|Sunday 26 April 2015|
|Car-assisted day ride: The Grand Western Canal, Tiverton (24 mi)||Cloudy and chilly but dry, sunny spells later|
|3 present: Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, John Rogers|
A nesting swan in a private garden in Tiverton (11:44)
The start of the Grand Western Canal in Tiverton (11:29)
The Halberton Aqueduct, built to take the canal over the Tiverton branch line (12:02)
The canal in Tiverton (11:44)
Lunch just beyond Sampford Peverell (13:23)
The canal at Sampford Peverell (12:50)
Swans and cygnets (13:44)
A pair of swans and cygnets (13:44)
Lowdwells Lock (14:07)
The far end of the canal at Lowdwells Lock. It once continued to Taunton (14:06)
Waytown Limekilns (14:15)
The path back to the canal from the bridge over Waytown Tunnel (14:13)
The Tivertonian shire horse having a well-earned break before the journey back to Tiverton (15:21)
The Tivertonian tourist barge at East Manley Bridge, towed by a shire horse (15:17)
Several of our members inexplicably missed out on this memorable exploration of the Grand Western Canal, but their absence just made the task of packing bikes into the car much easier than it would have been.
The day started at the Tiverton end of the canal at 11.30, where a visitor centre and café welcomed us. Without the photographs showing the “navvies” digging the canal by hand with only shovels and barrows to help them it would have been hard to believe it could have been built in such a way.
The whole canal was alive with ducks, moorhens, swans and fish, giving us plenty to look at as we rode the first section to Sampford Peverell. Here we diverted from the canal to check out the local Spar, but the absence of hot food made us glad we had brought our own lunches. We rode a little further along the canal to a secluded seat which made a suitable venue for lunch, although a chill wind encouraged us to dress warmly.
We pressed on to the current end of the canal at Lowdwells Lock, although we could see that the canal once continued all the way to Taunton. We had covered nearly 12 miles from the start, flat all the way but still quite tiring because of the mild headwind. The return journey however was swift and easy, encouraging Dillan to race to every bridge – nobody else was racing, but he was definitely fast and seemed to enjoy awarding himself first place every time!
As we neared Tiverton we were rewarded with the sight of the horse-drawn Tivertonian tourist barge turning in the canal in preparation for its return journey. The magnificent Shire horse was temporarily released from his duties so he could enjoy a snack break in the bushes.
On reaching Tiverton again we couldn’t resist trying out the Canal Café: the scones and drinks were reasonably priced and the garden setting made a perfect end to a very special ride.
John and Dillan at the Canal Café, Tiverton (16:06)
|Friday 24 April 2015|
|Evening ride: Converted to Social||Increasingly wet and dismal|
|4 present: Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones, George Rogers, John Rogers|
This evening's forecast proved incorrect when the afternoon drizzle failed to turn to sunshine in time for our evening ride. Instead it turned to real rain for the duration of the evening, so our youngsters chose to divide the time between a trip to Tesco at Lee Mill and various computer games.