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.

Miriam’s Bicycle Adventure! – Saturday 31st August

Setting off from Ipswich at 9.30am and cycling to Shotley to catch the 11.00am ferry – loads of time to spare, I can hear you say. We thought so too!

It wasn’t until we encountered a sign suggesting Ipswich was only 4.25 miles behind us and Shotley was still something like 5.5 miles away, and we’d spent 70 minutes getting there, did it become apparent that we weren’t likely to make it!

However, being late for the ferry did have its rewards. Time enough for refreshment in the establishment opposite, and a rather protracted tour of the nether regions of Ipswich. We certainly seemed to experience parts of the town I imagine are rarely enjoyed on a cycling trip to Shotley!

Catching the noon ferry still left us plenty of time to relax in the sunshine beside Miriam’s beach hut. The tide was in, the sea pounding against the concrete defences, but this did nothing to deter Rachael and Lynn from braving the choppy waters for a half mile swim, or more. Others (Ian, Miriam, and yours truly) were shamed into joining them for their second dip. ‘It’s lovely and warm’, they fibbed, without a hint of embarrassment at such an obvious falsehood!

Francis resisted their underhand tactics until later, and Emma feigned sleep throughout!

Peters 1 and 2, and Barry, joined us for much of the afternoon. Somehow, they were awarded a slice of Rachael’s baking triumph despite avoiding the rigours of the cycling and the swimming. Some might say that Peters 1 and 2, having driven to Harwich to deliver the cake, were deserving of a portion. You can form your own opinion!

A game of boule ensued, with Miriam, Barry, Ian and the author vying for the honours. Ian didn’t seem to realise the the gentlemanly thing to do was to let our hostess take the prize, despite Barry and my superhuman efforts to do just that. He won without the slightest hint of embarrassment. Some people!

Grand day, Miriam. A hearty thanks on behalf of all your victims!


 

Glen’s Maldon Mooch – Sunday 25th August

Story and pics contributed by M-L

General walk area.

Once again, Glen organised a treat of a walk – this time to mark the Bank Holiday weekend. Starting from the free car park in front of Maldon’s Community Academy, about 12 of us set off on what Glen promptly renamed the Maldon Melt – with temperatures reaching 30C in the course of the day. While that sounds a bit taxing, most of the route sported a lovely breeze and it was only the last few minutes before our drink stop at the Jolly Sailor pub that I really felt that enough was enough! (a pint of icy soda soon dealt with that).

It was an interesting ten-mile walk (with six-mile option) that took us along riversides and canals in the Maldon and Heybridge areas, beginning with Maldon’s very popular Promenade Park and heading out along the Blackwater Estuary. We had glimpses of Beeleigh Abbey and the attractive weirs and locks at Beeleigh Falls while the pub was situated at the mouth of the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation – ice creams were enjoyed on the bank.

The route took us back to Maldon via a path following the River Chelmer – Maldon coming tantalisingly closer and then receding before we finally turned back towards it. A lovely day out with great company as usual. Thanks Glen.


 

Glen’s Dog’s Dinner Walk – Sunday 11th August

Story and pics contributed by Christina

On Sunday 11th August a group of IOGers assembled in front of Tostock Village Hall, Norton Rd. From there Glen led an attractive 10 mile walk through lovely mid-Suffolk landscape, past freshly cut hay meadows and through woodland and fields with well groomed horses and donkeys which were pleasing to see.

It is true, the starting point was the same as Glen’s Tostock Tourist walk in July. The route, however, proved different indeed and also very varied. We stopped for lunch at Pakenham where some people had a drink in the Fox. Some were lucky enough to spot a woodpecker and I saw a couple of birds of prey circling in the sky. The whole scene felt peaceful with only few people crossing our paths.

Afterwards 8 of us enjoyed a meal at the Dog in Norton. The lamb roast proved popular as well as the pub’s fine steak and ale Pie, a good place to eat out .


 

Mill 2 Mill Swim – Sunday 11th August

Story contributed by Ruth E.; pics by Kari and Pete E.

Sunday 11th August saw a number of IOG members attempt the Mill 2 Mill Slow Swim: a 2.3k wild water swim from Dedham to Flatford Mill followed by a picnic in the heart of idyllic Constable Country by the river, scene of his famous ‘Haywain’ landscape painting. Myself, Pete and Colleen had already had a practice wild swim earlier in the summer at an event in Cambridge organised by the same team. I loved the first one so much I signed up again days after finishing in the River Cam.

