Saturday 23 August 1980
Tour: South Wales Day 1: Home to Capel-y-Ffin YH (15 mi)Sunny and warm
5 present: Colin Downie, Antony House, Carl Jeffereys, Michael Jones, Philip Wrigley
Disembarking at Abergavenny station
Philip, Antony, Carl and Colin on the train to Abergavenny
Leaving Llanthony for the final four miles to the hostel
Carl leading the pack on the approach to Llanthony in the Black Mountains
Our raised-level sleeping area in the annexe of Capel-y-Ffin youth hostel
Some of the younger Torbay members thought it would be a good idea to organise our own tour this year, keeping distances down to around 35 miles per day. Five of us got together at Christmas last year to plan the holiday and the following account relates the result.

At the crack of dawn on Saturday 23rd August something stirred in the heart of the Dart Valley. Unknown to the sleeping locals an incredible event was occurring – three Dartmoor CTC members were on the road before the arrival of their daily “pinta”! They were in fact Colin Downie, Antony House and myself, making our way to Newton Abbot Station to meet our two Torbay companions, Carl Jeffereys and Philip Wrigley.

After showing numerous railcards we were given our tickets and, after tackling stairs, arrived at the platform in good time to catch the 0857 train to Bristol. The train journey was made doubly enjoyable by the good weather – unbelievable after the rains of the previous week – and everyone was in high spirits. Our two changes at Bristol and Newport were effected without difficulty and soon we were speeding through the beautiful scenery of South Wales to our destination – Abergavenny station.

After picking up a few provisions in the town we made our way through Mardy to the lanes and found a quiet lunch spot near Llwyn-gwyn. It wasn’t long before the kettle was boiling and an enjoyable hour was spent lapping up the scenery and the coffee.

There was a great similarity between the lanes of this area and the country lanes of South Devon, but the scenery became quite different as we approached the Black Mountains. Our road wound its way up the Afon Honddu valley and soon the massive hills appeared to enclose us on all sides. Passing through Llanthony we noticed an ancient priory in an isolated spot on the mountainside, built there in the 11th Century because of the peace and tranquillity of the valley. The priory has since become derelict and a pony-trekking centre now attracts many people to the area during the summer, but little else has changed to affect the sanctity that William de Lacy experienced all those years ago.

Capel-y-Ffin is a tiny hamlet deep in the mountains, consisting of a pub and a telephone box, and about one mile further along the lane we found the hostel. It was one of the most attractive hostels we had ever visited, situated a little way up the side of a desolate hill, and the views were well worth the long climb from Abergavenny. There was no sign of human habitation anywhere else in the valley, but there were many white dots scattered around to show us that at least sheep could survive high up on the mountains.

After a superb meal we climbed up behind the hostel to take in some of the grandeur of the scenery. On the spur of the moment I decided to continue to the top and scrambled up the almost vertical hillside for more than fifteen minutes before reaching my target. It was almost dark, but even so I could see the heather stretching along the ridge into the distance. Looking back the way I had come it was just possible to make out the hostel and the twisty road at the bottom. On the other side of the ridge was a new valley, just as beautiful as ours but without the mark of man. The paradise was fading fast with the light and suddenly I felt along up there with no-one but the sheep. Within three minutes I had descended six hundred feet to re-join the others and, after a few pints of milk, we were ready for bed.

(Michael Jones)

Sunday 24 August 1980
Tour: South Wales Day 2: Capel-y-Ffin to Staunton-on-Wye YH
5 present: Colin Downie, Antony House, Carl Jeffereys, Michael Jones, Philip Wrigley
Leaving Capel-y-Ffin youth hostel, down its private drive
Capel-y-Ffin youth hostel
View towards Hay Bluff from just past the hostel
Philip, Antony, Colin and Carl at the entrance to Capel-y-Ffin hostel, with the hostel buildings behind
View to Hay Bluff from the cattle grid near Gospel Pass
View back towards Capel-y-Ffin, from the cattle grid near Gospel Pass
Spectacular views from Gospel Pass towards Hay-on-Wye
Some cycletourists pass us on the way to Gospel Pass at Parc Bach
View towards Hay-on-Wye on the descent
Colin begins the great descent from Gospel Pass to Hay-on-Wye
Continuing the descent
General view on the descent
The group in the picturesque village of Dorstone
The River Wye from Hay Bridge, looking north
The River Wye from the bridge at Bredwardine
Next morning we were greeted by the sun again, and after chatting with a few of our fellow hostellers and mending Carl’s puncture, we finally got on the road by 10:30. A steep climb took us over the top of the mountains through Gospel Pass and all of us were breath taken by the splendid view. We dropped down the other side in stages, taking numerous pictures on the way, but we knew that photographs could not do real justice to what we were experiencing.

