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.

Rodings Rally, Epping Forest, Saturday 18th

Words and pics contributed by Rachael.

Only four of us from the IOG were keen to do the Rodings Rally night-time orienteering event in Epping Forest this year. Perhaps the reports of the cold, wind and rain from last year’s Storm Angus had put other people off. However, this year it was forecast to be dry and clear, perfect conditions for visibility in the dark.

It was the 61st time this event has been held by the Epping Forest Outdoor Group and the fourth time I have taken part. The full route covers approximately 12 miles and there are 10 checkpoint tents to find within an eight hours time slot. We entered with a team consisting of me, Torben, Pete and Glen with the team name, “We don’t know what to go for!”

One evening before the event we had a training session around Orwell Country Park orienteering course to test out our skills and equipment. This orienteering course is pretty old with posts overgrown with brambles and the map I downloaded was very out of date. It is also very compact but proved to be a convenient place brush up on the skills required; taking bearings, pacing, navigation through undergrowth and team work. This test of equipment was definitely worthwhile as we discovered Torben’s compass was out and Glen’s torch was definitely not ideal. However our new LED shoe laces worked brilliantly!

We set off from Ipswich around 6pm and headed to the Harry Green restaurant at High Beach, which is situated very close to the start point in the middle of Epping Forest. After a very filling meal we were feeling slightly sleepy in the nice warm pub. The cold air soon woke us up though as we headed out to get ready for our start at 9.50. We soon spotted Robin with his team who had a start time of 9.52; this was the first of many encounters over the next few hours.
One of the hardest things for me with this type of thing is to know how many layers I should wear. With freezing cold temperatures especially in the early hours of the morning, it can get very cold when walking around searching, but too many layers when running between points can mean too much overheating and steaming up of glasses.

Having signed in and collected our coordinates it was back to the car for the first few minutes to plot the maps and solve the clues. For each checkpoint you are given three sets of coordinates and a cryptic clue. For example our first clue was “Holy Jet” and the (b) set of coordinates plotted a point next to church plain, so that was where we headed first.

We soon started to warm up as we ran along the road, passing Robin and his team on our way. Our first location was straightforward to find. We took a bearing from the track junctions which led us down to reach a dry stream ditch which we followed to reach the tent after 100m. Our first “Pudsey!” This was our code word for when we found the checkpoint. We decided it wasn’t best to shout out “Found it!” when other teams might overhear. The name came about as I had been Morris dancing dressed up as Pudsey bear all morning for Children in Need.
This find was a real boost to our confidence and we eagerly headed north to rejoin the track and onto number two. Unfortunately somewhere between checkpoint 1 and the track Glen managed to lose his map. We backtracked and had a brief search for it but we decided there were more important things to search for as we had three other maps. As we passed Robin on our way out we asked him to pick up the map if he found it. Although it takes more time to plot the coordinates on multiple maps at the start, it saves time later when people can individually take bearings on their own maps and reduces chance or errors if we can all confirm the same.

Most of the main tracks through the forest are well surfaced so other than for a few muddy patches and steep inclines we were running on these then walking when we headed off into the trees where we had to closely follow the bearings and pace it carefully. We had completed check point three in just over two hours which was a huge improvement on last year. This boosted my confidence that we actually had a chance of being able to complete the course this year which was my main aim.

Check point five proved to be a little more challenging than the others. The trees/shrubs surrounding the checkpoint were densely packed and so keeping to our bearing proved tricky. We wandered around for a bit but ended up reaching the ditch beyond where it should have been so knew we had overshot and had deviated too far south. We decided to retake it from a different reference point further along the stream and after a couple of minutes it was another “Pudsey!”

We almost had a major disaster when Pete suddenly got cramp whilst jumping across a muddy patch on the path. Fortunately he was able to walk slowly for a while and the pain eased off enough to be able to continue. We saw a familiar face again at the half way point tea stop but unfortunately he had not found Glen’s map. We were very glad of refreshments here and the opportunity to change our torch batteries.

Numbers, six, seven and eight were all found relatively quickly and we still had over an hour and a half to find number nine and get to the finish checkpoint. However we were not convinced by the answer to the clue for number nine. We had three possible options here to check out. We eliminated two relatively quickly but the third was in quite dense trees again and it was difficult to keep to our bearing when pacing it out. We tried from the south, then from the north but nothing was found. The grass was now crispy with frost and I was beginning to get cold and hungry. One more try from the south, and we wandered round and round at the destination. We were convinced this one was the right one but found nothing. With half an hour left we reluctantly had to give up and get to the final checkpoint so as not to be penalized for going over our eight hours.

