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Sussex Scrapbook ~ Wildlife walks throughout the year
Green Man
Saturday 22nd February 2014
Eastbourne - Beachy Head - Birling Gap - Exceat.
10 miles

Once again our walk has been touched by the bony hand of death but considering where we were walking today it doesn't come as such a surprise. The past two times we've been here the chaplains have been talking to people sitting on the edge of the cliffs, urging them to think again and go home.  This time there was no talking, just the crew of Birling Gap Coastguard abseiling down the cliffs to recover the body before the approaching tide could steal it away. It seems that the people who really mean to do away with themselves park at the lay-by and just walk straight off - no waiting around, no second thoughts. We think that the lay-by should be done away with thus forcing people to take a bit of a walk first. We would hope that the great views, the call of the birds and the fresh air would make them think again.
These incidents seem to be getting more common and maybe that is to do with the recession. Maybe it's to do with the state of the world with all of the hate, fighting and injustice that fills the news. The TV and chip wrapper coverage seems intent on making people feel anxious and depressed and makes you feel that you should give up caring for other people to save yourself from the heartache and stress that it all brings. Obviously a lot of people are not coping, even in our own relatively safe, caring and well-run (I said relatively) country. In other places it must be terrible; I've just read that a third of people in war-torn Somalia are suffering from mental illness.
To soothe our own troubled brows we walk - we walk everywhere we can and take in all the simple yet wonderful things that nature has to offer. We find it a real tonic and antedote to the stresses of modern life and our weekly dose lasts almost exactly a week. So if you find yourself at Beachy Head with dark thoughts and a need to end your suffering then please take our advice - instead of throwing yourself off the cliffs, walk along them instead - stop at Birling Gap for a cuppa, keep walking all the way to Cuckmere Haven, carry on to Seaford (stopping for a pint at the Golden Galleon on the way), for Pete's sake keep walking to Lands End if you have to but don't throw it all way at beautiful Beachy Head. For one thing suicide is such a bloody waste but most of all this place is so gorgeous that it's a real sacrilege that it's become associated with and sickeningly popular for suicide. If you have to do this sort of thing then please stay at home, eat pills and keep Sussex tidy!

An Eastbourne Herring Gull posing for all of the tourists.

The 600 foot high cliffs have undergone some serious redecoration since our last visit. The storms have battered them like crazy.
Some supposed suicides are without doubt accidents - so please take great care along the edge.

BBC report about new cracks at Birling Gap.

The famous Beachy Head lighthouse. Photographed by everyone who has ever visited this spot.

Just prior to the 'incident'. How can people come here and be blind to its beauty despite their troubles?

A flock of Oystercatchers sheltering at the base of the cliffs. Look out for falling humans!

Coming down into Birling Gap. Today it was teeming with people all making the most of the first bit of sunshine for ages.

Above Birling Gap and the start of the Seven Sisters.

Looking back all the way to Beachy Head.

One of a pair of Peregrines that put on a great show just before the last sister.
A bit blurry but they don't 'alf move!

Gill sketching at sunset.

Cuckmere Haven after sundown and a lot more water about than normal.

Doh! Our footpath has disappeared.

So we had to go via Foxhole Farm - my favourite camp site.

The Cuckmere meanders after dark. The end of another fantastic day's walk.
Go on, give it a go!

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