A Walk Around Eastbourne, Beachy Head, Alfriston, Cuckmere Haven

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The August Bank Holiday found me once again at the coast.   I was going to have a long  weekend as I didn’t have much work scheduled.  After fighting a traffic jam on the M25, surprisingly, the M23 towards Gatwick was amazingly clear.  Maybe people were taking advantage of the cheap ferry rates and going to France for the long weekend?  Regardless, I preferred to spend my weekend in Eastbourne.  I have been extremely lucky with the weather nearly every weekend since the beginning of March.  I have an amazing tan and I am getting very fit from all of the walking and cycling I have been doing.

The weather on the Saturday was beautiful and sunny and I parked myself on the beach for a few hours (ok, nearly 5, I was reading a book). My section of the beach was empty except for myself and another lady who was parked about 20 yards away from me.  After a few hours of relative peace and quiet, a young man in his 30’s (I am only guessing as I am rubbish as guessing people’s ages) parked himself between us, fully clothed (ok, he was wearing shorts and a t-shirt, and sunglasses), lying down on his front with his head facing my crotch.  The whole beach was empty otherwise and he had to park near me!  To me, that is like sitting in an empty cinema and putting yourself in front of the only two people in there.  A bit pervy and annoying.  I could have sat there a bit longer reading my book, but I was really put off, so I got dressed and left.  The next time someone does this, I will take a photo and send it to Amor.

 

My Empty Section of Beach before The Perv Arrived

My Empty Section of Beach before The Perv Arrived

Sunday started cloudy.  I walked into the town centre for a coffee and to read the Sunday papers.  There was a man playing the guitar and singing blues and bluegrass music.  He was really good.  I managed to get a table outside and was able to read the paper, have coffee and listen to music all at the same time!

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The Camera Cbscura on the Pier was closed because of the weather.  Well, it was very cloudy.  I took a few photos and am very pleased with how dramatic the one below turned out.

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It may have been cloudy, but the weather was warm and there were quite a few people out and about.  The sun eventually broke through the clouds at about 2pm and it turned into a really pleasant afternoon.  I finished reading the paper on the beach. 🙂  On my way home, I couldn’t resist stopping off for an ice cream.  I am working my way through the flavours at Favoloso.

Afterwards, I stopped into The Towner Gallery.  There were a couple of exhibitions I hadn’t seen before.  I forgot to get the information for one of the exhibitions, which consists of photographs and other mixed media.  It was interesting, but it really didn’t move me.  Instead, it got me thinking about art and photography and about what the criteria is to have one’s artwork shown in a gallery.  Such as:  Is it really important to have studied photography and to have a qualification (letters after one’s name) in order to be taken as a serious photographer?  Or is it more of who you know?  What if you learned about photography from books and are naturally talented with a good eye?  Does one have to enter and win a lot of contests to be taken seriously?  How do they do it?

The other exhibition was by Jodie Carey – In The Eyes of Others. I thought the plaster bones made into huge chandeliers was very creative, interesting and beautiful in their own right.  They looked like massive wedding cakes, but turned upside down.  What I didn’t get was why there were bundles of newspapers and empty fruit and vegetable cartons stacked around the room.  I lost the blurb about what it all meant and am afraid that I couldn’t for the life of me explain it to you as eloquently as the young lady working in the room that day.  Frankly, if one needs to write a couple of pages explaining the concept of the piece, then you’ve pretty much lost me.  I really don’t need to know.

I went home after the gallery and nearly stepped on a used condom that was in the middle of the pavement.  It took me a moment to appreciate the absurdity of coming across this item on a nice quiet street next to the tennis ground and so I turned around and took a photograph of it.  I won’t post it as it is pretty disgusting.  The surreal aspect of this became more poignant when I noticed that there was an elderly couple sitting in the car next to it.   Do you think…?

