Lighthouse Challenge

Frequently Asked Questions

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 60 minutes from when you go down to the beach at Cow Gap and walk to the Lighthouse, so you should allow approximately two and a half hours for the return trip.

Is the Challenge difficult?

The first stage walking across the Downs to Cow Gap presents few problems, but once on the beach the going gets progressively more difficult as you near the lighthouse where you will encounter some large rocks which have to be negotiated, along with slippery seaweed and rock pools. The Challenge does therefore need a reasonable degree of fitness if you want to go the whole way to the lighthouse. It is possible, however, 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 puddles of water/rock pools (some ankle deep) left by the receding tides, so robust footwear is recommended, waterproof if possible – flimsy footwear or flip-flops are definitely not suitable. You may also like to consider taking 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 quite steep open steps, and some 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 that 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. For the Lighthouse Challenge 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 risk of rock falls,( even when 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 of marshals patrolling the beach, along with highly trained medical personnel from "Elite Medical" and, just as a backup, the Coast Guard and the RNLI on standby.

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 usually cancel the event just because of rain/wet weather. The only reasons for the event to be cancelled would be exceptionally bad weather that could represent a safety issue i.e. gale force winds, fog or forecast of thunder and lightning during the Challenge, or of course any future restrictions arising from COVID.

Toilets, Food & Drinks

The nearest public toilets are located within Helen Garden situated along King Edwards Parade, beside Bede's Prep School, approximately 200m from the kiosk (where food and drinks can be purchased). 

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