Page    



Sunday 3 April 1983Tour: Somerset & North Devon Day 3
8 present: Andrew Billington, Matthew Burrows, Phil Burrows, Michael Jones, Kevin Presland, John Roome, John Stuart, Matthew Tewson
The Sunday morning dawned bright and cold, but with Exford youth hostel being uncharacteristically sited at the bottom of a hill we were soon warmed by the ascent. However, after the descent into Simonsbath we were all so cold that we walked up the following hill to warm our feet!

The descent towards Lynmouth was only marginally warmer. Morning coffee, together with another photo session, was taken at beautiful Watersmeet – the cold café seemed somehow depressing, but we thoroughly enjoyed our walk around the area. We continued the descent to Lynmouth where we stocked up with food again and met the Exeter A-Section who were eating and (mainly) drinking in the sunshine – they hadn’t touched a bike all day! Naturally we didn’t associate with them for any longer than it took to exchange the usual courtesies.

After climbing the steep path to the top of the Cliff Railway we rode the tarmacked but nevertheless precarious cliff path for a mile to the point where it turned inland to the Valley of the Rocks. Here we took lunch, and it was now safe to look at the clear view across to Wales. This lunchtime, Kevin kept us all amused (except for poor Michael) by climbing up and down cliffs into the most precarious positions he could find – with his camera of course. Meanwhile, Matthew T and young John failed in their attempts to start a landslide!

The gruelling afternoon ride was not improved by the convoys of grockles driving back and forth over the narrow coastal lanes, or by the difficult navigational decision to be made at Woody Bay; we got it right second time! Matthew succeeded in falling off while avoiding a car on the tricky descent to Hunters’ Inn, but apparently without damage.

Afternoon tea at Hunters’ Inn was again a depressing affair – there were no pots of tea, only cups. However, Andrew was pleased because we had found somewhere with Space Invaders!

On the start of the next ascent, Matthew complained that the stop had “done his legs in”. However, after a short stop when Matthew punctured, giving him time for the tea to penetrate his legs, he attacked the long hill over Trentishoe Down at a cracking pace again. The descent from Girt Down to Combe Martin was hairy to say the least, but later, looking back at the road from the opposite side of Sandy Bay, it looked even worse!

The pace seemed to increase as we approached our destination, with young Matthew B still amongst the first up the hills. Ilfracombe hostel was a little disappointing; it was too much like a hotel and the showers were tepid. Even the snow that fell didn’t settle enough to make a snowball, but the games room kept most of the party amused.

(Phil Burrows)

[12 photos to follow]

Sunday 3 April 1983
1415
Afternoon ride: On the Day
0 present:
No report available.

Monday 4 April 1983Tour: Somerset & North Devon Day 4Showers
8 present: Andrew Billington, Matthew Burrows, Phil Burrows, Michael Jones, Kevin Presland, John Roome, John Stuart, Matthew Tewson
Monday’s weather looked unsettled as we climbed out to Lynton Cross, facing the long ride home. The two first-timers we well to the fore on the climb, and Kevin’s puncture kept him busy with the pump but still he would not mend it. On the long descent to Barnstaple he, together with the fitter members, kept well in front to allow for pumping time. In Barnstaple we did a grand tour of the town while looking for an open food shop, led by a keen young BMC rider who, unfortunately, didn’t spare a thought for our less-sturdy machines.

As we continued South, Michael made an attempt to slow down the keener members to give the others a chance of making it home before collapsing, but he was not really successful until the first heavy shower dampened their enthusiasm near Atherington. Thereafter we kept a tight bunch until the radar station, where we stopped for lunch. But the showers didn’t! Kevin disappeared under his cape to mend the puncture. Meanwhile, John Stuart tied his back wheel together with string and Michael was treated to several renditions of his favourite pop song, just to keep everyone’s spirits up, while he timed Kevin at seventeen minutes. “Ah, but I took my time and mended it properly,” was Kevin’s reply. Less than a mile further on it was mended again, this time by Michael!

