An Astronomical Adventure for London LDWA

Curry and Comets Weekend Away

Sat 19 - Sun 20 November 2016: Eastbourne, Herstmonceux and Bexhill


Gazing skywards...

Introduction and background

Nineteen LDWA members headed off to the wilds of Sussex to enjoy a "Curry and Comets" evening hosted by the Royal Greenwich Observatory, near Herstmonceux castle.   We stayed overnight at the nearby Bader Centre (thanks to the organiser's son studying at Queens University, Canada, which owns this international study centre) and breakfasted in the castle.   Saturday's walk took us from Eastbourne to Herstmonceux via the South Downs, and then on Sunday we headed for Bexhill via a pub lunch at the White Hart in Catsfield.

Full details of the arrangements for the weekend can be found by clicking this link

Read on for a day by day account and some photos...


Day 1 (Sat 19 Nov 2016)

A very promising start to our hike on Saturday from Eastbourne to Herstmonceux. Fantastic views from the South Downs Way at the start, then down across the Pevensey Levels. Sadly the clouds rolled in during the afternoon and by 3pm it was pouring. Staying at the Bader Centre on Saturday, courtesy of Queens University, Canada, then off up to the nearby observatory for the evening. The storm Angus which hit us at about 7pm and lasted all night put an end to hopes of stagrazing - still the curry was excellent, the talk on meteorites fascinating, and the tour of the telescopes really interesting.

Thanks to Angus' attentions the viewing conditions at the observatory weren't exactly ideal, but we did learn that every day cosmic dust adds 40 tonnes to the earth's weight, and that an earth tide somewhat improbably causes Herstmonceux to rise and fall by 8 inches every day. And more useful facts about telescopes than it is possible to recall.


Day 2 (Sun 20 November 2016)

On Sunday morning it was with some trepidation that we set off after breakfast into the declining teeth of the storm. But the gale soon abated and luckily the rain stopped just before we set off. We even enjoyed a brief glimpse of sun around lunchtime. The afternoon section of the walk to Bexhill was all going fabulously until we hit an unexpected obstacle in the form of a large lake completely submerging the route through which our path lay. A hasty diversion down a nearby and brand new cycle path sidestepped the water hazard and saw us into Bexhill just in time to catch the 17:32 back to London.

All in all an interesting and worthwhile LDWA weekend away, despite the overnight stormy visitation.


GPX files

If you'd like to follow in our footsteps one day, here are GPX files recorded on the Saturday and the Sunday:

Click here for Saturdays track: 20161119.gpx

Click here for Sundays track: 20161120.gpx



There's a selection of photos from our expedition here:

1) Days 1 and 2 compilation (Jignesh Sutar)

2) Day 1 (Adam Dawson)

3) Day 2 (Adam Dawson)



Adam Dawson,

21 November 2016