We attempted to pick up the path along the Offa’s Dyke – a massive fortification built around AD 770 along the English border – but unfortunately there was a steep drop which wasn’t really suited to heavily-laden cycles, so we stopped for lunch in the shade of some apple trees before climbing back to the road.

Hay-on-Wye was an interesting old town, if only because every other shop sold second-hand books! The castle told a story of its own, but the rough days of the past have long since disappeared to leave a peaceful town in which the centre of attraction is the sale of Clun and Kerry sheep at the market. In the main square we met one of our friends from Capel-y-Ffin who had hit a stone on the way down and irreparably damaged his front inner tube. One of my spares was soon on the rim and then Phil and I helped straighten his wheel – “Everybody’s Gotta Learn Sometime” as the Korgis song goes. After a few refreshments we ambled down to the bridge where we watched a canoe club paddling downstream. It was a lazy afternoon and we could have stayed there all day, but time was pressing.

Following the B4348 for a few miles brought us to the quaint little village of Dorstone, which rewarded us with a couple of photographs. From there we took the lanes over Dostone Hill to Bredwardine. Here again was the Wye and a spot by the riverside had attracted a flock of people for an afternoon’s bathing.

After an interesting chat with a local lad on the bridge we proceeded to Staunton-on-Wye to find our second hostel. Shortly after our arrival we met old friends again – a boys club from Bristol who had stayed at Capel-y-Ffin the previous night. This time we had a dormitory to ourselves and after a few hours some of us discovered that the “UFO” on the horizon was in fact a radar dish at Thruxton – life is fun isn’t it! After planning our route for the next day we turned in with happy dreams. What new adventures would the coming days bring?

(Michael Jones)

Sunday 24 August 1980
Day ride: Beesands
5 present: Don Hassall, Mark Morton, John Pope, Kevin Presland, John Stuart
We had a marvellous ride on the 24th August, the destination being Beesands. Don and Mark turned up at Totnes to meet John, Kevin and myself on a hot and sunny morning. We wandered along the track at Sharpham Barton to bring us out at Ashprington, then swooped down to Bow Bridge and on to Tuckenhay where we climbed a rough track named “Corkscrew Hill”. John had derailleur problems in the lanes that followed and we were soon puzzling over the map, trying to find a few lanes that “shouldn’t have been there”.

We were soon back on the right road and, after light refreshments, we made for Slapton Sands via Strete. From Slapton we found a coastal path leading to Beesands: this was rideable for the first part, but got progressively steeper and narrower and more overgrown the nearer we got to our destination. Having left the path we stopped on the beach at Beesands for a long lunch break and an enjoyable bask in the sun.

Leaving Beesands we took the lanes back to Slapton and had an ice-cream break at Torcross before returning to the long, straight Ley road for the second time. On the climb up toward Street from Slapton we noticed some hang-gliders in a field, so a quick stop for photographs was had as the gliders soared up into the air and dropped down to the beach below. This was followed by a fair stretch of “up and down” to Stoke Fleming, where Don very kindly treated us to five delicious cream teas in a local café.

The next part of the day took us along to Dartmouth. We swooped down into the town, which was packed with people. Amid all the activity we observed many boats of all shapes and sizes lined up for the Dartmouth Regatta. Our route took us to the car ferry by which we crossed the Dart, only to climb a very long and steep hill with a minor downhill section.

After a much appreciated rest from climbing in the heat of a most beautiful late afternoon we headed towards Stoke Gabriel. Don left us nearby and the remainder cycled on through Stoke Gabriel, where Mark left us. John, Keith and I carried on through Aish and Totnes and then headed for Buckfastleigh and a final cup of tea. The time was now fairly well into the evening, but it had been a worthwhile trip and we owe many thanks to Don for his generosity which helped to make a perfect day.

(John Stuart)

Don got lost at one point on the way to the destination. While puzzling over the map he said "Just put a hedge over that turning and we will be fine."

