On Saturday the weather was overcast and a bit windy but we fancied stretching our legs and I suggested we go along to Beachy Head (you may remember I've run a marathon across there for the last couple of years) as Mike hadn't experienced the South Downs.
We just planned a short walk of about 3 miles as I was running the Hastings 1/2 marathon the next day so we parked at Birling Gap and walked up to Beachy Head itself to see the Belle Toute (pronounced bell toot) Lighthouse which has an impressive history. Built in 1832 it's light was visible from 20 miles out at sea thus helping sailors avoid the dangerous shoreline. It was used by the BBC as a film set for 'The Life and Loves of a She-Devil' and then was privately owned and used as a family home. It has just been sold for around £850,000! It looks pretty grotty up-close but the views across the sea are beautiful. Due to coastal erosion it was in danger of falling over the edge of the cliffs so in 1999 it was moved 17 metres (56 feet) further inland.
It really is wild up there and the winds are severe. I took this photo of Mike standing next to a tree to show just how strong the prevailing wind is - it's virtually bent double! The yellow shrub in the background is gorse which is an important nectar plant for bumble bees at this time of year. It's very prickly which helps it retain water (a bit like cacti) and prevents it from being dessicated in the drying winds.
You get fabulous views from up there but it was a bit misty so the views across the sea weren't too good. This is part of the coastline showing the famous white cliffs of the region.
Having walked up and down a couple of the hills we went down onto the beach. Most of the coast in this region is pebbles and this was no exception. The cliffs are eroding at an alarming rate and there were massive pile of them strewn along the shoreline. The blackish stones on top of the limestone are flints and if you look at the cliff face close-up you can see lines of flints in-between layers of limestone.
You can get a feel for the scale of the cliffs from the people to the far right of the photo (they look like dots!).
The sky was pretty moody although this photo doesn't really do it justice.
Now about those frogs.............
I cast on all 296 stitches for the hem and started knitting. My circular needles were new and quite curly-wurly and it was hard to straighten them out properly (can you see where this is going yet?) but I struggled along merrily. It was good Saturday-night-whilst-watching-a-film sort of knitting and it progressed well.
The next day, after running the Hastings 1/2 marathon, I picked it up to do a little light knitting whilst I had a short rest. The twisting wouldn't straighten out and that's when I realised - yes, it was totally twisted when I joined and I was making a Mobius Strip! Oh dear. I twisted and turned it thinking I couldn't have been so daft but I had to accept it and so it was that rather than knitting yesterday afternoon I was ripping.
So, that's my second trip to the frog pond this year. Deep joy. I didn't cast-on again last night and had a couple of glasses of wine instead to numb the pain!