All posts by Marie-Louise Karttunen

Angela’s Osmotherly Long Weekend: 21st-25th November

Text contributed by Christina and Angela; pics various

Around 30 IOGers enjoyed this long weekend of walking in the Osmotherly area on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors – another trip admirably organised by Angela. We stayed in the YHA hostel which is situated about a mile from the village in a wooded area with an untamed brook filled with fast running water. The hostel sleeps 71 guests but Angela managed to rent it solely for our group.

On Friday, Glen led an eight-mile walk consisting of a large group of around 28. The weather was better than expected with some glimpses of blue sky and mostly dry. The route included a 1.25 double-run spur to take in the National Trust property of Mount Grace Priory, once inhabited by Carthusian monks. Apart from the spur, it’s an oval shaped walk following the Cleveland Way path north out of Osmotherley through South Wood and onto Scarth Wood Moor, which provided excellent views and thus ample opportunity for picture taking, before leaving that path and skirting the edge of Cod Beck Reservoir. It returned to Osmotherley via High Lane trackway, rejoining Cleveland Way and offering views of moorland.

Friday night’s entertainment involved a pub meal at the Three Tuns in Osmotherley.

On Saturday bad weather had been forecast and nobody fancied braving the elements and hiking. Most people went to York by train and enjoyed a guided tour, the railway museum, a walk around the walls, a visit to York Minster and a detour to York’s attractive Christmas Market. Others went further afield by car to Whitby.  A cold day cheered up by some mulled wine.

Steve decided to go for a solitary ride on his trusted mountain bike that day. He managed to do 15 miles or so before succumbing to the lure of a warm place and a cup of tea back at the hostel.

On Sunday there was a mix of walks with 17 of us joining Sarah on a scenic amble. We walked around 11 miles across fields with grazing sheep and across the high moors which offered breath-taking views even though there was a slight mist everywhere. The route headed south from Osmotherly towards Thimbleby, Over Silton and Nether Silton. We took the tracks through Nether Silton / Over Silton Moor to the steepest section of the day, where we climbed around 100m over a roughly 1km section. We then joined the Cleveland Way for a short section to return to Osmotherly.

Matthew Thomas led 17 mile walk for a few brave people. The rest opted for short walk around Cod Beck reservoir and nearby woodland.

Thanks to those who led walks, to Glen for his evening of stand-up entertainment and Paul Jordan for the quiz on the last night.

And many thanks to Angela for organising this fantastic trip and for choosing such a great venue!

Glen’s stand-up routine – truncated to spare the blushes of the targets of his sharpest wit.

Flat-capped Oswald explained at the outset that he had been suffering from a recent erectile dysfunction problem, and thought it best to try some stand-up while he still could!!

’Ow do All, I’m reet chuffed to meet the Ipswich masses
A fine body of men and good lookin’ lasses
I’m Osmotherley Oswald, local personality
Stubborn, plain-speaking, full of Yorkshire traditionality

Up here we’re known as quite dour but we do like a titter
Especially after six pints of Best Yorkshire Bitter
Known as God’s Own County, we proudly wear t’white rose
So much better than t’red of Lancashire, everyone knows

We’re the county that gave you t’original Full Monty
Quite a lot’s changed since days o’ sisters called Bronte
In Judi Dench and Diana Rigg, we’ve got famous mothers
We even brought you the Chuckle Brothers

Stars like Sean Bean and Geoffrey Boycott, no wonder we’re chipper
Just don’t breathe a word about t’ Yorkshire Ripper!
So pleased to see y’all here, the more the merrier
Well fed and watered like a happy Yorkshire Terrier….

….

So that’s it, folks
I know I’ve been a cheeky tyke
But now it’s time I’m on me bike
Some of me jokes they had their merits
But gotta go now – must feed me ferrets.


 

Sarah’s Great Finborough Walk – Saturday 9th November

Text and map contributed by Sarah, pics by Raj.