For those not quite so ‘foolhardy’ there was the opportunity to walk along the riverside offering cheers of encouragement and admiring the beautiful surroundings.

The weeds were certainly our biggest challenge and I was very glad I chose to borrow a full wetsuit rather than just wear my usual swimming costume, According to the Facebook group for the swim, a lot of people suffered allergic reactions and bites so it’s worth bearing in mind if you’re going to give it a go next year. The swim is organised in waves with the most competitive heading off first and the last wave called ‘pooh sticks’ with people floating on a variety of inflatables shaped like unicorns, flamingos and mermaids. It really was an enjoyable couple of hours and I can’t recommend it enough!!


Paul and Clare’s Annual Cake and Games Fest – Saturday 17th August

Text contributed by Paul and Christina; pics by Paul.

After a week of very unsettled weather and a thorough soaking overnight on  Friday, the signs seemed ominous for a dry day on Saturday. However, we awoke to clouds parting and the sun trying to break through. By the early afternoon it had warmed up to a very pleasant temperature and the outlook was looking good. This tempted over 25 people out to enjoy a relaxing time in the garden; socialising with their fellow IOG’ers in between the many offerings of cakes and the playing of numerous games (including croquet, jenga and rummikub). [Paul D.]

Over the past few years Clare’s and Paul’s summer party has become an annual event not to be missed and this year’s guests enjoyed a mainly blue sky and warm sunshine all afternoon in their hosts’ lovely garden and spacious patio. Here, two groups were seated  comfortably underneath parasols, chatting, sipping cups of tea and coffee and indulging in scrumptious cake.  Stela, Ian, Tess and some other guests played board games.

Upon my arrival at around 4 p.m., the garden party was in full swing. Further down the lawn a group played croquet. A  large wooden jenga tower was sure to attract players willing to give it a go.  As is often the case with parties, the kitchen area proved a magnet and social hot spot. Here, the guests chose their favorite cakes from an enormous cake buffet and chatted to the hostess who nipped in and out and prepared cups of tea,  making sure we did not lack in anything.

A truly relaxing and magical summer afternoon – a big thank you to Clare and Paul for having us 🙂 [Christina B.]



 

Beginners’ Archery Course – August Sundays 10 am-1 pm

Text contributed by M-L, pics by Pete.

The Deben Archery Club, which offered a free open day for the public in spring that a few IOGers attended, also holds beginners courses at its club meeting spot near Trinity Park – and Pete collected five of us to give it a go. After some confusion, it was established that there would be a choice of three, three-hour sessions from four to be held on consecutive August Sundays, beginning on the 4th; this is followed by a practice session with the club, all at a reasonable £60 per person. They supply the archery equipment and, at the end, we should theoretically be qualified to look at attending their general club nights.

The course is run by nationally qualified coaches and the first class, on the 4th, showed off their teaching skills by being well-structured and varied – it held our interest throughout.

It takes muscles I didn’t know I had, however, and by the end of three hours my bow arm was quivering (see what I did there?) so much I had a new reason for not actually hitting the target very often (Pete’s pics also indicate that I looked like Quasimodo trying to weather a severe storm – the shoulder and muscles in my right arm had gone on strike).  Karen – I add with only mild envy – had the posture of Diana, goddess of hunting, and showed her class. Meanwhile, Toby weathered his own storm at the start of the session – a faulty bow that meant his arrows did not even make contact with the target stand. This was rather hilarious until the instructor tried it and couldn’t hit the stand with that bow either – Toby vindicated!

A lot of fun – and we look forward to what the next session brings.


 

 

 

Christina’s Barham Evening Stroll – Friday 5th July

Text contributed by Martin, pics and map by Christina.

On a lovely Friday evening in July, Christina organised and led an evening walk of about five miles starting and ending at Barham Fishing Lakes. There were 15 of us, with a good mix of new faces and some seasoned walkers.

The walk was on public footpaths, some of which were lined with brambles and nettles which John in his shorts found out to his cost. It went along the picturesque Gipping River, and past the mill at Creeting Lock Bridge where we stopped for a group picture.

It was a sunny evening with blue skies and not too hot, although a breeze would have been welcome. En route there were some curious cows and some well bred horses to photograph. Fields of runner beans and wheat added interest to the walk as well.

