Hilly hilly Dartmoor

We spent the May Day bank holiday weekend hill climbing in Devon; 6,000ft in 60 miles (100km). This was Ties’ first introduction to relentlessly hilly terrain, and she of course aced it.

We had a predictably horrible seven-hour drive from London to Plymouth on the Friday. We recovered with my mum’s amazing lamb tagine and a night drinking in my dad’s ‘pub’; an awesome marine-themed man cave he’s created in a shed.


On Saturday we drove to Cadover Bridge on Dartmoor to skip the boring suburbs. We descended down into Sheepstor and then started the long slog up from Burratorreservoir to Princetown, via Dousland. Princetown is the highest village on Dartmoor and the climb up there is hard on the sveltest of bikes. So imagine what it was like fully loaded! What helped was the Dartmoor Demon sportive on that day; all the competitors heading down the hills gave us encouragement and kudos. Thanks to everyone who took part, you helped us more than you can know!

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From Princetown we headed towards Dartsmeet where we intended to head to Postbridge via Bellever. Our route mapping failed us though and our ‘road’ wasn’t very tarmacky. So we reluctantly turned around and headed back. My parents met us at Princetown with an amazing spread of sausage frittata, homemade cakes and hot coffee. We had intended to do a loop back to CadoverBridge via Tavistock. Ties had had enough however and wanted to head straight back. We had an ugly row and headed back to the car in silence. Training as a couple can be very hard sometimes but we both know that’s why we argue at times and we always resolve things.

After Saturday’s tense ride, and a skinful on Saturday night, we had a late start on Sunday. We left my parents house in Hooe and headed directly to Modbury through a very wet South Hams. I wanted to show Ties one of my favourite pubs in Noss Mayo on the way back so we headed back via the back roads. We headed down a steep road and after a few miles of nothing came across a surprisingly big village called Holbeton. There was a grueling hill coming out of Holbeton but the road to NossMayo was pretty flat and Ties fell in love with a field full of calves; one of which tried to eat her glove!


We had an awesome ploughman’s at the Ship Inn and then I remembered what the hill was like coming out of the village. I remembered the number of times I’vedriven it and struggled sometimes even in a car. I hated that climb, but Ties powered up and after that accomplishment the rest of the ride was a breeze.