South Dartmoor CTC Album


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Sunday 11 December 1988
Day ride: Gara Mill
16 Participants: Richard Burge, David Cutts, Luke Hatherly, Steven Hills, Richard Hopper, Jonathon Hunt, Martin Hunt, Michael Jones, Ian Luke, David Robinson (Adult, Marldon), Philip Robinson (11, Marldon), Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth, Andrew Simmons, Ken Twydell, Mark Williams
Our pick-up point at Totnes is on the Plains, which is probably the only place in the area where such a huge group of cyclists could meet without causing an obstruction! Michael, who was still nursing a cough, took the car as far as Totnes, and when Martin and Jonathon had also arrived by car the day's contingent was complete.

Seasoned members will be familiar with the route through Harbertonford and Moreleigh towards Slapton, but may not have ventured dowh the steep and twisty descent to Gara Mill, situated (not surprisingly perhaps) on the delightful River Gara. The mill is now a tasteful house conversion, buried deep in the woods at the bottom of the secluded valley. A path leading down to the river made a delightful lunch spot, where members could spread themselves out along the river bank to read their personal copy of Newsletter 7, hot off the photocopier.

There are only two ways out of Gara Mill, and both of them are up. Not wishing to leave by the same route we climbed the lane on the east side of the valley, discovering plenty of mud and other dubious semi-solids outside Burlestone Farm. Arriving shortly afterwards at Blackwell Cross the afternoon was still young, and there was plenty of time to enjoy the coastal views across Landcombe Cove on the way to Blackpool cafe.

Things had changed a little at Blackpool since we were last there. The cafe, which was now in new ownership, seemed to have gone up market to such an extent that there was no room for us to sit down in its luxurious warmth. We had to content ourselves with eating outside - which wasn't so bad as it happened, since the sun shone for the first time while we were there. Jonathon decided not to go swimming on this occasion, however.

The rather leisurely return was via Bowden and Tuckenhay, with more delightful scenes along the way. Luke Hatherly was really looking forward to trying Corkscrew Hill - until he got there that is, discovering that he had been down it before but hadn't known its name!

There was talk of Norway in the air as we neared Totnes in the descending darkness, but when all is said and done, the local rides can be every bit as much fun as the most expensive tour abroad, can't they?
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Events Index Gallery Participants