Claire’s Beer Festival Walk – Saturday 2nd July

Text and pics contributed by Claire V.

We had a fantastic walk from Needham Market to Stowmarket on Saturday 2nd July. Greater Anglia had decided to hold yet another train strike (the only train operator in the entire country that day to do this) but it didn’t stop a brilliant group of us venturing out: we simply caught the bus from Ipswich, which was much easier than expected – and cheaper too. Walking along the banks of the River Gipping we fought our way through stinging nettles and long grass. I turned around at one point to only be able to see half the group, the others still fighting their way up to their necks through the nettles. Fortunately the walk became easier from the beautiful church of Badley and its hall and we strolled around Combs Wood and into Stowmarket.

On arrival at the beer festival we were confronted with the nettle beer they were trying to sell but all of us declined, having seen enough stinging nettles for the day. We did, however, spend around three and a half hours drinking some of the 79 beers and ciders on sale. What better way to finish a walk than drinking outside in the sunshine in the grounds of the Food Museum, Stowmarket. And the bus journey home was quick and easy. Cheers to my fellow walkers and drinkers.

Classic moment of the day has to go to Lou. Anne describes this moment better than I ever could.

“I suggested to Lou that he took both of our token cards for his next half, but he thought he knew better and said he wouldn’t need it, and ended up running (shock, horror*) back to fetch our new token card, declaring: ‘I’m 10p short’.”

*Lou rarely runs, but when his next beer is at stake …