Sixteen people set out on the first six miles of this walk from Great Finborough on a crisp but sunny morning. We headed past the church with its magnificent spire, which we could see from several points during the day. After passing through the Golf course, we followed the Rattlesden river before heading towards Onehouse. We had a brief stop in Northfield Wood before heading towards Onehouse Church, with its round tower. After a brief photo stop here, we headed back towards Great Finborough for our lunch and pub stop. In the pub, we meet a large Great Dane called Trigger.

A few people left us during the lunch period, leaving eleven walkers for the afternoon’s four-mile loop. This loop took us south through farm land and fields. We spotted a couple of deer during this part of the walk as well as other wildlife. When we eventually returned to Great Finborough, a few of us retired to the pub for another quick drink before heading home.


 

Glen’s Commons Combination around Danbury – Sunday 3rd November

Story and pictures contributed by Christina.

Twelve of us met Glen at a car park in Danbury on a glorious autumn day. The sun was shining, two buzzards were circling nearby, and after the persistent and gusty winds and rain of the previous day it was a delight to explore this particular part of Essex near Chelmsford.

The route took us up and down the numerous inclines of Danbury Country Park with its three ornamental lakes where this photograph of colourful autumn trees and their reflections in the utterly tranquil water was taken.

We also encountered a surprisingly spacious and well preserved ice house dating from the 18th century with its ice chamber and dome made of red brick which is situated on the grounds of Danbury Palace.

The fact that Glen’s autumn amble followed paths across three commons would normally suggest many open land spaces. However, these were actually woodland areas abounding with ups-and-downs in what, by Essex standards, is a hilly area. Our group traversed parts of Danbury, Lingwood and Woodham Walter Commons. We then ventured briefly into Backwarden Nature reserve where in August and September lovely heathers attract walkers, and into the depths of Blake’s Wood with its ancient ferns the colours of which matched the autumn leaves.

Having walked around six miles or so, we stopped for lunch on a recreation ground and some of us went for a drink in the nearby Gardeners Arms Pub in Little Baddow.

This attractive walk of around 10 miles was skilfully planned by the IOG’s Mastermind of Multiple Meanders. It successfully aimed to please an audience of nature enthusiasts happy to drive a bit further, keen to explore the less known parts of East Anglia. Thank you Glen!

Mike E. was moved to add:

Glen’s walk was a delight on lovely autumnal day as we wandered through woods and common land around Danbury. It tested our fitness as the wooded areas all seemed to be on big hills which, combined with some slippery conditions underfoot, added to the ‘hardship’. Walking around the lakes was particularly refreshing as the trees were bathed in sunshine and putting on a splendid display of seasonal colour.

After the walk a few thirsty souls ended up in the Bell pub in Danbury. Here Simon recalled a dream he had had the previous night where Christina was apparently battling zombies and knocking them for six with her bare hands [that’s our Christina! – ed.].

It just goes to show what a multi-talented and varied group we are.

Thanks Glen for a great walk.

Glen’s Woodbridge Wheedle Walk – Sunday 27th October

Pictures contributed by Christina & M-L; story by M-L.

Glen’s Woodbridge Wheedle (the title referring to the last-minute nature of the walk, and Glen’s hope that it would be attended) was, in fact, very well-attended by people looking forward to soaking up some mid-autumn sun. We weren’t disappointed – it was a lovely day.

Walkers gathered at Melton car park and set off along the river for Woodbridge – with the tide at full height and the mudflats mostly covered, for a change. Past the tide mill and up into Elmshurst Park for a sunny lunch break and then we went into town, strolling along the Thoroughfare and up the hill – charming an Australian visitor with a taste of one of Suffolk’s prettier towns.

From there, Glen guided us through woodland and heath, back down towards the Deben, with some spectacular views along the way. The mushrooms were prolific, but, sadly, nothing that the mushroom foragers amongst us trusted; I wondered about those in the pic here – I remember Finnish friends picking something similar – but anything about which there is even the faintest shadow of doubt should be left strictly alone.

We finished the walk in customary style with refreshments at the Wilford Bridge pub and then some of us went on to visit Vicky and Justin’s new alpacas at their beautiful place in Martlesham. These were almost impossibly cute and ‘stuffed-toyish’, especial the baby of the little herd who politely put up with being petted, cuddled and bottle fed by the visitors. There will be another opportunity to meet these lovely animals after Christina’s planned Martlesham stroll in the beginning of January.

