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.

Shotley Evening Walk – Friday 23rd June

Route map for Sarah’s Shotley evening walk. Reproduced from OS Maps. © Crown copyright. 2017.

Words and pics contributed by Sarah Sheppard

On a lovely summer’s evening, 14 walkers and 1 dog set out from outside the Bristol Arms pub for a walk around the Shotley Peninsular. We headed through the Marina and up the Stour and Orwell path alongside the River Orwell. Once we left the path to head inland, we came to Shotley Church, where we had a short break. Angela’s dog decided that he didn’t want to walk for some parts of the route so he was carried along, either in her arms or in her rucksack!

After our stop, we headed along a quiet road and back onto footpaths where we passed through Viking Forest, woodland that has been planted on land purchased by the local people in 2004. We then came out into a residential part of Shotley and crossed the main road, where we joined another path that took us down to the River Stour. Here we re-joined the Stour and Orwell path back to the Bristol Arms where we said goodbye to those that were heading straight home. The rest of us went inside for a well deserved drink and a further chat and giggle.

While in the pub, we came across a leaflet for the Arthur Ransome Walking Trail. This trail has recently been set up and the leaflet also refers to the geocaches along the trail that our very own Rachael Norris has put in place. Look out for the event on the upcoming programme where we will explore this trail and hopefully find the geocaches that Rachael has set out along the route.

Thanks to everyone that came along and made it an enjoyable evening.

Shottisham Birthday Beer Camp – 9th-11th June

Rough location of Shottisham Camp Site

Story & pics contributed by Marie-Louise

Some 30 plus IOGers assembled at Shottisham Camp Site on Friday evening for a couple of nights of fun and a good day or two of hiking around the area. I’ll leave descriptions of the walks to those who took a greater part than I did, but what is camping without the fun of getting the tents up? A  pictorial study of erecting Lou and Anne’s 3-bedroom bungalow is a taster of the joys to be had.

As everyone arrives and tents of all shapes and sizes are put up with varying degrees of hilarity, the bbqs begin to appear, the boxes of meat, the cheese kebabs, the chips and dips and salads, the usual lavish array of puds and birthday cake – this year provided by Anne: a rich, dark chocolate cake to rival Trump’s “beautiful piece of chocolate cake” but without the embarrassment of telling President Xi about US air strikes on Iraq. Oops. Syria. A lovely, gutsy evening of good food and great company – this is a really fun event on the annual calendar.

Walk Report – Saturday 10th June

Words and pics – Lou

Question: Given a choice of (a) a medium-paced 14 mile walk with no pub stops or (b) a leisurely 8 mile stroll incorporating the Ramsholt Arms, how many IOGers would opt for the latter?
Answer: 24 out of 33 (with an additional 2 going for a more direct shorter route).

After the 3rd recount, I decided that there were indeed 24 of us, and we sauntered off via the church and allotments. The first obstacle confronted us in the next field, where FB was marked on the map but in reality required a leap of faith across a muddy expanse of water. Perhaps FB in this case means “Fill your Boots”, as some of us did. The route to the estuary took us via the coralline crag of Sutton Knoll (marked on the OS map as Rockhall Wood). A notice board informed us of its fascinating history.

The sun beat down on us as we waded through wildflower meadows (and some nettles – people wearing shorts had been warned) to reach the Deben estuary with a view upstream to Waldringfield.
A short walk downstream took us to Ramsholt Beach, where we stopped for lunch part 1 and watched the tide come in.

Continuing downstream, we arrived at the Ramsholt Arms for a leisurely break (well, a leisurely break for most of us – Rachael and Torben changed into wetsuits for an hour’s swim). It seemed that everyone wanted to buy me a drink at this point, but I couldn’t quite manage 23 pints.

Thirsts quenched, we headed inland via Ramsholt Church and its strangely shaped tower – it looks square on approaching from the South but is actually round on closer inspection. A short bit of road was unavoidable, but it was a pleasant off-road route most of the way back to the campsite. I think I would have got away with a slight detour off the planned route had I not mentioned it at the time – I put that down to the beer and conversation.


