Then set off to join the cycle path along the canal towards the lifting bridge on Countess Weir road,here we discovered 3 missing riders, on checking mobile, Graham John had got a call from Andy Easton & Mike who where still frapping about in the car park.By now the heavens had opened with hail & rain, so we took shelter in the rowing clubs hanger while we waited for the others to catch up.
With now a full crew of 10 riders and the rain stopped, we set off around the back streets of Countess Weir heading for Topsham. We threaded our way through Topsham taking in the Quay area and joined the cycle path down to Exmouth enjoying the scenery along the river passing through, Exton, Lympstone, also passed the assault course of Royal Marines where Ted & myself did our Basic training, with me returning there after a spell of active service in Singapore,Malaya & Borneo as an instructor in commando training.With a mixture or sun & rain we arrived in Exmouth to cycle along the sea front to a cafe next to the RNLI building for our coffee stop. John proceeded to have a bowl of chips a he had missed breakfast and Andy Easton tucked into a cream tea.
Duly refreshed we set off back along the sea front to catch the ferry for Starcross, and it was there waiting for us so we all clambered on board and as it started to rain again we got under cover down below.We set sail and with the rain shower passed we climbed on deck to enjoy the sail across the estuary with the sun shinning.On nearing Starcross pier the skipper warned us to sit down as it was a bit shallow and we might suddenly stop if we hit bottom, which we did slightly and once hard.I had visions of us stuck on the bottom 20 yards off the pier and having to wait for the tide to rise,but we managed to arrive safely. We now had to man handle our bikes up the pier steps and across the foot bridge over the main railway line at Starcross station. All assembled again on the road we set off on the short hop to the British Legion and our venue with the waiting cream tea.
We where among the first to arrive and on the way met Larry who had cycled from Dean Prior to make up 11 Plymouth CTC members the biggest group turn out. Graham Brodie was there to welcome us surprised at our numbers as was only expecting 3-4.We grabbed some tables and waited for others to arrive, and looking at the plates of cakes waiting to be gobbled up.With the hall filling up the signal was given to grab our cream teas, and the Plymouth CTC where at the front of the queue.Graham Brodie thanked everyone for coming and gave a little speech then we gathered for a group photo of sorts, not as organised as Teds group photos.After our fill of tea and cakes everyone started to drift away,our group gathered together, minus Larry who had managed to get a lift half way back with Roger (I don`t like hills ) from the Torbay group.
We set off, on now the other side of the estuary passed Powerdam castle grounds which was full of Deer and joined the cycle path towards Turf Lock. The sun was now shining to make a lovely day,From Turf Lock we joined a tarmac road alongside the canal which was full of speed bumps to stop boy racers speeding along there and protect cyclists.These had a gap in the middle for easy passage for cyclists, but John had a mind blank and hit one of the bumps which threw him off for a nasty fall. Having recovered although shaken by the fall we all then cycled back to the car park.
A good day out was had by all with lots of comments about this being my flattest ride with no hills, and a good turn out for Plymouth CTC.
Update on John's accident:
"Things are not good I suffered very severe bruising and a swelling the size of a fist, however a wheateaze has helped with the discomfort and I have now a 10” x 6” bruise stomach and hip, It is a good job I am so fat this helped absorb the impact to my hip. Yet another visit to the Chinese doctor is called for."
Sue, Bryan and me met up with Caroline for coffee after being caught in a tremendous hail-storm. There was quite a bit of surface water in the little lanes as well. I just got home before it started pouring again. (Report by Anna Bryant)