All posts by Marie-Louise Karttunen

Glen’s West Suffolk Walk – Sunday 9th August

Text and pics contributed by Christina

Braving high summer heat, on Sunday six of us enjoyed a truly lovely walk in West Suffolk of around 10 miles, observing social distancing rules. Here, we discovered rolling panoramas, taking in part of the River Glem valley and passing through Hawkedon, Denston and Stansfield villages. Some impressive ponds and lakes too.

Once again, Glen’s choice of area and organisation did not disappoint – we went to a lovely pub for a drink in their pub garden which offered splendid views onto more rolling panoramas.

No need to go to Spain, we have the Mediterranean heat and wide open spaces to enjoy right at our door step !🏜😀


Preston St Mary Walk – Tuesday 4th August

Text and pics contributed by Raj

We had a very enjoyable walk on Tuesday organised by Sarah and Simon from Thorpe Morieux to Preston St Mary and back. The total distance covered was 9.06 miles / 14.58 km.

We were joined by Sally and Phil who made up our group of 6 walkers. It was great to see everyone after the long break.

On the way back after lunch we came across a small safari park of African animals statues. Look out for the crocodile 😎


A day out on High Street – end of July 2020

Text and pics contributed by Lou

Route Map:

Is it really a Roman Road?

We booked a week in the Lake District just before lockdown easing was announced. Of the several family walks we did, High Street was the highest. Despite it being a linear “there and back” walk, the route very conveniently passed just by where we were staying in Troutbeck and looked on the map to be very straightforward. It was even marked ROMAN ROAD on the OS map, so surely there would be no difficult steep inclines?

We decided to do this walk on the day when the weather was due to change from wet to sunny. We would put up with some rain in the morning in the hope that the clouds would clear in the afternoon to reveal stunning views from the top.

It started very gently, with 3 miles of ambling along a very good track in the valley. Although there was low cloud hanging over the hills, we didn’t have to endure any rain. As we neared the end of the valley, the clouds were still lingering and only part of our route was in view. The good track ended and we started a steep ascent on what could no longer sensibly be described as a road. As we got higher, the cloud engulfed us and we could see neither where we were going nor where we had been. At the top of the Kentmere valley, the most direct route skirted a precipitous drop which swirled with clouds and the occasional view down to the Kentmere Reservoir far below. The clouds started lifting as we walked along the fairly flat summit plateau, also known as Racecourse Hill. No horses were in evidence, although we did meet a shepherd on a quadbike. At the summit trig point I took the usual selfie photo, but instead of stunning views in the background, all was mist and murk.

As we sat and ate our tiffin (it has become a tradition in our family to have “tiffin at the top”), the clouds started lifting and we finally got a good view of Hayeswater to the north-west. We made a slight detour on the descent to check out the large cairn atop Thornthwaite Crag, labelled “Beacon” on the OS map. It had a prominent notice warning not to sit near it as it was liable to fall over at any time. I got the kids to sit next to the notice for a photo.

The views really opened up on the way down, with the cliff-like face of Threshthwaite Crag looking rather forbidding. To the west of that is Caudale Moor, where we had made a very chilly ascent to Stony Cove Pike last year. The Kentmere Horseshoe was close by to the East with Ill Bell being the most prominent. I guess it was there on our ascent but I couldn’t see it then.

We saw some sheep being rounded up by a team of shepherds and dogs, bouncing down the steepest part of the slope to the valley below. It looked like they needed shearing.

Once down the steep part, the final 3 miles along the valley was a good cooldown, and once back at our holiday park we stopped at the pub for a well-earned pint or two.


Hasketon Amble – Sunday 26th July

Pics and text contributed by Christina

Sunday 26th July, we enjoyed an 8-mile amble in the Hasketon area. It was a beautiful summer day. Not unsurprisingly, we encountered a few dog walkers, also bikers and a group of people on horse back, but not many people in the rural realms of this very attractive part of Suffolk. we were walking through lush and green tunnels and wide and open fields, but Hasketon has its undulations. It has proved my point that Suffolk is not particularly flat – I certainly got my recommended cardio exercise that day !😊


Raj & Naina’s Stour Valley walk – Sunday 14th June

Text and pics (swipe to see each series) contributed by Raj.

Stour Valley Walk 2 of 6 completed today, 12.2 miles / 19.6 km. We were hoping to have done this walk last week but it rained so it was delayed until this weekend.

We started from the Kingfisher Sports centre car park which is free on Sunday. The recent staged easing of the lock down has resulted in us encountering more people either walking or cycling. I guess this is to be expected as the old railway track does offer a safer place for walking and cycling. The route covers quite a lot of it and I was glad of the cover it provided on a sunny day as I’d forgotten my hat.

We walked for just under 10 miles / 16 km before making a stop for something to eat. I must admit I was starting to slow down somewhat but as luck would have it we found the Old Mill Hotel was open and serving bottled drinks as well as chips. Unfortunately they didn’t have any real ale so I had to make do with cider. I can attest to the invigorating power of the beverage though, as all of my aches and pains had very nearly disappeared after just one drink.


The Socially-Distanced Birthday Beer Camp 2020

Text and pics contributed by Lou

With the corona virus restrictions still in force, we were unable to meet up for the usual IOG Birthday Beer Camp weekend this summer. As a substitute, some us tried to recreate the atmosphere in our back gardens.

I took some time to create my camping area complete with tent, IOG flag (a bit on the skew), barbecue / fire pit (with old IOG programmes as kindling), and of course a good supply of homebrew beer. Others joined in whilst keeping to the social distancing guidelines

Amongst our homebrew supplies lurking in the garage, I was pleased to find some “number 30”, the ginger beer that went down so well at the 2018 camp. The BBQ was soon underway: while the local wildlife looked on: Fortunately there were no free-range chickens to contend with this year, although Rachael did have some in a cage.

