Seven Sisters Country Park
Poor Pam :(
... I wasn't the most popular person that day! :))
CUCKMERE HAVEN Please navigate the link (left of page) for more beautiful pictures!
WALKING ON WET DAYS
During the Christmas holiday the weather hadn't been all that great it was rather dull at best with shades of grey that had gone on for far too long, there was little else to do but watch TV and eat, eat, and eat!... That’s not always a good idea except perhaps on Christmas day but Christmas had past and gone and it was getting rather boring being indoor... The truth was that we are not couch potatoes and after a few days of immobility we felt in need of some serious Walking!... One morning I woke up early and saw the sun shining from the bedroom window I abruptly woke my wife up and said, let get out right now while the going is good!... I had a quick look at the weather forecast for the Sussex area and it did look quite promising, sunny spells, generally dry but worsening in the late afternoon... Well, I thought that’s good enough for us and in no time at all we were on the road driving south in the direction of Seaford with my foot hard pressed on the accelerator being my usual style of driving that went with a history of speeding tickets! :)) In just a little over an hour we were in Seaford parking at the bottom of Seaford Head where we normally start our walk but that day the conditions were not quite the same as the forecast it wasn't sunny but very dull and misty in fact it was a typical seaside winter weather but at least it was dry! Our plan was to walk from Seaford Head to Birling Gap, a fair walk and one of our favourite, we left the plastic macs in the back of the car feeling reassured from the earlier weather forecast and started to climb up a very windy Seaford Head... I think those condition are not always a bad thing as they can help walkers keep cool, and it certainly works for me… Going uphill the ground felt soft under the feet in places it was slippery and well soaked from rain of bygone days. The ground was a mixture of chalky/clay muck, this was not a good combination for walking if climbing but especially bad going downhill. One positive thing though it felt safer walking away from the edge of the cliff because of the wind.... I normally like to walk near the edge often trying to get some unusual (do not do this at home shots) looking down to the bottom of the cliff... that might not be for everyone even if there are some advantages in living dangerously it is essential that one must be a little crazy but also know what to do but most of all being fearless it helps a lot! While walking up I stopped several times to take some shots I never like to miss a photo opportunity and often that means that I rarely look where I put my footing, so hey, presto I soon found myself flat on my face and looking rather brownish in colour! :) Those falls usually happens so quickly that there is never any time to remedy the situation, it is virtually instantaneous 1/100th of a second and you're down and that’s always against your will. Once on the ground my first thought was for my camera the Lumix TZ9 which I was holding tightly in my hand, yes the camera was still intact and free from mud… I was quite pleased about that, perhaps I forgot I was hurting a little but that never last long usually fade away quickly… I soon got up before Pam could see me and perhaps have a laugh. But she was already on top of the cliff and did not see me….From then on I was carefully watching every steps even knowing that it would not last long I knew it from experience!... Once on top of Seaford Head the wind felt even stronger the light changed as a large black cloud suddenly appeared from nowhere it looked more like late evening than midmorning and to make matters worse the there was mist rising from the sea ... For a moment I wasn't sure whether it was my my sunglasses yes, I was wearing sunglasses, but only to protect from the wind. I took them off and saw the distant hills looking very faint, yes, it was raining heavily in the distance ... We continued walking towards Cuckmere Haven now about 1.1/2 miles away from Seaford Head when the sky opened and cats and dogs were falling on us!... At first we thought it was going to be just one of those quick shower but we had no choice but to continue onwards, even though we were not equipped with water proof clothing in fact we were indeed wearing the wrong stuff!... I was wearing a dark coat with corduroy trousers and brown suede shoes! Pam was just as exposed as me and wet! The rain eventually came down in real buckets full we hoped that it would stop sooner rather than later but instead it kept coming down. By then we had past the midway point and were closer to Cuckmere Haven where I fell on very slippery sloping terrain flat on my back… Again it was another helpless moment but a moment when I thought I was made of steel as I had survived yet another bad fall!... Pam as usual was ahead she’s not really interested like me in taking pictures and again she missed a good laugh, but ten yards behind me there was a couple which saw me fall and they really looked extremely concerned just as I was getting up in a cinematic style slow motion! :) The girl quickly asked me; Are you alright?... did I have any broken bones?.. I would never admit as a man that I was hurting but by then I was already up and obviously I was alright otherwise I would be screaming with pain!... So I smiled thanking them for asking and said; I think I am rather tough and made of very strong stuff, again I smiled, hopping they would smile too but they had a look of disappointment on their faces of quasi incredulity and couldn't understand that after such a bad fall I could be Ok. Perhaps they wished I had broken some bones so they could have cared for me or even hug me! :)) But that it was denied to them and I ended up feeling sorry for them! :) Shortly after that I began to wonder what was the matter with me sliding all over the place, I hadn't seen anyone else falling down that day! But I found an explanation, it was my suede shoes they had smooth real leather soles they were the culprit all I had to do was be more careful!.. I carried on walking feeling perfectly fine beginning to believe that I was almost indestructible and feeling pleased with myself!... By that time we were getting closer to Cuckmere Beach where we would needed to walk inland ending up onto the main road where hopefully we would hop onto a bus back to Seaford... The sound of the rain was ever present, water was running down my face I seem to have a wet vision of the world we were alone there was no one for miles just the two of us feeling very exposed and very, very wet!.. Pam had a hood over her head but was just as soaked as me and not in a good mood for talking! Eventually we reached the beach at that point we had another 30 to 40 minutes further to walk but that only in normal circumstance not that day because we had an added problem, the path by the river was very muddy, walking in that mess was almost impossible without the risk of having a mud bath! Or even sliding off the river bank, the path from hell was incredibly slippery made of soft slimy clay and quite deep see Conditions the path run for more than a mile up to Seven Sisters Country Park where the main road was... Of course we did not even try to walk on the path instead we chose to walk through thorny bushes holding from them often getting scratched that was better than falling in the mud or onto the river Cuckmere River of course that slowed us down considerably but we had no other options... Well it wasn’t easy but eventually we got to Seven Sisters Country Park, strange as it might seem when we got there suddenly it stopped raining… Somebody calls that sod law and so do I!... We waited for the bus there and after 10 minutes we hopped on it soaked from top to bottom but strangely we felt warm inside although we were still a good hour drive away from home and well, I'll say once more yes, we were very wet too!:))
My advise, never wear suede shoes, never walk on uncertain days especially where there is no shelter unless you're crazy like us! :))
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Photo taken in Seaford, East Sussex, UK
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