Riders giving the thumbs up
These riders give The Dartmoor Ghost the thumbs up!

Ghost riding with CTC Devon

On a spectacular June evening, a group of cyclists had a strange encounter with a ghostly figure, who appeared out of the shadows and into the moonlight...

Olive Cromwell's ghostWas it real or just a figment of their fevered imaginations, brought on by the spooky surroundings of the misty moor, the well-known setting for Conan Doyle's 'The Hounds of the Baskervilles'? It turned out to be none other than Oliver Cromwell (photo below), come back in bodily form, just to see them off from Bovey Tracey. This set the tone for the  Dartmoor Ghost, a 145km night ride across Dartmoor visiting some of the area's best spook-spotting sites. 

The moon was rising as they set off across Dartmoor, leaving shimmerring reflections on the distant  coast. Riders passed by the famous Jay's Grave near Houndtor, and then crept past Okehampton Castle, which was bathed in the moonlight at the dead of night.

By the time most riders arrived at Yelverton control for hot chowder and coffee, it was getting light, and they were then fortified ready for the climb back over Dartmoor. The dawn ride to Princetown, home of the forbidding Dartmoor Prison, was rewarded by sheep dodging and sweeping descents into Moretonhampstead,

The final climb went over Docombe to the finishing leg in the Teign Valley and back to Bovey Tracey, where the decidedly real Presland family were busy serving a hearty breakfast to all those who made it safely back to base, a little unnerved by their other-worldly expedition but otherwise thrilled by the exciting experience of being a-wheel while those of a more nervous disposition slumbered soundly in their beds... 

Will you be brave enough to join them next year?


Julie Rand