YHA Langdale weekend – 26th-29th May

As usual, during the weekend in the Lakes District people split into different groups doing different things. I am publishing the reports as they come in and, hopefully, they wind up as some sort of coherent story of ‘what went on’!

We begin with Lou’s report of his Saturday walk.

Over Lingmoor to the ODG – Saturday 27th May

Reproduced from OS Maps. © Crown copyright. 2017

Story and photos  contributed by Lou.

Having arrived at YHA Langdale in unusually hot and humid conditions, the IOG were studying various weather forecasts and pondering the exact timing of the impending storm. Come the morning of the 27th, the consensus seemed to be that the rain would hold off until the afternoon. Whilst the more sensible folk planned a short morning walk returning to the hostel, Lou decided that it was worth risking the climb over Lingmoor Fell (469m), timing it so that we were safely down in the Old Dungeon Ghyll before the rain arrived. Thus 8 hardy folk climbed up past various abandoned quarry workings to admire the workmanship of the summit wall. Although there is no path marked on the OS map, the summit traverse followed a (mostly) good path along the wall.

A sheltered spot was found for lunch, with good views across to the Langdale Pikes. Some dark clouds threatened us from above on a couple of occasions, but the walk went to plan and sure enough the ODG welcomed us in the Great Langdale Valley. After introducing the group to the delights of Old Peculier, we set off on the valley path back towards the hostel. The route passed a further 4 pubs and it would have been ideal to shelter in one of them when the rain arrived. However, we got caught about a mile before Chapel Stile and arrived at the Wainwright Inn fairly wet.

In summary, a 9.5 mile walk with 400m of ascent, good views and plenty of good pubs.

Mike’s Loughrigg Fell Walk – Saturday 27th May

Story and pics contributed by Mike Emmerson.

This was one of the shorter walks taken on Saturday –  a five-mile trek. The weather was lovely and we set off along Loughrigg Terrace with views out towards Grasmere Lake and town. We then came to Rydal Water with Heron Island in the middle.
An ice cream van provided a good place to stop at Pelter Bridge. We then proceeded up the road beside the River Rothay to the hardest climb on the walk. We were all knackered by the time we got to the top so a sandwich break seemed appropriate. On the way back Loughrigg Tarn was a lovely peaceful spot.
Thanks are due to Bob for helping me not to get lost!

Climbing Scafell Pike – Sunday 28th May

Words and pics contributed by Sarah Sheppard.

View from the top of Scafell Pike.

My main objective for organising our trip to YHA Langdale was to climb Scafell Pike, following climbing Snowdon on our trip to Snowdonia on the same weekend last year. Four IOGer’s therefore set out early in order to tackle this mountain on the nicest day of the weekend, on what turned out to be a very long but successful day. As we were climbing from the Langdale side, as opposed to the more touristy Wasdale Head side, the route was much quieter as well as offering some great scenery along the way.

One of the steepest sections, up to Angle Tarn, was very hard going and I questioned myself several times. However once that part was behind us, it was a little easier going for a while and I was enjoying myself. The final push up to the top was very steep and slippery for a while, but everyone coming down in the other direction were very encouraging, saying things like, ‘You’re nearly there,’ and ‘Not far now,’ which spurred us on.

Me, Dave, Andy and Kate therefore made it to the top of the mountain and had climbed to the Top of England! Wow, what an achievement! We took some time to take some photos at the top before starting our descent. Andy recommended that we take a slightly different route down, one that was a little longer than the way up, along a footpath called the Corridor Route. This was all so pretty and lovely to see on our long route back down. Returning to Angle Tarn, we then had the lengthy descent back to the Old Dungeon Ghyll where we had parked. Dave went off a little ahead of the three of us and therefore we found him in the pub enjoying a well deserved pint (or two!) when we arrived back.

A lovely and very successful day was had by the four of us. My thanks go to Dave, Kate and particularly Andy, who did all of the map reading, for coming with me and for their support up (and down!) the mountain. I just need to tackle Ben Nevis now to complete the set!

Langdale Pikes – Sunday 28th May

Langdale Pikes route map.