(Kevin Presland)

[Attendance verified]

Monday 25 August 1980
Tour: South Wales Day 3: Staunton-on-Wye Area Tour
5 present: Colin Downie, Antony House, Carl Jeffereys, Michael Jones, Philip Wrigley
Afternoon refreshments at quaint tearooms near the Red Lion at Weobley
Morning came all too quickly, but for the first time we were able to enjoy some of the benefits of preparing our own breakfast – lying in bed whilst others had to get up, for example. Our plans had allowed us a second night at Staunton and consequently a whole day to tour the region with un-laden cycles, so when Hostel Chores had been completed we set off to follow the river eastwards to Preston-on-Wye.

To our disappointment there appeared to be no riverside spots suitably public for a brew-up. In time, thoughts of coffee were surpassed by a desire for something a little more satisfying, but just when all hopes of dinner seemed lost we stumbled across a friendly Inn at Tillington which supplied us with all the necessary victuals.

The afternoon brought yet higher temperatures and, as none of us felt too energetic, we contented ourselves with traversing the six miles to Weobley before tea. At this juncture we made a disastrous mistake. Seeing a long, shady hedge inside a soft, grassy field, we did what any other cyclist would have done in such weather – transported everything over the gate and laid out out tea. Soon after lighting the stove however we got the uneasy feeling that we were not alone, and within seconds two friendly but inquisitive young horses had invited themselves to the party! Frantically we attempted to rescue the goodies whilst at the same time trying to avoid being trampled on. Not to be outdone, the creatures turned their attention to our waterproofs and, when we were finally over the fence and feeling safe, they started on the bike! It took several sugar lumps to persuade them to go away, but eventually we were left to finish our tea in peace.

(Michael Jones)

Tuesday 26 August 1980
Tour: South Wales Day 4: Staunton-on-Wye to Welsh Bicknor YHHot and sunny
5 present: Colin Downie, Antony House, Carl Jeffereys, Michael Jones, Philip Wrigley
Somewhere between Staunton-on-Wye and Goodrich
Staunton-on-Wye youth hostel, our home for two nights
Carl on the "road to the hostel that gradually deteriorated into a stoney track"
View of Goodrich Castle, from the road near Goodrich Court
The hostel and church viewed from Stowfield on the other side of the river
Welsh Bicknor hostel and church in a fabulously secluded location by the River Wye, viewed from the precarious old railway bridge on the way to Stowfield
Day four and we were off to an earlier start than usual with the intention of covering the bulk of the day’s mileage by lunchtime. The air was sweet with the smell of straw; in every field the harvest was progressing in earnest, and the trails of wheat strewn along the sides of the road quickly led us to the truck-loads of cereals queueing outside the mills.

Villages with names such as Much Dewchurch and Turkey Tump rolled past us before our lunch spot at Harewood End. Then, as the scenery changed, we realised that we were approaching the beautiful Forest of Dean district. We were welcomed to the area by the impressive sight of Goodrich Castle, situated in its prominent position overlooking the village.

A long, steep climb was followed by a descent through the trees along a road which gradually deteriorated to a stony track, in true hostel style. To our surprise, however, even this apology for a driveway petered out in the middle of nowhere, and we were just about to turn back when Antony discovered the little green arrow pointing to a path which disappeared into the woods. It was getting too much for Phil when he set eyes on the almost vertical drop and realised that this was one of the two main access roads to the hostel, but the language didn’t really turn sour until he tripped over a tree root! It’s a good job the warden wasn’t within earshot.

Things opened out a bit near the bottom and suddenly there was the Wye in all its glory. This was Welsh Bicknor, simply a church and a hostel by the river in a peaceful valley. What more could one wish for?

We had arrived halfway through the afternoon with the idea of getting our milk and bread from the village across the river (these basic provisions were not available at the hostel). The riverside path to the old railway bridge presented us with a few problems in the form of some carefully-poised stinging nettles, but the slits in the bridge were the worst trap, just wide enough to take a wheel! A steep drop down a grassy bank and we found ourselves on a rideable track at last.

Obstacles behind us, we quickly reached the main road and got down to the important business of finding food. We were surprised to find that neither of the two shops in Stowfield were open. Confident that something would be open on the day after Bank Holiday we went to the larger village of Lower Lydbrook.

“Sorry,” said the Postmaster, “the only grocer who’s likely to be open today is the chap across the road, and as you can see, he’s gone home.” We could see – very well! “I can sell you a postcard if that’s any help?” I thanked him for his offer but explained that we desperately needed to get bread and milk for our breakfast next morning.

“Well,” he said, “your only hope is Coleford, but that’s a long way from here.” I said we didn’t mind how far it was as we were strapping young cyclists. “Oh, well then, just go on up the hill, fork right and follow your nose,” was the reply. “You can’t miss it.”