This final run was the toughest part of event. My hands and feet were numb and painful and legs stiff with cold; they just about came back to life as we reached the final checkpoint. The hot cup of tea and cooked breakfast were just what I needed. I really enjoyed it and was pleased to have got our best ever score but disappointment not to have got all ten. We shall have to save that for next year!

Team photo at the end as the sun was starting to come up

 

 

Sarah’s Snape Walk – Saturday 18th November

Words, map and pics contributed by Sarah; one group pic contributed by Nick.

Fifteen people and two dogs joined me on this lovely bright autumn day, starting off from Snape Maltings. We began by following the Suffolk Coast Path, which at this point is quite a way inland in order to bypass and cross the River Alde. We walked along the river as far as Iken Cliffs before the path took as south and then into Tunstall Forest. Before leaving the Forest, we had a quick lunch stop then headed to The Froize at Chillesford for a welcome drink stop.

After restarting the walk, we then headed back towards the Forest and picked up the Sandlings Walk, which eventually took us back to our starting point. Some of us then went to the tea shop in order to reward ourselves for our lovely day’s walk. As most IOG walks centre on either a pub or a tea shop, I am quite pleased that I managed to tick both items off the list!

Thanks to everyone for coming along to make it such a lovely day and the weather gods for granting us with great autumn weather.

Glen’s Saxmundham Shuffle, Part 2 – Sunday 12th November

Words contributed by Glen; map by Christina; pics by M-L, Stela and Christina

Twenty one today! That was the human total for the second instalment of Glen’s Saxmundham area autumn strolls (supplemented by one canine).

Typical autumn conditions were duly encountered too, as morning blue skies and calmness were followed by keen breezes and a post-lunch soaking, culminating in a rainbow back at the starting point of Saxmundham’s main car park.

Our route took us past a fairly new residential development in the town [retirement bungalows still available – ed.] and headed into countryside following Gull Stream to the north. We skirted around Lonely Wood (no surprise it was called that with signage making very clear visitors inside it were unwelcome) before proceeding right through  the Carlton Meres holiday park site centred around two substantial fishing lakes.

Onward and downward through open country we continued to Rendham, passing through the heart of the village before reaching our scheduled lunch stop at Sweffling’s rural and homely White Horse pub, which also happened to be David Truzzi-Franconi’s local, which he had visited the previous evening! Here most of us took advantage of the hot pies we had pre-ordered, the four varieties of which seemed to generate favourable feedback from everyone who had them. Probably substantially less positive opinions may have been evident from the pub’s regulars after we left as it could well be that the IOG becomes locally known as the lot that ate all the pies!

The walk back eastwards tested just how waterproof our clothing was, with some of us discovering some uncomfortable truths. Good exercise, food and company would have proved more than adequate compensation. [And they did, indeed! I’m not a fan of walking in the rain, but the company was so diverting who cared! – ed.]

Phil’s Circular Walk North-East of Ipswich – Sunday 5th November

Words, map and pics contributed by Phil

Sixteen people and a delightful dog named Taschi joined me on this walk through and between some of the villages lying close to the increasingly developed north-eastern fringe of Ipswich. As the map shows, the route would in fact be more accurately described as a lollipop rather than a true circuit, but this hardly matters because we nevertheless succeeded in ending where we had started.

Always mindful when leading a walk of the need to ensure adequate parking for a somewhat unpredictable number of cars I had called in a favour and arranged for us to have sole use of the car park adjacent to the Martlesham Heath Aviation Society Control Tower Museum. This opens every Sunday during the summer but very conveniently had closed for the winter season the previous weekend.

It was a glorious autumn day. Although the air was a little cool the sun shone brightly and for most of the walk it felt quite warm, especially when moving.

We began by walking along what was once the perimeter track of RAF Martlesham Heath and into Portal Woods, where we passed the site of the old airfield fuel tanks before emerging into Portal Avenue. We then joined the A1214 and having crossed over it, proceeded to walk roughly northwards along a permissive path lying between the A12 and the eastern side of the Martlesham Park & Ride site. This segment of the walk was of course far from tranquil, but we soon emerged into the relative peacefulness of fields lying to the south of Martlesham Road. The path crossed and then followed a babbling brook, and we began the ascent to the road which runs along the southern flank of Beacon Hill. A short walk along the road then brought us to the next footpath which led to the level crossing in Little Bealings, from which we followed The Street through the centre of the village in order to reach the village hall and the play area behind it. We then followed footpaths across fields and meadows to the junction of Boot Street and Hall Farm Road, observing the timeless beauty of St. Mary’s Church, Great Bealings, through the trees in their autumn colours as we did so.

