I have heard about the beauty of the white cliffs of Dover overlooking the English Channel and the French coast, but I have never heard of Beachy Head, nor was I prepared for its spectacular view! It is the highest chalk sea cliff in Britain where a red-and-white striped lighthouse can be found in the sea below it.
Thanks to Mengie, an old friend from my hometown, we were given a dramatic personal cliff-top tour of Beachy Head and the nearby equally picturesque villages surrounding Eastbourne in East Sussex. We took a rather cheap double-decker bus from Eastbourne which takes the longer route to Brighton - longer, because it passes by the rolling hills of the South Downs leading to the famous cliffs before heading back to the main highway going to Brighton. We alighted near a pub, and least you get any ideas, we did not go in nor take away some pints, which in hindsight, is such a shame! We all had our eyes set on the prize which was (forgive the repetition) the spectacular view that was Beachy Head. It was the first week of September and coming from the tropics, it felt like the heat of the mid-day sun could not compensate the chill of the sea wind. Thankfully though, crowd is few and far between, we only passed small groups of families with children and a group of German students on a field trip, all walking the same chalk hills. So I had a bit of freedom to take as much photos as I want.
We took our sweet time walking it, stopping here and there for more photos. The best ones I took where those nearest the edge, giving me a full view of the sea meeting the cliffs. We did not attempt it, but apparently, people can walk down to the sea near the lighthouse on a low tide. We walked eastward until we reached the highest peak, and then we headed westward to where we had a little picnic overlooking Eastbourne. The walk was exhilarating and as we chitchatted non-stop, quite literally breathtaking.
I cannot explain how amazed I was with the view, and how up on that cliff I felt peaceful. I guess, disturbing as it may sound, I can understand how the desperate ones are drawn to it to end it all there. Beachy Head today has become famous for its being a suicidal spot as much as for its beautiful view, equaling the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco with an estimated 20 deaths a year.
I do not want to end this blog on such a sad note, so a bit of trivia to pick the mood back up - what sporting event in Harry Potter (and the Goblet of Fire) was Beachy Head used as hosting grounds? ;)