The rest of the afternoon was uneventful as we made steady progress in our little bunch, slowest at the front, through Winkleigh and across country to Whiddon Down. The weather improved for a while, and the only complaint was from Matthew who kept threatening to “phone his Dad to pick him up.” Occasionally he would collapse by the roadside just to prove the point! By Whiddon Down the worst was over – it was all downhill from here we kept assuring ourselves.

Moretonhampstead was a welcome sight for tea – the fruit cake was delicious, and many cups were squeezed from teapots. The poor proprietor just couldn’t cope with twelve customers and made sure everyone knew it!

After tea, Matthew was as good as his word, much to everyone’s surprise, and he phoned his Dad. A mile later he collapsed at the roadside again to await his arrival. The rest of us rode not-too-wearily homeward and went our separate ways from Bovey. Sod’s Law ensured that the newest riders rode furthest, but both John and Matthew were still fighting fit after producing very good rides on their first tour. As far as I can tell, everyone arrived home tired, but with happy memories of an excellent tour – thanks to Michael’s good organisation.

The following awards will probably not be presented at the next meeting of the Wheel-builders’ and Truers’ Social Club:

Michael Jones: The job award for Patience
Kevin Presland: The David Bailey award for the slowest puncture
John Stuart: The Henry Ford “Third Time Lucky” award
Andrew Billington: The Gertrude Shilling “Hat of the Tour” award
Matthew Tewson: The Charlie Cairoli “Life and Soul of the Tour” award
John Roome: The British Leyland No Fuss award for Industry
Matthew Burrows: The Everest King of the Mountains award
Phil Burrows: The “When I was a Lad” veteran’s award

(Phil Burrows)


[1 photo to follow]

Sunday 10 April 1983
1000
Day ride: DA Rough Stuff Event
0 present:
No report available.

Sunday 17 April 1983
1000
Day ride: Laugher Tor (GR 653757)
6 present: Colin Brierly, Graham Brodie, Noel Downie, Robert Downie, Antony House, Nigel Wilson
Numbers have been down recently on day runs, with a combination of poor weather and exam fever, but the weather was quite kind, and our numbers augmented by Noel and Robert Downie for a trip to Laughter Tor in mid-April.

When I say the weather was kind, it is in comparison with some of the truly foul stuff we have had, for although bright there was still a quite chilly wind. After warming ourselves up rather a lot climbing from Buckfast to Holne and Hexworthy, a sheltered spot for our picnic was essential, and a grassy patch shielded by a stone wall part way up the hill from Huccaby proved ideal.

A fairly leisurely lunch and then on towards Two Bridges but turning off onto a bridle path to reach our destination. The Tor duly inspected, and remarkably good views admired, we continued along the track to Bellever before turning for Poundsgate and New Bridge on our way to tea at the Downie establishment at Buckfastleigh.

Graham, Antony and Nigel joined us there in helping make a satisfactory impression on the plentiful food that the Downies’ household had provided for us.

(Colin Brierly)

Sunday 24 April 1983
1000
Day ride: Bantham Sands
2 present: Colin Brierly, Martin Chesterfield
Weather early on the next Sunday was as foul as any we’ve had, and I was not surprised that there was only Martin Chesterfield waiting. We did expect to pick up more riders at Totnes, but apart from Noel Downie, who had “escaped” from work to come and collect his Highwayman, we didn’t see anyone else.

The weather did gradually improve, and we were able to take capes off, but it was not Bantham Sands weather and we decided on a more local trip so that we could head for home if - or rather when - the heavens opened again. We dropped to Gara Bridge and were blessed with finding a small road-keeper’s shelter which provided cove from wind and rain.

Lanes past Crabadon and Hazard were lovely with spring flowers and bird activity, but by the time we reached the main Totnes to Avonwick road we felt we were pushing our luck too far with regards to the weather and headed for home – just in time.

(Colin Brierly)

Wednesday 27 April 1983
1930
Evening ride: Various
1 present: Colin Brierly
Torbay Evening runs have been very well supported so far this year considering the very dubious weather prospects on a number of occasions. There was admittedly one particularly foul Wednesday when only two braved the elements, but in general numbers have been around the eight to ten mark with strong competition for the attendance trophy.

Runs and distances have varied greatly although the sea and River Dart put a very tight restriction on our scope for variety. On one of the better evenings we included three of the most attractive villages in the area – Coffinswell, Combeinteignhead and Stokeinteignhead.

