Recent Event Reports

Page 8 of 11
Sunday 15 April 2018
10:15 - 13:30
Morning ride: Decided on the Day
0 Participants: No participants recorded for this event
Report to follow



Friday 13 April 2018
19:00 - 22:15
Evening ride: Decided on the Day
0 Participants: No participants recorded for this event
Report to follow



Sunday 8 April 2018
10:15
Morning ride: Decided on the Day
0 Participants: No participants recorded for this event
Report to follow



Friday 6 April 2018
19:00 - 22:15
Evening ride: Decided on the Day
0 Participants: No participants recorded for this event
Report to follow



Monday 2 April 2018
08:00 - 19:00
Tour: Peak District
Day 4: Edale to Home
Snow, then rain
6 Participants: Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, Jude Norris, George Rogers, John Rogers, Will Rogers
Michael got up at 2am, looked out of the hostel window towards the grounds and found that there was some light snow falling, but it wasn’t settling so he went back to bed. He got up again at 4am and now there was a very different picture: the snow had already settled to be a centimetre deep and was now falling quite rapidly. The car was parked on the car park outside the hostel, which is at the top of a sloping driveway through the woods. He decided it would be safer to move the car to the bottom of the drive, so he got dressed and moved it with snow falling all around. It felt very strange to have snow falling on a cycle tour.

When we all awoke in the morning the snow was still falling and everything outside our dorm window was white – it made a very attractive scene. We had to go outside to get to the member’s kitchen for breakfast, just like at Eyam, but today the journey was far more interesting than usual. There were several cars parked in the car park and we couldn’t see many of them getting out any time soon.

During breakfast the fire alarm went off in the member’s kitchen. The room was separate from the hostel, with a door opening to the outside and plenty of windows. We could see there was no fire here, and even if one suddenly sprang up we could have stepped outside or jumped out of a window in three seconds flat, so we decided to sit it out and hope our hearing wasn’t damaged. A hostelling couple making breakfast in the same room, however, clearly felt differently. The man stopped his breakfast preparations when he heard the alarm, looked at Michael for three seconds and then started walking to the door, zombie-style. They both waited outside in what was now light rain for a full ten minutes until the warden came along and told them it was a false alarm. It’s usually a good idea to respond quickly and immediately to any fire alarm of course, but perhaps there are occasions when common sense suggests a different course of action.

After snowball fights outside the entrance and some fabulously long snowball throws from George we packed our bags and had a final coffee in the hostel lounge. At around 10am we walked carefully down the driveway to the car and spent ten minutes clearing away the thick snow that had covered it. This was definitely a first: we have never been on a cycle tour before where snow has fallen, let alone snow this thick. There was a weekend trip to Crowcombe Heathfield youth hostel many years ago where there was snow, but as that was not a tour it doesn’t count.

The snow had turned to rain but the snow on the ground was not really thawing very quickly. Nevertheless Michael had no difficulty driving back to the road from here, and we then had to decide where to go next. The obvious choice was to take main roads off the Peak District to the lower ground as soon as possible, but we don’t much care for obvious choices: we had paid good money to come up here, we wanted to see Buxton, home of the famous spring water, and Buxton was not on the fastest route off the National Park. We turned around near Hathersage, drove back through Castleton and took the Winnats Pass over the top of the hill. There were several other cars driving over, and the snow had melted where it had been crushed by car tyres, so it was not really a difficult drive. In fact the scenery was fabulous, with snow lying all around on the high peaks, so it was a perfect choice to make the most of the unusual weather conditions.

We arrived at Buxton around 11am, parked the car on a side street and wandered down to the Café at Green Pavilion. The café was great, offering a vegetarian breakfast for Dillan and coffees for others. The town of Buxton looked very interesting, and especially attractive with its snowy covering. The youngsters had to have a few snowball fights outside the café of course while Michael was filming.

And so it was that we left the Peak District at 12:15 and headed homewards. The snow disappeared soon after we left the National Park, and all that remained was to drop Jude off to his Mum at Frankley services and to stop at Gloucester Farmshop services to try out the healthy foods available there – very tasty actually, and not too bad on price either! We got back to Buckfastleigh at 5.25 and took pleasure in letting John know that we had got home easily. Still, he had his reasons for making sure he was back, so we couldn’t blame him really.

