Category Archives: Past Doings

Here you will find stories and descriptions of many past events put on by the IOG: from concerts and trampolining to trips across Britain and further afield, with a solid foundation of reports of walks undertaken – usually with route maps and pictures.

Glen’s Alresford Adventure – Sunday 12th August

Story contributed by Glen, pics by Francis.

Cheerfully undeterred by a capricious weather forecast (and duly rewarded with only very short-lived rainspot outbreaks), fourteen of us ventured over the southern Suffolk boundary into north-east Essex for an easy-paced meander starting from Alresford Station.

Our journey wended through Cockaynes Wood Nature Reserve where a blackboard of recent observations advised us that we had the missed the spectacle of 27 glowworms during July. Soon afterwards we began our gradual descent to the east bank of the River Colne just south of Wivenhoe, and then hugged the riverside for a while, viewing distant Mersey Island and nearby Fingrinhoe during a drinkstop at a particularly scenic spot.

Following Alresford Creek inland and skirting a slope of young grapevines, we passed by the tranquil beauty spot presented by the former mill and paused for our lunchbreak on a hillside nearby before making our way through some tight spots on the public footpath leading through Thorrington Scout Camp. After a disciplined single file movement along a short stretch of the B1027, we crossed three fields of horses then the Clacton/Walton railway line for a second time to lead us into the extensive Anglia Salads nurseries area before arriving back at our start point.

All attendees toddled off to the Pointer pub in Alresford for a drink afterwards. Though the beer unfortunately could not be recommended, the general group bonhomie made it a worthwhile stop. Good to meet potential new members Sam and Emma.

Evening Stroll in Needham Market – Friday 20th July

Pics and map contributed by Christina; text by Julie C.

A very pleasant time was had by all on Christina’s recent evening stroll around Needham Market which saw us walk through a variety of landscapes from woodland, to river, to fields.

What was most striking was just how bone dry everything was – a wonder that any crops were growing! As we walked up the side of a field through the hedgerow a beautiful muntjac deer bounced across our way, which we stopped to admire for several minutes.

Walking alongside the River Gipping with its fantastic waterlilies, made a refreshing respite from the yellow fields. Just as the sun was going down we retired to the outdoor seating area of the Red Lion in Needham, which was a lively, buzzy pub for a cool swift drink: a fun way to end to a wonderful evening.

The statistics are always of interest.

Start time: 18:46
End time: 21:18
Moving time: 2:05
Stopped time: 0:27
Distance: 9.1km (5.7 miles)
Average moving speed: 4.4 km/h (2.7 mph)


Sarah’s Southwold and Walberswick Walk – Saturday 28th July

Text contributed by Sarah and Angela; pics and map by Sarah

An eight-mile circular walk taking in Southwold seafront, Walberswick Church and Westwood Marshes.

After the excessive heat over the previous few days, the weather was forecast to break for the weekend to become ‘less warm’ and, as it was raining when we left Ipswich, I was concerned it had broken a little too much! However, as 11 people gathered outside Southwold Pier in order to start this walk, it appeared the rain had thankfully cleared itself away.

We headed south along the promenade towards the River Blyth, following it inland past the Sailing Club and Harbour to cross the bridge over the River Blyth. We crossed Walberswick Common, past the remains of Horsey Pump and headed towards Dunwich River. The route then took us over heathland before a well-earned lunchtime stop in the welcome shade of the ruins forming part of Walberswick Church, a lovely little church which is still in use.  As we ate our sandwiches we realised we were not alone – the church was being prepared for a wedding that afternoon and we benefited from a potted history from the curate (perhaps a little eager to move us on before 2pm!).

He explained why part was in ruins, observing that work to complete stabilisation was completed around 18 months ago. The church was originally built as a much bigger edifice, but the costs to maintain it became too much. Therefore, materials were sold off, as required, to raise funds, and the remainder used in order to build the much smaller church there today.

After lunch we set off again, heading back towards the bridge over the river. We followed Buss Creek towards Reydon Marshes, and skirted around Southwold with occasional views of the lighthouse in the distance before dropping down into the town and finishing back at the pier amongst the crowds of holidaymakers. Ice creams were the order of the day, plus the chance to walk along the pier to see the “Water Clock”  and a Punch and Judy show (updated to include the unmistakable figure of Donald Trump!).

Thanks to everyone who came – and thanks to Sarah for organising a lovely walk on a glorious summer’s day.

Suffolk Line Walk – Monday 16th July

Pics contributed by Francis, map by Rachael.

This gruelling challenge was a one-day, 50-mile walk, organised by Rachael and Steve S-M,  that followed the Suffolk train line from Felixstowe to Darsham via Ipswich, Westerfield, Woodbridge, Melton, Campsea Ashe and Samundham.

