Baden-Powell Council BSA
at the
2006 Blair Atholl Patrol Jamborette

Day 2 - July 12th - Hastings

Early on Wednesday morning, we caught a train from Charing Cross. It's just a bit over an hour ride through the English countryside, and you're in historic Hastings on the south coast. 

Matt, John, Jon and Nick are more interested in the paper than the scenery on the way south to Hastings...

It's a short walk from the railway station down to the shore and the Old Town, where you can pick up the West Hill Lift - a funicular railway up to Castle Hill. 
Castle Hill provides a grand view of the Old Town. 
Our first stop was the Smuggler's Adventure, a series of caves used by smugglers over the centuries to store goods shipped over from France across the Channel. The caves were also used as a bomb shelter during the Second World War.

At right, John and David spend time in the stocks with an unsavory friend. 

After the Smuggler's Adventure we followed a steep path downhill to the Old Town for lunch. Note to other Americans: a "Bat Sausage" is a sausage covered in batter (hold the wings and fangs).

The Old Town is a bit touristy, but nicer than most and very friendly. 

After lunch we climbed back up the path to the Castle, which was built by William the Conqueror not long after the Battle of Hastings in 1066, to help hold his newly acquired kingdom. There's not a lot left of the Castle - much of the area has long since been eroded away over the cliff. 

The Battle of Hastings wasn't actually in Hastings, but in the village of Battle, six miles away. "The Battle of Battle" just doesn't have the same ring to it, though... 

We rode the West Hill Lift back down to Old Town, then walked along the seashore to the Shipwreck Museum. 

Left: the Net Shops, tall and thin buildings where fishermen hung their nets, line much of the seashore east of the amusement area. 

At the eastern end of the seaside is the Stade, a shingle beach which houses England's biggest beach-launched fishing fleet. 

With tides averaging more than twenty-five feet, building piers to dock your fishing boats was probably a bit problematic in years past, so they simply put skids under the boats and launched and recovered the boats from the beach itself. 

To launch a boat, you simply push on the bow with a bulldozer until the boat floats away (and the bulldozer is nearly submerged). 

The boats are recovered by being run onto the shore at full speed (below, left). Then a cable is attached to the bow, and the boat is winched slowly up the shingle until it's safely above the high-tide line (below, right). 

We arrived back in London too early to bunk in for the night, so we walked up to Piccadilly Circus to see the bright lights and crowds. The Scouts did some shopping (English Football shirts and the Virgin Megastore) while Jerry and I found a doughnut shop and had $6.00 bottles of Snapple (the exchange rate was really rough). As we waited for the Scouts a crowd of roller-bladers poured by around the Circus. 

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