This had turned out to be a very unusual Easter tour, but it will forever stay in our memories for being our first ever visit to the Peak District, for being one of the coldest tours we have ever run and for being the first ever tour where we had to contend with actual snow. Quite an adventure!
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The snowy scene greeting us outside our dormitory as we woke up (08:12)
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View to the front grounds of Edale youth hostel before breakfast (08:24)
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Snowball fights outside Edale youth hostel (09:14)
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George tries Shotput with snowballs outside Edale youth hostel (09:15)
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Removing snow from the car, moved to the bottom of the hostel driveway during the night by Michael (10:06)
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Dillan enjoys a tasty lunch in the Green Pavilion café, Buxton (11:36)
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Dillan, Jude and George outside the Green Pavilion café, Buxton (12:07)
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Snowball fun at Buxton (12:07)
HD video footage from today's ride



Sunday 1 April 2018
08:00 - 23:00
Tour: Peak District
Day 3: Eyam to Edale YH
Cloudy and cold
13 miles (▲ 373m)
6 Participants: Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, Jude Norris, George Rogers, John Rogers, Will Rogers
The self-catering kitchen at Eyam youth hostel is in an outside building, which meant a chilly walk to prepare our breakfast. It was another very cold morning, but we managed to get away a little earlier than yesterday, at 10.40 or so, for the four mile ride over Eyam Moor. We got some great views to Hathersage from Hazelford, then had to wait a while at the bottom of the hill while John took a phone call.

Riding on towards Hathersage we came across the David Mellor cutlery factory. David Mellor was one of the best known designers in Britain, renowned for his cutlery designs and also for designing bus shelters and the traffic light system still used in Britain today. We were cold already so it was inevitable that we would pop into the associated café, museum and shop. Working traffic lights surrounded us as we sat in the luxurious modern café enjoying delicious but expensive coffees and cakes. We managed to get even warmer walking around the linked shop, which boasted an open fire as well as a huge range of David Mellor’s products.

The forecast for tomorrow had settled on snow coming in overnight, as we had feared on Friday, so now we had to make some plans about how to prepare. We decided that it might be too difficult or dangerous to ride back to Flash tomorrow in the snow, so Will and John kindly volunteered to ride to Flash today and bring the cars back to the hostel. We all road the mile or so up to the town, then Will and John set off at a good pace for Flash while the rest of us decided that the café by Ladybower Reservoir might not actually be open and returned to Hathersage to fund lunch.

Michael checked out several cafes and, after looking in the Go Outdoors shop and trying on a few hats we settled in the upstairs café of the “Outside” mountain shop that turned out to be nothing short of ideal. There was a huge range of hot snacks and meals available to order at good prices, a large area of seating and a warm and cosy atmosphere. We bought a full lunch there as well as coffees and felt it was the best find of the tour.

We left at 2.50 and rode the few miles to the village of Castleton, where an old fashioned sweet shop proved irresistible - edible bank notes were fun, and after a careful search we managed to find a few sweets that didn’t contain gelatine. We wandered on through the village to Peveril Castle, expecting to be able to scramble up the hill and enjoy the view, but there was an English Heritage ticket shop barring the way that wanted £6.90 per adult, so we gave that a miss. Nobody wanted a café stop here, so we decided to head on to the hostel.

We had a choice of going part of the way back towards Hathersage, at Hope, or taking what Google described as a shortcut over Barker Bank. Well we always like circular routes, so we tried the shortcut, which first took us along Hollowford Road and then dumped us at the start of a stony track lined with high hedges. The track had been washed away in places so resembled a muddy trench more than a track, but eventually, after a bit of a struggle, it brought us out onto the hillside.

We looked around to try to work out where we had to go next. A rough path headed up over the hill to the left, and it looked like it could be quite hard work with our bikes and luggage. Michael suggested that it might actually be better to go back to Castleton and take the road, but everyone liked the idea of a challenge and an adventure so we pressed on up the path, having to push the bikes on several occasions. The views were spectacular though, and we stopped more than once to catch our breath and enjoy the scenery.

