Sunday 29 August 1982
Tour: Snowdonia Day 2: Plas Rhiwaedog to Capel Curig YH (32 mi)Rain
17 present: Andrew Billington, Stephen Downer, Simon Haly, Michael Jones, Justin Landen, Frances Lofty, Jackie Lofty, Mark Morton, Jason Parnell, John Pope, Glenn Powling, Kevin Presland, Richard Read, Duncan Scott, John Stuart, Matthew Tewson, Andrew Winstanley
Preparing to leave Plas Rhiwaedog youth hostel as the rain is about to start
Plas Rhiwaedog youth hostel (Photo: Kevin Presland)
View from the balcony in the barn at Pont Tai Hirion
Sheltering from the rain in the barn at Pont Tai Hirion, just below Mochowgryn, two miles past Llyn Celyn
Leaving the café at Pont yr Afon-Gam, the junction with the B4407, in very welcome sunshine
View back to our desolate barn at Pont Tai Hirion, from the B4391 in the continuing rain
The group ready for a great downhill at Hafodyredwydd
Leaving the café at Pont yr Afon-Gam (Photo: Kevin Presland)
Descending the beautiful Hafodyrdwydd valley towards Carrog, from near Llyn Conwy
Richard Read and Andrew Winstanley preparing for a great downhill at Hafodyredwydd
The Basket Weaver at Penmachno shows us how to make various baskets from willow while John Pope begins to feel ill
To be fair, I had known about the rain – they’d mentioned it on Friday night’s weather forecast. And the red sky at 6am should have been warning enough. It started just as we were ready to go. It carried on all the way through Bala and past Llyn Celyn, in fact all the way to a remote barn on the open moor towards Ffestiniog. On closer examination the barn turned out to be quite dry inside, although rather dirty from sheep shearing, and on an interior “balcony” were a table and chairs all laid out for lunch! What more could we have asked for.

On again through the rain and up the hill, until finally we reached the café at the Permacho turnoff. The rain was finally showing signs of stopping, and whilst we enjoyed coffee and toast the sky cleared and the sun shone – a welcome surprise.

The road to Penmachno proved very spectacular, with a long drop down to the village where we met a local resident who knew South Devon very well. We found a basket weaver near the bridge who showed us how to make some of the variety of baskets on display in his shop, and it was then that John Pope’s stomach decided that the hostel packed lunch was definitely NOT what the doctor ordered. Whilst looking around the woollen mill things got even worse for him, and by the time a taxi had arrived to take him to the hostel it was clear that an ambulance would have to be called.

I accompanied him the twenty six miles to Llandudno hospital while the others continued through Betws-y-Coed to Capel Curig youth hostel. The hospital were still confirming that John was suffering from food poisoning when I realised that I wasn’t feeling exactly brilliant either. John was in a poor state but in good hands, so I returned to the hostel and settled down for an uncomfortable night whilst a kindly warden took his car to Penmachno for the two bikes. Thanks everyone for all the help, and I’m sorry I woke some of the lads up that night!

Today's ride included a total climb of 668m.

(Michael Jones)

[3 photos to follow from Kevin Presland]

Sunday 29 August 1982
Day ride: Exeter Ship Canal
5 present: Colin Brierly, Jean Brierly, Dave Eyre, Mike Ward, Philip Wrigley
On the last Sunday in August most of the juniors were away on the Snowdonia tour, so there were only four out for the run to Exeter Ship Canal (Dave Eyre went home early). They took a fairly direct route to Exeter via Gappah and then spent a little time having a look at the area around the Maritime museum before carrying on down the tow path. There were plenty of obstructions, with a fishing competition on, but a sheltered spot near the Topsham ferry crossing point provided a comfortable lunch stop.

A very strong crosswind made control quite difficult at times on the return journey, and a heavy drizzle just before they arrived at Dawlish made the “cuppa” at Don’s even more welcome. I understand it was “rather wet” on the route home via Newton and Stoneycombe.

(Michael Jones)

[1 point: Dave Eyre]

Monday 30 August 1982
Tour: Snowdonia Day 3: Capel Curig to Bryn Gwynant YH (10 mi)Rain
17 present: Andrew Billington, Stephen Downer, Simon Haly, Michael Jones, Justin Landen, Frances Lofty, Jackie Lofty, Mark Morton, Jason Parnell, John Pope, Glenn Powling, Kevin Presland, Richard Read, Duncan Scott, John Stuart, Matthew Tewson, Andrew Winstanley
Fabulous view of Llyn Gwynnant as we speed down to the youth hostel (Photo: Kevin Presland)
Turned out onto the porch at Capel Curig youth hostel by an unfriendly warden
Justin, Duncan and Stephen preparing for a pillow fight at Bryn Gwynnant youth hostel
Glenn, Justin, Jason and Frances at Bryn Gwynnant youth hostel
Next morning, Jason and Stephen were feeling ill and didn’t want breakfast. I seemed to have slept for the latter part of the night without getting up, and was able to eat a little cereal and milk. It was raining again just to add to our misery, and the warden turned us out onto the porch at 10:10 as he had to go out. We huddled together, feeling sorry for ourselves whilst I finished shaving, and finally decided that we could make it to the village – Andrew W knew of a cafe there. Well, there was a grocery shop and a mountaineering shop, but no matter how hard we looked we couldn’t see a café.

