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Sunday 25 October 1981
0800
Weekend ride: Salcombe Youth Hostel Day 2
3 present: Michael Jones, Kevin Presland, Andrew Winstanley
The view from our dormitory window at Salcombe youth hostel. (Photo: Kevin Presland)
The following day was showery and cold, but there was plenty of sunshine around. The view through the dormitory window across the estuary as we woke up made us all feel a good deal better, and the warden’s porridge helped to get things off to a good start. We took the main road through Aveton Gifford to Modbury, sheltering twice on the way from some rather heavy showers.

Taking the lanes we were soon at Bridgend, Noss Mayo, where Colin and John were patiently waiting for us as arranged. The usually eventful lunch hour was followed by a pleasant ride past Pool Mill Farm to Totnes, the only shower being encountered near Ugborough. It was cold and dark when we separated, and I hear that Andrew got a puncture before he got back to Abbotskerswell – good job Colin was with him!

Oh well, things could have been worse I suppose. I’ll think carefully before I make any more predictions about winter hostelling in my editorials!

(Michael Jones)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Sunday 1 November 1981
1415
Afternoon ride: Stoke-in-Teignhead
3 present: Michael Jones, Frances Lofty, Mark Morton
I seem to recall that the Afternoon Ride of November 1st started somewhat later than expected for reasons best known to Mark, who did not join us until we reached our destination – Stoke-in-Teignhead. We took a pleasant route through Abbotskerswell and Coffinswell and reached Higher Roccombe Farm just as the light was going. We were all extremely grateful for the lovely food and seemingly endless cups of tea supplied by Michael’s Aunt, Joyce Jones.

When everybody had eaten, Michael sat down at the piano with his Aunt and thus began the Torbay Section’s first rehearsal for Christmas carol singing. It was not of a particularly high quality but we all enjoyed it, and that is what matters after all. Eventually the festivity had to end, so we go back on our bikes, climbed up the hill and made our separate ways home.

(Frances Lofty)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Saturday 7 November 1981Weekend ride: Maypool Bonfire NightDay 1
7 present: Colin Brierly, Michael Jones, Frances Lofty, Richard Read, Robert Spence, John Stuart, Matthew Tewson
The Guy takes his place on the bonfire
Two Exeter members settle down with the Guy in the common room at Maypool youth hostel
Matthew and Richard take their places in the front row for the Bonfire Spectacular
Matthew, Graham, Colin Brierly and others await ignition
People living in the vicinity of Maypool Youth Hostel were no doubt surprised to see the sky lit by fireworks on the 7th November, two days later than most displays. But this was the date of our Bonfire Night. I am told by those who arrived early enough for the evening meal that it was very enjoyable.

When the last of the fireworks smouldered and died the excitement was not yet over, for we then gathered around the bonfire which provided light and warmth while we ate hot dogs and jacket potatoes and Robert entertained us with his harmonica. I wonder if, while we stood watching the burning guy, any of us thought of why we were really there – in remembrance of Guy Fawkes and his colleagues. Or could it be, as in my case, that we were just there to have a good evening with our friends in the CTC.

(Frances Lofty)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Sunday 8 November 1981Weekend ride: Maypool Bonfire NightDay 2
7 present: Colin Brierly, Michael Jones, Frances Lofty, Richard Read, Robert Spence, John Stuart, Matthew Tewson
Several of us who stayed overnight at Maypool rode up to Marldon for 10am to join the Day Ride.

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Sunday 8 November 1981
1000
Day ride: Hennock Reservoirs
2 present: Michael Jones, Frances Lofty
Please help us with the location of this photo, which was taken sometime between 8 November and 29 November
The ride on the 8th was well attended, with some members, including some of the Exeter Section, coming from Maypool after an overnight stay at the hostel. After coffee in Bovey Tracey we made our way out of the town and found a pleasant lunch spot on the banks of the River Bovey for lunch. Poor Michael – all he wanted was a peaceful rest, but with us around he stood no chance. The fallen autumn leaves provided a great source of entertainment, and so, it seems, did Michael’s bananas, which both landed in the river!