The valley from Combe to Stoke was at its beautiful best with its magnificent thatched houses enhanced by weeping willows in their early splendour. It was an evening when bats were particularly active, and one flitted just in front of us for more than a hundred yards near Maidencombe.

(Colin Brierly)

Sunday 1 May 1983Afternoon ride: Broadhempston
2 present: Colin Brierly, Mark Stott (12, Ipplepen)
Another foul morning on May 1st, but it had improved enough for eight of us to venture out on the Afternoon Run, including a new younger rider, Mark Stott, on a very recently-acquired new bike. The very strong cold wind encouraged us to us familiar but sheltered lanes to Redpost, Broadhempston and Denbury, where a brief stop was made to adjust Mark’s position a bit, with, I think, beneficial results.

After the stop, the weather still being dry, we carried on to East Ogwell and Abbotskerswell to complete our circular tour.

(Colin Brierly)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Sunday 8 May 1983Day ride: Bowerman's Nose
9 present: Matthew Burrows, Phil Burrows, Martin Chesterfield, Noel Downie, Dave Eyre, Ian Lee, Richard Read, Dominic Sanders, Matthew Tewson
There were four of us at Five Lanes on 8th May for the Bowerman’s Nose run – Ian Lee, Matthew, Richard and myself – on what must have been a fine day (I had my shorts on for the first time this year). We were caught (what a weight) by Martin Chesterfield as we approached Kingskerswell, and he informed us his father was following somewhere behind. He eventually caught us up at Bovey Tracey and returned home straight away!

Waiting at Bovey were Dominic Sanders and Noel Downie, so we proceeded on up towards Becky Falls with new strength. We hadn’t gone far before Noel had a puncture and we had to stop again. As we were about to move off from our enforced rest, Phil and Matthew Burrows appeared – the decorating, it seems, was completed pm Saturday, except for one door!

Lunch was taken under the Nose (good job it was not “sniffle” weather), after which we hunted for the nearest ice-cream van. The Official Run (Phil, Matthew, Martin and I) rode on to Ashburton while the rest went to Kevin’s. Ashburton was reached with rather a lot of time in hand, so we decided to detour home via Dean Prior, Rattery and Staverton.

(Dave Eyre)

Sunday 15 May 1983Day ride: South Pool
6 present: Fred Chesterfield, Martin Chesterfield, Dave Eyre, Richard Read, Robert Spence, Matthew Tewson
For the run to South Pool on 15th May I met up with Fred and Martin Chesterfield and Dave the Beard at Five Lanes. We picked up Matthew and Richard at Totnes and took the usual back roads via Harbertonford to Frogmore, Fred having said “Au revoir” to us at Moreleigh. We heaved our empty tums over the big hill into South Pool for lunch and a chance for the younger ones to throw each other in the river – the very muddy river!

Grievous bodily harm over, we rode over to Slapton for ice-creams, then headed for Dartmouth as the fine sunny weather made us feel inclined to spend 50p each on the ferry, and we went our separate ways at Churston.

(Robert Spence)

Sunday 22 May 1983Day ride: Cotley Castle
9 present: Andrew Billington, Colin Brierly, Jean Brierly, Michael Jones, Ian Lee, Richard Read, Dominic Sanders, Matthew Tewson, Andrew Winstanley
The Cotley Castle run on 22nd May was attended by twelve members, including several who had been kept away by the wet weather for several months. From the Chudleigh Bridge pickup we set off along the Teign Valley road, but we hadn’t gone more than half a mile before Matthew, who was on the outside, guided me neatly into a deep, water-filled pothole, which left me completely deflated! There was a short delay while repairs were effected, and then, when Dominic and Ian had said their farewells, then ten remaining cyclists continued on to Bridfordmills. Here we were again delayed by a Scout leader who was pacing around looking most distressed – he had lost his scouts and wanted to use our maps to find out where he was!