Thanks, Glen, for another well-planned and thoroughly enjoyable day out.


 

Raj’s Ramsholt Walk – Saturday 19th October

Story and pics contributed by Raj.

Route Map

A fairly leisurely start at 10.30AM with 15 IOG members attending and three guests Chris, Sharon and Kelli with her dog Bonnie. The weather forecast was very favourable for a change and after all the rain we’ve had over the past couple of weeks the sunshine was most welcome. We headed out of the car park and past the Ramsholt Arms towards the River Deben and then followed the path north to along the riverbank.

The view of the river with sailing boats moored up is a delight whatever the weather. We made a short stop at the 2.4 miles mark before heading inland away from the Deben over fields and down byways to Sutton. A carriage pulled by two horses went past near Sutton Hall before we reached The Plough which has recently reopened. The pub made a welcome comfort stop before we proceeded along the sandy path to Shottisham and the Sorrel Horse where we had lunch sitting outside in the sunshine .A carriage pulled by two horses went past near Sutton Hall before we reached The Plough which has recently reopened. The pub made a welcome comfort stop before we proceeded along the sandy path to Shottisham and the Sorrel Horse where we had lunch sitting outside in the sunshine.

With 6.6 miles completed we headed off back towards Ramsholt. It is worth remembering that some of the paths that are marked on OS maps may not actually be where they are supposed to be. They may have been ploughed over if they are not often used. We did encounter some lamas and pigs as a result of footpaths being diverted which made up for the extra distance we had to walk.

We arrived back at Ramsholt were a few of our group departed whilst the rest stopped for a well-earned drink.


 

Glens’s Chelsworth Charmer – Sunday 13th October

Story contributed by Glen; pics by Christina.

Gloomy skies and insistent rain forecasts failed to deter 22 hardy souls from turning out at Monks Eleigh for the start of a Brett Valley stroll, including two ladies making their IOG walk debuts – welcome to Sofia and Heather. It was pleasing that rain held off for a couple of hours.

Walking is renowned for improving one’s mental health but several people commented on the loopiness of the route as we got very familiar with hidden paths as we crisscrossed around Monks Eleigh and Chelsworth. By the time we reached Bildeston some participants had gone utterly nutty with enthusiastic gathering of fallen walnuts beneath our feet. It’s not just members who come out of their shells on our rambles!

Prior to this, in the gently undulating Chelsworth hinterland we safely negotiated our passage past a flock of sheep and bramble-arched path and through a horse grazing field surrounded by an electric fence. The buzz of conversation was undeterred.

We said goodbye to 7 people partaking in the 5.5 mile option before a near-perfectly timed lunch stop in the excellent covered-seating  facility within Chelsworth Woodland while the heaviest spell of rain fell. A few people walked (perhaps strutted would be a more apt alternative!) to the Peacock pub drink option instead but managed to bring back 3 extra human participants and two canines for the second instalment of the overall circa 11 miles full walk.

Fortunately the weather gods decided to smile upon the second part of the stroll and rain disappeared, though it did leave us with a mud legacy from a wander down the hill away from Bildeston’s curiously towered hilltop church.

A dignified tea shop stop at the end of the day at Bridge Farm Barns was notable for impressive cake slices. The member who proudly showed us a photo of her own stunning home-made, three-tiered Victoria Sponge was warmly encouraged on a future walk to substitute the image with the real thing!


 

Bob M.’s Deben Doddle – Saturday 5th October

Text contributed by Bob M.; pics by Francis.

This walk was around 15.5 miles starting from the Ferry Boat Inn car park, Felixstowe Ferry, at 9.30 for 9.45 departure. From the Ferry Boat Inn the route followed the river, winding inland at Kingsleet, through farmland at Falkenham and Kirton, and on to Newbourne for lunch. It returned via Hemley and Kirton Creek and along the Deben estuary to Felixstowe Ferry.

