Birthday Beer Camp – Shottisham 8th-10th June

Pics contributed by Lou, Paul, Karen & M-L; story by Lou.

It was another very successful Birthday Beer Camp at the Shottisham Campsite. The good weather helped, but mainly it was down to the 35 people in 25 tents who all got on so well together.

The free-range hens are getting more adventurous, this year they were stealing steaks off the barbecue and leaping onto laps to get at food. Andy suggested supersoakers if we go back next year.

We fed ourselves well on the Friday evening. Thanks to Marie-Louise for coordinating the barbecue accompaniments and everyone for bringing them – especially to Kate for the gooey chocolate brownie birthday cake.

This year’s homebrew was “Ginger Git”. It proved very popular, with some people even saying it was the best ginger beer they had ever tasted – I must make more of that!

[The evening was spiced by keygate – when a major hunt was instigated for some lost keys, later discovered hanging on a hook in one of the loos – and finished, as per tradition, with a paper plane competition around the fire pits – ed.]

On the Saturday, 3 walks headed off in various directions to Sutton Hoo, Rendlesham Forest, and the Ramsholt Arms (actually the Ramsholt Arms walk set off in the opposite direction, but that’s a different story).

We all returned safely to the campsite, and reconvened at the Sorrel Horse pub to watch the Morris Dancers and enjoy a pub meal.

I am canvassing opinions on whether to go back again or try somewhere different next year.

Lou’s Saturday Walk to the Ramsholt Arms

Story & map contributed by Lou.

I had promised to do a “short” walk of 7 miles for those people who didn’t fancy one of the longer walk options. As it was to be very similar to last year’s walk, I didn’t expect that many takers. Obviously, this being the IOG, the lure of a pub stop was just too much and 17 people joined me.

Last year we had to do battle with overgrown nettles and a missing footbridge over a muddy stream near the campsite – that was my excuse for a detour setting off in the opposite direction to the pub. This detour would have made the walk about 8 miles, but I thought that no-one would notice the extra mile.

The first problem encountered was a path that started off being well marked but then ended abruptly at a very overgrown woody area. A slight detour round a field veered off in the wrong direction, so we retraced our steps back to the previous path and an even longer detour.

We proceeded via some nice quiet lanes past Sutton Hall and then across fields to stop briefly at Sutton Knoll, the remains of some ancient coral cliffs. Onward to the Deben estuary and along the river path to our lunch stop at Ramsholt Beach. No fossils found this time, although I did pick up an as yet unidentified object that looks like a rusty gherkin.

Suitably fed, we set off at a good pace only to miss the turning onto the river path and hence another backtrack. The pace picked up as we approached the Ramsholt Arms – a deliberate ploy to spread out the beer orders. Some sat in the sun whilst others chose the shade.

Refreshed, we ambled up the road and then towards Ramsholt Church. We almost reached the Church before we realised there was a big hedge between us and it and a third short detour was needed. We paused on the way back to look at a WW2 bunker – I made an attempt to go inside to retrieve a geocache but was beaten by the brambles.

On returning to the campsite, I checked my GPS and it had recorded nearly 10 miles – about the same as the other walk option. Even so, everyone seemed to agree that it was a great walk. [And it was! Marvellous! Huge thanks for everything, Lou – ed.]