A short walk along Hall Farm Road and over the road bridge led us to a footpath which ascended Laveroch Hill to join Hasketon Road. As we walked along the road a panoramic view appeared to the left, with the roof of Mill House in Burgh glistening in the sun.

At some point Hasketon Road became Bealings Lane, and this brought us to a crossroads on the very busy B1079. We crossed the road and entered Mill Lane, from which we soon turned off onto a westward footpath which, after a short coffee break, brought us into Grundisburgh and our lunch stop at The Dog.

The centre of Grundisburgh, with the ford and St. Mary’s Church overlooking the green, is quintessentially English and very beautiful. Indeed I remarked that it looks rather like a location for an episode of ‘Midsomer Murders’. Surprisingly, a little research following the walk has revealed that Grundisburgh has already been used in a detective novel, specifically one published in 1999 by Susanna Gregory entitled ‘A Wicked Deed’. That said the scene portrayed may well have been rather different to what we see today because the novel’s chief protagonist is a character named Matthew Bartholomew, who is an investigator of murders in 14th-century Cambridge!

After our well-earned lunch break at The Dog we walked through one of the housing estates on the edge of the village in order to reach a series of footpaths that led us past the village Recreation Ground to Ipswich Road, whence we proceeded westwards along a lane before turning south along a path near Elm Tree Farm. This took us through beautiful countryside back to Ipswich Road from which we accessed another footpath that led us to Holly Lane in Boot Street.

A short walk along Holly Lane brought us to a footpath that returned us past Park Farm to Boot Street itself, from where we retraced our steps to the starting point of the walk, enjoying the dappled light cast by the bright late afternoon sun as we passed through Portal Woods.

Christina’s Bourne Park Walk – 29th October

Pics contributed by Stela; text by ed.

On a sunny Sunday at the end of October, Christina planned a delightful and varied local walk of approximately eight miles, some parts of which people are familiar with as a result of other recent walks – and very pleased to revisit. Christina has also done parts of it on some of her summer evening walks.

People met up at the free car park at the entrance to Bourne Park (not the easiest place to find as one of the walkers can attest) at 10.15 for a 10.30 start. After five miles or so walkers stopped at the Suffolk Food Hall for drinks and a bit of shopping therapy – and respite from the rather icy blast along the river bank. Despite the sun, it did feel a bit like the first real walk of autumn.

Another good day out – thanks Christina.

 

Glen’s Saxmundham Shuffle – Part 1 – 15th October

Words contributed by Glen, map and pics by Christina

Sylvan Suffolk scenery shimmering sublimely on a stunning sun-splashed Sunday was enjoyed by eighteen two-legged participants and one four-legged companion on 15th October. (For alliteration purposes, shame it wasn’t September and seventeen participants but never mind!)

The centre of Saxmundham with no Sunday parking charges was a good place to begin a stroll which proceeded in a south-westerly direction out of town before crossing the A12 and negotiating a right of way across a large field. How thoughtful of the farmer to ensure his ploughing between the recce and the day of the walk removed any discernible trace of the footpath, but fortunately the very dry conditions underfoot eased the process for us.

Upon passing the church in Benhall parish, David and Julian ventured briefly inside and apparently had free cakes thrust upon them by some grateful ladies within, probably pleased to see signs of life from outside their hamlet. (Note to self – if getting hungry on a walk and low on food, take a peek inside a convenient rural church, the odd scone or cupcake potentially on offer would represent a very acceptable divine intervention.)

The amazing warmth of the mid-October sun without a cloud in the sky meant that some were glad to seek shade when we stopped for packed lunch before a drink stop at the Crown Inn at Great Glemham where it was surely highly unusual for the pub garden to be seeing so much use at this time of year.

Great Glemham was the most westerly point on the walk and so, on departure, we headed briefly north then eastwards back towards Saxmundham via a different route, crossing over the River Alde and disturbing increasing numbers of pheasants and partridges further along the way. The coolness of weaving through Dodd’s Wood was a quite welcome shady interlude.