It rained harder. When we felt we couldn’t inspect the Gore-Tex rainwear in the shop any more times we set off again towards Snowdon, stopping in a café opposite Pen-y-Pass youth hostel for lunch. Every so often someone would wander up to buy a glass of milk or an ice cream, so we managed to stay there until about 2.00.

As it was still raining I rang our next hostel, Bryn Gwynant, and when they said we could come right away we descended the long hill within about ten minutes flat and settled down in the drying room! The view over the lake was tremendous, and with the mountains towering above, the whole setting was perfect. The superior grading of the hostel was much appreciated, except for the fact that the boys’ dorm was separated from the hostel by a long drive. The warden was a cyclist and turned out to be one of the best we encountered – he didn’t mind at all about the broken pillow case!

Today's ride included a total climb of 228m.

(Michael Jones)

[Photo to follow from Kevin Presland]

Tuesday 31 August 1982
Tour: Snowdonia Day 4: Bryn Gwynant to Gerddi Bluog YH (22 mi)Bright and sunny
17 present: Andrew Billington, Stephen Downer, Simon Haly, Michael Jones, Justin Landen, Frances Lofty, Jackie Lofty, Mark Morton, Jason Parnell, John Pope, Glenn Powling, Kevin Presland, Richard Read, Duncan Scott, John Stuart, Matthew Tewson, Andrew Winstanley
Bryn Gwynant youth hostel
Preparing to leave Bryn Gwynant youth hostel
The picturesque setting of Bryn Gwynant hostel beside Llyn Gwynant
View to Llyn Gwynant from the hostel grounds, with Snowdon beyond
Group photo at Pont Aberglaslyn
Group photo at Pont Aberglaslyn - the bridge over the Glaslyn river near the downstream end of the Pass of Aberglaslyn: Kevin, Frances, Jackie, Matthew, Mark, Glenn, Andrew W, Richard, Simon, John, (Justin), Stephen, Andrew B, Duncan and Jason
View upstream to the Pass of Aberglaslyn, from Pont Aberglaslyn
Group photo with Michael at Pont Aberglaslyn (Photo: Kevin Presland)
Admiring the Aberglaslyn Pass with its rapids together with tunnel T3 of the old West Highland Railway
Our lunchtime walk upstream from Pont Aberglaslyn, showing tunnel T3 of the now disused West Highland Railway
Starting our walk up to the tunnels
Jackie and Frances pause for a photo on the walk up the Aberglaslyn Pass (Photo: Kevin Presland)
Emerging from the longer T2 tunnel
The southern entrance to the short T3 tunnel in the Pass of Aberglaslyn
View back to Yr Arduu and the Pass of Aberglaslyn from the supermarket car park near the harbour in Porthmadog (Photo: Kevin Presland)
Emerging from the darkness at the northern entrance of the T2 tunnel of the old West Highland Railway
Pushing onwards up the steep climb from Harlech
Andrew B, Simon, Jackie and Stephen take a well-earned rest on the steep climb out of Harlech, with views across Morfa Harlech nature reserve
A mile from the hostel and our road goes through a gateway and starts to look more like a track. Rhinog Fawr ("Big Rhinog") in the clouds
Frances nears the top of the climb out of Harlech (Photo: Kevin Presland)
Lake Cwm Bychan, nestling deep in the Rhinog mountains, as seen from the lane descent 150m before the hostel
Stephen rides through fabulous scenery just half a mile from the hostel, with our lane/track continuing down to the right
Next morning, lo and behold, the sun was shining as we stirred from our beds at 7.00: Justin made sure that his alarm watch didn’t go off early again! Stephen and I were feeling a lot better after a good night’s sleep, and we set off down the road to Beddgelert for coffee in high spirits. The Pass of Aberglaslyn made a beautiful backdrop for our group photographs and provided us with an interesting walk and quiet lunch spot. I must say we did look a great sight all gathered on that bridge!