Bank Holiday Monday was scorchio.  We decided that we would walk to Beachy Head and have lunch at the pub on the top of the hill.  I had noticed that although there were a fair amount of people out and about that day, I thought there would have been a lot more, considering it was a Bank Holiday.  It was surprisingly quiet to what I was expecting.  The weather was sooo nice, I was  regretting not suggesting we veg on the beach instead.  In any event, and as the tide was out, we walked along and on the beach to Cow Gap.  If any of you ever contemplates doing this, I personally do not recommend it, especially in the heat, and from Holywell.   The walk along the promenade is fine, but once it finishes at Holywell, the walking becomes difficult because of the amount of boulders and shingle one must navigate across.  Then there is the aspect of avoiding boulders that have greenery on them, which can be quite slippery.  If one is not careful, it is very easy to twist an ankle taking this route.  I usually have good ideas, but this was not one of my best one’s in hindsight.  If you wanted to get to Cow Gap, it would be easier (and safer) to take the land route along Foyle Way and then walk down the stairs.  We did this the first time we went there.  In any event, we safely arrived at Cow Gap and climbed up the stairs to finish our journey to the top of the hill at Beachy Head.  Although it is fairly tough going, the view is pretty amazing and the thought of an ice cold beer waiting for us at the top kept us in good spirits.  We took our time with a nice gentle pace and eventually reached our destination. 🙂

While Amor went to find a table outside, I got in the beers before we worked out what we wanted for lunch.  The place, although busy, wasn’t actually heaving, so I was surprised that I had to wait nearly 10 minutes to be served.  When I eventually came back in to order lunch, there was no particular place to order it.  Some people queued up in front of one bartender, which didn’t seem unreasonable, until he advised us to find other bartenders.  There didn’t seem to be a system of one person taking orders and another doing the bar, which would have been quicker.  Even though I still had half of my drink waiting for me outside, I ordered more drinks as we were being told that our lunch order could take 40 minutes.  In the end, it was more like an hour before our meal arrived, my lunch order was wrong and they didn’t bring any condiments when they served us, unlike the table next to us.  I also never got the missing item from my order even though I asked for it (and we never got condiments).  The food and service was pretty disappointing to say the least.  In the future, we may stop here for drinks (it’s the only bar on Beachy Head), but we won’t ever eat here again.

We ambled down the hill back into Eastbourne.  This was easier than going up.  (On reflection, I think that all of the walking and cycling I had been doing these last few months have been paying off in that I had no pain the day after from my little trek.) 🙂  Since our lunch was a bit of a disappointment, we stopped into Favoloso for dessert!  This time we had a 99 with their soft ice cream.  It was thick and creamy, yum!

Tuesday was quite breezy and cloudy and by the afternoon there was a fair amount of sunshine.  I wanted to go out in my car and drive with the top down.  (What is the point of having a convertible and not using it?!)  So, we drove out to Alfriston for lunch at The Smugglers Inn.  The service and the food here was a good deal better than the lunch we had the day before.  I would definitely eat here again, but I would skip dessert and try the chocolate and ice cream from Not Just Chocolate. We just looked in the window as I was too stuffed to even contemplate going in there.

Alfriston is a very pretty and a very old village dating back to the 13th century.  For a small town, it has quite a few pubs.  We wandered around the village, went into the gallery, perused the shops, had a look inside the church, and walked around the churchyard.

 

Alfriston

Alfriston

After spending an hour or so walking off our lunch, I drove back towards Eastbourne via the scenic route, thus giving Amor a chance to admire the scenery and amazing views for a change.  Our first stop was at High and Over for some beautiful scenic views of the Cuckmere River.

 

High and Over

High and Over

A bit further along the path we came to Frog Firle which had some splendid views towards Cuckmere Haven where you have a view of the sea.  This is another walk I would like to do sometime.  This day though, I just wanted some gentle flat walking as a respite from the previous day’s walk.

Frog Firle

Frog Firle

We got back to the car and drove off to Cuckmere Haven.  I hadn’t been here since March, when I came here for the very first time with Amor.  This time the weather was warmer and sunnier, the tide was out and the sea was gentler.  I will never stop being amazed at the view of The Seven Sisters.  It is so beautiful.  One day I will walk it!  For now, I am happy to just admire it.  We spent a pleasant time looking at the sea and reminiscing.  What a lovely ending to a long weekend.

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