Having missed a few Sundays, I was wondering who would be at the start, especially as this was another dim and dismal Sunday start. As I pulled into the parking area at Torpoint ferry I spotted Graham Black through the drizzle. We were soon joined by Dave Newman who made a bee-line for the ferry and a punctual 9:30 am start. I was thinking of taking the tried and tested route to Seaton via Anthony and Crafthole but my musings were interrupted by a call on Graham's phone from Mike Willacy, who was late for the ferry. Dave turned back to meet Mike while Graham B and I cycled on. I decided to vary the route, heading for Sheviock where we turned left on Horsepool Lane , crossing the B road to Crafthole about a mile further on and taking a lane I had never cycled on before. Covered with mud and pockmarked with ruts and potholes, it required some technical skill to navigate along it safely. It also involved a couple of serious climbs and took us out about a mile further on than Crafthole on the main drag. Mike and Dave caught us up there, so we cycled on together to Seaton for elevenses. Mike left us at Seaton, having cementing work to do. Dave was taken with the idea of heading along the lane towards Castle Air and then turning right up the steep lane (two chevrons) past Bonyalva. Not wishing to spoil his fun, I agreed to meet him and Graham B at Trerulefoot. In Hessenford I continued up the main road and turned left at the top past Bake Manor. I guess I must have waited about 15 minutes for the other two to arrive, so they had made good time over a hard route. Over the course of the morning and early afternoon, the weather had begun to improve. When we left the Cornish Woollen Mill we were greeted with sunshine and a cold brisk wind. The route back to Saltash was via Cutmeer, Blunts and, at Dave's suggestion, a right turn in Blunts and then the next left on a lane which took us through Pillaton Mill. Thinking of the Tamar 100 route, Dave guided us over the new bridge past Waitrose. We said goodbye to Dave. Graham was off-route for Devonport when we got to the end of the Tamar Bridge, so he and I parted company there. It had been a good day, we agreed, despite the unpromising start.
It was Andy`s ride today & I texted him to say I would meet him at Hunting Lodge. They arrived from Plympton with Andy E, Dave Newman Graham Black, & Andy Prideaux so with myself that made 5 riders ,not a bad turnout considering the forecast.
Andy lead us off on the usual route up to Wrangaton , South Brent and on to Harbourneford, coming up the hill out of the village we where joined by about 15 riders from Mid Devon riding club. Now we had our first major shower of rain & hail coming down the hill into Dean Prior, we had our eye`s sandblasted by the hail. We all carried on to the railway station cafe and thankful to get in the warm, with the Mid Devon lot arriving before us it was a bit of a queue to get served.
Andy had planned to go on to Totnes on the old Totnes road and then the back lanes to Avonwick. But while we all sat having our coffee another torrential hail storm appeared, so after little debate we decided to head straight back the way we came. We were lucky and only had one small shower but were now battling the head wind. Time we got back to South Brent the sun was out and blue sky as we carried on to Ivybridge.
I said my goodbyes here and said I would see eveyone again the end of March as I was off to Singapore & Malaya on a trip I always promised myself I would do as I was posted there 1965-67. So happy cycling while I`m away and see you again soon.
Report by Graham Black
There were five riders at Plympton the start for the less than promising day but we pressed forward and tried to make the best of it! Cycling through Ivybridge picking up Trevor then taking a left at Wrangaton then on to Buckfast stopping at the South Devon Steam railway station cafe. There we were greeted by the encouraging sight of many other cyclist, David asked where they were from and was told they were a mid Devon Club. Whilst we were all enjoying a cuppa in the warmth looking outside we could see hail bouncing off the roofs of the railway carriages, so a decision was made to head straight back. Trevor peeled off at Ivybridge heading off to warmer climes and we continued on back to Plympton, a bit early than normal but happy to be back and in the knowledge that we were not far from the warmth of home!