I hadn’t planned to go away. It just happened. Packed my bag on the Friday and took off. Destination, a hotel near Gatwick. After breakfast on the Saturday my intention was Brighton, I needed the sea and it was a friend’s birthday the following week and I planned to go to Choccywoccydoodah to get some chocolate (funny that) for her, she’s a chocoholic. As usual the journey took me longer because I refused to go the way the sat nav wanted me to. I found some lovely tree lined roads with beautiful views and even a little stream to sit and watch.
I eventually ended up on the main roads, it was extremely busy, the weather was gorgeous blue sky and sunshine so everyone was coming out of the woodwork. I noticed some people in their football colours for Brighton and Hove Albion and then bus loads of them, the busy roads made more sense then. I even toyed with the idea of seeing if I could get a ticket and going to the game, it’s been a while since I’ve been to a match, but it was at that point that I realised I didn’t want to be near loads of people. I stopped to look at the map and chose a piece of coast that wasn’t too built up, Cuckmere Haven, it sounded lovely, between Eastbourne and Seaford, where the river Cuckmere meets the English Channel and there are ox bow lakes (something that has fascinated me since my school days). As I got closer I noticed a road that did a little detour and went right up to the sea, I followed it and ended up parking there. It was a bit windy but still beautiful. It was Seaford. The beach was all stones and it appeared they were working on it, the heavy machinery was parked up, it looked like they were adding to the stones and compacting them all down, building the defences I imagine. There was a cliff off to the left, it looked pretty steep but I decided to give it a go.
It started off ok, but got steeper, the ground was grassy and there wasn’t a lot between you and the edge of the cliff. There was a patch near the top that was rutted, it wouldn’t have been possible if it had been wet.
As I was struggling up, my heart getting a good workout, a man came jogging past!! There always one! Good on him, I wouldn’t entertain it, but then I don’t run, can do, probably will when it gets lighter in the evenings, but not at the moment, I’m concentrating on my swimming. So I just ambled up there, not rushing, there was nothing to rush for. It was so peaceful at the top, apart from the bitingly cold wind. I walked along the top for quite a way, into the Seaford Head Local Nature Reserve. The view was breathtaking, the sun was glistening on the amazingly calm sea and I kept stopping to watch the elegant gulls, gliding and dipping, the underside of their wings reflecting the Umber colourings of the cliff face that I couldn’t quite see.
I wanted to continue on but I didn’t know how far it was before I would see Cuckhaven, the terrain started to go down again and I wasn’t sure I had enough energy in my tank to get back up and down to the car, I’d skipped lunch! So I turned around and walked back. There was also a golf course on the top, goodness knows how they were playing but they were, I like playing golf, played a lot in Naples, Italy, I’m not a lover of a links course. I watched a couple of guys tee off, nice shots but at the mercy of the wind. When I got back down to sea level I rewarded myself with a coffee and a slice of shortbread from a little shack that was doing a roaring trade. I looked at the map to see where I could go next. Beachy Head. I’d never been there, I’d been near, a couple of years ago I’d taken Sam to see the Vulcan (I was a Vulcan XH558 chaser, one year I drove around 2000 miles to see her display in various places) when she was displaying at Eastbourne. I’d heard the best place to be was Beachy Head but you couldn’t get near it – she was that popular. So we ended up on a cliff on the other other side. We still saw her though and she still moved me to tears, she was an amazing aircraft – I have many stories about my sightings!
It was about 3pm by now, I parked in the National Trust car park and made my way up the path, yet another hill. This one was all grass, very short grass, and the pathway was wide.
There were a few people dotted around, taking photos, quite a few students. I stopped and turned around for the view. White cliffs, calm sea, blue sky and gorgeous sunshine. I got to the top, near the lighthouse. All I could think about was how low and desperate people must be to bring themselves to a place of beauty and end their lives there. So, so sad that people around us can be feeling this low and have no one, or believe they have no one to turn to, to talk to. Just remember, a simple smile or a hello to someone could make all the difference in the world to them, it could give them hope and belief that they are not alone. Be the person who makes a difference today. While thinking all this I was utterly amazed that there was nothing along the edge of the cliff to warn you. It literally is just the edge of the land! Made my legs wobble.
I walked back down with my thoughts and made my way to the beach. There was a metal staircase that took you onto it. The beach is all stones. There were a few other people down there. I’d stopped at my car to get my change mat and my dry robe for warmth as I’d decided to sit and watch the sunset. I love a sunset. Every days it’s different, every minute, every second, it changes. It’s completely wonderful. I took quite a few photos and videos.
There were some youngsters trying to skip stones, after being a little miffed that they were encroaching on my peaceful moment I decided to embrace it and took some photos of them and their attempts – quite challenging.
The sun eventually melted into the sea. Another day, gone. It was quite special to think that only a few people had witnessed it from that point on that day, that people had turned up just for the sunset, imagine being close enough to do that everyday, if I was I’d be there! I’m always taking photos of the sunset whenever possible. I drove back to the hotel, treated myself to a bath to warm up and a fabulous 3 course meal and a glass of wine – I was starving! I had an idea what I wanted to do the next day but I never set it in stone, I’m learning to shoot the breeze, go with how I feel and what I fancy doing. I follow my gut, my instinct and so far I think I’m doing ok – as long as it doesn’t involve people anyway. Mind you, if I keep going to deserted beaches and cliffs and drive around country lanes on my own I’m never going to meet anyone anyway!! Maybe I don’t want to. Can’t get hurt then.