Porthmaedog was the next stop, this time for provisions as we were self-catering at the next three hostels. When panniers had been topped up with cans and bags we set off again, racing the little steam engine along the Ffestiniog railway before turning southwards across the river Dwyryd. It was definitely the day for a lane route, so we turned off the main Harlech road and immediately found a near vertical hill that reminded us of the land we had left behind in Devon. The scenery was beautiful up there in the hills, but we had to descend to Harlech for bread and milk before the final ascent to the hostel at Gerddi Bluog (pronounced “Gerthi”). There was a crate of fifteen pints left, and whilst we were pondering on how many we needed, a gentleman took one. That did it: I bought the lot, much to the amusement of the locals outside who watched us trying to pack them away. Good here, isn’t it?

That final climb proved tougher than we had thought, but well worth it. The dunes of Harlech lay stretched out behind us as the Rhinog Mountains unfolded ahead – onwards and upwards was the cry from the leaders.

Soon there was no sign of human habitation, save for the rough track we were riding along. A lake appeared in the distance, surrounded by the most beautiful mountain scenery you could imagine, and then we were there in the midst of it. Putting our cycles into the rude shed and dashing inside to explore our new home.

It was fantastic – like a palace. Soon the kitchen was full of the smell of wonderful foods, cooked by Torbay’s own selection of gourmets. Later that evening some went for a walk through that strange world, others played games indoors. Finally we all gathered in the boys’ dorm to watch John Stuart lie on his top bunk bed and fall through to the bottom bunk – Andrew Winstanley’s idea of course!

And meanwhile what about John Pope? We had been ringing the hospital every night, and tonight we were told, much to our surprise, that he had been taken home by his parents, now much better. Good news to round off a marvellous day.

Today's ride included a total climb of 629m.

(Michael Jones)

[Photo to follow from Kevin Presland]

Wednesday 1 September 1982
Tour: Snowdonia Day 5: Gerddi Bluog to Dinas Mawddwy YH (25 mi)Wet start, misty
17 present: Andrew Billington, Stephen Downer, Simon Haly, Michael Jones, Justin Landen, Frances Lofty, Jackie Lofty, Mark Morton, Jason Parnell, John Pope, Glenn Powling, Kevin Presland, Richard Read, Duncan Scott, John Stuart, Matthew Tewson, Andrew Winstanley
Gerddi Bluog youth hostel, remote and beautiful, with buildings on both sides of the narrow lane
Preparing to leave the fabulous Gerddi Bluog youth hostel on a rather wet morning
Misty views to the Rhinogs from Gerddi Bluog youth hostel
The front aspect of Gerddi Bluog youth hostel
Approaching Lake Cwm Bychan, with the towering Carreg-y-saeth mountain ahead
Looking back up to Gerddi Bluog youth hostel soon after departure
Lake Cwm Bychan, deep in the Rhinog mountains
Jason gets his first view of Lake Cwm Bychan
An umpromising start to the dreaded Bwlch Tyddiad path over the Rhinog Mountains via the Roman Steps
Our road continues westwards to the end of the lake before turning into a footpath
Out of the woods, but our problems are only just beginning - the Rhinog Mountains doing an excellent impression of the Alps!
The path continues through the woods, and really isn't too bad at the moment
The Roman Steps make the going a little easier
Maybe this was a bad idea?
Simon Haly reaches the top of the Bwlch Tyddiad pass / Roman Steps (Photo: Kevin Presland
View back down the Roman Steps
Relief at the top of the Bwlch Tyddiad pass (underexposed)
Duncan Scott reaches the top (underexposed after change of film)
The rough and boggy descent, with the lower slopes of Rhinog Fawr on the left (underexposed)
View to the Coed-y-Brenin forests around Bronaber, from the saddle of the Bwlch Tyddiad (underexposed)
The last members of the group arrive at the forest road with great relief
Muddy bikes & muddy shoes, but we have finally reached the forest road near Graigddu-isaf
A stunning sunset soon after leaving Dolgellau (20:10)
The Cyclists’ Guide to North Wales is a useful little publication which describes, as its title might suggest, some of the more interesting cycle routes through the National Park. The author happens to be the warden of Bala hostel, a connection which at the time of planning the tour had added extra weight to the information given within its pages. Now, it invoked quite a different reaction.

On the subject of getting from the Harlech side of the Rhinog mountains to the Dolgellau side, The Book has the following advice to give: “For the more adventurous cyclist, who does not mind carrying or pushing his bike at times, there is a track through the wild Rhinog mountains called the Bwlch Drws Ardudwy, or the Pass of the Gateway into Ardudwy .. “. The path we actually took, the Bwlch Tyddiad path across the Roman Steps, looked very similar on the map, crossing a mile or so to the north but meeting up with the other path on the far side: it did climb 80m higher but it had the advantage of starting from near the hostel and thereby avoided a detour to reach it. Taking this path, however, was a mistake that none of us are likely to forget!