Lunch was eaten by the side of the lane in Cotley Wood. We had passed about six ants’ nests a little further down – the enormous, black, vicious-looking variety that might attack you in formation. The thought was too much for Matthew and the two Andrews who climbed a tree and ate lunch there! It wasn’t long before a raging battle was in progress between the monkeys and the two-legged terrestrials, with ammunition taking the form of anything that came to hand – much to the dismay of Colin and Jean who were trying to enjoy a peaceful lunchtime! Such is the pleasure of CTC life.

The lanes along the top of Haldon made a very pretty return route, and a little sunshine finished the day off nicely. Andrew Billington and I left the others just past Gappah to return to Bovey and Buckfastleigh respectively.

(Michael Jones)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Sunday 29 May 1983
1000
Day ride: Bellever Tor
4 present: Andrew Billington, Colin Brierly, Phil Burrows, Kevin Presland
Even though it was one of the better days for weather, there were only half a dozen of us out on the run to Bellever Tor at the end of May. From our pickup point at Bickington we dragged Kevin back up past his own house to Haytor and then down to Widecombe which, as usual, had more than its fair share of visitors. Not quite lunchtime yet, so a bit of 1 in 4 up past Southcombe to make sure all had worked up an appetite before we found a fairly sheltered picnic spot beyond Blackaton Manor.

Not too much hanging around after grub, the midges saw to that, then on to park the bikes near Bellever and a pleasant stroll to the Tor with very fine views to be enjoyed. Back on the bikes – passing Shallowford brought memories of cream teas - and strolling up from Cockingford we had a chat with a Middlesex Road Club man who was walking down with his tandem - a third brake gives a lot more confidence!

Phil Burrows had three flats at various times during the day to give us a rest, but it still seemed fairly hard. Sorry we missed whoever it was from Plymouth (Phil?), who looked for us before we got to the destination.

(Colin Brierly)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

[1 photo to follow from Kevin Presland]

Sunday 5 June 1983
1415
Afternoon ride: Ashburton
2 present: Colin Brierly, Michael Jones
Sunday 5th June was one of those “mainly dry and bright” days with “occasional isolated thunder showers”, according to the weather man. It had indeed been dry and bright at Buckfastleigh all morning and there was no sign of a change as I set off for the Afternoon Ride at Marldon. Unfortunately, however, a particularly large and wet thunder cloud had settled itself over Torbay that morning and decided to stay there until 2pm when it moved off in the general direction of Buckfastleigh. The principle effect of all this was that the only two members who ventured out – Colin and me – both arrived at Marldon dripping wet in bright sunshine!

We were not put off however and enjoyed a pleasant excursion through the lanes around Woodland before further rain concluded our activities at Ashburton.

(Michael Jones)

Lightening and torrential rain on the morning of the June afternoon run was still in the offing at 2.15 and I wasn’t surprised that Mike and I were “The Section”. Capes still needed, if only just, as we headed out towards the Rising Sun and Ashburton before the next heavy rain and thunder that decided Mike to head straight to Buckfastleigh whilst I took off for Broadhempston and Redpost.

(Colin Brierly)

Sunday 12 June 1983Day ride: Bantham Sands
5 present: Matthew Burrows, Phil Burrows, Fred Chesterfield, Martin Chesterfield, Robert Spence
Sunday 12th June gave us ideal weather for a trip to the seaside, so five of us wished Colin “Bon Voyage” on his trip to Canada and headed out of Totnes for Batham. Two father/son teams, consisting of Fred and Martin and Phil and Matthew, and myself “grockle-ised” in the best tradition for one and a half hours, then it was ice-creams and a following wind to push us through familiar roads homewards.

(Robert Spence)

Sunday 19 June 1983
1000
Day ride: Hamel Down
4 present: Matthew Burrows, Phil Burrows, Glenn Powling, Tom Woodman
Five of us set off on a warm, dry morning from Marldon on 19th June for Hamel Down. At Bickington we picked up two more, one of whom was Thomas, aged 14 and from the Plymouth Section, who had ridden all the way up the A38 to join us. From Bickington, the obvious next stop was Kevin’s where we were offered (and enjoyed) morning coffee and games of badminton. Nobody took up the offer of a swim, even though the day was rapidly getting hotter! We finally pulled ourselves away and got as far as Haytor, where we stopped for ice-creams. We managed to make it as far as Bonehill Rocks before lunch.

