been told by phone of the chain delay before his battery went dead, but when we eventually all continued to the top he was nowhere to be seen. For some reason he had decided to ride on to the hostel alone, along the main road.

John took the main road route while the rest of us followed the quiet lanes route that took us past some great views of the edge of the moors. A local who saw us taking the lane route suggested it was miles longer than the main road, so the youngsters thought Michael was taking them on a long detour. In fact she hadn’t known the route we were actually taking, and it turned out to be just 0.2 miles longer and involved 40m less climbing than the main road.

John was waiting for us when we re-joined the main road, and we continued on together to Whitby. Will telephoned from the hostel to let us know he had arrived safely, so we stopped at the co-op to stock up with some basic provisions. We then made our way across Whitby Bridge with many tourists milling around in every direction. We rode along the old-fashioned cobbles of Henrietta Street and were then faced with a very steel cobbled climb to the hostel that had some steep steps beside them as an unattractive alternative. We worked together as a team to get all the bikes up to the top but wondered whether there would have been an easier way to get there.

The hostel is uniquely situated in the grounds of Whitby Abbey, a National Trust property. It’s a big hostel with rather plush rooms and a large restaurant that is also open to the general public. After welcome showers we all headed for the restaurant where we had booked a proper cooked meal to celebrate Michael’s birthday, all very generously funded by John. The food was excellent in every respect, so many thanks to John for giving us an excellent end to a superb day of cycling.

Unfortunately Michael’s cold was now getting the better of him, so he retired to bed shortly after the meal for a long night of recuperation.

Today's ride involved a total climb of 625m.

Thursday 18 August 2016
0800-2300
Tour: Yorkshire Dales & North York Moors Day 8: Whitby to Scarborough YH (21 mi)Warm and sunny, cloudy cool spell during the afternoon
6 present: Lawrence Buttress, Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, George Rogers, John Rogers, Will Rogers
Dillan in the grounds of Whitby youth hostel (9:42)
Whitby youth hostel and Whitby Abbey (9:42)
Whitby harbour from St Mary's Church near the youth hostel (10:00)
Inside Whitby youth hostel (9:46)
Lawrence, Dillan, John, George and Will in the grounds of St Mary's Church, Whitby (10:00)
The group in the grounds of St Mary's Church, Whitby (10:00)
The steep cobbled path from the hostel to the town (10:14)
The stairs and steep cobbles that lead from the hostel to Henrietta Street, Whitby (10:14)
Lawrence on the West Pier, Whitby (10:46)
Henrietta Street, Whitby (10:17)
Whitby beach, from the West Pier (10:50)
Lawrence films Dillan on Whitby West Pier (10:48)
Start of the Cinder Track cycle path at Whitby (11:49)
The group on West Pier, Whitby (10:57)
The old railway cycle path approaching Robin Hood's Bay (12:38)
Whitby Abbey and youth hostel from the Cinder Track bridge over the Esk (11:56)
The bustling shopping street near the beach at Robin Hood's Bay (13:07)
Robin Hood's Bay (13:01)
The youngsters arrive at Boggle Hole after riding along the beach from Robin Hood's Bay (13:22)
Cycling across the beach from Robin Hood's Bay to Boggle Hole (13:14)
The painting in the common room at Boggle Hole youth hostel with spy holes in the eyes (14:31)
George, Dillan, Will and Lawrence arrive at Boggle Hole (13:22)
The Quarterdeck Café at Boggle Hole youth hostel, open to the public during the day (14:35)
George dresses up after lunch at Boggle Hole youth hostel (14:34)
View back to Robin Hood's Bay from the railway path at Susanna Hill near Boggle Hole (15:36)
View to the beach from Boggle Hole youth hostel (14:35)
Lawrence keeping cool (15:39)
Lawrence poses for the camera on a rather hot afternoon (15:39)
The brand new - and very expensive - Alpamare Water Park in Scarborough (18:02)
View back to Robin Hood's Bay from the railway path approaching Ravenscar (15:53)
Two very large King carveries at the restaurant near Scarborough youth hostel (19:49)
HD video footage from today's ride
Map of today's route - although we took the beach route from Robin Hood's Bay to Boggle Hole
Today was a relatively easy day so we took things a bit easy, taking time to explore the grounds of the hostel with the abbey ruins behind. We also walked to the far side of St Mary’s Church near the hostel to admire the views to Whitby harbour and pier. The bright sunshine made everything look perfect this morning.

