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Tourist Leisure Attraction: Eastbourne Birdman

Belinda and Mike - follow our tourist travels in the UK

Eastbourne Birdman & Seaford walk - August 2002

Back in Eastbourne, East Sussex again, this time for the Eastbourne Birdman competition with competitors trying to fly off the pier in fancy dress and dodgy looking wings to see who can fly the furthest.  Also on this page is our walk to Seaford the following week on a hot August day.  You may also be interested in our visit to Bognor Birdman, also in Sussex, in 2003 (psss.. a much better event).

Eastbourne pier, location for the Eastbourne Birdman event
Just prior to the start of the Eastbourne Birdman event in Sussex we took a stroll along Eastbourne pier where they'd built this large stage for the competitors to jump from.  Strangely, the pier website still had details of the previous year's event!  So we...

Eastbourne beach & pier in East Sussex
...hit the pebbles on Eastbourne beach to wait for the start.  We'd been to see the Birdman five years previously; then we found it difficult to find a parking place for our bums, this time there was plenty of room - maybe no one knew about the Birdman event?

People on Eastbourne beach waiting for the Birdman
Well, the start time for Eastbourne Birdman came and went and no announcement.  Had we got the right day/time?  Then, a quick announcement that the first birdman was gearing up to jump - then nothing again!  Then he jumped, taking the PA by surprise.

Pebbles on the beach
There was a long gap between jumpees, sometimes 15 minutes.  Belinda found a way to amuse herself by lining up pebbles along Mike's leg.  We also took the camcorder, see the video page for some clips (not of Mike's legs, of the birdmen jumping!).

Boats off Eastbourne beach watching the Birdman event
Here's a shot of all the boats that appeared just off this Sussex beach, presumably from Eastbourne Marina just along the coast.  The announcements continued sporadically, but oh dear - rather droll and without much zest.  Then at last...

Birdman flying off Eastbourne pier in Sussex
...another Birdman jumper (arrowed)!  This one had wings, although it didn't help.  Annoyingly a woman in front almost blocked the view, she just wouldn't keep still!  There were many people on the pier watching the Birdman event, but few on the beach.

Splashdown as a Birdman lands in the water at Eastbourne, East Sussex
Most of the Birdman jumpers plunged straight down, just like this one!  In about 1 hours there were only about ten birdman in a very poor show compared with 1997 when we last saw it at Eastbourne, and with a much more dynamic commentary then too.

Walking to Seaford through the Sussex fields
Belinda's up the hill in the distance, walking through the field of barley on our sunny walk to Seaford.  We lost the spare camera battery in this field, amazingly we found it on the return leg many hours later!

Walking to Seaford
The walk to Seaford went through fields and tracks and was about five miles over a bit of a (puff!) gentle hill.  We took plenty of cold water with us for a hot day, and Mike tested out his master plan (successfully) of freezing it beforehand to keep it cold for longer.

Newhaven from afar
We stopped for a breather on top of the hill overlooking Newhaven and checked we were on the right track on the map.  The sea was within sight!  If our backpacks look rather full, they were; they contained our yummy picnic lunch!

A ferry sailing into Newhaven port
Down there, coming in to Newhaven harbour is the cross-channel ferry from Dieppe.  We watched as the ship did a 180 manoeuvre and backed-up into the harbour.  By now we were well over half way and looking forward to our picnic.  So on arrival...

Picnic at Seaford in Sussex
...at Seaford beach we consumed our picnic lunch on one of the numerous benches along the front.  The pebbled beach was pretty quiet for a hot August day, mainly older people were about reflecting Seaford's status as a popular retirement town for the elderly.

Enjoying a drink outside the pub in Seaford
After lunch we walked a mile up Seaford beach front and found this pub to quench our thirst.  In the background out at sea is the Newhaven ferry on its way back to Dieppe (arrowed).  This picture was taken into the sun, so it looks misty (it wasn't really).

Enjoying a delicious ice cream on the beach at Seaford
No visit to the beach is complete without an ice cream, so here's Mike making his usual mess of eating it!  In the background is Seaford Head and the start of the Seven Sisters cliffs, a 15 mile strenuous walk to Eastbourne we've done in the past.

A cooling paddle in the sea at Seaford
No visit to the beach is complete without a paddle in the sea.  Here's Belinda threatening to drop Mike's trainers into the salty water, something she's done in the past with his deck shoes after getting them all sandy after burying them!

Almost swamped by a wave at Seaford in Sussex
No visit to the beach is complete without almost getting swamped by a wave.  It was good to cool our hot feet, ready for the long trek back on the hottest day for a walk in 2002, what a contrast to walks we did in the Lake District earlier in the summer.

You may also like to see our visit to Eastbourne Airbourne Airshow.

Other websites associated with our visit to Eastbourne are on our UK tourist resources page.