The weather had deteriorated overnight to a thick mist with intermittent drizzle, and the views of the previous evening were no more. The warden felt that whilst the Roman Steps may be hard for the young ones, they would not be dangerous, and anyway, the weather was soon going to clear up. So after a short discussion we decided to continue as planned, and set off into the mist towards Lake Cwm Bychan.

Things went very well at first, with the rain showing signs of stopping and the fog clearing. Then we got to the end of the road and started to follow the footpath that was to lead us across the Rhinogs. It looked a bit rough at this point as it wound its way up through the woods, but I was sure that things would soon improve.

Emerging from the woods we were faced with a bleak view that resembled my idea of the Alps! The going was steep and rough, and it didn’t take long for the wiser ones to hit on the idea of removing panniers and carrying them separately. The leading eight decided this was unnecessary and they pressed on ahead with the aim of getting across as quickly as possible.

On we went, higher and higher into the mountains, through bogs and streams, across boulders and up sections of the stone steps themselves. The two Andrews and I finally reached the top at around 3pm – an hour later than the others, who were by now cold and miserable. There was thick fog all around, and the scene was like something out of Agatha Christie. For them, the whole affair had gone beyond a joke, and they decided to carry on alone while we went back to help Glenn, Justin and Jason with their bikes. Amazingly they had managed to get their luggage to the top and their bikes about two thirds of the way up, all on their own! Well done lads!

The view from the saddle was dramatic now that the fog had lifted, but we only had a short time to admire it while we ate our “lunch”, which consisted of anything we could find in our saddlebags. There were several walkers there too, who had passed us on the way up with looks of amazement on their faces. Maybe we should apply to the Guinness Book of Records?

We could see Coed-y-Brenin forest, but getting down to it involved further rocks, bogs and streams, with the added irritant of flies – swarms of the things that almost drove you mad as you stumbled down the slopes with your hands full. Andrew and I went back twice more, once for our panniers and once to help the youngsters.

The last lap was the path through the forest to the service road. It had been raining quite a lot over the past week, and the forest floor was inches deep in boggy peat for the entire half-mile walk. We finally emerged, exhausted, boys and machines alike dripping with mud.

It was twenty miles to the next hostel, but the first ten to Dollgellau were downhill – which was just as well, as we had to get food there before 5.30. But sadly, this was the moment that Justin’s pannier decided to engage with his wheel. As if we didn’t have enough problems! Justin was fortunate enough to get away with a few scratches, but after nearly an hour of work on his wheel I decided that I could do no more for it. We continued to the town at a slow speed, arriving at 7pm just as the others were about to leave. They showed us where to get food and then set off for the hostel.

It must have been about 9.30 when we finally arrived at Dinas Mawddwy. I still don’t know how we ever got there that night, but those lads must have had a lot of stamina. We sat by the fire, discussing the mad day we had all had and still not really believing we’d done it. A few telephone calls were made, briefly bridging the gap to a land far away, but soon everyone was settling down for the best night’s sleep they had had for ages.

(Michael Jones)

[Photo to follow from Kevin Presland]

Wednesday 1 September 1982
Evening ride: Ipplepen
3 present: Colin Brierly, Matthew Burrows, Phil Burrows
The evening ride of 1 September saw seven ride to Ipplepen – a good turnout considering that seventeen of the Section were away. They took a circuit beyond Denbury to the Ogwells, skirting Newton along the Coach Road and returned home via Kingskerswell and Scott’s Bridge. Good to see Phil and Matthew Burrows out again with friend Andrew.