It would have been rude to stay in Langdale and not visit the Langdale Pikes – those knobbly projections that rise menacingly above the valley. Sunday 28th was the only fine day of the weekend, so that was the day of 3 high walks, this being one of them. The others drew larger numbers, so it was left to the three of us to enjoy (or should that be endure?). Anne and I had done this walk before but, for Stela, it was her first high walk in the Lake District.

The fine weather had drawn quite a few families out for the trek up Stickle Ghyll and we had to take care not to tread on them as they rested in the middle of the path. At Stickle Tarn, we found the Pikes shrouded in clouds – not a good sign. We rested awhile, but sure enough the forecast was right and the clouds lifted to reveal glorious views all around.

We made the ascent of Pavey Ark (700m) via “the path round the back”, to find a lunch spot with a view above the tarn and down to the valley far below. From there it was a relatively easy traverse to Harrison Stickle (736m) and Pike Of Stickle (709m). The path runs out before the summit of the latter, but it was worth the short scramble for the 360 degree views. It was at this point that Stela lay down and declared that to be quite enough climbing for one day. So it was that we missed out Loft Crag and made our way back down to the Stickle Barn for a well-earned ice-cream.

Claire’s wet Westerfield walk – Thursday 18th May

Words and pic contributed by Claire Verlander


It looks brighter over there, I stupidly convinced myself as I polished off the last of my lovely curry, washed down with a nice pint at Wetherspoon’s. David Bird had joined me so I didn’t eat alone.


Reluctantly leaving the comfort of the pub, we headed to Christchurch Mansion. I was convinced nobody would turn up on an evening like this. A lovely summer evening it was not. But 5 other brave (or mad) souls had made a real effort to come along bringing our total to 7.


Why am I doing this? Why am I walking in the rain? I never walk in rain!! It wasn’t normal rain either or even light drizzle. This was vertical rain with no end in sight.


The walk took us up through Christchurch Park and across the fields of Westerfield. We could have walked further on but the Westerfield Swan pub was calling. Like 7 drowned rats we assembled in the porch of the pub. Looking at the state of us it was obvious that some of us would have been drier if a bucket of water had been thrown at us. David decided there was no way he could squelch his way into the pub. So back into Ipswich he trudged.


However with the alcohol flowing, our spirits were lifted and it was a nice chance to catch up with people/put the world to rights. Nick did the sensible thing, skipping the walk and just joining us in the pub. That is why he looks so dry and clean in the attached photo. I opted to take the photo due to the state of me I think.


Phil had prearranged a lift back home from the pub and Susan joined him and his lift. That left four of us to walk back into Ipswich. Mark left us halfway to head off into the darkness across a field – shortcut to his home. Adrian also left us near the town to divert to home. So that left just Sarah and I to finish the trip back into Ipswich. It was still raining when, totally bedraggled and soaked through, I caught the 10 pm bus home. 

Thanks to my brave fellow walkers who ventured out on my walk. I’ve just about dried out now. Hope they have too. 


Jim’s Colne Estuary Walk, Sunday 21st May

Words and pics contributed by Jim Grundy

The Brief: After leaving Colchester station we cross a few busy roads then enter Castle Park and pick up a riverside path. After a mile or so, cross a main road then re-join path through some allotments and amble around the former dock area before crossing another busy road to join a continuous path, passing the pretty village of Wivenhoe and out to the mouth of the River Colne. We will stop for lunch just before the path comes to an abrupt end, and walk the same route back again.


We met at Colchester Station in the usual place (everyone appears to be getting used to the “front entrance” Vs “back entrance” shenanigans at Colchester). The weather was very warm and sunny, much better than I had anticipated, and 8 of us set out on time at 10.15. Two new prospective members, Frank and Qwan, were present and very welcome they are.

We met Bob and Sarah about a mile into the walk at a convenient spot near Castle Park (so now there’s 10). We then met Nick about 3.5 miles into walk, near Essex University, bringing numbers to 11.

Arrived at the Rose and Crown pub at Wivenhoe at the predicted time of 12.25 (almost to the minute!) and took a short break (drink break for Anne! But it was only a soda ha ha). This is where Rosie left us so were back to 10, but not for long as Gerry and her brother Tony joined us. So now it was 12!