We thanked him for his trouble and set off up the hill, wondering why on earth we hadn’t ordered hostel breakfasts. The sun only seemed to get hotter as we went on, but the most depressing fact we had to face was the steepness of the gradients in front of us. We were fairly exhausted already, but this infernal road just went up, and up, and up! “Just follow your nose.” Those words echoed in our minds at every bend as a new and steeper stretch of hill opened out of the forest. At long last we reached the top, collapsing in a heap by the side of the road, but now we were determined to get the food no matter how far we had to go.

It was mainly downhill to Coleford, which was all very well but thoughts of “What goes down must come up” lingered in our minds. Morale received a boost on arrival when we saw the number of shops around the town square. Carl and I set off triumphantly to the first big store, but we were in for a shock: bread and milk had not been delivered that day due to the bank holiday! The next shop was sold out and the story was much the same in all the other shops. Our tour did muster one loaf of bread, but there appeared to be no milk anywhere. In desperation I shouted the dismal message across to the others. Suddenly a voice called from behind – “We’ve got plenty here!” Turning around I noticed that I was standing outside a small greengrocers and inside, nestling among the vegetables, were three crates of milk!

Thankfully our return route through English Bicknor was all downhill, and it was with a good deal of relief that we finally locked our cycles away in the hostel shed. As we were the only ones having supper we were endowed with special attention – a sample of the warden’s bell at close quarters was our reward for turning up early!

(Michael Jones)

Wednesday 27 August 1980
Tour: South Wales Day 5: Welsh Bicknor to HomeHot and sunny
5 present: Colin Downie, Antony House, Carl Jeffereys, Michael Jones, Philip Wrigley
Welsh Bicknor youth hostel
The tranquillity of the area was interrupted for a brief second during the night by a resounding thump emanating from Number 1 Dormitory. When we set eyes on the scene lit up by the moonlight it was all we could do not to laugh – Antony had apparently rolled once too often in his sleep and fallen to the floor from the top bunk! Now, rudely awakened, he was staring at Philip and wondering how he could see him and why he was feeling so uncomfortable!

The weather did not falter, even on the last day. With reluctance we packed our things and set off for Goodrich and Monmouth. We were soon on the B-roads and at lunchtime we treated ourselves to a slap-up meal at Llantilio Crossenny before making the final descent to Abergavenny and our return train.

It was eight o’clock when we finally got home. Ironically the weather changed that night to give rain by morning. Our appetites have been wetted for future visits to South Wales, but memories will linger with us for many years of our first tour of this truly beautiful part of the British Isles.

(Michael Jones)

Sunday 31 August 1980
Day ride: Blackingstone Rock
12 present: Valerie Farrell, Don Hassall, Antony House, Carl Jeffereys, Michael Jones, Mark Morton, John Pope, Kevin Presland, Robert Spence, John Stuart, Nigel Wilson (14, Buckfastleigh), Philip Wrigley
Blackingstone Rock
Mark Moreton, John Stuart, Kevin Presland, Don Hassell, Carl Jeffereys and Nigel Wilson on Blackingstone Rock
We had another superb ride on the last day in August. Michael arrived with Nigel Wilson, out for the first time from Buckfastleigh, and we were soon greeted by Kevin and John. We waited for quite some time for the Marldon folk and it was a pleasure to see Robert, Don, Carl, Phil and Mark turn up at 11:30. We followed our usual route up to Haytor and stopped by the roadside (near the Moorland Hotel) to have a pleasant lunch in the lovely weather. Antony met us just as we were leaving and came with us for the rest of the ride.

The lanes we used were unfamiliar, rather narrow with some steep gradients up and down, but it was not long before they brought us out on the main Moretonhampstead to Bovey road and we set off in the Moreton direction for a fairly flat run. A signpost on the right hand side of the road stating “unsuitable for wide vehicles” marked the beginning of a very steep and very long hill (up), and eventually everyone was reduced to walking. Somewhere at this point we discovered that Kevin and Mark were missing and Mike and John were despatched to find him, thinking they had carried on to Moreton. They were soon back with us again though, and we said goodbye to Robert at the top of the hill. The rest of us rode to our destination – Blackingstone Rock.

The Rock itself is a magnificent, towering specimen of Mother Nature’s craftsmanship. We rode through thick ferns and left our machines at the foot of the Rock to climb a steep flight of steps (or, for those wanting to live dangerously, the steep faces of the Rock) and were rewarded with splendid views from the top. Photographs taken, we once more returned to the country lanes, parting from Kevin.