Retracing our steps back down the steep cobbled slope we took time to explore some of the shops in Henrietta Street, including a chocolate shop and a market, before crossing the bridge again and walking towards the pier in search of coffee. We passed several cafes but none grabbed our attention sufficiently, so we were soon riding right out to the end of the pier. This gave us great views of the impressive beach so we spent an enjoyable half hour there chatting and soaking up the atmosphere. Lawrence used the time to get messages from everyone for the camcorder that they thought may be useful to their future selves, even though normally it would be the future selves that would be wanting to pass information back in time to help them avoid pitfalls.

There still remained the issue of coffee, and George wanted Costa, so we rode back to the main streets to find the nearest outlet. The shop was busy and we had to wait ten minutes for our table to be cleared before we could start.

By 11.45 we were finally able to set off, quickly finding the start of the old railway path locally called the Cinder Track. After crossing the impressive railway bridge over the river Esk it climbed gradually for a few miles and then descended towards the coast at Robin Hood’s Bay. The road down to the beach was extremely steep and the narrow streets were packed with visitors – clearly it’s a very attractive and popular town.

Our plan was to ride the mile or so to Boggle Hole youth hostel where there is a restaurant open to the general public, but the steep steps leading up from near the beach did not particularly appeal to any of us. Then a local commented that he had seen people cycling along the beach to Boggle Hole that very morning, so he assumed the tide was out and it was reachable. We decided to give it a go as we don’t often get to ride on beaches.

This turned out to be great fun as the sand on the beach was damp and quite compacted. There were plenty of visitors on the massive beach, watching us with amusement. The Quarterdeck Restaurant at Boggle Hole was packed with people, but after queueing for 15 minutes we got some very decent soups and fish and chip meals that proved very tasty. The Wi-Fi didn’t work at first so we had to request a reboot of the access point. While we were waiting for that Will got angry because nobody would believe him about the “dangers” of artificial sweeteners.

Michael had heard a lot about Boggle Hole over the years so he asked if someone could give us a guided tour of the hostel. One of the assistants kindly agreed to do so after he had finished his break, and his tour showed us just what a special hostel Boggle Hole is. The main rooms and doors were up wooden stairs from the restaurant on several levels, with a seafaring theme throughout all the rooms. The dorms looked very rustic and cosy. John and George played with the dressing up box and several took turns to look through the concealed spy holes in the common room painting.

Michael was slowed down for a while with some unexpected abdominal pains, but we still made good progress up the steep hill that took us back to the Cinder Track. The ride then continued on a gradual climb through Ravenscar and then a gradual descent to Scarborough. Lawrence and Will comically tried cooling off by tying up their shirts and shorts, giving Michael some excellent photo and video opportunities. The weather became gradually greyer and colder as we progressed, however, so it wasn’t long before we were putting on fleeces.

Lawrence and Will somehow managed to crash into each other as we approached the end of the cycle path, but there was no real harm done. We rode the last couple of miles to the hostel as the sun came out again, dropped the bikes off there at around 5.30 and then rode on towards the town to check out a brand new water park that had opened within the last couple of weeks.

The park was called Alpamare and had cost millions to build. It had been criticised in the press for being too expensive, but some were keen to go in so we thought we should check it out for ourselves. It did look interesting, but from what we could see there were only four flumes. We had about an hour to spend there, but the prices were going to be £19 entry fee for up to four hours with no reductions under any circumstances. We wondered who would want to spend 4 hours in there, and couldn’t see who would want to pay £19 for an hour. We were still toying with the idea when Michael discovered they wanted £19 for spectators to go in as well! That was it. We left in disgust, deciding our money would be better spent on a carvery!