Some of us made a welcome pit stop at the end of the walk at the Sorrel Horse Inn where we enjoyed a pint or two in their lovely garden. It was a balmy summer evening to be remembered. All in all it was a very pleasant walk.


 

Rachael’s ‘Big’ Hitcham Walk – Saturday 3rd August

Text contributed by Paul, pics by Anni, Francis and Rachael.

Rachael’s Big Walk, followed by games and a barbecue. Impossible to resist if you have sufficient screws loose, so eight suitable candidates set off from Hitcham shortly after 9.00am, cutting across country and heading south towards Bildeston. Good weather, beautiful ‘fields of gold’ (some already harvested), and plenty of bonhomie got the day off to a great start.

Heading west via Kettlebaston, Monks Eleigh Tye and Brent Eleigh, the fun continued unabated. We encountered areas planted with flora even our leader didn’t recognise, though she’s since discovered they are called phacelia boatus and are planted especially for the bees. Those who know Rachael will be aware her flora knowledge isn’t often found wanting!

After lunch, the caffeine addicts scoured Lavenham for a tea room, whilst the alcoholics amongst us declined such gross temptation and found a pub around the corner. All suitably refreshed, the party headed north and east towards Preston St Mary and then back to Hitcham. The Big Walk proved to be tinier than advertised at around 18 miles, but not even this author can find a single thing to moan about!

Rachael’s immaculate (lol) lawn then hosted a series of croquet games. Best shot went to Rachael after she managed to scoop her ball over the top of the competitors ball she was aiming at, literally only two feet away! Francis managed to win two games despite his dubious beginner status, and Lynn seemed repeatedly determined to play her own game, a number of hoops behind everyone else. Dave managed to give a great impression of someone fast sleep throughout!

A tasty barbecue ensued, fully replenishing everyone’s waistlines despite all the exercise earlier in the day. Included was some lovely homemade elderflower champagne, courtesy of our host. Oh, and the chocolate cake /lemon cheesecake dessert options were delicious. A yummy day in every way!


 

Simon’s Woodbridge Walk and Pub Crawl – Saturday August 3rd

Text and pics contributed by Simon.

“Aaah! I thought you said there were no stinging nettles?”

On Saturday a happy band of IOG members set off from Ipswich to walk the 8½ miles to Woodbridge. It wasn’t planned to be the longest walk we had ever done, but this one was a bit different. On arrival in Woodbridge we would begin a leisurely pub crawl around a selection of varied drinking-holes.

Our morning meeting point was near Ipswich hospital. Some folk turned up with full walking kit, carrying rucksacks and prepared for every eventuality. Others had decided to travel light, obviously focussing on the pub crawl part of the day. I brought a hat. The 10am start time arrived and 16 of us headed off towards Rushmere St Andrew. The plan was to head north and join the Fynn Valley Path towards Martlesham, then join the Sandlings Way into Woodbridge.

Many of us had obviously walked this way before. There was not much ‘leading’ required, apart from a couple of gentle course corrections we walked on ‘auto-pilot’ most of the way. A few days earlier I had walked the route to check how overgrown the paths were. Having found it largely clear I sent out an email declaring it ‘largely nettle-free’ and ‘shorts-friendly’. A few of our group interpreted this to mean the path was totally clear and at least 2 metres wide all the way. This was not the case. Some of us then proceeded to walk through any isolated clumps of thistles or nettles they could find. Any scratches or stings were of course my fault…

As we walked through lovely Suffolk countryside past fields of cows, at one point the footpath narrowed considerably to take us alongside an electric fence. Fortunately no one tested to see if it was working.

After 2¼ hours walking we arrived at the Martlesham Red Lion pub for a brief drink and loo stop. This was not technically part of the official pub crawl, but a few beers were drunk here as a warm-up for the main event later. We were slightly ahead of schedule at this point and the conversation flowed freely. Tony told us about his forthcoming trip to Poland. His mangled pronunciation of Polish place names amused our native Polish speakers. The general advice seemed to be write down the place names or you could be inadvertently asking for a sausage rather than directions to the next town.

We left the pub and joined the Sandlings Way, soon walking alongside Martlesham Creek. The tide was in and the water was very high. I was asked a few times if we would be OK going round Kyson Point at high tide. ‘Yes, no problem’, I said with my fingers firmly crossed behind my back. Fortunately when we turned the corner at Kyson Point the muddy beach/riverbank was largely dry.