We cycled through magnificent scenery at Hennock Reservoirs and then descended a fairly long, steep hill into Bovey Tracey for much welcomed light refreshments in a “Cottage Coffee Shope” to end another perfect day. Finally the Buckfastleigh district and Marldon folk parted for home on the outskirts of Bovey.

(John Stuart)

[Attendance verified]

[2 points: Val Farrell]
[3 points: everyone else]

Sunday 7 September 1980
Afternoon ride: Stover Lake
13 present: Frank Boyes, Valerie Farrell (Adult, Torquay), Don Hassall, Antony House, Michael Jones, Brian Marks, Mark Morton, John Pope, Kevin Presland, Sue Shepley, John Stuart, Sue Webber, Nigel Wilson
Sue Shepley and others by the lake at Stover Park
John Pope, Mark Moreton and Antony House up a tree in Stover Park
Stover Lake
Swans on the lake at Stover Park
Nigel Wilson enjoyed last week’s ride very much indeed, and he joined us again for the September afternoon ride which had a total of thirteen riders meeting at Marldon, including a new lady Valerie Farrell. Don had mapped out an interesting new route to Stover Lake and during our travels we went along a bank at the Hamelyn Way, at which point Sue punctured, and we also found a fairly rough track.

At our destination we realised that Kevin was missing, and mark made a vain attempt to find him. It was later found that he had taken the wrong road. After taking in the scenery at the lake we rode through the woods and separated on the road at Heathfield.

(John Stuart)

Michael had his brand new 35mm Praktica camera today for the first time, so photos of the rides will show a marked improvement from now on.

[Attendance verified]

Sunday 14 September 1980
Day ride: Pool Mill, Noss Mayo
13 present: Peter Adams, Colin Brierly, Iris Buckler, Colin Downie, Noel Downie, Valerie Farrell, Don Hassall, Antony House, Michael Jones, John Pope, Kevin Presland, John Stuart, Nigel Wilson
Colin Downie, Don Hassell and John Pope at the lunch spot, not far from Noss Mayo
The Buckfastleigh Brigade waiting at the Avonwick pickup point: Nigel Wilson, Colin Downie, Kevin Presland, John Stuart, Antony House, John Pope and Peter Adams
Antony being dragged to a muddy puddle by his "friends"
Peter Adams, Kevin Presland and Nigel Wilson
Noel Downie and John Stuart at the lunch stop
Antony House nears his destination
Newton Creek from Bridgend, with Noss Mayo on the left
Twelve riders met at Avonwick today (3 from Marldon and 9 from Buckfastleigh), including Valerie on her brand new steed and Colin, back from his holiday. We did plenty of main road work to a pleasant lunch spot and then carried on to our destination, Noss Mayo. Despite the fact that early morning weather prospects had not been very promising, thing brightened up considerably and in the sunshine we had time to admire the very pleasant fishing village.

We continued on to find a good track and then we were back on the road again, going in the Totnes direction, leaving some of the Buckfastleigh folk on the way. The rest of us headed to Huxham’s Cross where we separated for home.

(John Stuart)

I got Mike soaking wet while cycling through water. Peter Adams got his unbreakable mudguards broken by John Pope bumping into him. I stopped at Antony's on the way home.

(Kevin Presland)

[Attendance verified]

[2 points: Iris Buckler]
[3 points: everyone else]

Sunday 21 September 1980
Day ride: Fernworthy ReservoirWet start, sunny later
6 present: Colin Brierly, Valerie Farrell, Don Hassall, Antony House, Michael Jones, Paul Nunn (14, Torquay)
Fernworthy reservoir
New rider Paul Nunn, Don, Colin, Michael and Val, sheltering in a barn near Moretonhampstead for lunch
Fishermen at Fernworthy
A fisherman at Fernworthy
Fishermen at Fernworthy
The watery destination of Fernworthy reservoir seemed rather a poor reason for the weather to be quite so cruel to us today – torrential rain up until 11:00 kept numbers down to six at the Bovey Tracey pick-up. Antony and I were the sole representatives of the “Princetown Pedal Pushers” as Don called us, and as we were in good time we decided that there was little point in getting any wetter and retired to the café for a hot mug of coffee.

Eventually the others arrived, bringing with them a new rider, Paul Nunn, who visibly appeared to be enjoying the rain! One glance at us in the café was sufficient to delay the run by a further half an hour for “essential maintenance” and Antony and I decided that we may as well have a second cup ourselves.

