12/9/16. After a leisurely morning we checked out of the hotel just before 11 and rode the 2 km to the ferry port. We breezed past a queue of cars and vans to join two other cyclists, Chris and Dave from around Bath or Bristol, who had had a long weekend riding to Paris along the Route Verte, for a natter about all things “bike” before leading the way onto the boat.
The sea was as flat as a mill pond so Christine’s precautionary seasick pill was probably unnecessary but it made for a very pleasant crossing which felt very relaxed compared to the hustle and bustle of Dover/Calais.
Arriving in Newhaven we groaned as we remembered the Sustrans route 2 had a tough climb out of the town. This was followed by a less than scenic weaving through the streets of Peacehaven before a steep descent down to the lovely, but all too short, ride along the Undercliff to Brighton Marina. Here, we turned off and climbed to the only campsite in the area. It is a very nice site (sparkingly clean loos with seats and paper!) but they take advantage of the local “monopoly” charging an eyewatering £27 for a tent and two adults (although showers and hot water for washing up are included in the price). This is the most expensive camping we have had in Europe apart from Denmark, where we expected high prices and which included proper kitchens and common rooms.
Tomorrow we ride back to the Marina where good friend Jim will pick us up and take us to stay with him, Christine and Robbie in Walton (the next village to our home in Tadworth) for a couple of days. This avoids having to haul ourselves and luggage over the “mountains” of the South Downs and, especially, up the horrible Pebble Hill to Walton (it’s a real brute and on a busy, narrow road – not at all pleasant).