The climb which began after dinner continued to Slade Cross and then onwards and upwards to Pool Mill Cross. We were, however, surprised and grateful to find an ice-cream van at the summit. A scenic route past Hennock Reservoirs and Blackingstone Rock brought us on to the road to Moretonhampstead, where the Exeter members left us. We dropped down into the town and took the main road back to Bovey Tracey and on towards home.

(Frances Lofty)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Sunday 15 November 1981
1000
Day ride: Slapton Sands
3 present: Michael Jones, Frances Lofty, Kevin Presland
View back to Slapton Ley from the track leading to Strete (Photo: Kevin Presland)
Perhaps the chilly weather discouraged people on November 15th as only five people met at Totnes for the ride to Slapton Sands. After waiting some time at the pick-up point we had to set a fast pace if we were to reach Slapton by lunchtime. We took the usual route to Slapton, through Harbertonford and Moreleigh.

Out attempts to shelter from the cold wind that whistled along the Ley seemed futile, but we did eventually find a reasonably sheltered position to eat lunch. The thought of a hot cup of coffee in that cold weather seemed so inviting that we cycled all the way along the Ley against the wind to get one. But – yes, you’ve guessed it – the café was closed! Still, at least when we retraced our tracks the wind was behind us.

We climbed up from the coast to Strete and on to Stoke Flemming. After some debate it was decided to take the track down to Tuckenhay. We dropped down via Corkscrew Hill into the village – good practice for controlling bikes on rough ground but not so very good for Michael whose brakes were not working very well.

(Frances Lofty)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Sunday 22 November 1981
1000
Day ride: Higher Ashton - DA AGM
0 present:
Five people met at the Newton Abbot pickup point on Sunday the 22nd for the ride to Higher Ashton and the AGM. They took a devious route through Chudleigh and on to Haldon. From there they dropped down into Higher Ashton, where they met the other members who had to come by car to the meeting. When the formalities were over they returned to Bovey Tracey via the Teign Valley, and from there set a course for home.

(Frances Lofty)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Sunday 29 November 1981
1000
Day ride: Pixies Cave, Dartmeet
7 present: Colin Brierly, Michael Jones, Frances Lofty, Mark Morton, Kevin Presland, Robert Spence, John Stuart
Kevin, John and Colin lay Mark's dead body on the Coffin Stone
Lunch by the stream between Cold East Cross and Pudsham Down. (Photo: Kevin Presland)
If you want to find the Coffin Stone for yourself, this photo, looking down Dartmeet Hill, may be helpful
The Coffin Stone, halfway up Dartmeet Hill, once used for resting coffins on the journey from Dartmeet to Widecombe
The group at the front entrance to Pixie's Cave, near Dartmeet
The group at the front entrance to Pixie's Cave, near Dartmeet
I believe this is a view around the rear entrance of the cave, although the exit is far smaller than the entrance
The beautiful sunny weather on the 29th brought nine cyclists out to Bickington, although Colin Downie left us before lunchtime. It was good to see Robert Downie out for his first Sunday ride, and we hope to see lots more of him. We climbed up from Bickington onto Haytor and then turned left to Cold East Cross, near which we found a peaceful spot by a small stream for lunch. When fully rested we headed towards Dartmeet.

We stopped halfway down the hill into Dartmeet and a hunt began for the Coffin Stone, against which, legend has it, the coffins of numerous people were rested on their journey to the place of burial. Good old John found out, and a suitable pose was taken for a photograph.

We then dropped down to the river and took a path along the West Dart. Thus began the search for Pixie’s Cave. After quite some time a shout brought us running – the cave had been discovered. It was just large enough to squeeze through on our stomachs, and although all we achieved by crawling through it was to get muddy and to be showered with leaves by a certain pixie in a green cycling jersey called Mark, it was great fun.