Our dorm was a bit cramped but the showers were OK. Once we were all clean we walked the short distance to Scalby Manor and order carveries all round. Well Lawrence and Will didn’t think an ordinary carvery would be sufficient for their needs, so they ordered King Carveries and somehow managed to eat them. There was time for a couple of games of Pool before we headed back to the hostel.

It was very hot in the dorm so we tried to open the only window. At first we thought the Health and Safety people had beaten us by locking it down so it wouldn’t open more than 4cm, but then Dillan discovered that he could unhook the restraint so the window could open fully. Remarkably, nobody fell out of the window during the night.

Today's ride included a total climb of 400m.

Friday 19 August 2016
0800-2300
Tour: Yorkshire Dales & North York Moors Day 9: Scarborough to Home (2 mi)Cloudy with rain later
6 present: Lawrence Buttress, Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, George Rogers, John Rogers, Will Rogers
Scarborough youth hostel (9:37)
Scarborough youth hostel (9:31)
George, Dillan and Lawrence at North Bay Promenade, Scarborough (9:58)
The group at North Bay Promenade, Scarborough (9:58)
The Kings Screen at York Minster Cathedral (13:09)
Peasholm Park, Scarborough (10:02)
The Armoury, York (13:18)
Shambles Street, York on a very wet afternoon (13:17)
More weapons upstairs at The Armoury, York (13:19)
Inside The Armoury, York (13:18)
Platform 9¾, Kings Cross station, London (16:48)
John the Gladiator at The Armoury, York (13:19)
Michael the bird-whisperer at Regent's Park, London (17:36)
Posing for photos at Platform 9¾, Kings Cross station, London (16:48)
Feeding the birds at Regent's Park, London (17:36)
George the bird-tamer at Regent's Park, London (17:36)
A heron by the lake at Regent's Park, London (17:47)
John tries to coax the birds to land on Michael at Regent's Park, London (17:36)
The Sherlock Holmes museum, Baker Street, London (17:51)
HD video footage from today's ride
Map of today's route
An early 7.15 alarm on our final morning of the tour had little effect as everyone went back to sleep. It was Michael who realised a little later that it was 7.45, so everyone got up in double quick time. After a good breakfast we had time to play in the hostel gardens for a while, where George had yesterday seen squirrels and rabbits.

The weather was finally changing today – cloudy and windy in the morning with rain forecast from 12. We rode past the waterpark, missed the open air theatre which was concealed behind a row of trees and made our way to the promenade and the excellent beach. Nearby Peasholm Park looked very attractive too with its boating lake and tree-covered island. Everyone thought it was a very nice resort. They changed their mind a little however as we rode up through the town itself, which looked a bit tired and cheap.

We arrived at the station at 10.20 for our first journey to York. The trains go every hour but can only guarantee two bikes per train. Michael had booked 2 bikes on the 10.50 and 2 more on the 11.50 but hoped the guard would allow us to take all 6 bikes on the first train. Things didn’t look too promising as the platform filled with people travelling to York races. The guard said he would take more than two if he could, but then decided two was the maximum on this train. He couldn’t even be persuaded to take one more. So Michael and Dillan ended up on the first train leaving John to somehow get four on the next!

Michael and Dillan got to York at 11.38 and settled into the Costa for coffees waiting for news from John. It seemed he took the approach of not asking, just loading the bikes on wherever they could even though the train was packed. This worked a treat, as the guard was so overwhelmed by all the people that he had nothing to say about the bikes. Two other people who had not even reserved spaces also managed to get their bikes on, and cheekily put them in the official bikes spaces!

While they all travelled to York Michael and Dillan checked out the town in the rain so we could make the most of the time we had there. Everyone was reunited at York Station by 12.47 leaving us an hour to explore the historic city. We first went to York Minster cathedral. There is usually an entry charge but the guide kindly allowed us to sit on the seats without paying. The stained glass windows were impressive, as were the kings carved into the famous Kings Screen.

Next stop was Shambles Street, famous for its fascinating shops. The place the youngsters really wanted to see however was called The Armoury, in Stonegate. It was packed with armour and weapons of all kinds, and some couldn’t resist the temptation to try on helmets. The staff were a bit funny about Michael filming everything and insisted on a donation to charity, which John kindly provided. Even this donation wasn’t enough however, as we were reminded that a donation normally allows three photos, not videoing the whole shop.

