On a very damp Tuesday morning, 12 TBR members, plus one young grandson, congregated at the Park & Ride at Coypool in Plympton.
After choosing the most appropriate steed, we set off in steady rain to tackle the National Cycle Network route 29 towards Yelverton, which is located on the edge of Dartmoor. The route follows the line of the now defunct Plymouth to Tavistock railway line, which went the way of many other such branch lines with the reorganisation of the railways in the 1960’s. Part of the line has been restored by enthusiasts for a stretch of about 1 mile, and trains run at certain times throughout the year to enable folks to experience this scenic trip, short though it is.
Understandably there were not many other cyclists encountered on the way out, as the rain became much more persistent. It was a steady traffic free ascent until we reached the small village of Clearbrook. Here we had a half mile of uphill road to negotiate, before once more we got onto a traffic free path which took us, eventually, into Yelverton. Cold, wet and in desperate need of sustenance, as well as a warm up, we ventured into Viera’s, one of the local cafes in the village. Here various forms of nourishment were consumed, hot spicy soup and beans on toast being typical. In view of the adverse conditions, the decision was made not to venture the extra 4 plus miles to Tavistock, but to retrace our tyre tracks back to Coypool. However, en route back to Plympton the weather improved, the rain finally ceased, and we were able to enjoy the ever so slightly downhill track back to Cann Viaduct, where there is a viewing platform. This is manned by volunteers, and with the aid of their telescopic devices, we were able to see Peregrine Falcons, nesting on the rock face of the old quarry across the valley, busily feeding their 4 fluffy white chicks. This certainly proved to be the most unexpected highlight of the day, and we all resumed the journey back to the finish, suitably impressed by what we had seen.
After securing the bikes and removing damp clothing and footwear, it was time for those that wished to journey to Ivybridge, where in the Endsleigh Garden Centre, further refreshments were consumed.
Finally the trip back to Torbay was begun, but by this time in warm sunshine! Well done to those who braved the elements on this approximately 20 mile cycle. Thanks to Mandy for organising the event, and fingers crossed for more favourable conditions next time.