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Post Info TOPIC: North Devon run 01/04/24


Clubman A

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North Devon run 01/04/24


Well, what a cracking day that was. I know I always say that about being out on the bikes but today was something a little different as in our destination and the route most definitely did not disappoint, hence making it a great day. Russ and I reckoned it was something like 10years ago we last did this route with our Welsh friends and being led by our friend Paul Brown. That day back then came to an early end when Brownie lost his Garmin SatNav in a very deep puddle and we couldnt find it (expensive day out for him) so we had to cut the day short as we didnt know where the route went from that point on. During our route today we recognised where that trip ended all those years ago and found that the remainder of the route was pretty much the best part of the day with some absolutely cracking and challenging lanes.

So the story begins early for me with a 06:30 alarm clock and a 7am departure from home then a short commute to Ivybridge to meet Damian and Russ to load the bikes into Damians van. After fuelling up the van and ourselves with coffee we set off for our destination of South Molton, North Devon a little over 1hr away. A slight hiccup with the planned journey saw us taking a cross-country route rather than the M5 to Tiverton but we didnt loose much time. We parked up, paid the car parking fee, kitted up and set off a little after 9am. The weather was bright and sunny but we anticipated some scattered showers along our route.

Our planned route was an anticlockwise loop of nearly 100 miles (we totalled 114 miles due to a little detour at the end which Ill come to later) heading as far north as Ilfracombe then back south past Woolacombe and Braunton, skirting around the north of Barnstable then back in a south easterly direction to South Molton.

Heading NE out of South Molton our first lane was a lovely long lane (180-089) taking us to North Molton. We looped around the lanes at Heasley, 180-068 and 180-065 which had a little river splash before a slippery climb across a field to the farm. At Flitton Barton (180-080) there had been some tree work and the lane was completely blocked from 10meters in so we had to ride around. As we waited for the oncoming traffic to pass before we turned off the A399 into the woods on 180-076 the driver and female passenger of a Ford Mondeo seemed very excited to see us as they were waving at us in a crazy fashion. Maybe they thought we were someone they knew .or maybe there were just keen bikers. Who knows, but it made us all giggle in bemusement. At the first switch-back at the top of this lane we briefly stopped and Russ recounted that wed also stopped here all those years ago as we had to turn back due to a fallen tree that was impassable. I had the exact same recollection. Onwards passed Hunstone to Walscott then down a fabulous and gnarly lane to Newtown Bridge. I remembered this lane from back along as it was very distinctive - bedrock with large rocky crags and lots of flowing water which made the rocks really slippery. A great challenge of bike control. At the bottom and over the small bridge before turning up into the woods on 180-063, Barton Lane which also had a lot of exposed bedrock. Momentum was key here but both Russ and Damian got caught out resulting in a tricky and very steep hill start. Still, we all made it to the top. Onwards to Haxton Down Lane (180-046 and 045) then a lovely stoney climb through the woods on 180-028. As we approached Loxhore and 180-200 our luck ran out with the weather and we had our first rain shower of the day but it was short lived.

Our route then took us north to Ashelford and 180-022 which was a lovely lane dropping down to a small bridge over a river. As we ascended up the hill after the bridge we hit a gate to a field with Private written on it. Wed gone too far as the route took a right hand turn part way up the hill that wed missed but this was now a restricted byway so we had to ride around (its status probably having changed given the age of this route). Back on track we headed west along the A3123 into Ilfracombe and Langleigh Lane (180-009) which is the South West Coast Path overlooking the Bristol Channel with Lundy Island in the distance. That weather was bright and sunny and the views were spectacular. As we come down off the coast path we passed Lee Bay where there were lots of dog walkers and families playing in the rockpools. Eastercott Lane (180-017) started off very snotty and slippery and we all struggled for traction before finding the firmer ground. We passed a couple of young walkers in the lane who smiled and waved before we exited on the main road into Woolacombe. Heading east again we rode Trimstone lane (180-018) then crossed the A361 into 180-208 Dean Lane which was full of long and fairly deep puddles. Rob Rice (aka Muffy) may recount this lane as this is where - all those years ago he drowned his new KTM Germany Six Days bike. As one of the first fuel injection bikes and with no kick start which is commonplace these days he killed the battery trying to start the bike. I cant remember how we got out of that situation tbh but I dont think it ended well.

Heading south we then hit 180-026 which was a wide hard packed lane but with lots of puddles spanning the width of the lane. there were ride-arounds up on the high verge but having braved the first puddle with some trepidation they werent that deep so we continued to ride all the other puddles we came across. Fortunately there were no bike casualties. 180-030 at Upcott was the next lane which is part of the national cycle network but permissible for motor vehicles. A great lane this was too although at about the mid-section, as we were riding up hill I was in the middle section of the lane and ahead I saw a gloopy looking narrow rutt so I slowed-up slightly and as I hit it it grabbed my front wheel and pulled me almost to a dead stop. I nearly went over the handlebars but somehow managed to save myself but the sudden jolt jarred my wrists and gave me some pain in my chest and my throat. I took a minute then carried on but had to take another breather at the end of the lane. Something to be wary of!
We were at Braunton now and stopped for lunch at the local fuel station.

Heading NE out of Braunton we hit 180-040 which was a lovely rocky climb which led into 180-201 which was a wide open lane leading us to Boode. On 180-034 at Halsinger we entered the lane then as it tuned sharp left we were confronted with a very friendly young horse rider whod stopped as shed heard us coming. We moved out of the way to let her pass and she said thanks and added, I hope I havent ruined you ride? to which we replied, absolutely not then I added, I was going to say the same to you.

