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.
A large group of IOGers took over the Wells youth hostel for this weekend – the last for a while due to Covid-19 – with further groups in private accommodation around this pretty north Norfolk coastal town. Weather was variable, but the walks lovely and the conviviality was as good as ever – once again, the last of this for the foreseeable future. People took good memories from this one to store up until we are all back together and out and about.
Stay well, everyone, and stay in touch.
Simon’s Cley-next-the-Sea walk: bus to Cley and a hike back along the coast.
I can’t remember how I found out about this museum, which is open only to groups, but I was pleasantly surprised. As a result, sixteen of us were escorted by three retired police officers around its exhibits.
Our visit lasted an hour and a half during which time we could view (and in some cases handle) historical handcuffs, breathalysers (unfortunately no alcohol supplied to test these with), various uniforms and truncheons, to name just a few items. There were also historical photos on display. In summary, the museum is an interesting collection of police memorabilia from various decades.
There was a good turnout of members and new faces for the re- run of a walk that was blighted by awful weather last year. Although we did not escape rain and hail showers, the elements were considerably kinder this time round.
Led by a freshly certified, award-winning leader, the party crossed Lemons Hill bridge from Alton Water car park and walked southwards down the western bank of Alton. While the main group turned off after an hour of walking, a small group continued onwards, choosing to do the 8-mile option that involved circumnavigating the reservoir.
Having suffered disappointment at finding the community cafe at Stutton closed, the main group of 15 progressed cakeless down to the shoreline at Stutton Mill, observing the black swans and guinea fowl in the ornamental garden pond. Lunch was taken at Grahams Wharf overlooking Holbrook Bay, with great views eastwards up the river towards Parkeston Quay and Felixstowe Port. The route then cut back inland towards Stutton giving a view of Crowe Hall and its extensive grounds.
At Stutton another small group elected to take the 12-mile option and headed off towards the reservoir cafe. Clearly the atmosphere and refreshments were most convivial as this group only just managed to beat the main party back to the finish.
The remaining nine walkers headed on past Stutton church and back down to the river, passing the lovely country home of a well-known comic actor. Sadly GRJ did not invite us in out of the rain which is a bad show when we all pay our TV licence fee. Leaving his llamas behind, the group moved along the shoreline past the impressive frontage of the RHS to Alton Wharf then followed the stream to Holbrook Mill, past the waterworks facility to join the reservoir path at the north end of the dam wall. The last leg followed the path northwestwards around the reservoir back to Alton Water car park.
As the full 15-mile walk took far less time to complete than had been estimated, it was felt necessary to while away a little time at the White Horse where a senior IOG member was discovered shamelessly nursing a pint and watching the rugby in front of the welcoming log fire.
Thanks to all the walkers for your company and to the landlord at the White Horse for the warm welcome and the gratis roasties.
On Sunday – it felt like the first sunny day in weeks – Dave led a walk of about 7 miles starting from Boxford at 10am. The route followed the footpath which runs east alongside the River Box at the start.
I haven’t received a detailed report of this – but ‘every picture tells a story, don’t it’?
Ian’s 12-mile trek around Dunwich Heath and Dingle Marshes had all the necessary components to please the 22 IOGers who drove the 50 mins or so to meet him at the spacious Dunwich Beach car park with café facility. From there Ian pointed out the Dingle Hill Team Rooms where he intended to stop for lunch. A few new people joined us, including Malcolm, who lives nearby and had made a last minute decision to come along.
It was a varied walk, offering great views onto heath land, reeds and marshes. Ian expertly led the group along the Dunwich cliffs, then to the old lifeguard station which is now run by the National Trust. We stood in front of the only gravestone left in All Saints Church Yard; sadly, the remains of the church finally disappeared over the cliff in November 2019. According to legend its tower bells can still be heard ringing on a very calm night.
At around 12.30 we arrived at Dingle Hill Tea Rooms. Some of us secured a table whilst several people sat outside enjoying a coffee and cake or their sandwiches. It is a lovely place and it can be expected to attract many visitors in the warmer months.
After a good break we followed a bridleway for few miles before turning east through Dingle Marshes to the shingle beach. The final mile and a half proved a challenge.
No matter where we walked, whether alongside the angry waves, which leapt at our feet, or higher up the beach, there was no escape from the shingles; my boots sank deep into the ground and each step felt a little bit harder. It was probably felt a great relief for most when the car park appeared in the distance, shrouded in mist. As we approached our destination, Kate and I spotted four deer grazing in a nearby field.
Many thanks to Ian for leading this very interesting and varied coastal walk.
Pic contributed by Kari and others; text added by M-L
Towards the end of January, to lift the post-Christmas lethargy, 24 IOGers convened at the Chateau d’Hallines – a magnificent house about half an hour south of the Channel Tunnel and 10-minutes drive (or slightly longer by bus) from the market town of St Omer, heavily bombed during WWII. With 12 bedrooms and 11 bathrooms, not to mention numerous entertainment spaces, the self-catering accommodation was a steal, with cost per person ranging between £90 and £140 for 3 nights. And what a lot of fun we had for that!
High on the list of ‘must-dos’ were the team dinners, which gave everyone considerable entertainment – even the cooks!
A nightly source of workout and huge hilarity was provided by the trampoline room – where even old folk in their 60s hopped and flopped and shrieked with laughter. There were a few injuries of the torn muscle variety, of course, but the less said about that the better…
There was plenty of opportunity for quieter indoor entertainment, however.