We finally reached the top – Hollins Cross – at 5.10 and were rewarded with great views down the other side into Edale. We had been warned by some walkers that the track might get a bit muddy down the other side, so we didn’t hang around too long in the chilly breeze before starting down towards the road. It started with a stony track, then turned into a grassy path over the moorland, but then deteriorated to a sea of mud across the next field. As Dillan and Michael looked back from the gate they managed to catch George picking himself up from a muddy fall on the grassy section, and then saw Jude slip up in exactly the way he had warned George to avoid!

We found a slightly less muddy route around the quagmire, but when we got to the final farm track there was no avoiding the mud: Dillan set off bravely, but none of us could avoid getting bikes and shoes plastered in mud before we reached the road. It was 5.42. We shook ourselves down, stamped off the worst of the mud and assessed our bruises and sore muscles. But when we realised we had made it we all felt it had been a great adventure and one of our more challenging and interesting tour rides.

The last couple of miles to the hostel were relatively easy so we arrived around 5.55, cold and muddy but feeling quite pleased with ourselves. Will and John did not arrive with the cars for another hour, so we had time to enjoy a very tasty coffee in the hostel lounge before showering and settling down in the hostel dining room for pizzas made to order by the resident chef.

The latest weather forecast suggested the snow would turn to rain by 9.30am tomorrow morning and Michael felt reasonably sure we would have no problem getting home by the end of the day. John, however, was worried, as he had to be home for work on Tuesday. After thinking about it for some time he made the decision to leave the Peak District tonight and stay with relatives at Stafford, so he could guarantee being home by the end of tomorrow. George decided to stay with us and take his chances, but we helped Will and John load the bikes into their car and said farewell to them as they headed off into the darkness.

We rounded off our evening with some games of pool and table tennis in the games room, when Michael astonished George by actually beating a few people! When we eventually settled down to sleep at 10.45 we wondered what drama the night would bring.

John and Will rode 25 miles to Flash with a climb of 631m.
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Preparing to leave Eyam youth hostel (10:18)
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Riding through Sherriff Wood, Grindleford (10:57)
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View to Hathersage, from Hazelford (11:06)
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Coffee at the David Mellor Design Centre cafe, Hathersage (12:00)
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The David Mellor Design Centre (12:26)
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An open fire in the David Mellor Design Centre (12:28)
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Preparing to leave the David Mellor Design Centre, Hathersage (12:37)
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The David Mellor Design Centre, Hathersage (12:38)
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George and Dillan try on the funny hats in Go Outdoors, Hathersage (14:42)
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An obligatory stop at the Memory Lane Sweet Shop, Castleton (15:43)
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Returning from the rather expensive Peveril Castle visitor centre (16:02)
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Hollowford Road, Castleton, leading to the Google-recommended shortcut over Barker Bank (16:10)
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The stony track from the road deposits us on a rough hillside (16:27)
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Where do we go from here? (16:28)
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Dillan admires the fabulous views back to Castleton, from the path up Barker Bank to Hollins Cross (16:37)
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The going gets tough (16:58)
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The climb gets harder but the views just keep getting better (17:07)
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The Hollins Cross viewpoint at the top, looking back towards Castleton (17:13)
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Hollins Cross, looking forwards towards Edale (17:13)
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George takes a tumble on the very rough descent into Edale (17:26)
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The track deteriorates (17:30)
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The final section of the track to the Edale road (17:30)
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Dillan tackles the muddy track bravely (17:31)
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We finally reach the road near Edale, muddy and tired (17:42)
HD video footage from today's ride



Saturday 31 March 2018
08:00 - 23:00
Tour: Peak District
Day 2: Hartington Hall to Eyam YH
Very cold, spells of rain
19 miles (▲ 198m)
6 Participants: Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, Jude Norris, George Rogers, John Rogers, Will Rogers
Saturday morning was cold and grey with a forecast of a little light rain at times, so we didn’t rush our cooked breakfast, provided by the hostel. We finally set off at around 11am to ride the few miles to Parsley Hay, a National Park Cycle Hire location that was the closest access point for the High Peak Trail that we planned to ride to Matlock. It was a cold ride and we were looking forward to a warm cafe as we arrived. But we were very disappointed: there was a café, but there was no indoor seating, just a serving hatch with some wooden seats outside.

