||[Tuesday 10th December 2013 at 12:00 am]
I had a grand plan initially today of getting up earlier in the morning, catching the first train that I could get with a cheap day return, and going to explore Pevensey Castle for at least part of the day. I hadn't decided what to do with the rest of the day but in the time before the train I downloaded the geocaches for the area.
Just before setting out I thought to check the opening times... and discovered that in the winter months the castle is only open at weekends. This seems to be a theme of English Heritage - unless it's Stonehenge, you can't get to it mid-week in winter (an odd exception is Titchfield Abbey but that's probably because all someone has to do is unlock it in the morning and disappear for the rest of the day).
So I pondered and thought, what about Browsea Island? That's about an hour closed by train (though due to the peculiarities of British Rail it's also more expensive than Pevensey)... and that's entirely closed in winter. So that's Tuesday's plan gone as well.
So I pondered and thought some more and looked at Winchester which I've been meaning to visit for a while. And having been caught out twice so far, checked online what was around there... and found that all the museums are closed on Mondays. Except for the one which is closed entirely in winter (can you spot a theme here?).
In the end I picked Seaford as it's been years since I've been there. The original plan was something like start at Seaford station and poke my nose in the Martello Tower museum, before making my way along the cliffs to Cuckmere and the Seven Sisters finding geocaches along the way. I could then walk inland along Cuckmere Haven before heading back to Seaford.
Well, the Martello Tower was closed (surprise, surprise). I did manage a little geocaching, and got as far as Hope Gap before being distracted by a sunset...
The sunset turned the chalk cliffs...
...into wonderful oranges...
Even after the sun had set the sky was full of colour:
There were many, many squabbles of seagulls all gliding west along the coast.
All in all, it worked out as a very nice day. The clifftop walk was amazingly quiet and peaceful - I live near a major road junction and at my parents there's always the noise of the A24, so it's relatively rare that I end up somewhere this quiet. Even on my wanderings around the Solent coast there's still some background noise while on the cliffs here, there's nothing except the faint white noise of the waves 400 ft below. The weather conditions were also just right (clear skies with just enough high cloud to make the photos interesting) and I turned up at the gap at just the right time to watch the sunset.
I've still got no idea what I'll do tomorrow though :)
Oh, and the fail continued - on the way back I thought I'd be smart and get the Portsmouth train from Brighton, then change at Barnham on to the Southampton train from Victoria (via Horsham). So of course that train was delayed and I ended up changing at Barnham onto the other Southampton train... from Brighton! I blame Nik, some of his fail must have rubbed off on me during the years in Brighton...