Saturday, 3 December 2011

Dark Side Ride - Crazywell Pool

A Dark Side Ride

On Dartmoor, north-west of Burrator Reservoir lies a small body of water known as Crazywell Pool. Almost exactly the length of a rugby field, is isn't exactly awe-inspiring at first glance.


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But don't let appearances fool you! The mere mention of Crazywell Pool is enough to make many shudder, and check that the doors are bolted, the windows closed and the curtains drawn...

It is said that Crazywell Pool possesses qualities that cannot be explained by mere science, logic, and reason. It is said - or rather quietly whispered - that any person who looks into the murky waters of Crazywell Pool at the strike of midnight, on midsummer's eve, will see reflected the eerie face of the next parishioner to die...

The next Dark Side Ride will take place on midsummers' eve, which to say on the 23rd of June 2012, with a  reserve date of the 28th of June 2012. And no, before you ask, I have no idea why there are two dates to celebrate midsummer's eve, but it does come in handy having a built-in reserve date!

In case you're new to this, a Dark Side Ride is a ride at or around midnight. In this case, we'll aim to get to Crazywell Pool a little before midnight. We'll meet at the parking just after Norsworthy Bridge (by Burrator Reservoir) which is shown in the map below. Hint: zoom out to see where it is in the greater scheme of things.


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From there we will cycle along a very old dirt track, which incidentally can be followed all the way to Princetown, should you ever feel so inclined. From the tar road it is uphill virtually all the way to Crazywell Pool, and the track is rough in places, with parts covered in sizable loose stones. As a result, I suggest you bring a mountain bike, unless you're happy to walk your bike most of the way. The route isn't suitable for especially younger kids.

Also, please, please do NOT bring your dog, however well behaved and well trained it may be. Cycling rough terrain in the dark will be tricky enough for some, without still having to be on the lookout for dogs.

Now for the elfin safety bit: I'm planning on doing this trip alone. If you choose, out of your own free will, to cycle the same route at the same time, you will be doing so entirely at your own risk. You will agree that in such circumstances you and you alone will be responsible for any injury you may be unfortunate enough to receive. Having said that, if many turn up for the event, do give each other sufficient space.

We will meet from 22h30 onwards, and will set off at 23h00. In the dark, I expect it will take 30 to 45 minutes to cycle the 1.3 miles to Crazywell Pool, going at a slow pace, so we should be comfortably be in time to be there for midnight.

Once at Crazywell Pool, it will be the ideal time to have a picnic and perhaps tell ghost stories, so do bring something to nibble along, as well as a flask of something hot to drink, and maybe a picnic blanket (or similar) to sit on.

Of course you will need lights for your bike, and by lights i don't mean those little LED blinky lights you get for £2-50. You will need lights that you can see by when cycling in the dark. As I've said before, if you don't have decent bike lights and you won't be cycling in total dark very often, simply fasten a half-decent torch to your handlebars. Just make sure you bring spare batteries! If you have a tail light on your bike, please keep it switched off, so you don't dazzle the riders behind you.

The ride will NOT be a race. If you are planning on racing, please organise a different date to do so? This will be a mellow group ride, going at the pace of the slowest rider(s).

If you are interested in buying a decent light for your bike, don't spend hundreds of Pounds! First order something like the torches shown here on Ebay. Just make sure you order one that includes a charger!

And there you have it: full detail of the next Dark Side Ride, with over 6 months advance warning, so you can have no excuse for missing out. Unless you're scared of the powers of Crazywell Pool.....  Mwahahahahaaa!