To be fair, people also cycled with the bikes provided by the chateau…
… or a much more ambitious 18-mile round trip to Agincourt led by Francis …
… or lunched in splendour at La Sapinière, a 10-minute drive from the chateau – fabulous food, wonderful views.It was quite a weekend, providing clear evidence that a trip abroad need not call for an airport ordeal – or an overdraft. Thanks to everyone who made it so memorable!
IPSWICH OUTDOOR GROUP: JOHN WRIGHT, RACHAEL NORRIS, ANNI MEEHAN, PAUL JORDAN, MIRIAM BURNS, EMMA GIDDINGS, REBECCA HUGHES, PETER EDWARDS, STEVE SEINET-MARTIN, KAREN WEST, SARAH SHEPPARD
18.224 KILOMETRES OF CONGA DANCING
UNITED KINGDOM (FELIXSTOWE)
The longest distance danced in a conga line is 18.22 km (11.32 miles) and was achieved by Ipswich Outdoor Group in Felixstowe, UK, on 28 April 2019.
The team combined two of their favourite activities; being outdoors and having fun, to achieve this record. They dressed up in colourful costumes and performed the conga to the sounds of Black Lace’s “Do The Conga”. The entire attempt was in aid of St Elizabeth Hospice who the team raised funds for.
Peter’s last minute invite for a 9-mile walk exploring three of Ipswich’s parks led to 13 people, both newcomers and long standing members, meeting at St. Peter’s Dock car park in Ipswich. We set off just after 11.30am and headed along Ipswich’s waterfront, past Noah’s Ark and uphill towards landscaped Holywells Park. Our first convenience stop was at the charming Stables Cafe. We then left the park and took Cliff Lane downhill and entered Landseer Park at its most northerly tip. We traversed the park and followed Raeburn Road southwards to the entrance of Orwell Country Park where most of these pictures were taken.
Peter first showed us the most westerly part of the park which gives a good view of the Orwell Bridge from the north and we did a loop along a top-secret (aka very overgrown) path. We then rejoined the main pathway and passed under the impressive Orwell Bridge. Walking along the pebbled shore of the River Orwell was most scenic. As this part of the walk was rather windy we had our packed lunch in a more sheltered area amongst trees. We then continued for a bit along the river and turned inland until we reached the path along the A14 from where we turned back towards Orwell Bridge. As it was getting chilly we opted for the short route back and ended our walk at Cult Cafe at the waterfront just after 3pm.
On Sunday 12th January, Glen and Jim, a qualified town guide, joined forces to organise a fun day out in Colchester and surrounding Essex Countryside. Probably 32 IOGers enjoyed a two and a half hour guided tour which started at the War Memorial in front of Holly Trees Museum which Jim recommended and which is free. Our guide led us through Colchester Park, a lovely Victorian park which is divided into the upper park and the lower park by the Roman Wall. 80 per cent of this amazing relic of Roman history are still intact. The park prides itself on an impressive castle built by the Normans in the late 11th century, on the old temple of Claudius.
In front of it lies the stony remains of a Saxon Abbey which, according to Jim, was probably deemed so holy at the time when the castle was built that the Normans did not destroy it, although it must have provided excellent cover for any invading army attacking the castle. We also learnt that there were 8 medieval churches in Colchester which were now mainly being used for non-religious purposes. St Peter Church continuous to be a very active place of worship. Our group visited St Helen’s Orthodox Church which is Britain’s earliest known Christian Church. We got the opportunity to visit the stony remains of a Roman theatre inside a house whose upper floors are still inhabited. According to Jim, it was not an amphitheatre, but a theatre where music, dancing and religious events were held. 2000 years of history were brought to life so expertly by him through his vivid account of the Romans, the Saxons, the Elizabethans – and of course Boudicca, queen of the Iceni tribe. The famous warrior queen led an uprising against the Romans in AD 60 or 61. She died shortly after its failure and was said to have poisoned herself.
remains of a Roman theatre on the ground floor
Tudor Houses at the River Colne by the bridge
The Victoria Inn
Jim (left side) and our group inside the Victoria Inn
We learnt that Colchester was a large and important town by Roman standards. It is the earliest recorded town in England, gaining further importance from its weavers, who were highly skilled Flemish Protestants that had been encouraged by Queen Elizabeth I to settle in England. They lived in the so-called Dutch quarter and largely contributed to making Colchester a rich town. We stood inside the still awe-inspiring ruins of St Botolph’s Priory and got an opportunity to visit the Dutch quarter that day to admire its well-maintained Elizabethan houses. Some fine examples of Tudor houses can be seen by the River Colne, by the bridge leading to the station and the Victoria Inn, Jim’s and Paul’s local pub. Some of us joined Jim, Gery and Paul there afterwards for a drink. Speaking on behalf of all who did the tour: it was a truly enjoyable and interesting experience. Jim, thank you so much for freely giving your time to show us a different, unknown side of your town, away from its busy High Street and hectic modern life.
To kick off our new decade, 35 IOGers joined me on a circular walk in the Martlesham area along Butlers Brook and Martlesham Creek, where many of the pictures were taken.
We met at the entrance of Blacktiles Lane at 12.45, then headed inland, across some rather boggy fields and through Walk Farm Wood, before returning to our starting point.
Vicky and Justin live nearby and they had very kindly invited us to visit their home after the walk, where their new alpacas are settling into the sloping fields behind the house. There was a warming fire in front of their old stables where we enjoyed some mince pies and refreshments, while some of our group got hands-on with the cuddly creatures and even bottle-fed the baby. Thank you both for your great hospitality.
On another note, we had some stragglers at the back and one well-known person, a notorious roamer, led some innocent youngsters astray [now who might that be? – ed.], and they almost got lost, unaware that I was about to take a left turn – probably best to take him on a leash next time. [a short leash – ed.]