Sunday, 30 August 2009

Close to the edge...



No I'm not talking about the result of six weeks at home with my daughters, nor the seemingly endless fruitless forays into town for last minute school uniform shopping. I'm talking about the day the Rambling Roses went for a walk on the wild side, a walk that took us literally close to the edge.



We decided to walk the South Downs Way from just after Birling Gap up to the top of Beachy Head and down into Eastbourne. A jolly jaunt we thought. Let's leave the car at home, take full advantage of the excellent bus service, enjoy the scenery en route and be as green as possible. All sounds wonderful doesn't it? Well it was... except ...



... we chose one of the windiest days I can remember to saunter along the cliffs' edge. Let me just say that we went green in more than one sense of the word, I'm not talking leaving the car at home energy saving kind of green, more the colour of my face when I caught sight of the sheer drop beneath my feet and the strength of the wind threatening to blow us over at any moment.



Shall we say it was exhilarating? Yes it certainly was! Honestly, it was... sometimes just a little too 'exhilarating', perhaps...
I remember years ago walking along the cliffs in Normandy and having one of those moments when you just literally freeze to the spot - taking the minutest steps possible, just wanting to close my eyes and vaporise.



Well it wasn't that bad this time but there were times when I came uncomfortably close to it, I did spend rather a lot of time shouting to the girls (above the noise of the gale force winds) to step back from the edge and, of course, Mr Roses did HAVE to lean over the edge a few times to get the perfect shot of the cliffs which all added to my greenness.



Putting those moments to one side, it was one of the most wonderful walks we have ever done. We've visited this spot before but there was something special about arriving by bus, the wind literally throwing us down the soft dips of the Downs, running along the grass with our arms outstretched and just enjoying the elements.



The blues of the sea to one side, shadows of clouds playing above our heads, the greens of the fields to the other and all the time the wind blowing and blowing...



I am amazed that I took any photos at all, not only was my camera violently shaken by the wind but each photo I took seemed to have my hair flying in front of it or the camera strap doing the same. Fortunately some photos emerged unscathed. Glimpses of the lighthouse appearing and disappearing between the swells of the hills, its stripes shining brightly against the white cliffs and blue sea.



Looking behind us and seeing the coastline that we had followed and the most beautiful fields and downland.
At Beachy Head itself, Big Sister and I literally had to lie on the ground to stop being blown over. We could not get a foothold on the ground. We spotted Mr Roses and Little Sister huddled on the ground together but it seemed impossible for us two to get over there to reach them. All we could do from our position on the grass was to beckon them over!



As we left Beachy Head and started to descend the scenery started to change. Trees appeared along the cliff edge, reminding me of France and Devon.



Touches of pink emerged amongst the grass and there in the distance was the sight of something familiar.



With the wind behind us we hurtled down the hill towards Eastbourne, the wind making it impossible to stop. Big Sister arm in arm with her dad, laughing and chatting. Me and Little Sister sharing her Ipod and singing Coldplay at the top of our voices...



Yes, it was exhilarating, but it was so much more. It was one of those moments you wanted to frame and put in a box. An unexpected delight gleaned from the last days of Summer. A treasured time from our Summer, for some reason I had tears in my eyes (and, no it wasn't the wind) - it was just one of those moments that you know are special.

32 comments:

Pipany said...

Oh I loved this post Kim! It reminded me so much of my childhood beautiful, wil and very windy Bude on the north coast of Cornwall. Even the cliffs look the same with that breathtaking hugeness. I miss it so. Thanks for the tour x

Pipany said...

Oops, should spellcheck!!! meant to say 'in beautiful, wild and windy Bude'.

Tracy said...

These views are so dreamy, Kim... can almost feel the sea spray through the pc screen! Lovely... Happy Day ((HUGS))

A Bun Can Dance said...

Thank you for taking us on your cliff top walk. As you say, special moments are for framing or keeping in a cut glass perfume bottle to inhale slowly in the months and years ahead.
Happy weekend
Denise x

Susie's country cottage said...

Beautiful photos. Parts of our coastline are so spectacular aren't they. You do hear of people accidently falling off cliffs from time time so you were very brave to attempt such a walk on a windy day. Rather you than me. I'm not keen on heights.

Vintage Amethyst said...

Oh goodness such a wonderful walk, well apart from the wind of course.
Such beautiful photos, I love days like this. Thank you for taking us along with you.
love
Alison
x

Pomona said...

You are braver than me! I found Lundy Island pretty scary - I spent the whole week there feeling like I was going to fall off the edge!

Pomona x

Lisa said...

Stunning photos!
I could also hear the wind whistling around my ears!
Hope all your summer hols was a great time together.
Lisa

Fiona said...

Looks like the most wonderful and exhilarating walk. We were on cliffs further along the coast in Dorset when the winds struck. Unfortunately our tent didn't survive it! Love your photos of the lighthouse by the way.