(Michael Jones)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Thursday 2 September 1982
Tour: Snowdonia Day 6: Dinas Mawddwy to Corris YH (19 mi)Sunny and bright
17 present: Andrew Billington, Stephen Downer, Simon Haly, Michael Jones, Justin Landen, Frances Lofty, Jackie Lofty, Mark Morton, Jason Parnell, John Pope, Glenn Powling, Kevin Presland, Richard Read, Duncan Scott, John Stuart, Matthew Tewson, Andrew Winstanley
Dinas Mawddwy youth hostel
A very leisurely start at Dinas Mawddwy youth hostel, located half a mile south of the village at Minllyn
View to the Dovey Valley road, from the hostel grounds (Photo: Kevin Presland)
Dinas Mawddwy youth hostel, from the driveway
Kevin rode back down the hill a few metres to get this shot of the main group climbing the hill from Dinas Mawddwy (Photo: Kevin Presland)
View back towards Dinas Mawddwy, from Ochr y Bwlch (Photo: Kevin Presland)
The Tal-y-Llyn lake as seen from the approach to Minffordd from Dolgellau
An unusual sign caught our attention. This is probably near Dolgellau - do you know exactly where it was?
Simon, Mark, Jason, Glenn and Justin in the early stages of the walk up the Minffordd path
A group photo at Minffordd, the start of the Cader Idris footpath (16:50)
Water fights in the Nant Cadair stream, with Cader Idris looming large
Steep climbing out of the woods, with Cader Idris coming into view
View back towards Minffordd and the Mynydd Rugog range on the far side of Lake Tal-y-Llyn, showing how far we have climbed already
Glenn, Mark, Jason and Justin in the Nant Cadair stream
First sight of the magnificent Llyn Cau
John S, Mark and Kevin approaching the basin of Llyn Cau. Our path goes up to the rim on the left.
Richard Read and Andrew Billington at Craig-Lwydh (Photo: Kevin Presland)
Llyn Cau, taken as we climbed the Minffordd path
View to the right of the previous picture, showing Lake Tal-y-Llyn
Fabulous views from Craig-Lwydh looking away from Llyn Cau to the Corris valley
Andrew Winstanley contemplates Llyn Cau in a slide that was entered for the DA Photographic Competition in February 1983
View to the left of the previous picture showing the road we descended earlier to Minffordd
View back to the way we walked up to Llyn Cau
No, Andrew is not relieving himself into Llyn Cau!
The long walk back to the bikes, with Lake Tal-y-Llyn below
Scrambling back down the Minffordd path
Next morning was sunny and bright. We took life easy for once and didn’t leave until midday, with a long hill to climb back to Dollgellau for lunch. The local bakeries and cafes served us well, and then we browsed around the information centre looking at the model of Cader Idris, our destination for the day. Having decided which of the mountain passes to climb we circled around to the other side and parked our bikes at Minffordd, near Lake Tal-y-llyn. The time was nearly 5pm and we had been advised to allow at least three hours for the walk. Still, Corris hostel was only three miles away, so we weren’t too worried.

First of all the Minffordd path winds its way up through some steep, wooded slopes, emerging at a gateway in a stone wall. Next it curves around towards the west, ever climbing, with massive mountain slopes on the right. Eventually it reaches the glaciated lake Cau itself, surrounded by the ridge of Craig Cau like the sides of a basin. From here it climbs onto the ridge at its lowest point and follows it right around to the summit.

Once we had scrambled up the side we could see for miles around – range after range of mountains, with the scree slopes of Craig Goch in the foreground. Far below us we could see the road we had ridden along that afternoon, running down the Fawnog Valley, and as we watched a jet flew right up between its steep sides. I think that’s the first time any of us had looked down on a jet in full flight.

We didn’t go right to the top for fear of descending in darkness, but the view of Lyn Cau from such a height had made the whole journey worthwhile. We were soon back with the bikes again, ready for the short ride to Corris hostel.

It was a cold night and we were glad to arrive, even though the hostel was Simple grade. As chance would have it, a chap we had met at Dinas youth hostel was now at Corris, and his greeting comment was “Do you specialise in late arrivals?” I’m sure the other hostellers must have thought a hurricane had descended on their kitchen/common room as we set about cooking our meals!

(Michael Jones)

Friday 3 September 1982
Tour: Snowdonia Day 7: Corris to Bridges YH (6 mi)Misty
17 present: Andrew Billington, Stephen Downer, Simon Haly, Michael Jones, Justin Landen, Frances Lofty, Jackie Lofty, Mark Morton, Jason Parnell, John Pope, Glenn Powling, Kevin Presland, Richard Read, Duncan Scott, John Stuart, Matthew Tewson, Andrew Winstanley
Andrew, Frances and Jackie preparing to leave Corris youth hostel
Andrew B and Mark M preparing to leave Corris youth hostel soon after dawn (Photo Kevin Presland)
Some of the exhibits at Machynlleth Alternative Energy Centre, opened just 7 years ago in a disused quarry and now undergoing further expansion
The group at Corris youth hostel
Crop rotation at the Alternative Energy Centre
Andrew, Simon and Frances check out HEP at the Alternative Energy Centre
Methane production at the Alternative Energy Centre
Andrew, John S and Duncan Scott see how urine and other waste products are converted to compost at the Alternative Energy Centre
Solar power at the Alternative Energy Centre
Wind power at the Machynlleth Alternative Energy Centre
Stephen Downer converts pedal power to electrical power at the Alternative Energy Centre while John and Simon keep a close eye on his output levels
Andrew Winstanley switches to three wheels at the solar energy section of the Alternative Energy Centre
Andrew W and Richard feed the adorable family of goats on the lawn at Bridges youth hostel
Frances and Jackie at the entrance to the Alternative Energy Centre at Machynlleth
Bridges youth hostel
Andrew W, Richard, Matthew, Stephen, Mark and Kevin with the goats at Bridges youth hostel
The group on top bunks in our dorm at Bridges youth hostel
Our final night together, discussing the tour and making plans for next year, at Bridges youth hostel
Friday morning saw Andrew B, Kevin and Mark set off in the early morning mist to ride to the last hostel, Bridges. The rest of us intended to look around the Alternative Energy Centre at Machynlleth and then take the train, as Bridges youth hostel was quite a distance away. In fact we hadn’t planned to go there at all, originally; the hostel had to be added when British Rail decided they couldn’t take us back on Friday afternoon. Still, we were going to make the best of our extra day.

