Lighthouse Challenge FAQ's

Lighthouse Challenge FAQ's

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 15 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, so you should allow around two and a half hours for the return trip.

Is the Challenge difficult?

The first part walking to Cow Gap across the Downs presents few problems, but once on the beach the going gets progressively more difficult as you near the lighthouse where you will encounter some pretty  large rocks up to five foot high which have to be negotiated, with the added large amounts of very slippery seaweed to contend with. The Challenge does therefore need a reasonable degree of fitness if you want to go the whole way to the lighthouse. It is possible to stop at any point, enjoy the views, and then return before you reach the actual lighthouse should you choose to.

What do I need to wear?

Suitable clothes will be needed for the walk, depending on the weather forecast for the day, but please remember that it is likely to be colder on the beach than on the Downs. Additionally, you are likely to walk through rock pools left by the receding tides, so waterproof boots are a good idea – flimsy footwear or flip-flops are definitely not suitable. It  is also suggested that you take some old gloves to help you keep balance when negotiating some of the larger rocks which can be quite sharp.

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 be up to owners to decide whether Fido is going to be up to the challenge! All we ask is that dogs are kept under control at all times.

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. 

Who are the organisers?

The Rotary Club of Eastbourne AM.

What about safety?

There are two main risks that everyone should be aware of, one is walking too close to the cliffs due to the frequent rock falls, even though this looks to be an easier route, and the other is simply slipping and causing yourself an injury. It is for these reasons that we have a team patrolling the beach, St. John Ambulance in readiness and, as a backup, the Coast Guard and the RNLI are notified of the event should a water evacuation be necessary.

Will it be cancelled if weather is bad?

The weather should be reasonable at this time of year, but you should be prepared for unseasonable weather as we would not cancel the event just because of rain or wet weather. The only reason for the event to be cancelled would be 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 Challenge.

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