South Dartmoor CTC Album


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Sunday 22 May 1988
Day ride: Whooping Rock
Sun / wind
8 Participants: Richard Burge, Luke Hatherly, Simon Hopper, Philip Humphreys, Michael Jones, Jason Morris, Mark Morris, Mark Moxham
Whooping Rock? Well they couldn't really call it Rocking Rock, could they? Visions of a gigantic boulder balanced precariously on a moorland tor which could be rocked with the slightest pressure of a little finger encouraged us onwards through Bickington and Haytor.

Just after Manaton we found the dead-end road we were looking for, turned off onto the footpath and soon reached Easdon Tor, site of the aforesaid rock. Hunger seemed the first priority, but not before several people had discovered that it was particularly difficult to hold one's position on the triangulation post in view of the strong winds that blew across it.

A group search for the rock uncovered a letterbox (Dartmoor variety in a plastic box) hidden at the base of a large rock formation. True, the large lump on top appeared to be touching the lower one in only a couple of places, but even Budgie couldn't get it to budge! Still, there were good views to be had by anyone who could withstand the force of the wind long enough to admire them.

Returning to the road we decided to make for Widecombe, but the group was evenly split on whether to try the long track through Heathercombe and Hamel Down. Eventually there was a kind of mutiny, and the track supporters were defeated. And it was just as well as it turned out, for part way down the hill to Widecombe who should turn up but Luke Hatherly in a car. He had been at the Buckfastleigh start at the specified time and left at 10.05 when no-one was there, not knowing where the pick-up was. His parents had spent much of their lunch time searching the rocks for us, and had been fortunate enough to discover us at last.

At the Wayside, Budgie wanted lots of tea. He even returned his teapot and asked the waitress for more, as he often does. Sadly she interpreted this literally, delivering a fresh set of 'tea for two' within a few moments, along with the appropriate additional bill! It's not often one sees Richard get angry, but today was the exception. Fortunately the incident was cleared up amicably after Michael's intervention: the cafe agreed to refund half of the extra bill, and asked Richard to request more water in future to avoid confusion.

The hill from Ponsworthy brought us once again to Bel Tor Corner, from where we all took the fabulous track to Poundsgate. Descending Poundsgate hill we quickly got caught in a traffic queue, and discovered that the whole Spitchwick / New Bridge area was like an ant heap (ants as well as tourists)! Having fixed Philip's brake cable we decided to return home along our more peaceful lanes, agreeing to return to Spitchwick on evening rides only during the summer.
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