The Centre was certainly worth the visit. It is really a self-sufficient community of the future, complete with a wide selection of windmills, waterwheels and the like. They demonstrated that good, healthy food can be grown without resort to pesticides and artificial fertilisers, and we all verified the good taste in the restaurant later that morning. Looking around the displays we saw the Dartington Model Village in all its glory – I’d missed seeing it back home.

Before we left, some of our number contributed some liquid fertiliser as a measure of their appreciation, in the special receptacles provided, and Andrew W rode a child’s tricycle around. There’s not much we don’t do for a laugh!

There were a few more laughs ahead of us yet, but the moment had come that we had all been trying to forget about – we were about to leave Snowdonia on our complex route home. “Cycle bravely, my children, as the bird of time flies swiftly to its lair, for these moments are the treasure of your future, and they will soon be gone.”

Arriving at Machynlleth station with about twenty minutes to spare didn’t sound too bad, so Jackie and Justin sped down into the village to try to find a bike shop selling wheels whilst I began negotiations with the ticket collector. You see, our party rate tickets didn’t cover this connecting journey to Newtown and I had to convince the gentleman that we should be given special rates – quite a lengthy process!

Inevitably our train was to arrive on the other side of the line, so over the footbridge we went as fast as we could. The train was in sight as Jackie and Justin returned, clutching a shining new wheel. In a flurry of confusion we actually got all the bikes, luggage and owners on the train before it left, although it still amazes me that we didn’t leave anything behind.

The journey to Newtown was about an hour, so Justin set about replacing his buckled wheel with the new alloy one – a little more expensive than he would have liked, but very nice all the same. That done, he and some of the others began removing spokes from the old wheel so that he could take the hub home. The task was completed on Newtown platform where the friendly stationmaster joked with us for quite a time – his station had apparently been voted best kept-station in the area.

When Stephen had repaired his puncture, the wheel had been completely dismantled and Richard’s wound had been bandaged, we set off down the road to locate a café. After a pleasant stop we wound our way out of the town, bumping into three cyclists on the way who turned out to be vaguely familiar! We seemed to take ages getting out of the place, partly because we had to tighten Frances’ cones and partly because of the one-way system.

The sun was shining once again, and we enjoyed our ride to Bridges hostel. The country villages were very pretty, but the most notable observation was the number of times we crossed the England/Wales border. It was easy to tell when we had, because the beautifully tarmacked Welsh road would suddenly turn into a neglected country track!

At the hostel we found a Mercian tandem in the bike shed and a family of goats on the lawn. The owner of the tandem assumed we were all from the Derby area when he saw the high proportion of Mercians amongst our bunch.

The evening was spent together, discussing the tour and making plans for next year. The truth about Andrew Billington finally emerged when he was found reading a “Woman’s Own” magazine, apparently taken from his pannier. Still, we all promised we wouldn’t tell anyone!

(Michael Jones)

Saturday 4 September 1982
Tour: Snowdonia Day 8: Bridges to Home (14 mi)
17 present: Andrew Billington, Stephen Downer, Simon Haly, Michael Jones, Justin Landen, Frances Lofty, Jackie Lofty, Mark Morton, Jason Parnell, John Pope, Glenn Powling, Kevin Presland, Richard Read, Duncan Scott, John Stuart, Matthew Tewson, Andrew Winstanley
Duncan, Frances, Jackie, Andrew W, John S and Stephen at Shrewsbury youth hostel, our final tour photo together (10:05)
Waiting for our 9:59 train at Shrewsbury rail station - it's late! (10:04)
And later still, they were crossing the Severn Bridge back to England (Photo Kevin Presland)
Meanwhile, a good deal later, Kevin and Mark were at Tintern Abbey (Photo Kevin Presland)
For me, morning came all too suddenly as two louts who obviously couldn’t sleep decided to throw me out of bed at 6.30! We had to catch a train at Shrewsbury at 9.59, and that was fifteen miles away, so we crept about as quietly as possible during breakfast. At this juncture, Mark and Kevin left us to cycle back home. Yes, you did hear right: 210 miles. Obviously they couldn’t afford the train fare, I hear you say. But sadly, the truth is far worse: they are just completely mad!