A local celebrity joined us for a beer at one point.

Kate made the traditional brownies: but I had to wait until the following day for my birthday cake.

And so, as the campfires smouldered away, we bade each other goodnight in the hope that it won’t be too long before we can get together properly.

I slept in the tent (Anne refused). I hadn’t realised until that point that I didn’t quite fit in the smaller-than-usual space so I didn’t sleep too well and in any case got rudely awakened by the dawn chorus. An app on my phone recognised 13 bird species in a 20-minute period.

Cheers, Lou


Raj and Naina’s Stour Valley Walk – Sunday 31st May

Text and pics contributed by Raj

Stour Valley Walk 1 of 6 completed today. The original walk is 11.2 miles / 18 km but we ended up walking 12 miles / 19.3 km. I took a slight detour to stay off the road where possible.

It was a bit hot for the second half but the pub at Cavendish made a good stop. Don’t worry, we observed social distancing and they were only serving people at the door.

Thanks to Andy for organising the original walks. We joined after the first few had already been executed so we’re doing them now.


Lockdown in Manningtree and Dedham Vale – Sunday 25th April

Pictures and story contributed by Phil D.

Greetings everyone and trust you are all staying sane and well in these strange times. It has been interesting to read all the diary entries so thought I would give a Manningtree perspective!

My lockdown has consisted of two totally different ways of life. For the first and last fortnight I have been wrestling with the demands of creating a ’virtual’ Science Department for my school. This has resulted in endless coordination via Zooms and Teams video-conferencing and loads of phone calls as well as creating work for students and finding suitable formats for students to submit work and get feedback. Luckily the school was very organized, planning well ahead, and the response from my team has been incredible.

For the Easter holiday it was a complete change of pace and joining swathes of the country in lockdown activities such as sorting out garages, sheds and piles of junk plus gardening and cleaning the house! I have been enjoying some of the theatre downloads, catching up on books, taking on the computer at Scrabble, practicing the clarinet and trying to avoid the temptation of eating and drinking too much. I have even indulged in the entertaining pastime of trying to cut my hair myself with two mirrors, scissors and a comb! Doing the back is a nightmare but no-one to criticize!

Manningtree has turned out to be a good place for lockdown: big enough to have key facilities but small enough to avoid endless queues and dodging people all the time. I am incredibly lucky as within a couple of minutes of leaving my front door I can enter Dedham Vale and there is also a myriad of paths in the woods and fields above Manningtree and Mistley to the south. I have updated my OS maps and try to invent new rounds most times I get out!

11a. Lawford Church on the hill above Manningtree
11b. Woods near Lawford Church
11c. Spring blossom
11d. Gorgeous bit of river between Stratford St Mary and Dedham

Last Sunday in the beautiful weather I was determined to get some exercise as I had been cooped up all the first week of term getting things going, so I left the house early and walked up to Stratford St Mary mainly following the Essex Way (with a few picturesque diversions I have discovered) and returning along the river. It was a glorious day with blue skies and lovely shades of new green all around. Birdsong could be heard everywhere and I only met about 20 people in total over the whole walk. I enclose some photos as Marie-Louise requested in her original set-up of the diary to remind people what is waiting for us all out there in the future.

11e. Even the cows were feeling hot at Dedham Bridge
11f. Dedham Meadows on the way to Flatford Mill
11g. Flatford Mill
11h. River Stour on way back to Manningtree

Back home in the garden for a well-earned cup of tea while the dinner goes on in the oven! Again I am very lucky to have a green space to retreat to and enjoy the sunshine. Living on my own in these uncertain times, family, friends and colleagues have played a crucial role in supporting me and it has been lovely to see the increased support from neighbours and community organisations such as the IOG.


Even if what people are posting or sharing only affects a few of us it still helps and gives us something to relate to. I look forward to one day enjoying our community again on walks and trips – still look back to our Norfolk trip just before lockdown with fond memories. I finish with a poem I read the other day which seems very apt at the moment. Take care.


Lou’s Back Garden Safari

Text and pics contributed by Lou

I have been spending more time than usual in my back garden recently and it’s been nice to see things bursting into life.


There is even the first sign of something coming up in my vegetable patch.


However, it must be said that the plant doing best at the moment is bindweed.


The garden furniture is looking a little faded.


But wildlife has been spotted.


Now the brown bins are no longer being collected, I have a new solution for the trimmings.


And I can always retire to the garage for refreshments.




Another day in Joyce’s lockdown – Tuesday, 29th April

As a key worker I have to go in every now and then, so yesterday I took my daily walk from my school in Comb, Stowmarket,…..and how beautiful it was.

I decided to stroll down to the historic Badley Church which fell out of use in the 1980s. No road goes within a mile of it so it’s always peaceful and restorative. A field of cowslips nearby was also a reward as I wandered to the famous Badley Walks where a tree lined tunnel was as verdant as I expected.

I then crossed the road to Badley Mill to take the River Gipping Path into Stowmarket. The railway was busy with test trains and presumably all were on time! In my experience,  the River Gipping is usually underwater or under nettles and yesterday it was on the cusp of a nettle invasion so my secateurs were kept busy. As I approached the Muntons factory the vivid smell reminded me of Maltesers and Horlicks! The set of colourful seats were an attempt to add a splash of colour to the former ICI Paints factory.

I left the river bank to walk back to school, counting my blessings on the way.