We carried on to the half-way point, a very nice raised grassy area with fantastic views of the Colne River estuary where we had our lunch.

It’s worth pointing out the last stretch of the walk follows what was the Wivenhoe to Brightlingsea branch line. It is a common misconception that this was a victim of Dr. Beeching’s cuts in the 1960s but actually the bridge crossing at Arlesford Creek was washed away in the floods of 1953 and never rebuilt. Subsequently the line rapidly fell into dilapidation. You can see still see what remains of the struts (is that the right word?) of the bridge that would have carried the train onto Brightlinsea and there’s a few photos of us playing on them (see below).

A few miles back in the direction we came and we were back at the Rose and Crown in Wivenhoe for a well-earned drink. We left Gerry, Tony, Nick, Bob and Sarah at their various exits, and the last weary travellers finally made it alive to Colchester station.

It was quite a long walk at 14 miles and I must say in the hot sun a few of us, myself included, found the last two miles pretty hard going, but we all really enjoyed it

Jazz at St Peter’s – Friday 12th May

Words Peter Farrand; pics Celia Bird.


The monthly Jazz performance at St Peter’s by the Waterfront enjoys the support of several regular IOG members. The May Jazz was provided by the Selion Swing Band with new IOG member Celia Bird singing and playing saxophone – and was much enjoyed by all. Apart from watching the band there is fascination in watching the audience, and how the music stirs them. Some just sit there motionless adsorbing the sounds while others fidget, tap their feet, shake their heads and generally look happy! After each number they all clap enthusiastically because we always have talented musicians.

Always a great evening – excellent location, quality jazz, crisp snacks, and beer, wine and soft drinks available from the bar – or bring your own.

It is monthly on Fridays. The next concert is 2nd June, 7:45, with Helen Abbey’s band. Come listen.

Dave’s Thornham Walk – Sunday 15th May

Pictures contributed by Stela; story by Christina Bail.

Glen and I would like to say “thank you” to David and Glenys for organising this beautiful spring walk in the ancient woodlands near Thornham Hall which we glimpsed in passing.

Prior to arriving at the car park, we were in no doubt it was going to be a good walk, but we were expecting open field spaces as is so typical in the mid-Suffolk area. Instead, we walked approx. 6 miles through mostly lush and dense woodland, on soft grassy paths; at times the shrubs and trees formed green tunnels. The grounds around Thornham Hall have been made accessible to the wider public, becoming a real attraction thanks to the efforts of the 8th Lord Henniker and his wife, Lady Henniker, who were very involved in conservation projects. There is a small visitor centre, a cafe and playground as well as a walled Victorian garden which will be open daily as from 29th May.

Around 20 walkers joined David on that day. We encountered a pretty country church with a thatched roof, rather unusual, and probably the smallest church I have ever seen. We were able to go inside and admired the altar and its stained glass windows. People commented on the pretty cushions on the otherwise hard oak benches all of which had their bespoke design.

After the walk a couple of us were probably over ambitious and decided to take a different, supposedly more scenic route back to David’s cottage where teas and biscuits were awaiting us. However, we got completely lost and finally gave up and returned home.

Lou’s Bonny Wood Walk, Saturday 13th May


Words and Pictures: Lou (with apologies to Lewis Carroll)

‘Twas Maytime and the IOG

From Needham Market set the course

Through Bonny Wood to bluebells see,

And retire to the Rampant Horse.


With a variable weather forecast, attendees had been advised to bring sun cream, hats, and wet weather gear. The day dawned grey and gloomy (groomy?), but that did not deter a good turnout of 22 people and 2 dogs. We were soon off-road, following an un-named track alongside the impressive chalk pit. We continued across fields in various state of crop, through someone’s back garden at Priestley (narrowly avoiding being mown down), to approach our objective. Bonny Wood is mostly privately owned, requiring us to circumnavigate the boundary before finding the western entrance. Here was no welcoming or informative sign, solely a warning about deer management. We were far too noisy to spot any deer, and emerged at the northern entrance, where there was a handy map to show us where we had been.

