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.

Birthday Beer Camp – Shottisham 8th-10th June

Pics contributed by Lou, Paul, Karen & M-L; story by Lou.

It was another very successful Birthday Beer Camp at the Shottisham Campsite. The good weather helped, but mainly it was down to the 35 people in 25 tents who all got on so well together.

The free-range hens are getting more adventurous, this year they were stealing steaks off the barbecue and leaping onto laps to get at food. Andy suggested supersoakers if we go back next year.

We fed ourselves well on the Friday evening. Thanks to Marie-Louise for coordinating the barbecue accompaniments and everyone for bringing them – especially to Kate for the gooey chocolate brownie birthday cake.

This year’s homebrew was “Ginger Git”. It proved very popular, with some people even saying it was the best ginger beer they had ever tasted – I must make more of that!

[The evening was spiced by keygate – when a major hunt was instigated for some lost keys, later discovered hanging on a hook in one of the loos – and finished, as per tradition, with a paper plane competition around the fire pits – ed.]

On the Saturday, 3 walks headed off in various directions to Sutton Hoo, Rendlesham Forest, and the Ramsholt Arms (actually the Ramsholt Arms walk set off in the opposite direction, but that’s a different story).

We all returned safely to the campsite, and reconvened at the Sorrel Horse pub to watch the Morris Dancers and enjoy a pub meal.

I am canvassing opinions on whether to go back again or try somewhere different next year.

Lou’s Saturday Walk to the Ramsholt Arms

Story & map contributed by Lou.

I had promised to do a “short” walk of 7 miles for those people who didn’t fancy one of the longer walk options. As it was to be very similar to last year’s walk, I didn’t expect that many takers. Obviously, this being the IOG, the lure of a pub stop was just too much and 17 people joined me.

Last year we had to do battle with overgrown nettles and a missing footbridge over a muddy stream near the campsite – that was my excuse for a detour setting off in the opposite direction to the pub. This detour would have made the walk about 8 miles, but I thought that no-one would notice the extra mile.

The first problem encountered was a path that started off being well marked but then ended abruptly at a very overgrown woody area. A slight detour round a field veered off in the wrong direction, so we retraced our steps back to the previous path and an even longer detour.

We proceeded via some nice quiet lanes past Sutton Hall and then across fields to stop briefly at Sutton Knoll, the remains of some ancient coral cliffs. Onward to the Deben estuary and along the river path to our lunch stop at Ramsholt Beach. No fossils found this time, although I did pick up an as yet unidentified object that looks like a rusty gherkin.

Suitably fed, we set off at a good pace only to miss the turning onto the river path and hence another backtrack. The pace picked up as we approached the Ramsholt Arms – a deliberate ploy to spread out the beer orders. Some sat in the sun whilst others chose the shade.

Refreshed, we ambled up the road and then towards Ramsholt Church. We almost reached the Church before we realised there was a big hedge between us and it and a third short detour was needed. We paused on the way back to look at a WW2 bunker – I made an attempt to go inside to retrieve a geocache but was beaten by the brambles.

On returning to the campsite, I checked my GPS and it had recorded nearly 10 miles – about the same as the other walk option. Even so, everyone seemed to agree that it was a great walk. [And it was! Marvellous! Huge thanks for everything, Lou – ed.]

Christina’s East Ipswich Walk – Friday 8th June

Pictures contributed by Nazmin and Christina; story by Celia.

This circular, six-mile, evening walk led by Christina was enjoyable from start to finish. About 15-18 of us gathered together outside St. Augustine’s Church in Ipswich for this pleasant and easy walk which was taken at a steady pace. The weather was very pleasant with a mixture of sunshine and cloud but no rain.

We started off at 7 pm along a footpath leading from Bucklesham Road which went through Bixley Heath. There were lovely views with wide open spaces and, best of all, wild flowers of every type and colour, ranging from yellow irises and pink rhododendron to red poppies and swathes of blue and white flowers of many kinds (which I have yet to identify!). I started off taking photos but this task was swiftly and ably taken over by Naz who had a good camera. Later we came across a horse, which did hold up proceedings a bit, as we couldn’t resist calling it over to stroke its nose. We had to run a bit to catch up with the rest of the group but managed this fine.

