Walk to Beachy Head Lighthouse this weekend

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SUS-150408-090307001

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There is still time to register for this weekend’s annual Lighthouse Challenge and walk to the Beachy Head landmark.

It is on Sunday July 3 and a rare opportunity when a low spring tide occurs at the right time and during daylight hours. Hundreds of people are expected to take part in the charity walk.

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The walk was originally started in 2011 when it emerged that owner Trinity House decided not to re-paint the famous Beachy Head Lighthouse and allow it to slowly fade to its original grey granite colour. The reason was the stripes were no longer required to aid ships’ navigation.

News that the world-famous landmark would lose its unmistakable red and white livery caused some controversy nationwide and a fundraising campaign was launched, including a feature on BBC’s Countryfile programme, to raise £45,000.

Work on the painting finally began in September 2013 after the target was reached, and some of the money was raised by staging the walk from the foot of the Downs in Eastbourne to the lighthouse and back.

Such was the popularity of the Beachy Head Lighthouse Challenge that it has now become an annual event, and this weekend’s walk will be the fourth.

It is organised by Eastbourne AM Rotary Club, campaign group Save the Stripes and the Eastbourne Herald.

Rotarian Martin Wellings said, “This is a fascinating opportunity to take part in a most breathtaking walk.

“Last year we had 700 people turn up and they absolutely loved it. This year we are hoping to attract people from all over the south east and beat that figure.

“Apart from the Downland stretch this challenge is not suitable for running and all but a very few patches should be negotiated very carefully.

“To take part in this event people need to be reasonably fit for a mixture of running, walking and clambering. It isn’t easy but it is great and most people can achieve this.”

The starting point will be at the kiosk by Bede’s school along Eastbourne seafront between 3pm-4.15pm.

Once checked-in, people set off across the Downs to Cow Gap (approx 15-20 minutes), down the steps to the beach and over the rocks, boulders, sand and slippery seaweed to the lighthouse (approx 55 minutes).

The times above have to be fairly precise to make maximum advantage of the small window that allows people to walk around the lighthouse, and return before the tide turns and sunset.

On July 3, maximum low water is forecast to be at 5.28pm and sunset at 8.14pm.

The cost is £6.50 per adult pre-paid and £3 for anyone under 18, with an extra charge if you turn up on the day. All monies go to local charities while a third is kept back for when the next repainting needs to take place.

To book, log onto http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/beachy-head-lighthouse-walk-2016-tickets-21822378321