Some of us still bought coffees, although our hands froze when we took off our gloves to drink it. Meanwhile the youngsters had discovered some unusual bikes, trikes and tandems available at the cycle hire shop, and the chap in charge was very happy for us to ride them around the car park. There was a hand-operated trike, a trike with a disabled chair at the front, a trike with a shopping basket on the back and even a tandem trike. We had a lot of fun on those for half an hour, which took our mind of the bitterly cold breeze and occasional light drizzle.

We left there around 12.15 to follow the High Peak Trail towards Matlock. It was an old cycle track so it was generally quite flat with some bridges and tunnels over the track. We kept going at a fair pace so that we would hopefully get warmed up, but it really was very cold and the track was sprinkled with puddles of icy water that were sometimes impossible to avoid. After six miles most of us had water in our shoes, leaving us feeling very miserable. There were no shops or cafes anywhere near, not even any houses to speak of, so we had no choice but to press on to Middleton Top where we had been told the café would probably be open today. That was a further five miles, and by the time we arrived at around 2.10pm we were frozen to the core and thoroughly miserable.

The good news was that the café was indeed open, it was warm and dry inside and there was a good range of hot drinks and cakes available. The woman in charge switched on a couple of heaters for us so we settled down near them and gradually thawed out for the next hour, changing into dry socks and buying more coffees and cakes than was probably good for us. It really felt like heaven after the trials of the last few hours.

Cycle touring should be fun for everyone, and the ride from Parsley Hay had been far from enjoyable. Michael managed to get a mobile signal by standing outside the café in a particular place, so he rang a few taxi firms and managed to find someone who could transport us from Matlock to Eyam youth hostel later if we needed it. That was reassuring.

We set off again at 3pm feeling a lot better, but it was still very cold as we rode the three miles down through Cromford and on to Matlock Bath. Here we took a look at the Heights of Abraham cable car, but even with a negotiated discount most of us thought the price was too high. Instead we rode on to Matlock, and after some extensive searching we found a café tucked away in a side street – the Black Cat café in The Courtyard - that was about to close but kindly agreed to stay open to make a range of hot snacks just for us. Again we needed to thaw out our icy feet, but the food was excellent and good value so soon we all felt better.

We had cunningly arranged for the taxi firm to meet us at Sainsbury’s supermarket, just around the corner, so we rode there and stocked up with provisions and snacks before meeting the van outside at around 5pm. Will and George had decided they wanted to cycle the 15 miles to the hostel, which was brave of them considering the cold and wet weather conditions. The rest of us were very pleased to share the cost of the taxi, arriving at the hostel at around 5.40.

Will and George arrived soon after we had finished our showers and came down to join us for the “Supper Club” hostel meal as soon as they were ready. It should be said, however, that when Will first came down he was wearing only a towel – somehow he had got locked out of the dorm after taking his shower!

The idea of these meals is to get people talking to other hostellers, as used to happen in the old days of hostelling. We had a table to ourselves however, which was just as well as we didn’t feel too sociable after our tough day in the Peak District.

Those riding the section from Matlock to the hostel rode a total of 33 miles with a total climb of 475m.
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Preparing to leave Hartington Hall youth hostel (10:53)
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Hartington Hall youth hostel (10:53)
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Hartington Hall youth hostel (10:53)
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Our interesting dormitory at Hartington Hall (10:57)
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Our interesting dormitory at Hartington Hall (10:57)
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Will tries out one of the unusual bikes available for hire at Parsley Hay Cycle Hire (11:45)
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The High Peak Trail at Parsley Hay Cycle Hire (11:49)
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Dillan on the hand-operated tricycle at Parsley Hay (11:50)
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John tests the shopping trike at Parsley Hay Cycle Hire (11:52)
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Jude tries out the hand trike at Parsley Hay (11:55)
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Family Rogers on the Tandem Shopping Trike (11:56)
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George gives John a rest on another unusual bike at Parsley Hay Cycle Hire (12:02)
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.. And away they go, on the world's Wackiest Races (12:03)
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Riding the High Peak Trail near Newhaven Lodge Farm (12:22)
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Finally leaving Middleton Top café after warming up and drying out (14:59)
HD video footage from today's ride



Friday 30 March 2018
08:00 - 23:00
Tour: Peak District
Day 1: Home to Hartington Hall YH
Chilly with a cloudy start and rain later
11 miles (▲ 138m ▼ 335m)
6 Participants: Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, Jude Norris, George Rogers, John Rogers, Will Rogers
Rail engineering works around Taunton over Easter meant that taking two cars to the Peak District would work out far cheaper and less stressful than three train changes and a substitute bus, so by 8.40 we were on our way up the M5.