Bonny Wood was quite pleasant, but only a few bluebells were to be seen at the northern end.

Two short field boundaries and some nettles later, we dived through a gap in the hedge to find ourselves in Swingen’s Wood (or Priestley Wood as the sign declared). It was in Priestley Wood where we found the best display of bluebells (though somewhat greyer than in the photo which was taken on my pre-walk the previous week).


A short stretch of road brought us to Barking Church, from where we took the Causeway (Coffin Way?) back to Needham Market. The main church in Needham Market originally had no graveyard, and coffins had to be taken to Barking for burial. This magnificent tree is on the route.

I’ve sometimes wondered about walking this route in the dark, but there are too many things to trip over and bump into.

Safely back at the Rampant Horse, we sampled some of the Calvors brewery beers to support the local economy (Calvors brewery is only a few miles away and they own the pub).

Thus ended a splendid walk. I am declaring it a success as no-one got lost in the woods.


Sarah’s bluebell walk – Saturday 6th May

 Story contributed by Sarah Sheppard; pics by Stela Luminita Dumbrava & Chanak Kwan Natnuea

Twelve of us set off from the entrance to Belstead Brook Park, a great place for me to start a walk as it is just down the road from my house. I’m so lucky that I live on the edge of this lovely area of Ipswich and I like to show it off to my fellow IOGers.


We set off through the tunnel under the A14, headed towards Belstead village and then towards the level crossing and onto Jimmy’s Farm. Here we met up with 2 others who were joining the walk. After a short stop, the full complement of 14 walkers set off out of Jimmy’s Farm, heading towards Freston.

On our way, we passed Cutler’s Wood, which appears to be private, so we stuck to the footpath around the edge. As it was full of bluebells, we stopped to take a few photographs through the gaps in the trees before carrying on towards Freston and having our lunch stop at Freston Church.

Once we had refuelled, we headed through the lovely Freston Wood SSSI, which was filled with bluebells and wild garlic. We also passed by some people who had set up their painting easels in order to capture the lovely environment at this time of year. After we left the wood, we followed the footpaths towards the Suffolk Food Hall, where we had a quick drink stop before heading up the hill towards Whersted.


After crossing the A137 and heading through the woods at the back of Jimmy’s Farm, I directed Miriam and Martin back to their cars before we headed over the bridge across the A14. We then walked through the ancient woodland of Spring Wood, where the last of the bluebells were still out, before passing by a small play area where a few members took the opportunity to have a go on the zip wire, myself included – great fun! We then headed through Belstead Brook Park, crossing the Belstead Brook, back to our start point.


A great day was had by all; thanks to all of those that made it along and made it an enjoyable walk.

Ginette & Alan’s Henley Walk – 30th April

Contributed by Marie-Louise Karttunen

Map of route (reproduced from OS Maps. © Crown copyright. 2017)

Maybe it was because it was a Bank Holiday Sunday, maybe because the weather was perfect stuff for walking – dazzling and breezy – or maybe because Ginette and Alan had generously promised chili at theirs after we finished, but a record 36 IOGers rolled up to the Henley Community Hall where we met for the start of the hike at around 10.15 (a further two walkers joined us en route).

According to OS data the route was 14.23 km (8.9 miles), although it felt shorter. This was Suffolk countryside at its loveliest, high-skied best; the going was as dry as a drum and the company varied and full of interest. Luckily there weren’t too many stiles – it took some time to negotiate us all, plus dogs, through each one – while the sandwich stop presented quite an spectacle (see pics).

To tell the truth, I’m not the best person to write up a good walk – I take in the general ambiance, but details don’t linger. We had our first break at St Mary’s at Witnesham – a pretty church with some accommodating  gravestones – but, beyond that, I’m left with impressions of mustard in flower, vivid green fields despite what seems to be a bit of a drought … and lots of chat.

The walk culminated at Ginette and Alan’s Henley house with its beautiful garden where bowls of chili, rice and salad were hugely appreciated by a very large gang of hungry folk – along with more good tales. Thanks to both for a well-organised walk through a lovely part of the world and for the hospitality they offered everyone afterwards.