Chalk Cliffs

For an excursion during our retreat, on April 13 we packed lunches and drove to the white chalk (limestone) cliffs near Eastbourne.

We went first to Birling Gap. For those who care about such things, while Worthing is west of the famous seaside resort Brighton, Birling Gap is east of Brighton, and the resort of Eastbourne is still farther east, all on the English Channel.

The seven major cliffs in this area are known as the Seven Sisters. They are spread over a large area, so I can’t get them all in one photo.

The day was sunny but very windy and cold, but the beach was protected from the wind and therefore warm, so we ate our lunches there.

From there we drove a few miles east to a higher elevation known as Beachy Head, where we hiked for half an hour or more. It was here I saw three skylarks hovering in mid-air and singing all the while.

The hills are called “downs.” Visibility was hazy.

It is scary – and dangerous – to get too close to the cliff edge. There is a single wire fence at only a few places.

About 40 people attempt suicide here each month; several succeed. A chapel is here, and a trained chaplain is on hand 24 hours a day, walking the heights, engaging in conversation any person who seems to be preoccupied or otherwise showing some signs of distress.

Crosses mark some of the spots where suicide attempts were successful.

We stopped for tea at the pub that has the same name as the cliff.

You can see it was a windy day!

And so, back to our retreat center for an evening session.

3 Responses

  1. Beautiful and distressing … such is the mix of a fallen creation.

  2. CBS News is reporting that the ash cloud from Iceland (Iceland, Greenland – who cares; they are both too cold for me), still continues. Is there hope of getting home tomorrow or further delays?? We pray for your safe return.
    Alvin (the Navajo)

    • Dear Alvin,
      No hope of getting home Monday. They tell me it could be several days. I am practicing my swimming in case I have to swim the whole way home. Maybe Uncle Glenn will come for me in a rubber raft powered by a Vespa engine.

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