We knew the forecast was not ideal for us, with cold weather every day and the possibility of actual snow on Monday, but Will’s Apple weather app somehow managed to convince him that it would snow every single day. We stopped at Taunton Deane services at Will’s request at 9.30 to debate his assertion that there was really no point in continuing as we wouldn’t be able to do any cycling at all: he suggested, in fact, that we might as well go home and try again next weekend. Apart from the obvious problems with that idea, such as lack of availability at hostels and the fact that people may have other things planned for next weekend, there was the clear evidence from everyone else’s weather apps that actually there would be no snow until Monday, and even that was not 100% certain. We enjoyed coffee during the discussion and eventually decided to continue as planned, agreeing to worry about Monday if the snow actually came.

After a further stop at Frankley Services for lunch at 12:25 we drove on to our destination, passing through Leek and being welcomed to the national park by the site of the unusual and impressive Ramshaw Rocks to the left of the A53. Our plan was to leave the bikes in the enormous private car park of the Knights Table public house near Flash, and Michael had sent an email to them before we left asking for permission. No reply had been received, but when we pulled in to the car park we were just about the only cars there in a 30-space car park so we felt sure it would be OK. Sadly the proprietor declined to assist us, saying they get “very busy” over the bank holiday weekend, but she suggested we could probably park at Flash village hall, just around the corner. We drove there and found plenty of space, but in view of the warning that they sometimes have events on we parked our cars on the verge opposite.

An hour later than planned, at around 4pm, we set off on our bikes to ride the five miles to Longnor. The afternoon was chilly and cloudy but the scenery was magnificent and rather different to Dartmoor National Park. We got a good view of things from Edgetop, then enjoyed a good downhill all the way to Longnor. Here we quickly found the café recommended on Google – the Cobbles Coffee Shop – which got a remarkably high rating from visitors. It turned out to be small and rather cramped, resembling a transport café in some respects, and yet the food and drinks were incredibly good value: a large portion of beans and cheese on toast was just £3, so we all made good use of the establishment to warm up and get some hot food inside us.

The plan to take the High Peak Trail to the hostel had to be abandoned when we were greeted with light rain as we left the café at 5.15. Cold and wet weather would not be at all ideal for a track detour, especially at this time of the evening, so we took the shorter road route to the hostel via Sheen. Part way along the route the skies opened to release an intense icy downpour. Strong side winds made the rain feel like bullets as it blew into our faces, making it a very unpleasant experience indeed. It calmed down a bit at the top of the hill but by the time we reached the hostel just after 7pm we were very cold and very wet.

Fortunately the hostel was very well equipped with good facilities. We were fortunate to have a fabulous room on the top floor, adorned with old beams and an interesting layout. After hot showers we made use of the hostel meal service to buy some very tasty food before ending the day with some games of Pool in the games room.
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Unloading the bikes from the two cars at Flash village hall (15:27)
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Unloading the bikes at Flash village hall (15:27)
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Edgetop, on the approach to Longnor (16:06)
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Edgetop, on Hollinsclough Moor (16:06)
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Edgetop, on Hollinsclough Moor (16:07)
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Leaving Cobbles Coffee Shop, Longnor after some great value meals (17:08)
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Cobbles Coffee Shop, Longnor (17:09)
HD video footage from today's ride



Sunday 25 March 2018
10:15 - 13:30
Morning ride: Cancelled

0 Participants: No participants recorded for this event
Everybody was either ill or away today so the ride was cancelled



Friday 23 March 2018
20:30 - 21:30
Social: Badminton

7 Participants: Harry Back, Will Bastow, Ziggy Clark, Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, George Rogers, Mark Thomas
The Bovey Tracey contingent were fifteen minutes late but we still had time for some excellent games of badminton at Ashmoor.



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