DaExeterRide20070916

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CTC Exeter Sunday Rides Coffee Pots Bike Bus Devon News

Dartmoor Off Road

Report by John Rowland.

An unusual day for the highway folk, in that it was an off road route over Dartmoor. Eight of us met at Dartmeet on a sunny if cool morning with the prospect of a hard days bumping along ahead. Two of the team were visitors, namely Jim Ephraums from the Met Centre and Uwe a friend of Roy. The remaining brave souls were the Cockrams, Kirby, Pippa and Roy. Pippa unfortunately arrived with a fuel leak and, once stopped, evidence of a puncture in a rear wheel.

Before we started it was explained that the technically most challenging part of the ride came in the first two hours with many difficult tree roots, stepping stones across the East Dart and a long rocky stretch after Sherril.

But those eventually negotiated safely we gratefully progressed cross country through Soussons Woods to circle Challacombe hill and then mount the Grimspound feature to cross over to Natsworthy. By this time we were well warmed up and used to pushing hard along rutted tracks or deep grass. The weather had meanwhile gradually closed in with complete if high cloud cover and wind rising. Passing Jay’s Grave coffee at Hound Tor came as a welcome break.

By now the wind was a positive feature and the low cloud was bringing light spots of rain. The team took an open field route (complete with bull!) back to Jay's Grave then retraced its 'steps' past Natsworthy and Grimspound. This is lightly said but the hill feature is significant and whereas we had descended at speed the other way, this time the energy bill had to be paid.

Back over the head of Challacombe the weather began to clear although the wind was now in our faces. Joining the tarmac we struck out along the B3212 past the Warren Inn to Postbridge against the strong head wind, shooting down the last mile at the maximum speed of the day to take lunch by the Clapper Bridge. Here the sun came out and the wind dropped to change the whole atmosphere completely. One rider indulged in a local pasty while another optimistically bought a cycling map of the moor. We all enjoyed a well deserved break in warm sunshine.

The last lap, on this now calm and welcoming day, took us steadily up through the Bellever plantation then alongside the feature following another rocky and bumpy track until we turned east to cover a couple of miles across more open moor along what could only have been described as rough field track with peaty/boggy patches. Thank goodness the ground was dry. This took us near Huccaby Tor where Pippa seized the opportunity to telephone her rescue service, as there would be no reception at the car park. A short time later, after another bumpy if delightful descent, we joined the Dartmeet road. Twenty five miles averaging 5 mph - we took pleasure in a well earned cup of tea available at the car park.

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CTC Exeter Sunday Rides Coffee Pots Bike Bus Devon News