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.

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.


 

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.