Those brave enough to undertake the full route started from the Felixstowe seafront by Fludyers Hotel at 2.15. In the morning. In the dark. Almost the day before in fact.

There hasn’t been a full report but apparently people joined the core team en route at various points and everyone finished in good spirits. If the pics are anything to go on.

Much applause.


Thorpeness boating, picnic and games on the beach – Saturday 14th July

Pics contributed by Pete and Torben

Thorpeness Meare, dug out over a century ago, is over sixty acres in size but is nowhere deeper than about three feet – so it made an ideal destination for another family-friendly event organised by Torben. The pics tell a story of a great day out for the young and young at heart. What a summer we are having!


Sarah’s Bentley Walk – Friday 6th July

Pics and map contributed by Sarah.

This was an evening walk – a great addition to the programme at this time of year. Walkers met outside the ‘Case is Altered’ pub in Bentley for a five-mile circular stroll, mainly along footpaths, with some lovely woodland in places – a pint at the end was almost obligatory 🙂



Stowmarket Beer Festival Walk – Saturday 7th July

Pics contributed by Pete E., report by Ruth E.

Last Saturday members of the IOG headed out in the sunshine for a seven-mile walk. The group included newbies and ‘once-a-year’ walkers lured by the promise of a beer festival at the end.

There was an anxious journey for some who hadn’t believed Pete’s assertion the England game would be shown on a big screen. As it turned out this was the best place to watch the match as a lot of people stayed away and so there was plentiful supplies of beer and cider with two screens showing the game!

We had a wonderful walk in the Suffolk countryside, through the picture postcard villages of Wetherden, Haughley and Dagworth: lovely vistas, quiet roads and open fields – last year’s nettle issue wasn’t a problem this time thankfully.

The two very cute dogs in the gang were extremely well behaved and definitely the superstars of the group, attracting a lot of attention on the way round and at the beer festival. Vicky was convinced having a dog was somehow a great ‘babe magnet’ for whoever was in charge of them 🙂

Highlights of the afternoon included an impromptu origami lesson, hearing the crowd reaction to the England goals and a splendid beer shirt that drew many appreciative comments.

It was an excellent walk with great company and I’m looking forward to catching up with the IOG gang in Scotland!


Punting on the Cam – Saturday 7th July

Pics contributed by Stela.

David M. organised his annual punting trip on the River Cam on a perfect Saturday afternoon (he organised the weather as well, of course).  Six people joined him in punting up to Granchester, eating packed lunches en route. The pics tell their own story of a lovely day on the water.


Strongman taster session at Hamiltons Gym – Sunday 8th July

Pics contributed by Peter and Simon, text by Simon.

Red-raw hands, dark-purple bruises and a strange rash on my forearms. Walking away from the gym where we had just tried ‘Strongman’ it was tempting to dwell on the discomfort and the injuries, but it was great fun.

Three of us visited Hamiltons Gym in Colchester on Sunday for a session in their ‘Strongman’ training area – rather ominously called the ‘Wrecking Yard’. Peter and Belinda had been before, but this was my first time and I was a bit nervous. You may have seen the ‘World’s Strongest Man’ on TV. It is often broadcast during the Christmas holidays and features enormous men lifting a variety of ridiculously heavy stuff in a series of brutal challenges. I am no stranger to lifting weights, but ‘Strongman’ was something new. No shiny machines with comfortable padded seats, this was all about picking up awkward, heavy stuff.

‘Strongman’ obviously requires strength, but there is a lot of technique too. Fortunately the guys at Hamiltons were there to give us some invaluable advice. They also shared tales of broken bones and torn muscles. I particularly liked the way one of them described the time he broke his hand -“It wasn’t badly broken”. These guys are tough.

The first thing you see when you walk into the ‘yard’ is a selection of tyres. There were some small ones, some larger and a very, very big one from a tractor. Flipping giant tyres is a regular event in ‘Strongman’ competitions. I have seen people do it hundreds of times on TV. In real-life that tractor tyre just sat there and looked impossibly heavy. We started off trying to flip one of the medium-sized tyres. This was still very heavy and awkward, but after a few attempts we got the hang of it. I kept glancing at the giant tractor tyre and thinking “could I….?”

Against the back-wall of the yard there was a steel loading shelf with a selection of ‘Atlas Stones’ and some battered metal beer kegs. ‘Atlas Stones’ are round. They vary in size and weight, from ‘heavy’ to ‘heavier’ all the way up to ‘you must be ******* joking’. They are hard to grip. The best approach was to lift the stone onto your lap while you are squatting underneath it. Then grasp it to your chest while you stand up, taking most of the weight on your legs. When the stone is level with the loading shelf push it forwards with your chest. We all managed to lift the ‘heavy’ stone.