While the rain paused for breath we proceeded with all speed along the main road to Moretonhampstead, but it was soon refreshed and by the time we had found a suitably-covered barn we were all well soaked. Typically, no sooner had we bitten into our first sandwich than the rain stopped and the sun came out!

Our hopes of reaching the reservoir were rising fast as we continued through Batworthy and Corndon with blue skies above us, and at the bottom of the last hill we unanimously decided to “go on to the end”. We spent an enjoyable forty minutes taking pictures and relaxing in the sun before embarking on the long journey home. Our route took us through Lettaford, Manaton, Haytor Vale and Ilsington in glorious weather before we separated at Blackpool.

(Michael Jones)

[Attendance verified]

[2 points: Antony House]
[3 points: everyone else]

Sunday 28 September 1980
Day ride: Dunchideock
15 present: Colin Downie, Noel Downie, Valerie Farrell, Martin Filham, Don Hassall, Antony House, Carl Jeffereys, Michael Jones, Mark Morton, Paul Nunn, John Pope, Kevin Presland, Robert Spence, Nigel Wilson, Philip Wrigley
The group repairing punctures on Haldon - Mark Moreton, Rob Spence, Nigel Wilson, Antony House and Paul Nunn
Do you know where this is? Somewhere between Kingsteignton and Haldon
The Dunchideock ride at the end of September got off to a dull start, but Paul wasn’t dissuaded from returning for a second dose of our medicine. We set off bravely through Kingsteignton to the lanes. At this point Martin assured us that rain was on the way. Much to his disappointment the sky cleared before lunch, but this only served to give the sun a better view of Carl’s puncture – the first of our troubles that day. We hobbled across the dual carriageway in search of a more secluded lunch spot and were pleasantly surprised to find a picnic area in the forest complete with tables and benches.

An hour or so later, appetites had been satisfied, the puncture had been repaired and we were off – at least we would have been if Nigel’s tyre hadn’t decided to pick a thorn out of the undergrowth and puncture itself with it. A leisurely repair, accompanied by Robert’s accordion, was followed by the discovery of yet another puncture and a buckled wheel, and it was well into the afternoon when we finally escaped from the forest.

A whistle-stop drop through our destination and we were climbing up the other side. Unfortunately, on reaching the top, Robert realised that we should have turned off at the bottom, so down we went again, passing Don and the girls (!) coming up. If looks could kill .. ! It soon became apparent that Martin had done a rain dance back in the forest so we made a brisk return home via the Teign Valley before the weather became too unpleasant.

We subsequently discovered that Philip, after missing us at the start and pick-up points, completed the ride all by himself. It’s hardly surprising that he didn’t find us at lunchtime.

(Michael Jones)

[Attendance verified]

[2 points: Noel Downie]
[3 points: everyone else]

Thursday 2 October 1980
Social: Torbay Section AGM
3 present: Colin Brierly, Michael Jones, John Stuart
About fifteen attended the Section AGM at Colin’s house in Paignton, when the main things that were decided were that there would be “100” rides on 12th October and that Michael Jones would take on the Section Secretary’s job. It was a fairly short meeting as most of those present had ridden from the Buckfast/Haytor area.

(John Stuart)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Sunday 5 October 1980
Afternoon ride: Dartington Hall
16 present: Frank Boyes, Dave Eyre, Richard Eyre, Valerie Farrell, Martin Filham, Antony House, Mark Jones (14, Stoke Gabriel), Michael Jones, Mark Morton, Kevin Presland, Richard Read (11, Paignton), Sue Shepley, John Stuart, Matthew Tewson (11, Paignton), Sue Webber, Philip Wrigley
The group in the gardens of Dartington Hall, including new members Matthew Tewson and Richard Reade
Three new riders on the October afternoon run made numbers up to 15½, the fraction being contributed by Dave Eyres’ little boy, Richard, who rode as passenger. Richard Reade and Matthew Tewson of Paignton were two of our youngest riders for some time, and Mark Jones came along at Mark Morton’s invitation.

We took the lanes through Staverton and continued to Dartington Hall where we spent an enjoyable time walking (and rolling) around the gardens. Visitors must have been amused to see us all on hands and knees hunting for beech nuts – one word from Martin and we’ll do anything!

(Michael Jones)

We rode out early to Buckfastleigh to see the raft race, but it had already finished when we got there.

