The meeting point was Plymco, that much was known, but the rest of the ride was off the cuff! There was a surprising turn-out. Sue was making a come-back with the group after her broken leg, just a short ride up to Endsleigh for coffee with Anna. Then there was Patrick; who's around for a couple of weeks visiting Iris, and hopes to join us again next Sunday. Also out were, Bryan R, George, Phil, Caroline, Yolande and Mike. It was decided we would ride on to Wrangaton after Sue and Anna turned off their coffee break at Endsleigh. Just after we were seated in the cafe it poured with rain. Several announced they were turning back, but (Yolande, George and Phil) pressed me for a decision as to where we should continue. And so Totnes was our preferred destination. We encountered a couple of hail showers, but no more rain! As we neared Dartington George was having a problem with his bike (tyres or brakes he wasn't sure), so we pulled into the bus shelter. He quickly established that the beading was parting company from the rest of his rear tyre and the steel reinforcement and tube were exposed. He had punctured on the Parkway on his way to the start, but didn't realise just how much damaged the large stone he hit had done. He quickly released some of the pressure and it was decided we would scrap Totnes and head back with him. He refused our offer not wanting to spoil our ride. We ate our lunch there, then headed over to the cafe in Dartington for a cuppa. George drank his tea quickly and headed off alone, saying he had his mobile on him if he should run into trouble, and gave me a brief description of his intended route home. We followed about ten minutes later but never caught him. We delayed in Harbourneford. Yolande wanted to explore the pottery in the cottage on the hill, I stayed outside to mind the bikes. I left Phil and Yolande at Marsh Mills, they were to continue along the Embankment, I turned off for home along the Parkway. It was only when I had already returned home, I discovered George had text me an half-hour earlier to say he was at MacDonalds, Marsh Mills if we were close by. I then later learnt via several texts that the 'After-ride Party' was at his! A fun day and a round trip of 45 miles.
Looking out the window, first thing in the morning, grey, wet and windy, I could of been forgiven for going back to bed but it was my ride and I had to get to the start. After a couple of calls, one from Graham J informing me that it was going to clear up after 10.00 am, so encouraged, I made my way to the Tamar Bridge.
I now expected Graham J and Julie but I was pleasantly surprised when Andy P arrived.
Again with encouragement, I stuck to my original route to Cotehele, taking us through the Tamar valley, which was brightened up with all the daffodils out (see pics). At Cotehele, we were able to warm our hands and feet and enjoy a pleasant stop at the restaurant / cafe, in the grounds of the House. Then afterwards, onwards and upwards, towards Kelly Bray and the next stop at the Engine house cafe, where we found ourselves a table, despite it being busy with people celebrating Mothers Sunday!
Kelly Bray was the next port of call, then dropping down to Newbridge, there we had to make a decision, whether to have a look at the Cadsonbury hill fort or continue on our way back and leave the fort for a better day, the second option was carried. There was a very steep climb straight away and Graham said his goodbyes because he was going to walk up the hill, so soon after we were surprised when Graham streaked by at a rate of knots and disappeared into the distance and never again seen that day!!?
Julie and myself rode on at a more leisurely pace, passing through Amytree, Saltash and over the Tamar Bridge and then soon after I said my goodbyes to Julie and wish her a enjoyable evening celebrating Mothers Day with her son.
35 miles covered approx'
I ask myself - why does it always happen to me?!! I arrived at the start to find Graham B, Anna, Bryan and Caroline already there. I knew from early texts that Yolande and Graham J were on their way to the start. However, the assembled didn't go a bundle on my route out of Plympton up Boringdon Hill. And so there was a mutiny right at the start of my ride this time! I planned a route to prevent boredom setting in, as we frequently head up the track to Yelverton. Today I was going out across Cadover Bridge and around to Yelverton. The mutineers left ahead of myself, Yolande and Graham B as we were waiting for Graham J but he never reached Plymco as he tagged on behind them going down the Ridgeway. We (Yolande and Graham B) set off 10 mins late, stopped for pictures at Cadover and still arrived at the Knightstone tea-rooms by 11.15 - good timing I think as they open at 11 and had dealt with the queue by then! There was quite a crowd, some not at the start had cycled there from their areas to meet for break, so eleven in total, and a new CTC joiner mentioned on the latest list we've had - Phil Motley, who cycled there with George. Always good to see new people out with the group.
When it was time to go, various people turned back home or went their own merry way. Bryan wanted to do Ward Bridge but via the short route so although he set off with us he soon turned off for Higher Dittisham to Ward Bridge. Following my lead through Walkhampton and beyond were Yolande, Phil and George, and the two Grahams.
The scenery out there is fantastic, with tors dotted around us in the distance, and we stopped to admire the llamas of Sampford Spiney. Yes, we had some steep climbs, the toughest from Ward Bridge from a standing start after our lunch, but we all managed one way or another! We met Bryan once on the way round and then again as we stopped to deliberate in Yelverton who was going which way home from there. Graham J was going to show a few of us a back route from there to Plymouth avoiding the busy A road. In the end it was just me as George and Phil turned onto the main road again near Clearbrook. Not sure which route the others decided on in the end - possibly back down the Plymbridge track!
I was indoors by 3.35 having covered 35.9 miles today. My weekend total, having reccied the route yesterday to assess conditions on the roads across the moors, is 75 miles!
Graham J's photos of the day - the llama's adorable!
My photos below.