The steel kegs were there for loading practice. ‘Strongman’ competitors often have to pick up heavy stuff and run with it to a loading platform like the back of a truck. There are usually four or more items to load. In the real world we would move the truck closer to the heavy stuff, but that would make for a less challenging competition. We had a go lifting the kegs onto the platform. Some were filled with water and sand which made them a bit awkward to handle. Again the weight went up from ‘heavy’ to ‘heavier’ all the way up to ‘you must be ******* joking’. Can you see a pattern developing here?

There was a thick wooden plank in the corner of the yard. It had some handles set into it. I asked if that was for the overhead lift, in the world of ‘Strongman’ called the ‘Log Lift’. Well it turns out that normal wooden logs are not heavy enough. So we soon found ourselves trying to pick up some welded steel ‘logs’. Again we needed some helpful advice as the width of the ‘logs’ made this unlike anything else I had ever lifted. Peter and Belinda had warned me about a particularly unpleasant challenge – the ‘Farmer’s Walk’. This involves picking up an iron girder in each hand, walking about 20m, dropping the girders then turning around and picking them up again and walking back to the start. If that is too easy, the girders have poles welded to them so you can add even more weight. The faster you can do it the better. In actual ‘Strongman’ events competitors race against each other. I wanted to go fast because I wasn’t sure how long my grip would last.

This felt different to the other events we tried. They were more ‘explosive’ and required bursts of intense effort. The ‘Farmer’s Walk’ was a long drawn-out, painful slog. In reality it might have only lasted 90 seconds, but that feels like much longer when you can feel the weight pulling your arms from your shoulders and you are finding it hard to breathe. That said, this was my favourite of all the events we tried.

We all managed to push ourselves and do better than we expected and I finally managed to flip that giant tractor tyre. At time of writing nothing appears to be irreparably damaged, but one of my bruises seems to be turning green.


The Labyrinth Challenge Tour 2018

Words and pics contributed by Peter.

This past weekend, four hardy IOGers – Sarah Sheppard, Karen Stacey, Mel Davy and myself – teamed up with a couple of my running buddies, Esther & Danielle, plus my friend Asma’s kids, Aaliyah and Harry, to take on The Labyrinth Challenge at Trinity Park.

Only around for a weekend, the event is billed as “the world’s longest, continuous, inflatable obstacle course”. We signed up to the first available slot on Sunday, and congregated outside the fencing, trying to sneak a peek at the epic number of inflatables we could see. I had collected most of our group from around Ipswich, and was surprised by the last minute arrival of Mel who somehow managed to sweet talk his way into a ticket on the gate, as he hadn’t had time to pre-book.

We were finally let in, and after leaving all our valuables in plastic trays for collection later, we descended en masse to the start line. The announcements were hard to hear over the speakers when we weren’t at the front, but as they sent everyone on to the first obstacle in waves, it wasn’t much of an issue. We practised our stretching and champion poses, whilst we awaited our turn to get to the front. I spent most of it nervously scanning the crowd for the late arrival of Alliyah and Harry, who appeared with spectacular timing at the eleventh hour.

We were immediately confronted by a high blue climb – perhaps over 15 feet – of large inflatable wall, needing to be conquered before we could waterslide down the other side. I stayed at the back taking pics, and diligently agreed to meet up with the kids on the other side. Of course, like true professionals, they immediately ditched me and were not seen again until I came out at the end. 🙂
Instead, I scrambled around taking hilariously inappropriate photos of Karen and Sarah as we all slipped and fumbled, putting various parts of our bodies on display in poses that we’d probably rather not have. Those that were considered acceptable for publishing, are included here for illustration. There were inflatables to climb over, dive under, duck round and slide down. By the time we reached the end – another climb to a wet slide, we were exhausted and delighted to discover that we were now allowed to repeat the challenge as many times as we wanted within our allotted hour. Exhausted hurrahs!

Most of us managed to go around again at least three to five times, before our slot ran out and the ice cream van beckoned. There was plenty of other stuff going on, aimed at families – a mini version of The Labyrinth Challenge for under-10s, and plenty of inflatable sports: basketball, penalty shooting, laser quest and even sumo wrestling.

We posed for a final triumphant photo. After confirming that Aaliyah was up for joining me for the summer’s next inflatable challenge: Aqua Park Suffolk [], we went our separate ways, with a number of us heading down to Ipswich’s Music in the Park event, but that’s another tale …