One of the best parts of the walk was a very long boardwalk which seems to go on for about two+ miles. The landscape was lovely and mysterious, running along with a stream on either side and weirdly shaped trees. I was reminded of a time I had walking in a rainforest in Australia and could almost imagine myself there rather than in sleepy Suffolk. Admittedly there were no brightly coloured parakeets although one of the group said she has spotted some in this country – I think escaped from a London zoo!

The walk continued in an up and down fashion across wide open spaces, until eventually we arrived back at St. Augustine’s Church at about 9.15 pm to go to our cars and make our way to the Shannon pub for a very welcome drink. It was still light at this lovely time of the year and we enjoyed socialising, laughing and talking about planning for IOG future events, possibly dividing the IOG members into categories of walkers (Stroller/Walkers/ Marchers/Hard Core Striders?) with a traffic light system (not really!).

I feel very fortunate that Christina has been happy to lead two six-mile evening walks already this year, which certainly suit me as a Stroller/Walker rather than a Marcher/Strider, with my rather short legs! Thank you, Christina, for leading us on such an enjoyable walk.

Glen’s St Osyth Saunter – Sunday 3rd June

Story contributed by Glen, pics by Sarah.

We set off from a handily-situated parking area in St Osyth fronting the former Priory, the proximity of some useful public loos helpfully adding to the convenience factor! Down the gentle incline from the Priory we headed for a public footpath hugging St Osyth Creek which wound its way towards Brightlingsea Creek and the isolated settlement of Point Clear.

Here we enjoyed a very pleasant social snack stop by the waterside, sunbathing in the gentle breeze and savouring panoramic views towards Mersey Island, Brightlingsea, the Colne estuary and out to a glistening sea. What bliss… with a pub stop yet to come. Only the afterglow of a Leyton Orient promotion season (which sadly did not materialise) in the football year just finished could have further cheered the walk leader.

The absence of alternative footpaths meant that we were obliged to take a road route back to St Osyth Creek, but from here we witnessed water sports in action upon Mill Dam Lake, which looked indeed quite appealing as the temperature climbed. A keenly awaited drink at St Osyth’s Red Lion followed before we headed off for more good views of Brightlingsea Creek en route to Howlands Marsh Nature Reserve. Evidence of local aggregate-quarrying activity preceded glimpses of deer in the deer park behind the Priory as we returned to the Red Lion for a late Sunday lunch.

Now if the rest of the summer could enjoy similar weather…


Ipswich Dragon Boat Race – Saturday June 2nd

Pictures by Simon and Karen.

An IOG team took part in the Ipswich Dragon Boat race on Saturday 2nd June on the Ipswich waterfront. As well as having fun, they were also raising funds for ‘Fresh Start, New Beginnings’, a charity that supports children and young people who have been victims of sexual abuse. A good time was had by all – so much so that plans are afoot for entering two teams next year!

Christina’s Claydon Circular – Friday 18th May

Map and story contributed by Christina.

The evening of my walk on a May Friday promised to be warm and sunny and safe enough to leave our waterproofs behind. After work I met Glen and my workmate Amanda for a relaxing meal at the Crown in Claydon. Upon our arrival, the Crown, a large and cheerful venue with beer garden and extensive parking, was already busy with diners.

At 6.30pm it was time to move our car near the starting point on old Ipswich Rd. We were joined by 10 IOGers as well as Sian and her husband Martin who came along for the first time. I have led this delightful circular walk a few times in recent years. To me and several regulars who came along again it has not lost any of its attraction; trees and shrubs were in full bloom and it is almost entirely off road. We took a well-maintained path leading uphill past an old quarry, then alongside and across fields offering great views onto the lush green Suffolk countryside as well as St Mary’s, a historic Anglican Church situated in the sleepy hamlet of Akenham with only around 60 souls residing there.

