How long does it take?
It is around two miles each way, so the time depends on the speed of each walker. The average is around 20 minutes along the top of the Downs, and then another 50 minutes from when you go down to the beach at Cow Gap to the Lighthouse.
Is the walk difficult?
No, it is not difficult, but it is not a straight forward walk along the beach. Walking across the Downs to Cow Gap is pretty straight forward, but once on the beach you will encounter some pretty large rocks which have to be negotiated, some up to five foot high, and in addition, as you near the Lighthouse, there is a lot of seaweed which makes things quite slippery.
What do I need to wear?
Suitable clothes for any walk, bearing in mind the expected conditions for the day, but in addition, you are likely to walk through some small puddles of water left by the receding tides, so waterproof boots are a good idea. Probably not thought about, but taking some old gloves is useful to help you keep balance when negotiating some of the larger rocks which are quite sharp.
Is it suitable for children?
We set an age limit of 16 for all participants walking on their own, and anyone under that age is not allowed to go without being accompanied by an adult. Parents will make the decision as to whether their children are reasonably fit and able to walk the distance required.
Can I take a dog?
The short answer is yes, but you need to be aware that on the stairs down from Cow Gap to the beach, there are steep open steps, and many dogs do not like these. It will therefore by up to owners to decide whether Fido is going to be up to the challenge!
Why is the walk only organised once a year?
Surprisingly perhaps, there are very few days when the tide is out far enough to be able to walk right round the Lighthouse. It needs to be a Spring tide which only occurs when there is a full Moon, a weekend, and as low water usually occurs early evening, there has to be time to return before sunset.
What is the walk in aid of?
The first walk was started to raise funds for the re-painting of the Lighthouse in its iconic red and white stripes, and the painting took place in 2013. Although the Lighthouse is owned by Trinity House, they had decided that as the actual colours were no longer required for navigational purposes, they were content to let the paint gradually peel off and revert to plain stone. Since the first walk, the modest fee goes to put money into a reserve fund for when it needs painting again, to cover donations to the organisations making the event as safe as possible, and some selected charities.
Who are the organisers?
The Rotary Club of Eastbourne AM.
What about safety?
We have a team patrolling the beach, St. John Ambulance in readiness, and just as a backup, the Coast Guard and the RNLI are notified of the event.
Will it be cancelled if weather is bad?
The answer is no. It would only be cancelled in exceptionally bad weather that could represent a safety issue; examples of this are gale force winds, fog or a forecast of thunder and lightning during the walk.