Starting mileage: 14941 km
Day started: 9:30
Day ended: 22:00
Last evening the sun was out in full, so we had put up our sun canopy to test it. We didn’t bother to pack it for the night, and we got woken up around 5 am by the car rocking and heaving in the gale; turns out the sun canopy makes for a great sail in good wind. To the credit of the guys over at Bus Shelter, it withstood the gale without the slightest tear – something that could not be said about a few neighbouring awnings.
In other words, it’s damn windy this summer.
As a Victorian traveler would put it, “the area between Eastbourne and Littlehampton is well served by fast and frequent trains from London”, making this strip of the southern coast one we’ve grown most familiar with over the years. Thus, we breezed through it with only a few important stops.
The Pevensey Castle is something I’ve always wanted to see, ever since reading Puck of Pook’s Hill as a kid. Britain’s entire written history is frozen here like a fly in amber, from the imposing walls of the Roman fort, Anglo-Saxon raids, through William the Conqueror’s landing and Plantagenet civil wars all the way to World War II when US and Canadian built pillboxes into the bastions.
The audio tour is a bit tacky, but informative and I imagine great for kids, with pretend prisoners wailing at you from the dungeons and fake Yankees complaining about the weather 🙂
No trip to this part of the coast is complete without stopping at Beachy Head, and so we did this time once again, just to make a few photos – we’ve been here three times already, and it’s always a wondrous sight, the sea of grass on the landward side almost as impressive as the roaring sea of water below the perfectly straight chalk cliff.
Birling Gap, Seven Sisters, Seaford and Newhaven are all places worth visiting at least once, each famous and interesting in its own right, but today we sped past them on our way to Brighton.
It had taken us three visits to Brighton before we discovered its cool and understood what the fuss about this gaudy, overcrowded and noisy seaside resort, London’s personal beach and clubhouse. Roughly between the Queen’s Road and the Pavillion hides the hippy-hipster-foodie-coffee-reggae-punk-lgbt-etc. bit of the town, a miniature compilation of the best bits of Soho, Camden and East End all in one place (with many of the same outlets, but mostly independent).
Predictably, we went over budget at the local farmers market (hidden away in a tiny cul-de-sac, with a lady who weighed all the fruit&veg by the old “hand and eye” method) and a distinctly Scandinavian looking cafe; it was there that we got some rather bad news on the money front, which soured our mood to the point of leaving Brighton sooner than we had planned.
The last stop of the day was at Shoreham-by-Sea. I wrote about Shoreham and its famous houseboats extensively after our last trip; it hadn’t changed much since September, except the footbridge over Adur is being replaced with a new fancier one, and many of the houseboats are being renewed and renovated, filling the walkway with the smell of fresh wood.
We’re into West Sussex now, continuing our leisurely pace of one shire per day 🙂
The Ecclesden Farm is exactly that: a working farm with a fair bit of meadow put away for campers. It’s quite empty, and we had an entire field to ourselves, with everyone else stuck on the other side of the road. I can’t see the reason for this emptiness other than lack of marketing prowess on the owners’ side – it’s a decent and cheap place (£15 with hookup), as clean as can be expected from a working farm, fairly quiet (except for flocks of sparrows in the bushes 🙂 and with good views over the Arun valley below, but we would never even know about it if we didn’t get the number for it from another place that was full up.