(Kevin Presland)

Sunday 12 October 1980
Day ride: Devon DA "100 in 8" EventSunny but cold
16 present: Peter Adams, Colin Downie, Noel Downie, Valerie Farrell, Don Hassall, Antony House, Michael Jones, Mark Morton, Paul Nunn, John Pope, Kevin Presland, John Stuart, Mike Ward (14, Torquay), Sue Webber, Nigel Wilson, Philip Wrigley
The routes for the 100 miles and 100km runs had this year been planned to allow Dartmoor members to begin at Ashburton, meeting up with the rest of the club at Drum Bridges. When we arrived we were pleased to welcome Michael Ward of Torquay on his first ride. We said farewell to Antony, Colin, Peter and John who had decided to attempt the 100-mile route.

Don led the kilometre bunch off to Liverton and the rest of us proceeded at a steady pace through Bovey Tracey and the Teign Valley. It was a cold morning but the sun was shining and we were soon enjoying ourselves. A short stop at Exeter to stock up with food and we were off again, pressing on through Pinhoe, Broadclyst and Cullompton before stopping for lunch at the usual spot.

The Exeter Sections were doing their kilometre rides today and it wasn’t long before we caught up with the large A-Section who were just finishing off their lunch. We rode with them from Waterloo Cross to Tiverton but our paths then parted as we turned southwards for Exeter and home.

Don and Grace kindly gave us tea, biscuits and moral support at Dawlish before the last lap to the finish and it was almost eight o’clock when we finally arrived home, tired and hungry. Congratulations to all riders who took part, especially young Nigel Wilson who completed 105 miles with a brave face, and our sympathy for our only casualty, Peter Adams, who was sadly forced to drop out of the “100 in 8” due to a minor injury (he pulled a muscle in his abdomen).

(Michael Jones)

Saturday 18 October 1980Weekend ride: Salcombe Youth Hostel Day 1
16 present: Madora Downie, Noel Downie, Robert Downie, Wendy Downie, Valerie Farrell, Don Hassall, Antony House, Michael Jones, Mark Morton, Paul Nunn, John Pope, Kevin Presland, John Stuart, Mike Ward, Sue Webber, Nigel Wilson
Another special event upset the usual schedules today – Torbay’s annual visit to Salcombe youth hostel. Michael Ward was out again for his second ride and, after the addition of ten Dartmoor members at Totnes, we were quite a sizeable crowd. Kevin had decided it was about time he had some toeclips, so he was using some borrowed pedals for the weekend and bought some new pedals for £1.90 at Totnes to fit before next week.

We took the lanes through Harbertonford and Moreleigh and then continued past New Bridge to Churchstow. On again to West Alvington where we took the main road to Marlborough and dropped down towards Bolt Head and the youth hostel.

The day had been sunny and clear but now it was quite cold and we were glad to settle down to a nice hot meal. The highlight of the evening came when Don announced a competition, with chocolate for all who entered and a special YHA mug for the winner. Obviously we were all delighted with the idea, but then came the details: continue the sentence “I think Don is the greatest because ..” in not more than 249 words. All entries were to be judged by a panel of judges – Don!

Naturally, no-one missed the opportunity of saying everything they had ever wanted to about their Dawlish hero, and so, not surprisingly, only two or three odes were even considered for the prize. The winning entry was a poem by John Pope (which may be published elsewhere), but Val came a close second and was rewarded with an extra bar of chocolate.

(Michael Jones)

I bought new pedals in Totnes with toeclips for £1.90, so this was my first ride with

Sunday 19 October 1980Weekend ride: Salcombe Youth Hostel Day 2
16 present: Madora Downie, Noel Downie, Robert Downie, Wendy Downie, Valerie Farrell, Don Hassall, Antony House, Michael Jones, Mark Morton, Paul Nunn, John Pope, Kevin Presland, John Stuart, Mike Ward, Sue Webber, Nigel Wilson
One of the three crossings required to get us all to East Portlemouth
Crossing on the little ferry to East Portlemouth
Next morning we awoke to the smell of porridge and, after lengthy debate, decided to get out and face it like men. Kevins hostel chore was to lay the breakfast table for us, and we reckoned he had done a fair job.

Revitalised we said goodbye to the Downie family, who were taking the short route home, and proceeded to Salcombe where we had planned to try out the ferry to East Portlemouth. Sadly Michael felt ill and could not face cycling back to Torquay, but just when we were trying to work out how to get him home, Don met a friend who happened to be going to Newton Abbot, so the problem was solved.

