We arrived back at the Black Rock Car Park by Brighton Marina on a warm, lazy, morning. Despite the early hour, the sun was already making promises, as was a Mr Whippy ice cream van. I have come to realise that Mr Whippy ice creams are not so-called because the ice cream is whipped. No, they get their name because the very sight of them whips children up into a frenzy of ice cream lust.
We explained to our children that ice creams at this hour were not the order of the day and persuaded them to move on. At the western end of the car park is the Black Rock Station of the Volks Electric Railway. Designed by Magnus Volks, it opened in 1883 and runs between here and the pier.
It remained open, continuously, until the Second World War, meaning on 4 August 1933 it became the first railway in the world to celebrate 50 years of continuous service. The track is now designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
At the Black Rock end of the pebble beach, close to the Marina arm, is Brighton’s nudist beach. Whilst we have been used to finding nudist beaches in secluded areas, often difficult to reach, Brighton’s is right next to a car park and in a very populated position. A high shingle bank, a good 10 feet tall, surrounds it so as to afford privacy to the users. What a good idea, I thought, and then spotted two sightseers walking right along the crest of the embankment, where they would get good views right into the area.
As we approached Brighton Pier, we saw a statue of a rather spindly-looking being in some form of agitated running position. As we approached, I wondered who it was, but the inscription was on the opposite side of the plinth. Suddenly, my question was answered for me. “Look!” cried a little boy who was coming in the other direction, “It’s Smeagol from Lord of the Rings!”
But it wasn’t Smeagol at all – it was Olympic athlete Steve Ovett. I think the poor boy could be forgiven his mistake!
This statue is in fact a replica. The original was put up in Preston Park, a mile or so inland, in 1987. This was stolen in 2007 (this was a few years after the release of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy – it must make you wonder if someone wanted a statue of Smeagol in their garden). This replacement was put up in a more prominent position, on the seafront, in July 2012
We left Steve Ovett to it and walked on towards the pier. The pier head amusements were beckoning!
Points on this part of the walk (copy and paste the co-ordinates into Google Earth):
- Volks Electric Railway Black Rock Station: N 50° 48.869 W 000° 06.673
- Brighton Nudist Beach Shingle Embankment: N 50° 48.903 W 000° 06.879
- Steve Ovett Statue: not shown on Google Earth at time of publishing
Walk #52 Statistics (of which this post forms the first part):
- Date of Walk: 26 May 2013
- Walk #52 total distance covered: 8.71 miles
- Coast of Britain Walk Total Distance Covered: 428.20 miles
- CLICK HERE FOR LINK TO INTERACTIVE MAP!!!