A short story and photo essay exploring the dramatic contrast between cliffs and sea at Beachy Head.
Words: Laura Pendlebury
Photography: Mirko Nicholson
The breeze buffets my face, leaving a sea-salted tang on my skin. It’s hard to hear as the wind roars around my ear drums and I lean into it slightly to make walking up the grassy verge easier. The higher I get, the stronger the wind becomes and soon the rush of the wind is all I can hear. I enjoy the absence of distraction this creates; it means I can focus more clearly on the view before me. There is a sensation of being pushed along by the elements as I start to make my way across the path towards the red and white striped lighthouse. Cautious about going too near the edge I crept forward until I could see straight down the cliff face.
A glaring white despite the constant erosion and ferocious weather, the cliffs stand out dramatically against the greyish blue of the English Channel. White crested waves crash unrelentingly against them as seagulls dart around searching for fish brought to the surface by the churning water. A light mist has rolled into the distance and is slowly starting to float closer towards the lighthouse. Rugged and mysterious, there is something incredibly calming about seeing the true power of nature in such close proximity.