The ferry turned out to be little more than a dinghy but we were all across after three crossings and we thanked the ferryman for his trouble. Back on dry land again we continued through Chivelstone to Torcross for coffee and lunch before tackling the steep ascent to Strete. The road through Tuckenhay was scenic but provided us with more steep hills to climb and, after parting at Totnes, we were all glad to get home to a warm meal.

(Michael Jones)

Sunday 26 October 1980
Day ride: PostbridgeDull start, then very wet
17 present: Peter Adams, Colin Brierly, Iris Buckler, Valerie Farrell, Don Hassall, Antony House, Mark Jones, Michael Jones, Paul Nunn, Kevin Presland, Richard Read, Mark Shepherd, John Stuart, Matthew Tewson, Mike Ward, Sue Webber, Nigel Wilson
Repairing Richard's puncture near Holne
Repairing Richard's puncture near Holne. Can you work out exactly where this was taken?
Back to normal for the last week in October with a day run and dull, miserable weather. Richard, Matthew and Mark re-joined us for their second ride, bringing attendance to 17, but unfortunately we hadn’t gone far past Holne before the heavens opened and spirits (amongst other things) were dampened. To make matters worse, Richard picked up an evasive puncture which moved twice to avoid Colin’s and Don’s patches, but eventually Don managed to corner it and we turned tail and headed for the Downie Nest in Buckfastleigh as quickly as possible.

By the time we arrived we were decidedly wet and words could not express our gratitude to Mrs Downie for the friendly fire and sumptuous tea – but no doubt she noticed our reluctance to leave, even at six o’clock! I certainly didn’t envy the Torbay crowd’s ride back to Marldon that night!

(Michael Jones)

Sunday 2 November 1980
Afternoon ride: West OgwellSunny but cold
19 present: Frank Boyes, Colin Brierly, Valerie Farrell, Martin Filham, Don Hassall, Antony House, Carl Jeffereys, Michael Jones, Mark Morton, Paul Nunn, Kevin Presland, Mark Shepherd, Sue Shepley, John Stuart, Matthew Tewson, Mike Ward, Sue Webber, Nigel Wilson, Philip Wrigley
Well into double figures on a very cold day for our November Afternoon Run. Included in the gathering was “MacBoyes of the Corrieyairack”, making a welcome emergence from semi-hibernation. There was a certain amount of sunshine to alleviate the effects of a biting wind, and our wander through East and West Ogwell was very pleasant, but when John collected a puncture the sun was already disappearing behind a cloudy horizon and the temperature reducing rapidly. A farm outbuilding stopped people freezing too quickly and, while most chatted with the friendly farmer, John’s tube was soon changed and we headed for home.

(Colin Brierly)

Carl and Mark got a puncture each according to my diary!

(Kevin Presland)

Sunday 9 November 1980
Day ride: ChagfordSunny but cold
10 present: Peter Adams, Colin Brierly, Colin Downie, Valerie Farrell, Antony House, Michael Jones, Mark Morton, Kevin Presland, Richard Read, Matthew Tewson
On another bright but cold day we were due to go to Chagford but, finding ourselves well behind schedule by the time we reached the top of Haytor, we decided to pay Bowerman’s Nose another visit. With care we managed to find spots out of the wind to sit and have our picnic before walking up the steep tracks to have a closer inspection of the “Nose”. We made a further stop to look at Becky Falls before the exhilarating run down to Bovey, then Teigngrace and home.

(Colin Brierly)

The two little children from Marldon were a bit slow today, and one of them got a puncture, which accounts for the delay getting to Haytor.

(Kevin Presland)

Sunday 16 November 1980
Day ride: DA AGM, Chudleigh Knighton
14 present: Frank Boyes, Colin Brierly, Iris Buckler, Colin Downie, Valerie Farrell, Don Hassall, Antony House, Carl Jeffereys, Michael Jones, Mark Morton, Kevin Presland, Sue Shepley, Mike Ward, Philip Wrigley
With a morning to fill in before the DA AGM at Chudleigh Knighton we found some roads that we don’t often use in the Haldon area. There were plenty of fine autumn colours to be seen, although the sun didn’t shine at the right time for much camera activity. We reached the top of Haldon above Ideford and then zig-zagged along the ridge for a few miles before dropping down the Chudleigh Old Road to the meeting venue.

(Colin Brierly)

[2 points: Frank Boyes, Iris Buckler, Philip Wrigley]
[3 points: everyone else]

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