South Dartmoor CTC Album


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Sunday 14 February 1988
Day ride: Slapton Sands
8 Participants: Richard Burge, Richard Hopper, Simon Hopper, Philip Humphreys, Gary Johnson, Glen Johnson, Michael Jones, Mark Morris
Heavy rain on Saturday evening had left severe floods in many parts of Devon, and we came across the effects shortly after ignoring the 'Road Closed' sign on the main Totnes road - a huge lake at the bottom of Weston Hill.

The three leaders (Mark M, Gary and Richard B) immediately rode into the flood, and quickly found the water lapping over their hubs and ankles with no way of turning back! The rest of the group watched with interest, then removed shoes and socks and cycled across barefoot .. it was absolutely freezing, but at least they had dry socks and shoes to return to on the other side.

Simon Hopper was following on behind us, having been delayed at home by puncture problems. We waited at Totnes until nearly 1130, but in the end discovered that the flood had proved the last straw when he was already convinced that he would miss us.

Taking the main road from Harbertonford to Stanborough took us through some delightful scenery. One of the right-hand tracks near Halwell proved so tempting to Richard Hopper that he decided to try it on his homeward route (he had to be home for a late lunch). It proved decidedly muddy, but made a pleasant change from the more usual methods of return.

A brief lunch on a verge near East Allington was followed by a hard push for the sea, bringing us to Slapton Ley in time for afternoon tea. But what was this? Our usual cafe was closed, and so were all the others! There was plenty of refreshment to be had from the surf on the beach, but in the end we had to find something. Eventually we discovered an excellent little establishment at the end of the promenade which agreed to open early so that we could sample their toasted fruit loaf and other goodies.

Everything was looking at its freshest best today. As we returned through Strete and Tuckenhay, refusing to stop even at the Forces Cross cafe, we all began to appreciate just how fortunate we are to live amidst such beauty.

There is just one more matter to report, concerning the return across the dreaded lake at Weston. In the semi-darkness it became apparent that there were now several machines working to provide drainage. The gentleman at the near side assured us that the level was now much lower than it had been that morning, and that if we cycled to the right of the pump we could cross without difficulty. He neglected, however, to remind us that the pump's output pipe ran to the right of the pump, under the water: several of us got rather wet!
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