At Beara Down we took 180-027 which was a fast and wide lane taking past the wind turbines. We then turned south as the heavens opened which wasnt pleasant as we were up on high. Still, it was short lived and the sun was back out again before too long. 180-052 at Hartpiece was next and as we entered this lane it looked familiar. It was a lovely challenging lane with some short rocky climbs and some slippery deep mud. At the east exit I immediately recognised it as THIS was the place where Brownie had lost his SatNav. There were no uber deep puddles like there were all those years ago but as Russ arrived next he immediately recognised this location for the same reason. This was where that ride ended all those years ago but this was where it started to get interesting today, and tricky, with the infamous lanes around Snapper. First was a steep climb up 180-053 which I led into but which I screwed up on the first switchback turn, which then halted everyone elses progress. Not ideal as it was a steep and tricky hill start again. Stopping part way up Russ noted that there was a sign at the bottom and he glanced the letters MCC and given the extent of tracks in the lane we were of the thinking it may have been used in the recent Lands End Trial. Onwards and upwards, literally! we did a loop towards Stoke Rivers and the lovely long lane 180-062. We then descended the tricky 180-061 at Snapper this would be tough going up for sure! then 180-060 which was a fantastic little lane, really rocky and testing, that then exited onto the main road that then took us to the uphill steep and very slippery 180-054 which saw Damian off and pushing (and panting come the end). Heading south it was then Clements Lane (180-082) then further south to the infamous Cleave Lane (180-092) one which Ive heard our TRF friend Ian Collins (aka Wacky) mention on numerous occasions - and oh my word it dont disappoint. It was a running river through a bedrock gulley that was a fair challenge as ridden west to east it was uphill. A short breather at the end then we pressed on to 180-101 at Woolstone then 180-084 the gentle lane at Hangmans Hill (180-083). Another easy lane at Kerscott Hill (180-085) before a lovely little lane that was muddy and rocky cutting down through the woods into Swimbridge (180-194). 180-196 was another muddy lane heading steeply down through the wood taking us under the A361 which was still open for our use and seemingly lots of 4x4s despite the construction work to replace the tunnel under the A road. Heading back up the other side of the valley on 180-073 this was a tricky little lane with lots of concrete steps to divert water but these caused a few mishaps kicking out front and rear wheels. Still, no causalities just fun and giggles for Russ who was following up the rear. 180-072 took us to Taddiport then we continued east to West Buckland and the short but sweet 180-074 which was the penultimate lane of the day . before our detour for our final hurrah, Twitchen (180-081) which was only an 8 minute detour further east so definitely worth a look, and it didnt disappoint. Another uphill water-washed and rocky lane that was a great challenge. No real mishaps aside Russ having a wee issue with large wet and greasy log that resulted in a little lay-down, well, it was the end of a long day and we were all tired.
We hit the main A road back to the van, loaded up and headed for home, this time via the main Tiverton and M5 route. The weather at Trago really was bad to the point of coming to a near standstill and I didnt much fancy riding home from Ivybridge in that tbh but it cleared up by the time we hit South Brent. We pulled up at Russs and I unloaded and hopped on my bike with a plan for a quick jetwash before riding home. All went to plan until I was riding home on the A38 just past Endsleigh then the bike cut out. It seemed like fuel starvation so I switched to reserve but it continued to die. At a standstill on the no-hard shoulder with traffic whizzing past I grabbed my toolkit and attempted to bleed the carb but having undone the grub screw no fuel appeared out of the overflow pipe, Hmmm, not good!! I called Damian to my rescue and met him at the underpass by Lee Mill which thankfully was only a short push off the A38. Whilst I waited I took the nut off the bottom of the carb expecting to maybe find some debris but it was clear. I turned the fuel tap ON but still no fuel flowed through the carb. Damian arrived shortly thereafter and we took the bike home thanks mate, much appreciated. So, aside needing to clean the bike I now have some fault finding to do before out next outing in a coupe of weeks.

Despite a poor end to the day for me - it didnt detract from a fabulous days riding. Cheers fellas for the company and giggles and heres to the next one.



-- Edited by Kwaka Geoff on Monday 1st of April 2024 11:34:29 PM

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Can't get enough of the muddy stuff


Clubman A

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Another great report you have reminded me of the great lanes I am missing. I will have to get up to North Devon again when I get back. 



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Devon's Best

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Best rideout in a long time

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Devonian Through and through



Clubman A

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That's some Run report Geoff, you must have a good memory to remember all those lane descriptions and conditions.



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Clubman A

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NeilM wrote:

That's some Run report Geoff, you must have a good memory to remember all those lane descriptions and conditions.


Well, yes and no, being totally honest. I do have a good memory and can recall the lanes (descriptions amd conditions) but it is with help looking back over the track log and sometimes the odd search on google street view to re-visit the entrance/ exit of a lane to jog my memory wink I'm good, but I'm not Rain Man (although Russ may argue differently biggrin)



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Can't get enough of the muddy stuff


Expert

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Looks like you could have gone back down some of those in a canoe, looks like a great day out.  I remember some of them from a ride I joined several years ago, I think Chris was on it too.

Great report Geoff

Keep em coming



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Devon's Best

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How do we get an invite onto these rides...!


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KTM Sunday = ATM Monday 

DTRF kd101146eb



Devon's Best

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KronreifTrunkenpolzMattighofen wrote:

How do we get an invite onto these rides...!


 Just ask!! biggrin



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