Owing to a mix-up with the bookings, no seats had been reserved for us on the train, and much to our delight we were taken to the first-class carriage and told to make ourselves comfortable. An elderly couple sitting nearby looked at us with an element of disgust as we settled down, the youngsters dressed in their bright cycling gear and all of us carrying our cycle luggage. Still, they didn’t seem to mind too much as long as we kept quiet.

And so, as the train sped towards the South West, our fantastic voyage was drawing to a close. We’ll never forget it of course – the food poisoning, the rain, the Roman Steps, Cader Idris, all adding up to our greatest adventure yet. And as the train passed through Teignmouth, with the bright salt air all around, the sadness of the moment was overwhelming. Could it really be coming to an end? Could we really all be going our separate ways? Well, there were the parents waiting on the platform, so I suppose it’s all over.

“Are you alright?”

“Yeahh, I’m alright ..”

(Michael Jones)

Sunday 5 September 1982
Day ride: Tourist Trials, 100 in 8 and untimed 100
6 present: Andrew Billington, Colin Brierly, Paul Kerr, Frances Lofty, Robert Spence, Andrew Winstanley
Meanwhile the 100 mile Tourist Trials were taking place. Only Robert Spence entered the 100 in 8, but five were on the untimed 100. Robert rode on, but Colin, Frances, Paul Kerr and the two Andrews kept going quite well and were beyond Halberton by the time they stopped for lunch on the Grand Western Canal bank. They didn’t stop long, and kept moving so well that they all finished in less than eight hours – in time in Colin’s case to see the final of the Wold Championship Road Race “on the box”. Hope you all enjoyed taking part.

(Michael Jones)

Sunday 5 September 1982
Afternoon ride: Ipplepen
7 present: Frank Boyes, Stephen Downer, Michael Jones, Ian Lee, Kevin Philips, Michael Roberts, Dominic Sanders
The Afternoon Run was again to Ipplepen and Denbury, with Frank making numbers up to seven.

(Michael Jones)

Wednesday 8 September 1982
Evening ride: Kingskerswell
3 present: Michael Jones, Ian Lee, Mrs Lee (Adult, Kingskerswell)
The next evening run, to Kingskerswell, saw Ian Lee’s mother out for her first time. It was soon dark and the lights across the river made a delightful view as we descended from Waterhead Brake. Returning along the riverside path we climbed up the hill from Higher Ferry and back through the mist to Paignton.

(Michael Jones)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Sunday 12 September 1982
Day ride: Maceley Cove (SX 768356)
15 present: Andrew Billington, Colin Downie, Michael Jones, Ian Lee, Frances Lofty, Mark Morton, Andrew Presland, Nigel Presland, Richard Read, Dominic Sanders, Duncan Scott, Robert Spence, Matthew Tewson, Mike Ward, Nigel Wilson
Frances leads us down to the cove with our packed lunches as the mist begins to lift. Maceley Cove is the second inlet, just around from Elender Cove
The track to a rather misty Maceley Cove, adjacent to Elender Cove, from the road near East Prawle
Lunchtime fun at Maceley Cove
Another view of Elender Cove and Maceley Cove
Maceley Cove was the destination on 12 September, and surely it must have been the best ride of the month? Fifteen gathered at the Totnes pickup, including Kevin’s brother Nigel braving the club again. With Kevin and Mark looking after the maps we rode through Harbertonford and along an interesting route to Sherford and Frogmore, reaching East Prawle by lunchtime. The area was enshrouded in fog but Frances knew the way to the beach, and we enjoyed an exhilarating view across the cove in good sunshine while Matthew entertained us below with his diving.

On the way back to Torcross we bumped into Frances’ parents on their way to Maceley, and later after enjoying some refreshments at the café, Matthew discovered a somewhat deflated tyre. It’s always the way isn’t it. Funnily enough the chap outside, trying to enjoy a quiet cup of tea (some home), happened to be from Ilsington, so Kevin was able to chat with him before we set off a little belatedly for Strete.

Rob, Matthew and Richard went back on the ferry as they had to be home early, but the rest of us decided to take the lanes along the Dart to Totnes. Unfortunately for Nigel, the roads near Tuckenhay were a bit damp, and the result of sharp braking in such conditions was a badly grazed pair of elbows. After patching up and a short rest he was able to ride the few miles back to Buckfastleigh, where an ever-ready Dad was waiting with his car. I’m not sure what time Kevin and Andrew left Redmount that evening, but by the time they’d swapped light bulbs and repaired persistent punctures it must have been at least 9.30!