All that was then left was to walk along the tarmac path alongside the River Deben into Woodbridge. The sun was shining and we were getting thirsty. A few of the group (the sensible ones?) chose to leave us when we got to Woodbridge and headed off home. The rest of us walked to The Cherry Tree Inn, officially Pub One. We arrived bang on schedule at 2pm. This was our planned lunch stop for the day. Burgers, salads and fish and chips ‘lined’ our stomachs in preparation for the pub crawl.

There were a few wasps around and they seemed to be largely attracted to the same people who had been scratched or stung by nettles earlier. Debbie was stung by a wasp. There was a brief discussion about sucking the ‘venom’ out. But then she told us where she had been stung and we decided against it.

Some IOG members met us in The Cherry Tree for lunch, planning only to do the pub crawl. At 3.30 we headed off to Pub Two. All of the pubs were reasonably close to each other and they each had their own individual charm. They all had differing definitions of the term ‘beer garden’ so we could sit outside all afternoon and into the evening. Some members of the group joined us later on the route.

8pm saw us arrive in our last pub of the day, Pub Six – The Anchor – picked because it is close to the train station and taxis. After our final drink a group of us waved goodbye to the others and caught the 9.18 train back to Ipswich. The rest had rather sensibly arranged lifts home.

A good time was had by all. There were a few requests to make this a regular event. Maybe next year…?

THE PUBS

PUB 1 – The Cherry Tree
73 Cumberland St, Woodbridge IP12 4AG
http://www.thecherrytreepub.co.uk/

PUB 2 – The Kings Head
17 Market Hill, Woodbridge IP12 4LP
https://www.kingsheadwoodbridge.co.uk/

PUB 3 – The Angel
2 Theatre St, Woodbridge IP12 4NE
https://www.theangelwoodbridge.co.uk/

PUB 4 – Ye Olde Bell and Steelyard
103 New St, Woodbridge IP12 1DZ
https://www.yeoldebellandsteelyard.co.uk/

PUB 5 – The Old Mariner
26 New St, Woodbridge IP12 1DX
http://www.theoldmariner.co.uk/

PUB 6 – The Anchor
19 Quay St, Woodbridge IP12 1BX
https://www.theanchorwoodbridge.co.uk/


 

Introduction to Geocaching – Sat-Sun 20-21st July

Text contributed by Angela, Pics by Pete E.

This was planned as a two day event – starting with a half day in central Ipswich and then, on day two, a longer session exploring Redgrave and Lopham Fen near Diss. This gave us the opportunity to experience geocaching in both urban and rural locations. On the first day we were introduced to the basics of geocaching including the technology (either a smartphone app such as c.geo or a hand-held GPS device such as a Garmin) before venturing out as a group to see what we could find.

For those new to geocaching, this is a treasure hunt where you look for ‘caches’ of varying sizes carefully hidden from sight. Caches can range from nano (the size of a nail) and micro (a little larger) upwards. Using a geocaching phone app, users can navigate with a built in compass to within a couple of metres of the cache. A hint such as ‘magnetic’ or ‘look upwards’ can help identify a likely location. Once the cache has been located the geocacher removes the paper log from inside the container, adds their initials and date and then marks it as ‘found’ on the app, before replacing it exactly where found and moving on to the next target.

Our main focus on Saturday was a series of caches close to Ipswich waterfront (Quay Place trail) and the area around Rope Walk and east Ipswich. On the Sunday we drove out to Redgrave and the site of special scientific interest (SSI) at Lopham Fen. Here we had the opportunity to tackle a much longer series of caches of differing sizes and types (including a set of 27 at intervals of around 200 metres) whilst enjoying the natural spaces. Diving into bushes, trying to avoid nettles, peering into tree trunks, examining road signs and street furniture in forensic detail (!) there was no stopping us now and we were able to locate all but one of the caches on the second day. This left just enough time for a quick cup of coffee from the mobile van at the Fen followed by a drink at the local pub in Redgrave, before setting off home.

Thanks to Peter for planning this event and to his friends Nick and Nic from Stowmarket who shared their geocaching expertise with us. If you missed this event and would like to try geocaching then keep an eye out on the IOG programme in future, as we hope to repeat it.