I was looking forward to the first walk of the New Year and was pleasantly surprised that other people had turned out into the ‘interesting’ weather as well. We were three adults and a very plucky four year old. In Rottingdean the wind jostled us and made the fabric of our waterproofs crack like the sails of a storm tossed boat. Cold rain lashed exposed flesh and we looked at each other for signs of insanity. But it was exhilarating and the buffeting lessened as we dropped down to the Undercliff.
The walk under the white cliffs was spectacular. The tide was going out which was just as well; we would not have been able to do the walk an hour earlier when waves were crashing over the breakwater. We kept up a brisk pace with the four year old encouraging us to run and splash in the puddles. We waded through small mountains of pebbles which had been washed over the wall from the beach and jumped in the eggy mounds of green brown bladderwrack; it cracked and snapped like nature’s bubble wrap.
Out at sea chaos reigned as waves broke in every direction with ragged white flumes giving definition to the gunmetal uniformity. The Marina came in sight sooner than I expected. The closer we got the more dramatic it looked; like a medieval siege with the sea assaulting the battlements of the marina, which was looking quite vulnerable, as waves slammed against the bastion in an explosion of white fury, rising three times as high as the walls, spreading out like fingers before spattering down onto the concrete. We watched as a deep green cliff grew out of the sea; smooth as oily marble, veined with lacy spume. It developed a topping of foam them lurched forward and collapsed in upon itself.
We headed for a pub to thaw out and drink coffee and hot chocolate. Revived and with rosy cheeks and the warmth re entering our fingers we walked towards Palace Pier and the end of our walk.