At around 9pm we reached the Crown which marked the end of this walk. Everybody joined me for a drink inside and the evening proved cheerful indeed. I was looking around for a volunteer to take a group picture.  A gentleman who sat at the nearby table rose to the occasion. He made a big show of climbing on his chair and he got everyone to smile for the camera, but, alas, no pictures were taken that evening; our photographer must have pressed the wrong button!

If you wish to join me again, I am leading another evening amble on 8th June, this time starting from Bucklesham Rd in East Ipswich.


Ian’s Cavendish to Clare Walk – Sunday 13th May


Story contributed by Gill, pics by Simon.

Ian’s Walk had a certain attraction in its billing! To start and end at a pub always draws a following with certain elements in the IOG and despite the gloomy forecast we started with 11 souls willing to brave the threatening rain. Happily the day proved to be sunny and warm and gave us an opportunity to see the area at its best, with plenty of  stunning lilac and wisteria in full bloom. The ground may have been a little “claggy” underfoot but we made quick progress over farmland and riverbank  to the outskirts of Clare. We strolled into town via the priory and enjoyed lunch in the country park whilst watching the first arrivals at the finish to the 18-mile Bury (St Edmunds) to Clare Challenge taking place that morning in aid of St Nicholas Hospice.

We gained four latecomers at the lunch stop which swelled the numbers willing to take on the challenge of mounting the ascent to Clare Castle, giving us 360 degree views of the town and beyond. A leisurely amble looping back to the Five Bells for a beverage in the sun proved a fitting end to a lovely day. Thanks to Ian for a lovely ramble in great company.

P.S. I can confirm to those disbelievers in the group, that the winner of the Challenge was indeed Daisy Glover who came in ahead of the fastest male over the same distance and course. Well done Daisy – one to watch!


A Walk Wight Round – 5th-6th May

Words and pics contributed by Rachael.

Isle of Wight ultra two-day challenge: 106km (65.8 miles) around the island

It was on Miriam’s walk early in the year that the event idea was first proposed, and it seemed like a great idea at the time. When booking so far in advance these things don’t seem so difficult. But once we visited the health centre and got our tsetse fly injections we knew were truly committed.

My training started with swimming 100 lengths in the pool and Paul started his training by flying as far away as possible. But then we realised it was a walking challenge. I managed to gather a few willing victims to help me train, gradually increasing the distances; 20, 25, 30, 35 miles. However, at no point did we train together. If we had perhaps we may have realised it would have been better to cancel. 😁

So, thinking we were fully prepared, off we went on our adventure. Paul kindly offered to drive us down to Southampton to meet the ferry but almost managed to leave my boots in the car. I’m not sure if was a deliberate attempt to handicap me but fortunately I discovered them just in time.

Arriving at our campsite in Chale on the south of the island we realised just how big this event was. 1,500 people were registered to take part in various versions of the ultra challenge. There were people running, jogging and walking the full, half or quarter routes as either a continuous event or as we decided to do, a two-day one with a short sleep half way.

There were numerous start times at 20-minute intervals. A short group warm up and stretch preceded our release at 8am. The sun was shining and the views were amazing. The initial volume of people meant a few queues through the narrow sections but as the day progressed we became more dispersed.

The route followed the cliffs in a clockwise route towards the Needles. There was no shade along this section and the heat soon began to take a definite toll on us, zapping our energy and making our feet hot.

There were rest stops located approximately every eight miles, where we could pick up snacks and drinks. It wasn’t long before we discovered, however, that we seemed to be picking up sore spots and blisters too. Each time I stopped and changed socks the blisters had developed just a bit more under the plasters.

As we turned the corner to follow the north coast, the route passed through some slightly cooler woods. The challenge here became the mud. This weekend Pete was off doing his Tough Mudder obstacle course and we had one of our very own. We slid, squelched and splashed through the sloppy paths in the woods. We were extremely glad to have boots and walking poles here.

