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Saturday 29th December 2007
The Lard Off!

This 7 mile walk was designed to exercise some of the Christmas lard out of the veins of ourselves and a group of family and friends who we had invited to join us. We all met up at Crawley train station before sunrise and drove down to Eastbourne together so that we could do the
Beachy Head Seven Sisters walk. The weather, which had been terrible up until the middle of the night beforehand was breezy, but clear, bright and sunny. The temperature and weather were just right for a winters hike and the great visibility allowed us to get the best from the stunning views.

Everyone was able to cope well with the terrain, even though it's a very strenuous walk with some seriously steep bits. (Perhaps my extremely calorific Cinder Toffee helped). The views took everyone's breath away of course and the people who had never done a walk like that before were all very pleased with themselves, as well they should be. The strong wind made it very hard going in places, especially the summits of the individual sisters, but it gave us all very rosy cheeks!

We didn't expect to see too much wildlife today, what with it being the middle of winter and all, but I'd told people that we could expect to see Peregrine Falcons. Although they waited until 5 minutes before the end of the walk to show themselves, they did put on a truly spectacular finale for us. Two of them flew directly over our heads and then proceeded to severely mob what appeared to be a carrion crow. They worked as a team to deliver almost continuous attacks from full speed swoops and dives. They managed to force the crow nearly to the ground before a large group of corvids and gulls came to see what all the fuss was about. They then very wisely made a hasty retreat. While we were still buzzing from a great final show and a an unbelievably good walk, we made a hasty retreat into the Golden Galleon for a well deserved beer. We then caught the bus back to Eastbourne Pier and walked along the seafront back to the cars as the sun went down. By then most people were completely done in, and we reckon everyone must have slept very well when they got home. Tomorrow morning they may not be able to move without screaming, but when they remember what they managed the day before, we're sure the smiles will return to their faces.

9:30am and raring to go! They wont be so cheery when they're climbing Beachy Head, hee hee.

On the way up Beachy Head. I said it would be good didn't I........

Coming down from Beachy Head. Ah that's better...

A picnic halfway along at Birling Gap, out of the wind and in the sun. Perfect!

Just West of Birling Gap

Nothing to see here, move along please

Climbing the second sister...or is it the third?...Fourth? Who knows, it's impossible to keep count.

Some of the ladies take a well deserved rest on top of one of the sisters

Well warmed up now and tired people are getting blown about everywhere by the wind

The final stretch, up to the top of Exceat Hill for a good view of the meanders and the valley.
This was also where we saw the peregrines. WOW what a show!
The pub is in sight from here too. That spurred people on for the final push!

Then back to Eastbourne Pier by bus for a very pleasant evening stroll along the front.
We were in time to see a small flock of starlings going to roost on the domed roof of the pier and a lone surfer surfing in the dark..?.

The day went amazingly well and people have already put their names down for the next one in the spring.
Thanks to all of you for coming and we're really glad that you enjoyed it. We loved it!