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This section of our website features a recent ride report from our members, updated monthly. Links to older reports can be found at the bottom of the page.

The "Fish & Chips and Treacle Tart" Run, lead by "Big" Jim Pinnock

Thursday morning saw Olly Cooke rock up at mine at 8am with his newly acquired Fiat Ducato van. My TTR was swiftly loaded alongside Olly's WR250F and off we set for the wilds of North Devon. Nice van - nice ride! An hour or so of M5 and North Devon link road saw us crossing the new Barnstaple bridge and arriving at Big Jim's (Devon TRF member) manor in Croyde. Hampsterracing (also a Devon TRF member) was already there and Big Jim soon had the teas and coffees sorted. Sadly Cap'n. Paul and Lynn (more Devon TRF members!) were unable to make it - something to do with that dreaded w-o-r-k word cry.gif

Soon dressed and ready to go. First lane of the day, 180-192, is only yards from Big Jim's front gate. It is a bit special for me as it was one of the first BOATs that Devon TRF fought for - and won. I remember locals trying to make out that we would turn it into a race track etc. etc. hmm Not far along the way, it was disappointing to see that our claimed BOAT C-206 had a stile blocking one end and a large mound of earth at the other. It was totally overgrown so what a dog in the manger waste of Council Tax payers money. We headed east along some nice lanes including the famous Black Venus and Jenny Wren's (these are TRF names that you won't find on any OS mapping) which were some of many "firsts" for me during the day.

Soon into 180-027 which is a nice long lane but the last time I rode it, it was still a nice old lane with lots of character. That has sadly been totally ruined by what looks like tons of hardcore having been put down and the lane cleared back to its full width to allow the large contractors vehicles to get to the site of what Big Jim tells me will be the UK's biggest on-land wind farm.

Lovely views as we ambled over to 180-36, another BOAT that Devon TRF helped win many years ago. I have to say that 180-052 was difficult with deep water at its western end that stopped Olly's WR dead in its tracks. WRs don't seem to like water do they? no It was well overgrown making staying upright and going forward in sloppy muddy ruts a tad tricky. evileye It needs one of Wacky's (Devon TRF member) famous clearing gangs to give it a bit of loving attention.

What followed was one of the day's highlights - the lovely rocky climbs 180-053, 054 (scary descent on what seemed like greased stone slabs), 060 (very tricky - couldn't stand up - bit like a long slipperier version of Washabrook!) and 061. How often do you find a sign with three Public Byways shown on it? Here is one with Big Jim on the left, Olly lurking in the rear and Hampster in his infamous blue romper suit on the right:

I think the next lane 180-062 is over a mile long and we don't get many nice lanes of that length in Devon so is very special. It is a lot trickier than I remember so you have to stay focused. More mostly rocky lanes followed before we took a breather after descending the very interesting 180-067. Olly found a football in the lane which seemed to be viable despite Big Jim and Hampster having ridden over it, so into his rucksack it went destined for the grandkids. Here he is sneaking a bit of ball control practice:

We were now in duelling banjo country, the land of Johnny Kingdom. The next lane of note is 180-028 - a long steep stony climb up through the woods which is both a test of stamina and concentration! Petrol at Barbrook - a fuelling stop on the MCC's Exeter Trial - and on to Lynmouth where we stopped for a recommended fish & chip lunch sitting atop the harbour slipway watching the world go by - and that was quite interesting I can tell you - Hampster was similarly minded but it would have been rude to take photographs of the local wildlife biggrinbiggrinbiggrin

The loop of lanes that followed were definitely my highlight of the day - all new to me - and what fantastic climbs! 180-002, the MCC trials lane 180-006 which was easy by comparison with the others in the loop, 180-007, 180-003 (now one of my all-time favourite Devon lanes - despite being challenged by a dibble at the bottom just after we crossed the ford "You know you shouldn't be here don't you"!), and 180-008 (2nd favourite!). I just don't know why we haven't got more Devon TRF members in this part of the world bearing in mind the fabulous lanes. The signing of these lanes was abysmal but that's because they are in the Exmoor NP so we just have to put up with it I guess - make a fuss and they will be TRO'd cry

The ford on 180-003. The water was so clear that it hid a deep section in the middle which caught us all by surprise I think:

Fun on 180-003:

Olly on 180-003:

More fun on 180-008 - this bit was steeper than it looks:

I can't rate these lanes too highly. Technical and challenging and in the most fabulous settings completely unspoiled by farm or other traffic use - or by walkers it would seem. Gotta go back!!!!!

Picture stop halfway down Countisbury Hill for Hampster who had spotted a lesser spotted paddle steamer out to sea!

We stopped at the café - sorry - tea room (definitely tea room prices!) in the Valley of the Rocks for a much-needed cuppa. What fantastic scenery. Sadly no wild goats. Big Jim said they had all been shot coz they preferred the locals petunias to the bracken they should have been eating no

We bimbled along the vertiginous coast road until we turned south to 180-011 - I can't find the right adverb to describe this great lane - "ancient" perhaps? A narrow road with stone hedges covered in what looks like centuries of moss - fabulous. Not the first time that day that I wished SWMBO was with me to see and enjoy the surroundings.

180-001 seems to have been TRO'd when I wasn't looking - can't find the Order online so don't take it off your maps and overlays yet!

Only Big Jim had ever been to the bottom so we just had to walk down to have a look at the historic remains. Wouldn't like to have built this particular wall:

A view of what remains of the pier:

A view across the Bay:

The next lane of note was 180-009. It seems too good to be true that this is a legal road but I have confirmation from DCC Land Charges that it is so enjoy it - put it on your "to ride" list immediately! Hampster by this time was really in holiday mode and it looked like we might spend the evening on the cliff top had not tea and tiffin been mentioned smile

Sadly my camera isn't doing the view justice:

Our adventure was by no means over as Big Jim found a nicely circuitous route back to Croyde via more lovely lanes. One that does stick out in my mind was a a lane (180-026?) that had a long wet deep muddy rut from hell. Rumour has it that Big Jim found himself cross rutted and did half the lane at 1 mile an hour at a 45 degree angle to the direction of the lane disbelief

I have never, until now, caught a rainbow on camera but I did along 180-093 - pity about the dung heap in the foreground though:

It was nearly 8pm by the time we got back to Big Jim's, so a nine and a half hour day with 110 miles under our belt. Not done the run record yet so don't know how many lanes ridden but, to be honest, the day was worth it for that very special handful that have gone into my good book wink

Treacle tart? Well yes. After treating us to a great day's trail riding, Big Jim topped it off with another cuppa AND a treacle tart cut into four - now that was a perfect end to the day biggrinbiggrinbiggrinbiggrinbiggrin

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