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Dr John Hawkins

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Three Hats and Seven Sisters

Posted on 2007/08/29 23:08:02 (August 2007).

[Saturday 25th August]
A few weekends ago, Chie had mentioned that she'd like to go and see the Seven Sisters, and so after a bit of research on the web, I'd planned us a walk from Seaford to Eastbourne (with the option of doing the last bit by bus).

As has always been the case, early starts on weekend excursions are not really our strong point, but by a reasonably respectable 1PM we were in Seaford, and after a brief stocking up on provisions at the supermarket there, we were on our way.

Our walk started out along the pebble beach at Seaford, which was all very pleasant. The weather was really quite hot - in complete contrast to the rest of this rather wet and miserable summer - but we were reasonably well prepared. We had suncream, a big bottle of water, and most importantly, hats. In fact, I even brought two different hats just to be on the safe side (and thus the otherwise meaningless title for this entry, a string of words which had a cadence that appealed to me).

After the very agreeable outset to our walk, a steep coastal path quickly became involved, and a combination of that along with the really hot weather, and the fact that I'm not as fit as I used to be, made it a little tough going. In fact I might have chosen some rather more heavy duty adjectives had you asked me what it was like at the time.

Still, that aside, once we'd got up into the cliffs, a short way out of Seaford we were treated to a really rather spectacular view of the Seven Sisters - only slightly spoiled by the mildly daunting thought of having to repeat those steep climbs seven (funnily enough) times over.

We then had to dip down back to sea level again at Cuckmere Haven, and decided to attempt to ford the river that runs into the sea here rather than making the fairly long diversion inland to the nearest bridge. Not keen on completing the rest of the walk with wet shoes, we decided to do this bare foot, and given that this was another pebble beach we were both immersed in a form of pain which was oddly pleasurable, given the nostalgia it invoked of beach holidays we had when we were kids.

After fording the river, we continued back up on the cliff tops. I suppose we eventually got into something of a stride, and settled into a pattern of the ups being rather oppressive and genuinely quite hard work, but then with a period of "oooh, look at the view" once we'd reached the top of each bump, followed by a very leisurely "what was all the fuss about?" stroll down the other side of the bump.... and then repeating that all over again.

The Seven Sisters end at Birling Gap, and here the largely unspoilt coastline gives way to a fairly well commercialised beach, with, somewhat thankfully, a place where we could buy overpriced ice creams. I had a Strawberry Split - a similar experience to walking bare foot on the pebbles earlier on (i.e. delightfully nostalgic and yet in itself not actually particularly pleasant).

We'd made it in reasonably good time to Birling Gap - about three hours (despite plenty of stops along the way - one guide on the web suggested this walk would be four-and-a-half), and whilst I was prepared to go on the rest of the way to Eastbourne on foot, I think Chie was much more keen on the bus option. I suppose I didn't take that much convincing either. Whilst it had probably only been about seven or eight miles, all those ups and downs had taken it out of me somewhat.

So we got the bus to Eastbourne, and spent a short while there - just over an hour. We had a walk along the pier, and obviously the obligatory bag of chips, before getting a train back to London around 6:30. It was pretty crowded on the train on the way back, I had to stand most of the way which was somewhat less than ideal as my feet were already quite tired...

Back at home we had showers and a change of clothes (we were both surprisingly stinky after all that sweating) then had a very restful evening. We watched Life of Brian on DVD - Chie's first time to see it. As with the Holy Grail I'm not entirely sure what she made of it.

Anyway, although we probably picked too hot a day for it, it was still a very nice outing.

P.S. - I took my GPS receiver along with me to record the route, but still haven't yet come up with a good software solution for geotagging the pictures - so insteadI've used a pit of JavaScript I bodged together a while back which just plots all the points in the track log directly - so you can click here to see our route (although it take a while to display, and may not work in browsers other than Firefox...).



Comment 1

Well I remember a time when you could walk seventeen miles at night without the use of a taxi or bus... Nice pictures, to be honest they look a bit all the same but I guess that the landscape was that only. I like the strawberry split description!!:D

Posted by Lox at 2007/08/30 13:01:42.

Comment 2

Food. Drinks. Restaurants. Parties. Walks.............. Can't you talk about sex, for once ???!!!!

Posted by Sheri at 2007/08/31 19:55:30.

Comment 3

Nice pics, otherwise.

Posted by Sheri at 2007/08/31 19:57:09.

Comment 4

How shoking!

Posted by Sheri (ze Frog, so it's ok!) at 2007/08/31 19:58:10.

Comment 5

(shoCking)

Posted by Oh l l at 2007/08/31 19:59:10.

Comment 6

Yes, I agree... Great hpotos, John! I particularly like the one you use for the blog page link. Super!! :D

Posted by Nigel at 2007/08/31 20:37:00.

Comment 7

Sorry Sheri - I agree my blog is desperately banal most of the time. :)

Posted by John at 2007/08/31 22:39:51.

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