When we got back to the bike it was decided to take a short cut through the woods by the river in order to avoid the hill out of Dartmeet and those near Hexworthy. It was Kevin’s idea, and by the time the path had completely deteriorated and we were scrambling over rocks and streams with our bikes, he was not particularly popular! Congratulations to Robert, who must have a lot of stamina and did well to keep going over such rough ground – I assure you that our rides are not all quite like this!

Finally, when the light had completely gone, we arrived at the road. Unfortunately we had not avoided the hills at Hexworthy because the stepping stones across the river had been covered with water (we do some strange things, but we couldn’t bring ourselves to swim across).

As the shortcut was somewhat longer than expected it was not until 5.45 that we reached Buckfastleigh and Redmount (Michael’s home). Here, tea was waiting. Many thanks to Mr and Mrs Jones for providing the food – we certainly needed it – and thanks also to those who arrived for tea at 4.00 but waited until we got there.

After tea, Don, alias Dickie Duck, got out his CB radio which was a great source of entertainment. Then it was decided that Kevin should do something to make up for sending us on a rather long detour, so out came the songbooks and once again we ran through our repertoire of Christmas Carols. I think we should be in fine voice by the 25th December.

It took some willpower to drag ourselves away from the blazing fire in the hearth, but we had to get home, and thus ended a really enjoyable month of cycling.

(Frances Lofty)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Saturday 5 December 1981Social: Devon DA Annual Dinner
5 present: Colin Brierly, Michael Jones, Frances Lofty, Kevin Presland, Sue Shepley
General fun at the Annual Dinner
Sue Shepley, Ken Strong and Frances Lofty enjoying themselves at the Annual Dinner
More fun at the Annual Dinner
The Annual Dinner provides a great opportunity to meet up with fellow members across the DA, and this year's event at the Trecarn Hotel, Torquay was no exception. Personally I would have been happy to leave when the excellent meal and after-dinner speeches were complete, but some of our members joined the dance, as you can see from the photos.

(Michael Jones)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Sunday 6 December 1981
1415
Afternoon ride: Berry PomeroyDry but cold
4 present: Frank Boyes, Colin Brierly, Simon Haly, Michael Jones
We didn’t quite get a white Christmas in Devon this year, but there was plenty of cold weather around to keep Torbay Section shivering throughout most of December.

Getting the month off to a good start was the Afternoon Ride which, as usual at this time of year, took place on the day after the Annual Dinner. Frank was feeling well enough to come out of hibernation for a few hours and Simon Haly made a welcome return after a break of several months. The ride took us via Berry Pomeroy to Parliament Hill, where Frank summarised the rise and fall of the British Monarchy in the time it took us to walk to the top.

As we came out at Yalberton it was getting colder and darker by the minute, and when someone mentioned something about a warm fire and a cup of tea, eight cyclists made straight for 24 Great Headland Crescent. I hope that Kevin Phillips and Paul Harman enjoyed their first ride with us – no doubt Kevin will bring a good warm pair of mitts with him next time he comes out!

(Michael Jones)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Sunday 13 December 1981
1000
Day ride: DittishamSnow
3 present: Michael Jones, Mark Morton, Kevin Presland
Dittisham was the destination on 13 December, but I don’t think even Mark Morton through we’d see the riverside village that day when he eventually woke up and looked out of his window. As Kevin and I left Buckfastleigh the snow was falling heavily, and by the time we got to Totnes it had started to settle on the road. We had half expected to find the Plains deserted, but we were in for a surprise – five other lunatics were sheltering under the garage overhang! It took precisely five minutes to decide that discretion was the better part of valour, however, and that if we didn’t get home quick we’d be in for a long walk.

There were several centimetres of snow on the road by the time we got back to Buckfastleigh – and then Kevin got a puncture. He finally got back to Haytor at lunchtime and told me afterwards that some of the steep hills caused a few problems.

