Saturday, 7 June 2014

South Downs Way Day 6 Monday 2 June

Miles walked 18.

Had a cooked breakfast this morning and staggered on my way at 8.10am. It was going to be another very warm day. Passing the new YH at Itford Farm, there followed a long, steady climb up to Beddingham Hill, followed by Firle Beacon. The weekend being over, there were very few people about. I stopped to pass the time of day with a horse rider. Elevenses was had near the Bopeep car park. I took my time here as I don't want to reach Eastbourne until tomorrow morning. Dropping down into Alfriston at lunchtime, I shopped for lunch at the excellent deli at the post office. Well worth a visit. I bought a couple of ciabatta rolls, Sussex Camembert and some dry cured ham. Alfriston looked well worth a return visit. I stopped for lunch a mile or so south of the village.

Walking through Friston Forest was cooling. I stopped to look around the visitor centre at Exceat and filled up with water. Then on into the Seven Sisters Country Park which took me up to the coast by Cuckmere Haven.

The Seven Sisters made for an exhilarating roller coaster walk. It was a beautiful summer's evening, crystal clear with a clear blue sky. Shortly after six, I stopped in one of the grassy dips to cook. I took my time and thought that where I was couldn't be bettered as a wild pitch. I was out of sight of any habitation and it was completely flat. I nearly unpacked my tarp but realised that I still had a couple of hours of daylight left so reluctantly pushed on.

I passed by Birling Gap, followed by a lighthouse which, for a moment, I thought was manned. In fact, it has been converted into a home and there were people sitting in the glass room at the top. On the nearby road, the car belonging to the Beachy Head Chaplaincy Team passed by twice. I pitched at 8.30pm in a dip just south of Hodcombe Farm. A couple of joggers went by. I'd seen a fox a few minutes earlier on the cliff top but now there were just me and the rabbits.

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