There was a slight delay while everyone forgot which way they had seen Michael going as he watched them through the crowds from the end of the street, but eventually they caught on and we called in at a classy bakery to get lunch. There was then a mad dash back to the station in the rain where we only narrowly managed to get to the platform in time to load the bikes on the 1402 Virgin train to London. Here, finally, on Virgin East Coast, was a proper guards van with space for 20 or more bikes. There are only 5 official spaces with racks, and only 5 bikes could be reserved, but the guard did not count our bikes on and anyway there would clearly have been enough room for many more bikes if necessary.
The train to London was quiet and comfortable. We had seats on two adjacent tables as booked. Some played chess after we had eaten our lunch, including Dillan who learned to play for the first time – Michael found a website that showed him the moves each player could make during a game against an easy AI.

We arrived at Kings Cross station on time at 1625 leaving us two and a half hours to cross to Paddington. We used the time first to check out the Harry Potter shop and photoshoot, Platform 9¾, which was extremely busy and no doubt making a stack of money for the owners from the high quality merchandise on sale. There was a long queue of people outside the shop waiting to have their photo taken walking through the wall.

A short cycle ride took us to Regent’s Park, where cycling was strictly forbidden. We walked past the café as nobody now seemed interested in going there, and on to the lake where a flock of geese and pigeons walked over to meet us. Once Michael started feeding them there was no chance of getting away in a hurry and we spent an enjoyable half an hour giving away the last of our bread. John carefully planted breadcrumbs on Michael’s shoulder and helmet in the hope that the birds would land on his head, but in this he was disappointed. We got some great shots of pigeons on Michael’s hand and arm, and then on Geroge’s hand – quite an experience for those who have not been to the park before.

We stopped briefly opposite the Sherlock Holmes museum in Baker Street, then went to pizza hut with a view to buying some takeaway pizza for the train. They quoted us twenty minutes wait time however, so we went to the nearby Subway instead. From there we rode the last mile or two to Paddington Station, arriving at 1835 to find the station more crowded than we have ever seen it.

Sainsburys was open again on the station concourse so we stocked up with a few more items for the train, loaded the bikes easily onto the 1903 Great Western train and settled into our seats. It appeared that an earlier train had been cancelled, however, as there seemed to be twice as many people on the train as there were seats. People were sitting or standing on the floor between the seats all the way through the carriages and the area between carriages were equally packed. Fortunately the carriage had fully working air conditioning so the experience was not too arduous for those of us with reserved seats, but John and Will found it a very trying experience to get to the lavatory.

WE whiled away the time playing more games of chess once we had eaten our food. The train got less packed as we got closer to home, but then it made an unscheduled stop at Dawlish to pick up people who had been to the air show, so once again it got quite busy.

We finally got in to Newton Abbot at 2155, around ten minutes later than scheduled. This had been our longest tour since the summer of 2013 and everyone seemed to agree it had been very enjoyable. We had been lucky with the weather, missing nearly all of the potential rain that could have ruined the trip and getting far more than our fair share of sunshine. There is talk of Norway next summer, so watch this space to see what happens next.

Sunday 21 August 2016
1015-1700
Morning ride: Converted to SocialCloudy but dry
3 present: Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, Will Rogers
Michael was recovering from the cold and cough he picked up on our recent tour, so we settled for a day at Crofters that involved video clips from the tour and several games of chess.

Friday 26 August 2016
1900-2140
Evening ride: Skerraton DownSunny and warm
5 present: Tom Batten, Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, John Rogers, Will Rogers
Sunset over Skerraton Down (20:06)
Tom was in fine form this evening as we rode up Dean Hill, so we diverted to Skerraton and took the track up onto the moor. It was a bit overgrown today - clearly the farmer is running late with his annual cut - but we eventually made it to the open moor where the last rays of sunset made us feel once again how fortunate we are to live near such fabulous scenery.

Picking our way through the gorse bushes we finally made it to the ridge and managed to find the wall that would guide us home. From here the twinkling lights of Teignmouth and Totnes looked far away and remote.

