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Sussex Scrapbook ~ Wildlife walks throughout the year
Green Man
Saturday 11th January 2014
Amberley - Rackham Hill - The Burgh - Burpham - North Stoke - Amberley
10 miles.

Things didn't start out well. While taking our usual perusal of the area from the old paddock above Amberley Museum, we noticed ambulances and police cars up at Downs Farm. On getting closer we were told that a cyclist had died of a heart attack at the top of Rackham Hill. On continuing we were passed by a policeman wheeling his bike back down, followed soon after by the poor man in an off-road ambulance/recovery vehicle. What a thing to happen in such a beautiful place on such a perfect day. Mind you, on many occasions I've thought that if I had to decide on somewhere to leave this mortal coil, then Rackham Hill would probably be my place of choice, preferably in the summer, amongst the orchids and the sheep.

We tried to give up on thinking about mortality and to concentrate on the good things around us instead, which soon corresponded to tea, cake and the views from our favourite tiffin spots.

Today we were lucky enough to see something incredible that I have been hoping to see for years, ever since I first heard about it: The mythical 'Green Flash'. This takes place at the very last moment of sunset when the last vestige of the sun travels through the widest possible amount of our atmosphere and turns a brilliant emerald green for just a split second before it slips behind the horizon.
When sunlight is scattered by the atmosphere it splits up into different colours, like the reds, yellows and oranges of a sunset. Green is not usually visible but  warm air just above the sea causes an 'inferior mirage' to occur, making the flash visible after the sun has actually sunk. You need very clear conditions with no particulates in the atmosphere to see this effect and as it's been raining almost constantly for weeks, the air above Sussex has been well and truly rinsed out.
Green Flash video.

Gill didn't know about this rare phenomenon as we watched the sun sink behind the sea together, but when she turned round to me and screamed, "the sun went green" then I knew I wasn't hallucinating. Another ambition realised.

Soon after, as we were approaching Burpham village and were still buzzing about 'the flash' we came across a pair of Tawny Owls playing kiss-chase. Not something you see every day either.
Certainly a day of ups and downs.

The castle from the train. Both still surrounded by floodwater.

The water course that flows on top of the paddock wall.

We think Amberley Castle looks much better surrounded by water.

A fantastic sunset topped of by a Green Flash (not pictured).

Take the time to read the countryside code for yourself and please stick to it at all times.