The half way stop at Cowes seemed to take a very long time to arrive. Why is the last mile always the longest? We finally arrived at 7.30 (52km in 11.5 hours). Earlier in the day we had briefly doubted whether we had made the right decision to take a pause here to sleep for a few hours. The majority of the competitors had opted for the full one-day challenge. We now knew we had definitely made the right decision. We ate, rehydrated, showered, collapsed into the tent and slept till 4am. 😴

We repacked our bags and hobbled down the road to collect our breakfast. At 6am we were off walking again along a mixture of roads, paths and promenades through the busy tourist destinations of Ryde, Sandown, Shanklin and Ventnor. The hot weather meant the beaches were packed with people relaxing on the sand, paddling in the cool water, drinking and eating ice creams. Why were we not doing that? Of course we tried to convince ourselves that they really did not look like they were enjoying themselves at all.😟

On we plodded, feet getting progressively more painful and the pace getting slower and slower. Counting down the km’s on the signs.

We finally got our first glimpse of the finish about a mile from the end which gave us a little spurt of energy for the last painful descent. We did however finish with a sprint across the finish line.

Despite this walk being my most challenging ever, the whole experience was made very enjoyable by the amazing countryside and views of the Isle of Wight and having some great company along the way. Thanks, Paul, for suggesting it.


Glen’s Dedham Tour and Langham Loop – Sunday 6th May

Dedham Detour: The first part of the walk was just short of 6.5 miles, passing Dedham Mill at the outset  then taking in farmland and pleasant undulating countryside to the south of Dedham. It went as far south-west as Parney Heath before returning to Dedham village for a packed lunch stop  in the recreation ground/park behind the church. Those people not taking part in the second walk instalment could then proceed the very short distance back along Mill Lane to the car park (see Meeting Point below).

Langham Loop: The second instalment for those people fancying a longer walk involving about 7.2 more miles then started from the recreation ground heading westwards, cross-country towards the village of Langham. Apart from two very short overlap sections of a few hundred yards, the return route from Langham was different to the outward one. Both bits included some under-visited attractive rural scenery.

A short drink stop at the Shepherd pub in Langham will set everyone up nicely for the last bit back to Dedham.

Swimathon Fundraiser – Saturday 29th April

Story and pics contributed by M-L

On Saturday, eleven IOGers gathered at Crown Pools mid-afternoon to swim a combined total of 15 kilometres. The purpose (apart from the fun of it, of course) was to raise money for Cancer Research UK, Marie Curie and The Swimathon Foundation.

Despite a slight lack of enthusiasm to start with (connected to the night before in some cases), once it got underway we had an entertaining few hours as people ploughed through their allotted distances with varying degrees of speed and grace. Top marks for style must go to our Chair’s first lap – I would have photographed it but the surf being churned up made me fear for my phone. Even the nice folk counting our laps recoiled from the fallout.

Naturally, in true IOG fashion, we ended the event with a drink or two and some pub grub in the Cricketers next door.

Most importantly, however, the IOG can be rather proud that between us and our sponsors we raised the rather impressive total of £1,663 – a fine amount for some very, very good causes. Congratulations are in order!


Sarah’s Bluebell walk – Saturday 29th April

Pictures, map and story contributed by Sarah.

Six  people and two dogs joined me on this rather damp day to see the bluebells. I enjoy leading my annual bluebell walk, partly because it means I only have to walk down the road from my house to start it! However the main reason is because I enjoy showing IOG’ers a part of Ipswich that lots do not know about. Only one person who joined the walk had been on one of my bluebell walks before, so this was new territory for most.

We headed out via footpaths through to Belstead and then across to Tattingstone, where we picked up the very top end of Alton Water. After a quick refuel and refreshment stop by Lemon Hill Bridge, we headed towards Jimmy’s Farm for our lunch stop. We appeared to have timed this fairly well, as this is when we saw the worst of the rain, while we were able to shelter for a while. We then headed off across the railway line and over the A14 to pass through Spring Wood, where there was a beautiful array of bluebells. Spring Wood is an ancient woodland, shown on maps dating back 1676. After admiring the bluebells, and taking the usual group photo, we headed back through Belstead Brook Park to our start point.