I’m so unfit that I’m stiff as a board and can barely hobble.
After my rather severe shock and general gloom on Friday I decided (after a delightful Saturday and Sunday with various friends) that what Maizy and I needed most in the world was a trip to the seaside. Because we are both, if the truth be known, salty sea dogs bitches and I at least begin to pine if I don’t get salt air in my lungs on a regular basis.
A combination of advice and research led to the chosen destination – train tickets to Seaford are cheap and there’s great walking along the coast towards Eastbourne. We got as far as Birling Gap in the time available – see the map below.
The arrow marks Seaford station, plumb in the middle of a slightly grim seaside town. Not as grim as it would be if infested with amusement arcades, vendors of seaside tat and over-oiled fish and chips but grim in a rather grey down-at-heel way.
But hiding behind that first white cliff on the edge of town is a wonderful, if rather steep in places, walk towards and over the famous Seven Sisters, a series of chalk cliffs.
They start just east of Cuckmere Haven. Which is all well and good – the path runs obediently along the cliffs from Seaford to the aforementioned Haven. But obedience there expires and in order to cross the River Cuckmere, which flows fast and deep into the sea, it is necessary to walk a mile inland along the west bank to Exceat, risk life and limb on the busy-but-single-lane road bridge there and then trudge a mile back down to the coast. Look at it on the map if you don’t believe me.
Since I’d both failed to look at anything other than a google map and had got very distracted on the beach of the west bank by groynes and their protruberances this major detour came as an unwelcome surprise.
Thank goodness I’d packed a large bottle of water and Maizy’s folding bowl.
I’m not quite sure why the cliffs are called the Seven Sisters when there appear to be eight peaks. I’m glad Wikipedia (at the link above) has confirmed this suspicion because I counted them as we went, oh so slowly, up and, slightly faster, down and arrived at a total of eight too. I thought the unaccustomed exertion and heat had addled my brain. This is the view from Short Bottom (the first dip) looking back at Haven Brow (the first Sister) and the coast towards Seaford.
Fortunately there was a bus from Birling Gap back to Seaford and enough time for a huge ice cream before it left.
I dragged my camera and lenses up and down the cliffs and not only did I not change the lens once, I left the settings from its last outing (the nearly pitch-black Joan As Police Woman gig) unchanged. Result? Crap pictures. How stupid can one get? Those I have put up have had to be thoroughly laundered through photoshop elements with the resultant tragic loss of already feeble quality. Still, I hope I shan’t forget to check the ISO setting again.
And today, oh, the stiffness. The ancient, bow-legged gammy hobblingness. Why on earth do we have muscles on the front of our shins anyway? (that’s a rhetorical question, by the way). And to add insult to injury I’m puce with sunburn. But I feel virtuous for getting some exercise, and it was worth it. Maizy appears entirely unaffected and just as bouncy and energetic as usual.
The entire slideshow of the day is here. Split shins are, apparently, more widely known as shin splints. I obviously don’t really have them, merely some rather shocked and horrified muscles.