Eleven of us enjoyed surprisingly pleasant weather, good enough for some basking Debenside on the way back to the Ferry Boat Inn. Some members even staged a timed obstacle course race at our lunchtime break in Newbourne. No prizes for guessing the winner (obviously Rachel).

 

As a virgin leader I was just relieved that everyone returned without incident although I still cannot understand how we were 30 minutes behind schedule on the outward leg and nearly an hour ahead on the homeward stretch. Perhaps it was the thought of the beer waiting at the FBI.


 

Stour Valley Walk 4 of 6: Nayland/Bures – Sunday 22nd September

Pics and map contributed by Andy.

Andy advertised this favourite walk of his as just over 12 miles of easy walking, in and overlooking the Stour Valley. The planned pace was about 4 km per hour. Walkers met at 9:45 am for 10 am start just round the corner from the Nayland Anchor Inn.

From Nayland the route headed through North Essex along the top of the valley to Bures for lunch (and a beer at the 8 Bells over the road if desired), before heading back to Nayland through south Suffolk overlooking the valley, and stopping in at the Nayland Anchor at the end, overlooking the river.


 

Ian’s Gentle Cake and Coffee Cycle- Saturday 21st September

Text and pics contributed by Christina; map by Ian.

On Saturday 21st, 6 of us got our bikes, helmets and cycle gear out and joined Ian on a social ride. It took us through Bucklesham, Foxhall and Newbourne, where we stopped at a delightful café and had – as advertised by Ian – delicious scones, cakes and cups of coffee or tea. We were most comfortably seated on cushions in an open barn watching chickens picking crumbs nearby, as well as a buzzard which was circling over the neighbouring field. Ian said he was convinced it was a golden eagle; he then had another vision of this splendid predator, elusive in these parts of Britain, when we stopped at Freston Boot. Perhaps a trip to Specsavers?

We then proceeded to Kirton and Fakenham where a lush green and gently undulating landscape rather unexpectedly came into view, followed by the River Deben and Bawdsy Manor and the open sea in the far distance. En route our group spied a couple of peregrine falcons in close proximity. The birds sported chains and were sitting on wooden posts in somebody’s front garden, a most unusual sight.

From there we rode along the sea front to Languard Viewpoint where we stopped for lunch whilst waiting for the hourly habour ferry to take us across to Shotley Peninsular. I watched the small yellow and white ferry boat approaching our part of the beach, thinking to myself it was not really suited to take our group and 6 bikes as well as another group. However, I was mistaken; we all managed to get on board and were able to sit at the front and had a most enjoyable journey of about 30 minutes to Shotley Gate via Harwich.

Immediately past the Oyster Reach Pub we had Freston hill to tackle, which proved almost endless and a bit of a killer, but we all survived. We sat outside the Freston Boot Restaurant, pleased with what we had achieved and glad to be out and about in this glorious weather. We did over 40 miles in the end and at a “steady old pace” according to Bob Stoner who had cycled all the way from Felixstowe to join us at our starting point – Cliff Lane in Ipswich.

Thanks Ian for this well organised and enjoyable cycle ride.


 

Glen’s Dengie Discoverer Walk – Sunday 15th September

Text and pics contributed by Christina.

On Sunday 15th September, 9 of us made the 1 hour and 20 minutes trek to Burnham-on-Crouch to join Glen on a leg stretch of about 11 miles. It felt warm and the sun was shining, and it was so lovely to be by the water. That day we explored the Essex backwaters of the Dengie Peninsula. The walk started with a stroll through the centre of Burnham-on-Crouch to the riverside. A boat caught our attention because it had a fearsome shark at the front with two human limbs sticking out of its jaws (!) We then ambled alongside the Crouch Estuary opposite Wallasea Island and around a busy marina to Creeksea.

Glen then led us inland through farmland and open countryside towards Ostend and on to Southminster where we enjoyed a drink in the garden of the Queens Head pub. En route we spied a private railway at Mangapps Farm where a railway enthusiast farmer had built a short length of line over his land. A Glen walk to be remembered, it offered great views onto the river and creek, and I enjoyed the good company.