(Michael Jones)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Sunday 20 December 1981
1000
Day ride: Christmas Lunch Ride, CockwoodHeavy rain
3 present: Don Hassall, Michael Jones, John Stuart
And so it was that Old Father Time brought us to December 20th and our Christmas Cheer run. It was hard to work up even a smile after the previous week’s weather, but I was hopeful as I climbed out of bed to draw the curtains. But it was raining heavily, and I was feeling weak under the effects of a cold that was obviously getting a strong hold on me. How long I had been looking forward to this ride, but now my heart sank. Clearly it wouldn’t do to go cycling in this weather, so regretfully I sat down to a more leisurely breakfast and then gazed out of the window for a few moments to watch John go past in his Sou’ Wester.

Things brightened up when I heard the weather forecast, however, and I wondered if perhaps I could persuade Dad to drop me and the bike at Cockwood to join the rest of the gang for lunch. He kindly agreed, and I arrived just as seven wet and bedraggled specimens were locking up their bikes – for once in my life I felt glad that I’d stayed in. Six more of the Section had come by other forms of transport and were waiting inside with a satisfied look on their faces that suggested they had already eaten; they couldn’t even wait for one hour!

When we all emerged, some having finished their meal with Gaelic coffee, the rain had stoped and Don led us on a slightly devious route to Dawlish and hot mince pies. Just for a change, more was done than said about the delicious food – thanks Don, you’re a pal!

(Michael Jones)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Wednesday 23 December 1981Social: Christmas Party, Exeter Clubroom
5 present: Michael Jones, Frances Lofty, Jackie Lofty, Mark Morton, Mike Ward
Frances takes her turn with the cup
Iris Strong adjudicates one of the party games at the Exeter Clubroom Christmas Party
Another party game that seems to be great fun for all involved
The string took an interesting route through the participants of this game
Two Exeter youngsters thoroughly enjoying another of the Christmas Party games
No report was written on this event at the time, but Torbay Section members drove up to the Exeter Clubroom to join in with their annual Chrsitmas Party. Many thanks to the organisers for putting on a very enjoyable evening that was well attended by both Exeter and Torbay Sections.

(Michael Jones)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Sunday 27 December 1981
1000
Day ride: Fingle BridgeSunny
8 present: Colin Brierly, Michael Jones, Frances Lofty, Jackie Lofty, Mark Morton, Kevin Presland, Mike Ward, Nigel Wilson
Mark prepares to throw a very large chunk of snow while Mike Ward contents himself with a snowball (Photo: Kevin Presland)
Lunch and snow fun by the start of the track to Cranbrook Castle (Photo: Kevin Presland)
The last run of 1981 was marked up on the Runs List as Fingle Bridge. All things were indeed bright and beautiful that morning, and we enjoyed a lovely ride along the road from Bovey to Moretonhampstead before taking to the lanes. The air was fresh and clear, and the scenery made us all feel good to be alive and cycling.

Lunch was taken in the sun near Cranbrook Castle and when all the patches of snow lying about had been scooped up and thrown at various people the final descent was made to Fingle.

Kevin had punctured just before lunch and it was now Mark’s turn. We said we’d see him at the bottom as we couldn’t stop, but Michael Ward almost took us literally when he slithered through the leaves into the hedge on a sharp bend – the track provided a lot of harmless fun. When we eventually reached the bottom, there was Colin, enjoying the views from the bridge and wondering where we had all been.

Before we got home that day Mark broke his derailleur, buckled his frame and kept us all waiting every half an hour while he put his now shortened chain back on his freewheel – not a cheap day for him. It was good to see Nigel out again after a four week rest – hope your new smart cycling jersey didn’t get too dirty Nigel! Finally, our best wishes go to Reg Tarling of Brixham School, our new rider for the day. When I say “new”, he was new to me, but apparently he has been out with the Section before – twenty three years ago! I hoped we’ll see him again before we reach middle age.

(Michael Jones)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

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