(Michael Jones)

[2 points: Nigel Wilson, Colin Downie, Frances Lofty]
[3 points: everyone else]

Wednesday 15 September 1982
Evening ride: Staverton
2 present: Michael Jones, Neil Pena
Neil Pena surprised us all that Wednesday evening by turning out again after a lapse of several months. He’d been on holiday of course, and we were pleased to see him again. He left the remaining eight of us at Staverton to make his way back to Harberton – his new home.

(Michael Jones)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Sunday 19 September 1982
Day ride: Fernworthy ReservoirTurning wet
19 present: Andrew Billington, Colin Brierly, Jean Brierly, Matthew Burrows, Phil Burrows, Colin Downie, Antony House, Michael Jones, Ian Lee, Frances Lofty, Mark Morton, Neil Pena, Kevin Presland, Richard Read, Dominic Sanders, Matthew Tewson, Mike Ward, Nigel Wilson, Andrew Winstanley
On the 19th we were supposed to be going to Fernworthy. All seemed to go well at first, with a massive turnout of nineteen meeting at Bovey, Matthew had just come to show us he was still alive, as he had to go back to his Gran’s house at Kingsteignton, but Neil was out again and stayed with us all day.

It’s all very nice having so many on the ride, but if it should happen to rain part-way through the morning, people can get miserable – especially if the rain is heavy! Well, that’s what happened of course. It started just after Manaton as a light drizzle, but was so heavy by the time we reached Gratnar Farm that we had to stop under the trees for lunch. The trees were fine – for a few minutes! Soon we were thoroughly drenched and all thoughts of going to the reservoir were abandoned. Colin couldn’t even read his paper, and that was the last straw!

We turned tail and made for home as fast as possible via Hound Tor and Hemsworthy Gate, with some going back to Kevin’s house and others going straight home. Not the best of Sundays for cycling but it was good to see so much support.

(Michael Jones)

[1 point: Matthew Tewson]

Wednesday 22 September 1982Evening ride: Stoke Gabriel
1 present: Michael Jones
Our fourth evening ride of the month began in semi-darkness. Six of us made our way through the lanes to Stoke Gabriel and back around to Maypool youth hostel for light refreshments. It was alright for me, staying there, but the others had to cycle home!

(Michael Jones)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Sunday 26 September 1982Day ride: Tourist Trials 50 in 4 or 100km untimed
9 present: Ian Crockford (Junior, Devon), Michael Jones, Ian Lee, Mark Morton, Kevin Presland, Richard Read, Dominic Sanders, Matthew Tewson, Mike Ward
The last Sunday run of the month was obliterated by the second round of Tourist Trials, this time the “50 in 4” event. There were nine entrants at the pickup point, Ian Crockford choosing the event for his inaugural ride! Actually he didn’t choose it, as he had only seen one of our general posters.

We finally set off up the Teign Valley, and whilst the keen ones went on ahead, Kevin and I stayed back with the slower bunch. Ian did very well for the first few miles, but it was soon obvious that he would not make the course so he dropped out near Longdown. That left four of us in the lagging group (Matthew and Richard being the other two), and we pressed on with the A-Section mob to have lunch at Exe Bridge.

The final lap back to Kingsteignton was the hardest of all, as there was a strong headwind all day. Michael, Ian Lee, Dominic and Mark just made the four hours, and the rest of us managed four and a half – still, you enjoyed yourselves didn’t you? Did you? No doubt some of you did!

(Michael Jones)

Wednesday 29 September 1982Evening ride: Coffinswell
1 present: Michael Jones
And that brings us to the last evening run of the season. There were only five of us out on that cold, dark evening. As the weather was so cold, and as it was the end of the season, and as everyone was over eighteen, I agreed just this once to a short stop at the local hostelry in Coffinswell, which made a pleasant end to the month.

(Michael Jones)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Sunday 3 October 1982
Afternoon ride: Dartington HallSunny and warm
5 present: Dave Eyre, Peter Madeley (Junior, Brixham), Kevin Presland, Michael Roberts, Mike Ward
A beautiful, sunny day heralded the start to the month on 3rd October. Michael Roberts brought his friend Peter Madely of Brixham for his inaugural ride, making numbers up to ten. It was decided that a leisurely ride to Dartington was the order of the day, and with Dave Eyre as leader we wandered through the lanes until we reached the bridge (or rather lack of one) at the Tally Ho Inn.

A suitable detour was taken to Staverton where John and Kevin left for home. The remainder of the company toured through the grounds of Dartington Hall and on to Totnes, from where we made our separate ways home.

(Michael Ward)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Wednesday 6 October 1982
Social: Open Evening
1 present: Michael Jones
Social at the Maypool youth hostel clubroom.

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

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