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5 Reasons to Visit the Seven Sisters Country Park, Sussex this bank holiday weekend!

Having grown up in Sussex I have often visited the Seven Sisters from a young age. Here are my top 5 reasons to visit the Seven Sisters country park this bank holiday weekend:

  1. Free geography lesson! My siblings and I ALL visited the country park whilst at school to learn from its varied landscape; the meandering Cuckmere river and see what you can find on the shore in the shallow rock pools. Fun for the kids and educational!
  2. Push yourself physically and try the coastal path walk from Lewes to Eastbourne. I did this route when I was training to climb Kilimanjaro. A solid 26 miles, it’s a tough one. A full day with many hills! Tough work but the views are spectacular! IMG_5993
  3. Choose your mode of transport; you don’t just have to walk around the country park! There are options at the park entrance to hire bikes or canoes! This also includes an easy access flat path to the sea, suitable for buggies and wheel chairs! Everyone can enjoy this stunning place.
  4. There’s ALWAYS an ice cream van in the car park! After that lovely flat or hilly (you choose) walk treat yourself after to a cooling ice cream.
  5. With 280 hectares of land it’s a wildlife fanatics ideal spotting ground. Get those binoculars out and see what you can see!

For more information on visiting this gorgeous part of the South Coast visit the Seven Sisters Website

For a lasting memory to so many happy times spent on these chalk cliffs I created this print for my parents.

Have a wonderful Bank Holiday weekend!

Tabitha Mary x

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Kilimanjaro…. Africa’s highest free standing mountain!

So, I thought i’d start this new blog in Africa!

Most of you probably know that on new years day 2014 I summited the mighty Mount Kilimanjaro! It’s all I talked about for months before and months after!

So.. now, having not spoken about it for a good few months i’m going to self indulge a little but give you the background behind my print and why I pushed myself physically and mentally to reach the summit of Africa’s highest freestanding mountain.

The idea of doing something challenging stemmed from a big change in my life, i’d reached a big corner in my life and needed something to focus and work towards while I found my feet and a new life.

Several activities were considered; travelling around New Zealand being the most serious contender. But in the end I decided I needed a real adrenaline pumping challenge, something that would push me to my limits. Mt. Kilimanjaro it was!

After attending a welcome meeting in London with Action Challenge I was signed up and off! Training plan underway, fundraising page open, that was it! No turning back!

I decided to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Research who helped my Grandma through her final few months with us, and Epilepsy Research UK who strive to find solutions and better medications for epilepsy suffers like my Brother. So 2 charities really close to my heart.

The training was going well, I hiked ALOT met loads of new people and friends and it soon came round to flying out to Africa.

The Action Challenge group:

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were amazing! What a fab bunch of people and my new best friends for the next 6 days of climbing! Our support team of 77 porters (! YES 77!) were incredible! The organisation that goes into getting a group of us up the mountain is insane. Each guy had their own job and took pride in it. I’d chosen to hike with Action Challenge as they support the welfare and equal pay of the porters they use and its the best job for a local to have in Tanzania, they are treated and paid really well.

The hike started in the humid and hot jungle but by camp 1 we were already camping under the looming peak of the mountain. I’ll never forget the sunrise hitting the side of the summit each morning, turning it pink, purple and orange

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Everyday of the hike saw a different landscape. Day 2 saw the land turn to big rocks and tough shrubbery. The altitude didn’t get too bad until about day 3 when we really started to notice the shortness of breath, headaches and other side effects!

For me the hike didn’t seem too bad until the morning of day 3, the Baranco wall! The Altitude was really beginning to affect me now, I had a really bad headache and felt quite dizzy. Not great when you have to free climb up a sheer drop wall! A stitch came into play half way up! I remember getting to the top and just thinking ‘how on earth am I going to reach the summit!?’ Day 3 was a REALLY long day, after the wall climb we hiked for 7 hours over mixed terrain and into an area that looked like Mars! Just rocks and dust! Was so weird. Until we got to base camp. The altitude was REALLY kicking in now, no appetite what so ever and sleeping was hard. Not that we had a chance too! We got 40 minutes to put our heads down before we were up again welcoming new years Eve by starting the ascent of the summit.

Imagine this… Pitch black, -8 degrees, only your head torch for light, plodding up a single track path like a herd of sheep for 6.5 hours! I tell you it does ALL sorts of crazy things to your mind! Everyone and I mean everyone went through 3 stages: Excitement, Tears and the grumps. All at varying stages! My tears came about 4am when I just felt SO exhausted, sick and my head felt like it would explode. I just lent on a rock and literally just wanted to go home! My friend Amanda (who had about an hour before gone through the same phase herself!) picked me up, said “don’t stop, you can do this tab” and that was it… off we went again, plodding….

At about 6am we saw the skyline show its first glimpse of sun rise. It was euphoria! I can’t tell you how that boosted us up the remainder of the summit. At 6.30am just in time for the sun rising we reached Stella Point, the first of Kilimanjaro’s summits. The atmosphere was incredible, everyone was crying, cheering, collapsing and just speechless that we’d done it! I video’d my feelings because I knew i’d forget (i’m not going to share it, because I look like a muppet!) but it’s incredible how the altitude gets you. I sound drunk! My words are slurred, i’m crying my eyes out and i’ve still got 45 minutes to hike to Uhuru, the highest point!

That final push was agony but so worth it. The sun was hot the view incredible…

Stella Point 6.30amThe summit! 7.25 am

After the euphoria, relief and celebrations of reaching the top (all be it in a drunken slurry, oxygen deprived state!) The reality of how we got down started becoming apparent…. I’d run out of water and we had a 4 hour descent ahead of us down the scree side that had now melted in the sunlight and was metre deep dust slide. It was awful!! What I would’ve paid to have been helicoptered off the side and taken home!

But we did it, got to base camp. Drank some water had an hours rest and then started a rather slow but long walk to our final camp before leaving the mountain.

And we wouldn’t have made it without these guys: The A Team:

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I then flew onto Zanzibar for 7 days of R&R! Man did I need it!!

If you know someone who has climbed Kilimanjaro or have done yourself, share your story with me and receive 10% off a Kilimanjaro print order!

I could chat about it for hours! Truly a life changing experience. One I will never forget.

Kilimanjaro Main Personalisation available