Thursday, July 16, 2009

4 June 2009 - Day 5: Eastbourne - Beachy Head - Birling Gap

11.00 a.m.

Despite the stress of dealing with a blocked drain, Dave helps me with blogging problems. I finally leave for Eastbourne on the train after lunch.

2.30 p.m.
Temp: 19.4C, humidity: 25%, partial cloud cover, light south westerley wind
O.S. Explorer Map No. 123
Total distance cycled: 6 miles

Leaving from Eastbourne rail station, I cycle out of town passing old folks" homes and private schools. I get help from Helen when lost and disorientated. She walks her dog up the hill with me to show me a way through to a quieter road.
This is a major push job, up and up, made worse by the brakes binding again. Push 40 paces, rest one minute, and so on. Leaving Helen I finally get to the Beachy Head pub, still pushing. but over the top its downhill all the wa – three miles of it, lovely, a screaming experience of pure joy - until i get to the Birling Gap Hotel where friends Janet and Sarah have bought me a night's stay.

I meet Rita there; before dinner there's a minor incident - I've cut myself on a tin of peas I was opening with my penknife as a stop gap snack. It may need a stitch, there's so much blood, but we do our best with what we've got. And dinner is very tasty.

After an East Enders catch-up, a climb down to the beach which is bleakly beautiful in the fading light. Up above, the sea has that sound of waves hissing and pulling on the shingle, somehow magnified by the greater distance. Further exploration of Beachy Head will wait til tomorrow.