After lunch the boys found great amusement in spying on a young, topless lady who was sunbathing amongst the rocks. We finally managed to drag them away from the spot when she turned over to do her back! From here we took the track running below Chinkwell Tor, which is very rideable except for the final step, rocky descent.

We approached Hamel Down by way of the bridle path from Natsworthy Manor, towards Grimspound. This seems to be the best way to reach the Down, being rideable all except for 200 steep metres to the Aircraft Memorial Stone. From here we headed south along the ridge. Thomas left us at Broad Barrow, heading back towards Grimspound, Postbridge and Plymouth. We continued south along the ridge and down the long descent to Southcombe. This was all rideable and I would recommend this route to anyone attempting Hamel Down. Any approach from the south end would requite a lot of pushing.

We were all ready for ice-creams again by now but riding back through Buckland-in-the-Moor and Ashburton we missed all the ice-cream vans and could not find an open shop. Meanwhile three eager riders rode right up to Pudsham Down, only to have to come back down again, and minor repairs had to be effected to stop Glenn’s chainrings falling off!

As we ascended from Ashburton to Combe Cross, still ice-cream-less and nearly waterless in the heat, we all felt pretty shattered. But we called in at the Rising Sun where two sunbathing young ladies allowed us to replenish our water bottles – with water I hasten to add! This kept us going through to Park Hill where we got the long-awaited ices at the garage. The ride home was then a formality.

It had been a smashing ride - sorry you missed it Colin. I expect it will be raining when you make it to Hamel Down!

(Phil Burrows)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Wednesday 22 June 1983
1930
Evening ride: Liverton
2 present: Phil Burrows, Dave Eyre
It only remains for me to say a few words about the Wednesday evening runs which have been very well supported during the month. For as long as I can remember, Dave Eyre has been suggesting Bovey Tracey as a destination every Wednesday evening, so on 22 June we tried to satisfy his craving. However, we took the pretty route through Park Hill, East Ogwell, Highweek and Seale Hayne and only made it as far as Exeter Cross before having to head for home.

At least it was agreed we had been somewhere different for a change.

(Phil Burrows)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Sunday 26 June 1983Day ride: BCTC Heat
0 present:
The BCTC was cancelled due to lack of interest.

(Phil Burrows)

Wednesday 29 June 1983
1930
Evening ride: Berry Pomeroy
4 present: Phil Burrows, Dave Eyre, Dominic Sanders, Matthew Tewson
On 29 June we once again attempted to find some little-used roads by going down to Berry Pomeroy and Littlehempston, then riding north through Broadhempston and Denbury to Wolborough. Most of the Old Hands agreed we didn’t go anywhere new, but some of us newcomers rode on as many as nine lengths of road we had never been on before – not bad, considering we were never more than five miles from Marldon.

It turned out to be a slow run since over half the group obliged when Matthew wanted to compare bottom gears at Littlehempston and then continued in first gear for the remainder of the ride. Dominic even rode an extra four miles from Kingskerswell to Shiphay and back just to prove that the Babbacombe team had cheated on the way home. But he couldn’t prove he did those miles in first gear!

(Phil Burrows)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Sunday 3 July 1983
1415
Afternoon ride: Bovey Tracey
2 present: Martin Chesterfield, Dave Eyre
I arrived at Five Lanes for the July afternoon run to find only Martin Chesterfield and Glenn Powling in attendance. Glenn decided not to ride after all, so Martin and I rode off towards Chudleigh via Kingsteignton. We stopped at Bradley Lake to see if the fish were biting and then moved on to Bovey where ice-creams were consumed.

John Babbage was in the café and he rode with us as far as the A38, from where we rode home through Newton and Stoneycombe.

(Dave Eyre)

Wednesday 6 July 1983
1930
Evening ride: Dartington
2 present: Dave Eyre, Michael Jones
The first three Wednesday evening rides in July were unusual because Michael came, and brought his map! (He had three consecutive midweek breaks from his temporary residential job near Gloucester).

The first took us along the Dart from Totnes and then around Dartington grounds.

(Dave Eyre)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

If you have enjoyed reading these reports or if you can contribute corrections, comments or additional information, please send us a comment using the form on our Contact page

Page