*The circle will be going on this hike again on 21st June 2014 – worth a re-post! See Our Hikes to find out more about why we do them! *
Alhamdulillah 12 of us hiked from Dover to Deal, one of the finest coastal walks in England – and at 17.2 km it was our 2nd longest hike (after the legendary ‘7 sisters’!). Heavy fog, wind, bright sunshine and brilliant blue skies, all in one day! Plus stunning scenery – alhamdulillah this hike was a real treat. 🙂
We met at Waterloo Station bright and early at 8.35am! We got on the train for a pleasant 2 hour journey passing rolling hills and countryside, to arrive at our destination Dover Priory Station. ‘Hope you’ve got your umbrellas!’ the Station Guard warned us, and with that optimistic prognosis we set off on our hike. After a short walk through the market town, we reached the Port with ferries bound for France, and the foot of Dover’s famous White cliffs.
* There was fairly long climb up some steps leading to the top of the cliff – tiring but well worth it, giving us great views of the English Channel below and the beautiful scenery all around us. By now a heavy mist had descended over the cliffs, making the landscape appear even more dramatic and majestic – in the distance, if you look closely, you can just about see the mysterious form of Dover Castle! We then walked carefully along a narrow shelf on the cliff-face, taking in the breath-taking views and minding the steep fall to the right…
The shelf led to some steps, going down to a wider cliff-top. Here we were met by some seriously strong winds…
The photos don’t do justice to the power of the wind! There were times when even if we tried to stand still the sheer force pushed us forward. It reminded us that in fact it was the power of Allah that controlled the wind, the movement of the grass, the water in the air and the waves of the sea. Everything around us was in submission to Allah and all we could hear was the sound of dhikr from Allah’s creation. SubhanAllah!
We reached a deep depression in the cliff called Langdon Hole; a sister pointed out the impressive way the wind travelled through the grass so that it looked like there were green waves flowing in every direction – truly beautiful, mashaAllah 🙂
After several hours of hiking and finally emerging from the thick fog and the wind, it was time for our lunch and salah stop at St. Margaret’s Museum and Tea Room. We ate our lunch by a pond, where we stopped to say salam to the fish 🙂 . Re-energised, we set off again, going downhill this time until we reached St. Margaret’s Bay. The damp misty air had lifted and the skies smiled a brilliant blue 🙂 .
We met with the impressive cliff front again, its chalk-face now reflecting the sun and beaming in brilliant white: A real highlight of the hike to see the rock in all its splendour! And then it was time to use that post-lunch energy to climb up a half-hidden winding stairway up the cliff-face – all the way to the top! Once there our path joined an old cliff-track called the Saxon Shore Way – we followed this all the way to Deal beach…
…and tried to beware of stray paths that went off-track: this one took us to a dead end…it didn’t go downhill, it was just a sheer drop into the sea! On the left of the Saxon Shore Way we passed some houses and a war memorial for those who fell in the Second World War, and pondered on Britain’s interesting connection with ancient Egyptian obelisks…
When asked which parts of the hike were the most memorable, one sister said: “My favourite part was seeing the shadows made by the clouds on the sea, and all the different shades and colours of the water.” Alhamdulillah! After several miles of hiking along the cliff top we came to the stone steps leading down to the beach, and into the town of Deal.
Our hike went along the shingle beach for a while – not as easy as it looks! Shingle absorbs force which requires even more energy to walk through it…but we were able to do this among beautiful wild flowers that only come into bloom in June 🙂 alhamdulillah that we were able to catch this lovely sight!
We arrived at Walmer Castle (one of three castles that we passed on the hike 🙂 ) built by Henry VIII in 1539-40 as a defence against the threat of French invasion from the south. But today the castle gardens are a place of peace and relaxation – a good spot for a well-deserved break!
Soon we were back along the seafront towards Deal Station for the 19.08 train back to Waterloo. Homeward bound after a long but brilliant hike, alhamdulillah 🙂 . Well done and jazakumAllahu khair to all the sisters for their energy, endurance, camaraderie and cheerful spirit, mashaAllah!
* * Starred photographs by Shaheena – jazakiAllahu khair SB! 🙂