Our progress down the hill to Cross Furzes and home was slower than usual as Michael broke a brake cable, but we still had plenty of time to finish the ride with hot drinks and quizzes at Crofters until 10.30.

Sunday 28 August 2016
1015-1330
Morning ride: Converted to SocialShowery
2 present: Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones
The showery weather probably explained why only two of us were out today. We changed the ride to a social and played badminton at Ashmoor.

Friday 2 September 2016
1900-2100
Evening ride: Hembury FortDry
6 present: Tom Batten, Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, Gavin Pearson, George Rogers, John Rogers
Today was Dillan's birthday, so we ran a short ride that took us up through Hembury Woods and then rode over to the Fort where we all agreed that the cutting down of the trees by the National Trust was an act of sacrilege.

We made our way down the slalom track gingerly in the darkness, met Tom at the car park (he had been feeling unwell on the way up) and then rode back to Crofters for 9pm. Birthday cake and hot chocolates were available to all during the enjoyable after-ride social.

Sunday 4 September 2016
1015-1405
Morning ride: Holne (10 mi)Mainly dry
4 present: Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, George Rogers, John Rogers
Riding the moat at Hembury Fort (13:34)
We had planned an easy café ride today for Tom, but Tom had failed to get up for the ride. We had heard that the chef at Holne Café, Simon, was leaving soon, so we decided to make a special farewell visit, extending the ride a little by first riding up to Cross Furzes. Leo the dog was out to greet us as we rode through Scoriton.

At the start of the road to Michelcombe a resident was out cutting the hedgerow and ominously announced that he couldn't guarantee no thorns along the road. We didn't take much notice until Dillan noticed he had a flat tyre at Michelcombe. As we were so close to the café we hobbled up the hill with a few pumps.

When we arrived at the café we were disappointed to discover that Simon had left at the end of August. Volunteers were manning the kitchen until a replacement could be found, but the soup was excellent as usual. We would like to thank Simon for the warm welcome he always extended to us on our frequent visits and wish him all the best for the future.

Outside we fixed Dillan's new puncture and his older slower one in record time, then rode back to Hembury Fort where George wanted to ride around the moat. After riding the slalom track we returned home for 2.05 and as usual offered an afternoon games social until 4.10m

Today's ride included a total climb of 371m.

Friday 9 September 2016
1900-2106
Evening ride: Staverton Bridge (10 mi)Cloudy and blustery
4 present: Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, Gavin Pearson, John Rogers
Rain was forecast by 9pm (or 10pm according to Gavin) so we rode along Colston Road with the intention of running a short ride. When we got to Staverton Bridge we were just trying to decide on a route home when the first drops of rain fell, prompting John to veto any route other than the shortest route home! Well actually we all felt the same way secretly, so we headed back via Abham and Caddaford.

In the event the rain didn't start in earnest until around 9.30.

Today's ride included a total climb of 177m.

Sunday 11 September 2016
1015-1515
Day ride: Dartmeet (19 mi)Cloudy with sunny spells and showers
3 present: Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, John Rogers
The Silver Jubilee stone near Leusdon (13:45)
Badgers Holt, Dartmeet (13:04)
Spitchwick (14:10)
Dillan was keen to do a longer ride today and selected a destination of Princetown. We made good progress through Scoriton and past Venford, but then Michael noticed some distant rain in the Princetown area. None of us had brought coats with us as we had stupidly only checked the forecast for the Buckfastleigh area. Light rain was with us by the time we reached Hexworthy, so Dillan decided the café at Dartmeet would be a safer bet on this occasion.

We enjoyed some good refreshments at Badgers Holt café until the rain finally gave way to sunshine, then we set off up Dartmeet Hill and on to Leusdon where Michael found his beloved ducks hiding behind a tree some way from the pond.

Spitchwick was busy as usual in the afternoon sunshine. We took the riverside path to New Bridge and returned home via Hembury having completed the ride in excellent time.

Today's ride included a total climb of 708m.

Friday 16 September 2016
1900-2230
Evening ride: River Dart Country Park
4 present: Dillan Edwards, Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Gavin Pearson
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