Simone said...

Kim you have nerves of steel!!! There is no way I could have walked near those cliff edges even on a calm day. I almost have vertigo looking at the photos!!! I am glad that you enjoyed yourself though but please don't go that close to the edge again even if the photos are wonderful!x

bellaboo said...

Just having done a lot of cliff top walks in Devon,can relate to your feelings on your Beachy Head trip.
If we're near the edge I have to hold on to my husbands shoulders as we walk along!Well done you..I wouldn't have dared do that walk if it was windy.Lovely pics too.

Bellaboo

Cowboys and Custard said...

This is beautiful in so many ways..
The photographs speak for themselves and seeing the edge from the safety of my sofa.. was still terrifying!

Glad you managed to stay on terra firma Milly..

Dottie xx

cocoa and blankets said...

Oh Kim what a lovely post, the pictures are amazing ...but the narrative is what touched me...the loving way you desciribe your family and your adventure on the cliff tops...I suppose one of the advantages of being a big lass is that no ammount of wind could blow me down !!!!! you have inspired me to go for a walk this afternoon..love H

Devon Dumpling said...

Lovely pictures of a lovely looking day out; love the lighthouse! x

Cassie said...

How wonderful! A lovely childhood memory for your children. Those pictures are fantastic; I can feel the wind in my hair lol!

Thimbleanna said...

Oh Kim -- it sounds wonderful! Your pictures are just beautiful. And can I ask -- what are the stripe-y looking things in the last picture that are on the beach, going in to the sea? Some sort of docks or something?

creative by nature said...

So glad Thimbleanna asked, I was just about to too! Please Kim, what are those lines of things coming from the sea onto the beach in the last photo? I'm curious...
Creative-by-nature

Sea Angels said...

Hi Kim I love this walk, I reckon you must have passed my mom yesterday they were up there to ha ha..hope you have had a lovely summer.
Hugs Lynn xxx

Andylynne said...

I love to go on trips with you and the rambling roses. Stunning photography. Stunning place. Thank you for sharing. Maybe some rocks in those pockets next time :)

Rowan said...

What a marvellous walk this sounds, the photographs are lovely especially the ones with the lighthouse. I've never been to this part of the English coast, I think next year I must remedy that and explore this lovely area. You have some wonderful memories to enjoy from this day.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

I'm so glad that you've shared it with us ! I couldn't , simply couldn't , do it myself . The photographs are stunning and I enjoyed " the trip " enormously .. Thankyou !

Primrose Corner said...

I don't like being near 'edges' either, especially when the wind is strong. Very beautiful photographs of a very pretty place.

sarah-jane down the lane said...

Oh thank you thank you, we haven't done this walk all summer, it was so beautiful to see it all laid out by you. Mr.Boodle especially loves it as he is allowed on the beach at Birling Gap :D
Sarah x

She'sSewPretty said...

What a gorgeous place and a wonderful memory! It reminds me of our last trip to the coast and me cringing every time my husband would get to close to the cliff edge. I admit I am a chicken and would only stand near the edge if there was a guard rail.

The Garden Bell said...

What a sweet little blog. I stumbled upon you over at Attic 24. With Lucy gone last week I had to enjoy others. I especially like this last picture. What a beautiful place to wander.

Meggie said...

Even on a non windy day, you couldnt drag me close to those cliff edges!!
Wonderful photos!

bad penny said...

Hi ! Thx for your message. It was wonderful to be in Brighton again. So lovely to hear you chose your engagement ring in that jewellery shop ! My Great Aunt was at Marshal Snelgrove - she was a wonderful woman who always had the right bits & bobs when I wanted to customise clothes ! xx

Isabelle said...

Ah, you'll remember this when your girls have flown the nest... Such a lovely stage you're at. I wish mine were that age again. Great words and pictures.

Felicity said...

its gorgeous, the photos are lovely! thanks for braving the wind and sharing! fliss xx

busybusybeejay said...

It's such a pity you can't bottle these special times.I had a major operation last year and my granddaughter came to visit me in hospital.She presented me with a painted box which appeared to be empty but she told me it was full of kisses from her.Every time she comes she fills it up with more kisses.I suppose we all ought to have a" precious moments "box in which we put them and open it up to recall them.My GD is 4 and her mum says it was her own idea.It cheered me up no end.

Wild Rose said...

What a fabulous walk Kim. Mr Roses did a great job of those cliff-top photos and the picture of Beachey Head is terrific.

It must certainly have blown the cobwebs away!

Marie x

Duchess of Tea said...

I just stumbled into your blog and now I feel like I am in heaven. I simply adore what you have done to your blog. It is refreshingly interesting, a delight for the eye with loads of lovely photos. I am now a proud follower of your blog.

Love & Hugs
Duchess xoxoxo