Rarely will an autumn walk enjoy such beautiful weather. Eighteen people and a dog appeared to head home afterwards in uplifted moods. They spared a thought, however, for unfortunate Cleola and any other people potentially aiming to join us who had commendably chosen the train public transport option to get to Saxmundham, only to be prevented from doing so by the train striking a car at Woodbridge. Hope that she and any others made good use of the great outdoors elsewhere instead.

Sarah’s Gipping Valley Walk – Saturday 7th October

Words and map contributed by Sarah; pics contributed by Marie-Louise.

Nineteen people plus two dogs joined me for this walk starting at Needham Market station. We followed the footpath out of Needham Market known as the ‘Coffin Trail’ up to Barking Church, then crossed the road outside Barking and progressed through Priestley Wood. After skirting around Tarston Hall Farm, we followed the track down to Darmsden Church, where we stopped for a quick snack break.

 

Once setting off again, we passed through Baylham and Upper Street before arriving in Great Blakenham for our lunch stop at the church, and for those that wanted it, a quick drink at the pub across the road. After lunch, we returned to Needham Market via the Gipping Valley River Path, passing by Baylham Mill and the Rare Breeds Farm. Reaching Needham Lake, we passed under the railway line through the very low cattle tunnel before arriving back at our start point. After some people bid their goodbyes, a few of us retired to The Rampant Horse pub for a well earned post-walk drink.

‘green and pleasant’ Suffolk

The path by the Gipping

By the time enrobing was complete the rain had stopped. Naturally.

 

Boudica at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, Saturday 30 September

Words and pics contributed by Torben Wood

Members of the IOG tribe descended on Londinium with the amassed hoards to see a thrilling performance of Boudica at the atmospheric and partly open air Globe Theatre.

Despite rail engineering works and problems on the roads, the nine-strong contingent assembled in time for the 2pm matinee performance and would have their reward, with the majority choosing to stand in the open air yard, fingertips from the action (for just £5!).

The performance follows Boudica’s life after the death of her husband, Prasutagus, King of the Iceni tribe of East Anglia. Having been abused and thrown out of her kingdom by the Roman occupiers, Boudica and her two daughters become fearsome warriors who build alliances with other kingdoms and lead an army to rout Roman strongholds at Camulodunum (Colchester), Londinium (London) and Verulamium (St Albans). Those alliances eventually crumble and result in defeat at Watling Road (now the A5) where Boudica, trapped alone in a forest, eats the berries of deadly nightshade to avoid capture.

A great story was enhanced by an excellent script and powerful performances that were punctuated by humour, dramatic fight scenes, blood, gore, an occasional song (including a rousing rendition of the Clash’s London calling) and some ad-lib involving the hoards in the yard.

The trip was rounded off with a scurry through Borough Market to another historic site, The National Trust-owned pub, The George. Dating back to 1676, the pub offered us much needed sustenance in a relaxing upstairs dining room and the opportunity to discuss the performance and what it was telling us about attitudes to immigration and integration!

Many thanks to Glenn Tobin for organising an excellent trip.

 

Thurston to Bury Walk – Saturday 16th September

Map of the route – zoomable at https://osmaps.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/route/1535024/Thurston-to-Bury-St-Edmunds-160917

Words and pics by Lou

My pre-walk had checked out a slightly different route through the Rougham Hall estate, encountering horses, cows, long wet grass, waist-high nettles, and a (docile) bull. My fellow IOGers were spared these trials in favour of a short stretch of road with fast cars and no footpath. Having survived this, we entered Rougham Park along a curving driveway lined with splendid trees. A bridge allowed us to safely cross the A14, following which some participants were slightly concerned when I strode off in the opposite direction to our destination. This was of course intentional, to bring us to an avenue of lime trees leading to Rougham Church. The rain held off, and we even had a few glimpses of blue sky as we wended our way across the fields and through the woods towards Rushbrooke. Here we lunched in the church porch.

Some discussion ensued as to whether the dampness in the air constituted rain, but it had all but stopped before we had reached a conclusion. Our route took us through the whitewashed buildings of the village and north-westwards on a direct trajectory to Bury. Just as we were gaining in confidence that we would beat the rain, it started pouring down. We consoled ourselves with the thought that we only had half an hour’s walk to the pub, in contrast to the coast-to-coast walkers who had been enduring far worse. A few minutes later the rain stopped and we had just about dried out by the time we approached the centre of Bury through the Abbey grounds. One of our number decided to head straight to the station in an ambitious attempt to be back in Ipswich for the football match, but the remaining eight all enjoyed the hospitality at the Masons Arms.