We carried out our hike on Sunday 29th October and after a car journey, bus journey, train journey, railway replacement bus journey, another train journey and then a walk we arrived at the beginning point of our hike which was the lovely seaside promenade of Seaford. We followed along the promenade towards the cliffs and it was here that we experienced our first climb of the hike, which took us into the Seaford Head Nature Reserve. For some of us even this short climb left our muscles burning! After walking along the grassy paths, we followed a long, steady decline that eventually led down to where the Cuckmere River meets the sea.
The route on our maps veers away from the coast at this point, going inland until you can find a proper river crossing, however to make the hike more challenging for us and to exercise our teamwork skills, we decided to ford the river instead. In order to do this, one of the more experienced members went first and through the guidance of the other team members, she was able to test the rocks to see which ones would hold our weights and the rest of the team members followed suit. To get to the other side safely, we had rely on and trust each other and the collection of the strengths of each individual enabled us to get across successfully. The biggest problem was that crossing the river left our feet soaked as the water came in through our shoes and various layers of socks! #notcool. We walked along the pebble beach, getting closer and closer to the chalk cliffs which were incredible to see but our next task was to get to the top of them.
To get up the chalk cliffs we had to undertake a steep scramble up chalk paths which was an extremely terrifying task for some of the members of our group, as it was nothing they were expecting and the more we climbed the further away we got from the ground – aka safety. From there, there was no consistent set path, so we just kept a safe distance from the cliff edge and made our way up the grassy cliffs. Here our strength, stamina, courage, charisma, endurance and motivation was brutally tested, as climbing the seven sister cliffs was an extremely physically demanding task.
After a tremendously challenging time we finally arrived at Birling Gap which marked the end of the seven sister cliffs where we had lunch. Our packed lunch disappeared at an alarming rate and we refilled our water bottles for the rest of the walk. Next we carried on hiking the difficult terrain which eventually seemed never ending. Up and up we went on steep cliffs, only to find that when we reached the top there was another cliff ready for us to climb. This carried on for hours. Literally. During this time our camera rolls filled at a rapid rate due to the beautiful views we were seeing. And it was around this time that the sun started setting so the scenery turned almost magical leaving us all awestruck and amazed.
Eventually Eastbourne appeared on the horizon, its cluster of buildings leaving us feeling surprised after seeing so few man-made structures for most of the day, but also relived that we were finally back in civilisation. Next, was a very steep downhill marking the end of this hike. At this point we were all tired, exhausted, drained, fatigued but also proud of ourselves at our accomplishment at completing the hike successfully.