It was a pretty ambitious route for the time of the year. Our destination was Tor Cross (not Star Cross - silly me!) and elevenses were transposed by general consent to Wrangaton. In view of the distance involved, when we arrived at Wrangaton, I suggested that we make directly for Tor Cross, where Trevor said there was a farm shop. At that point Mike W was still with us, but he said he would wait for the others and tell them what we had decided, since he was not out for the day.
Graham R, Trevor B and Andy E with me in tow made for Tor Cross via Diptford, Morleigh and the popular 5-mile Slapton road left of the main Kingsbridge road. That bit was quite an easy ride and, full of beans, I was even able to keep ahead of Trevor B at some points. The road along the beach was blocked by camera men, who were making some sort of Land Rover advert, but we were able to make good time by overtaking queued vehicles.
Our goal was the Farm Shop just one mile out of Tor Cross. The fare there was excellent and, after quaffing my habitual cappuccino and downing a scone, I headed for Stokenham, leaving the others to enjoy their elevenses at leisure. I knew the route back was going to be steep and wanted to gain some ground. I didn't do too badly, but long before we reached Morleigh I spotted my competitors in my rear-view mirror. For a moment I understood how the rabbit on a greyhound track must feel.
For the rest of the ride I was some sort of maskot- allowed to head off in front, only to be caught up within minutes. I was grateful for my companions' refusal to leave me to my own devices but couldn't help the sly reflection that they were being kind to be cruel. I was knackered!
A merciful release from the relentless hills was the right turn we took at Coles Cross, which took us back on to the road we had headed out on in the morning. This was a far flatter alternative.
Glutton for punishment, however, I suggested that we adopt Trevor's route via North Huish - a prettier alternative to returning through Diptford and Avonwick. Trevor finally left us at the Rugy Club on the hill into Ivybridge.
The going from Tor Cross was tough - we had a cold, stiff breeze to contend with all the way, but thankfully no rain.
On arrival in Plymton, Andy E said that we had climbed a total of 1510 metres over the day. With 54 miles on the clock on arrival at the Co-op car park, I only needed another 10 miles to complete the equivalent of a 100 km Audax. Well, there's a couple of Audaxes coming up, they couldn't be any harder!