HIKING TRIP TO SEVEN SISTERS
February is about to transition into March, the month when everything starts waking up after the long dark cold days. Nature comes alive with birds singing and trees blossoming. Days start getting longer and we get a new fresh flow of energy in our bodies. This has not been the case this year.
Storm Emma comes and we suddenly find ourselves covered in snow. When the snow hits London, you know it is a big deal. We never get snow in London and that is why it all turns into disaster. No-one is prepared. The transport crashes, trains stop operating, buses cannot make it up a big hill and everything turns into an utter panic.
My best friends Sarka and Lenka from home in the Czech Republic are coming for a long weekend and the plan was to get out of London and go hiking and camping. I finish work and the plan is to go home, pack everything and go to pick them up from Liverpool street station. The train is not operating so I have to get a bus, well a few buses. I finally get home after more than two hours instead of one. I get most of the things we need for an overnight camping trip ready and keep refreshing the London transport updates to figure out how to get back to Central London to pick my friends up.
There is only one train to London Bridge operating so I have to take a bus and then wait at the station and hope the train comes. As I get to the train station, I find out that my phone battery is low. I was so distracted that I forgot to check. I manage to get to the station on time and nicely ask someone in the coffee shop stands to charge my phone for me. The plane is delayed so I have to wait.
Finally, my friends arrive and we just have to get back home. To avoid trains we decide to take the Underground and a bus. When we get out the Underground station it does not take me long to realise that we got off one stop too early. The good thing is that the bus goes a similar route and we only need to go around the corner. The bus comes after about twenty minutes of waiting and it is already around midnight. We are all exhausted because all of us have been awake and at work since 6am. As we are getting closer to home, the excitement to get into bed is graduating. Only a few stops to go when the bus announces that they are stopping right there. We are only about five minutes from our destination but it is too cold and icy that the bus cannot make it up the final hill. That means we have to walk about twenty minutes instead of five. We are exhausted and when we finally get home, we have dinner and finish packing because we have a train booked for the following morning to get out of London. We fall asleep hoping that the transport and weather will sort itself out by the morning.
AN OVERNIGHT TRIP TO SEVEN SISTERS
We make it to the train station in the morning and hop on our train to Brighton still half asleep. There is snow in London but when we get to Brighton, the temperature is about 6°C and there is no snow. Even the sun peeks out of the clouds sometimes. We walk through Brighton and head to the sea. After Sarka picks almost all of the little rocks from the beach and feeds all the seagulls we get on the path by the sea towards Folkenstone where our train leaves back to London tomorrow afternoon.
The weather is not particularly amazing but it is dry and warmer than we expected until about 3pm. I have roughly had a look how far it is to get to Folkenstone and plan an area where we might be able to wild camp. After walking in the rain for about 2 hours, we finally get to Newhaven and we manage to find the woodlands. It stops raining and in the midst of looking for somewhere comfortable to put our tents up we find a little campsite. Perfect. As it is getting dark we cook our dinner and enjoy the warmth of fire.
We grew up in the Scouts together so we are remembering all the funny stories from our trips and enjoy this lovely moment to reunite and explore new places together.
In the morning, we are woken up with a sunshine and it feels great. After breakfast and packing everything up we start walking. We have a train we want to catch in mind and would love to have time for fish and chips too. It is already midday when we get to Seaford and we try to work out the distance we need to walk to Folkenstone.
This is the moment when we find out that my quick check of the rough distance was very rough and I think I have had a look in miles instead of kilometres as well. The actual distance is almost double to what I had guessed. It is time to think of new options. Our main aim of this trip was to see the Seven Sisters so we work around that.
We find that there is a bus we can take to East Dean and walk to Seven sisters from there. Our plan is to do a loop to the next bus stop to make it to Folkenstone on time. It starts raining again but it seems like we have the whole of Seven Sisters to ourselves so we cannot complain. We are exhausted but we finally make it to Folkenstone for our Fish and chips. We pack it to go and eat it on the train so quickly it is as if we have not eaten for a week.
Despite all the obstacles we have had this weekend, everything worked out in the end and we are full of fun memories. We are physically exhausted but our minds are clear of all the madness we left in London.
Sarka and Lenka spend the next day shopping and I meet them at Liverpool street station to wave them off as they get the train back to the airport.
This trip has proven me again that despite all the negative signs the world is giving you, it is always worth to go on adventures. It might not work out the way you have planned it but you will have awesome memories. And perhaps become stronger in dealing with discomfort.