Saturday 11th August 2018
Beachy Head Lighthouse, is one of those iconic lighthouses, and very much part of the Eastbourne scene, and so it was something of a shock to be told by the owners of the lighthouse – Trinity House – that they no longer intended to re-paint it, even though it sorely needed it. Due to modern navigation aids such as GPS, it was no longer considered necessary to maintain the famous red and white stripes, and that it would be allowed to gradually return to plain stone, and in fact even the light no longer needs to be as powerful as it once was.
Whilst this was understandable for a strictly navigation point of view, because it is so much a part of the Eastbourne coast, many thought that a private fund raising scheme should be adopted to raise the necessary funds for the painting. By coincidence, two groups came up with the idea of fund raising at the same time – The Save the Stripes Internet campaign, and one started by the Rotary Club of Eastbourne AM in 2013, and between them they raised funds to have the painting done at a cost of £28,000, with paint supplied by Brewers.
Now in its fifth year, the annual walk around the lighthouse has been arranged for Saturday 11th August 2018. This is a rare opportunity when a low Spring tide occurs at the right time, and during daylight hours to enable people to walk around the lighthouse. The walk was originally started to raise funds for the re-painting necessary, and now it provides funds to build up to the time when it again needs to be re-painted plus supporting local charities organised by the Rotary Club of Eastbourne AM in conjunction with the “Save the Stripes” campaign and supported by the Eastbourne Herald.
The starting point will be at the kiosk at the foot of the Downs by St. Bede’s school in Eastbourne between 16:00 and 17:15. Once checked-in, we 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). Apart from the Downland stretch this Challenge is not suitable for running due to the slippery nature of the beach.
The times above have to be pretty precise in order 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 the 11th August, maximum low water is forecast to be at 18:26 BST, and sunset at 20:28 BST.
On return, everyone will be presented with a certificate to authenticate that they are one of the few people who have undertaken the “Lighthouse Challenge”.
To take part in this event, you need to be reasonably fit for a mixture of running, walking and clambering. From the kiosk to Cow Gap you can walk/run as you feel comfortable but the second part, along the beach, must be treated with caution.
Safety is obviously paramount, and it is for this reason that we keep a track of everyone, when they depart, when they get to the lighthouse, and when they get back to the kiosk at the end. In addition, we have some marshals to check that there is no one left on the beach, have first aid available, and both the Coast Guard and the RNLI are notified –just in case. Please read the “Information for Participants” for full information and hints, and do re-read just before you join our annual Lighthouse Challenge.
There is a small entry fee of £6.50 each adult, or £3.00 for under 18’s. N.B. This event is not suitable for children under 12 years. Everyone is urged to register on-line to avoid unnecessary queuing at the kiosk, and whilst there is a facility to register on the day, the cost is £7.00 for adults and £3.50 for children. All entry fees will go to the fund to keep the lighthouse painted, and some local charities supported by the Rotary Club of Eastbourne AM.
How to Book
Please complete the registration form on-line, and pay via PayPal. By paying, you and everyone in your party, agree to be bound by the safety guidelines for the event, and acknowledge that all participants are responsible for their own safety at all times and enter and walk at their own risk. It is further understood that the organisers cannot be held responsible for any injury or loss sustained during or after this event.
FAQ’s Checking-in Information Information for Participants