Despite it being such a cliched viewpoint that it’s quite literally on the front of several guide books, I wanted to go to Cuckmere Haven to see it with my own eyes. My friend and colleague who has lived in the area for over 20 years had never been to this extraordinarily famous vista, so I convinced him to come along and finally sort that out, too. I’m nothing if not demanding.
Never knowingly underprepared, I’d bought a couple of new walking books before my trip to Brighton (seriously I could start my own British guidebook lending library – do you think there’s a market for it?). Not only was this viewpoint on the front cover, but it was listed as one of the “easy” walks – that was all the convincing I needed. It’s worth pointing out that even the easy walks in this book are about 4/5 miles long and involve going up cliffs, so I’m not sure I’m quite ready for what it describes as “moderate”, or heaven forbid “difficult”.
Although the weather had brightened up since earlier in the day, the conditions were still far from ideal. That meant the view was a little hazy at times, but, every so often, a little bit of golden sunshine peeked out of the clouds and turned the view of Seven Sisters cliffs in the distance into something quite special – and something I sadly never managed to really capture particularly adequately with my camera – I’ll have to go back.
Reading the walking instructions in my book – rather than following my phone – for a change felt quite a special. A bit like a treasure map – especially when you get instructions such as “look out for a break in the hedge after 250 metres” and so on. What happens if you miss it! The excitement doesn’t get more thrilling than this.
The walk starts in Seaford, which seems like a charming enough town and even has its own museum. Always a plus point for any town in my book (not that I get to visit many these days). You then ascend a huge (probably not that big) cliff to get a view back over the town before following it round to Cuckmere Haven. When you first see the Seven Sisters emerging on the horizon you no longer begrudge the climb to get to the top of the cliff. I made sure to count all seven of the sisters, just in case somebody had got the name wrong. I’m pleased to confirm that all were present and correct.
After nearly going off piste – and having to revert back to the trusty phone – we managed to complete the walk in its entirety, which pleases me quite a bit more than it probably should. Basically, I feel like I can’t tick it off from the book if I don’t do it properly. I should probably see somebody about this compulsion.
Distance – 4.15miles
Time – 2:09