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Reckless tourists snap dangerous selfies at Birling Gap

Reckless tourists have been spotted risking their lives for the perfect photo on top of a 400ft cliff.

Selfie-fanatics can be seen posing in dangerous positions at Birling Gap in East Sussex, which was closed last year because the path was eroding rapidly.

Shocking photos show the thrill-seekers peering over the crumbling cliff edge near Beachy Head and perching on the narrowest of edges.

Selfie-fanatics can be seen posing in dangerous positions at Birling Gap in East Sussex, peering over the crumbling cliff edge and perching on the narrowest of edges

The reckless tourists were spotted risking their lives for the perfect photo on top of the 400ft cliff, which was closed last year because the path was eroding rapidly

The reckless tourists were spotted risking their lives for the perfect photo on top of the 400ft cliff, which was closed last year because the path was eroding rapidly

The cliffs at the South Coast beauty spot have experienced possibly the worst coastal erosion in the UK.

Last year an increase in cliff falls led to the steps leading down to the beach below being closed years earlier than expected.

WHY DO CLIFFS COLLAPSE?

Cliffs collapse for a range of reasons.

While the most common reason is weathering, there are other factors to consider, such as water crashing against the cliff face, what the cliff is made of, and the climate of the area.

For example, softer materials, such as clay are more likely to collapse than harder materials like granite.

Bad weather naturally erodes the foundations of a cliff, and can cause it to collapse.

One of the most common examples of weathering is when rain fall affects the composition of the cliff.

As rain falls, it seeps into the permeable gravel and soil at the top of the cliff, adding weight to it.

At the same time, colder winter temperatures can cause the face of this cliff to freeze, as frozen areas weaken as they thaw.

If a cliff is against a body of water, such as a sea or ocean, waves crashing on the cliff can also weaken it over time.

Cliffs can also collapse as the result of rock slides, when whole slabs of rock detach from an inclined face and collapse, or as a result of mud slides, when wet soil and weak rocks fall. 

A ‘safer anchorage’ is now being sought for the steps so they can be reopened to the public.

The hope is that, in their new position, the steps can remain in position for up to 10 years before needing to be replaced.

Violent storms and high seas has resulted in several metres of the cliffs disappearing beneath the waves.

During the 2013/14 winter storms, seven years worth of erosion was said to have taken place in just three months.  

In 2005 it was discovered that the cliffs had eroded a shocking 90 metres back from where they had originally stood in 1873.

Several cottages have vanished during the process. 

More than 350,000 people visit the cliffs at Birling Gap and Seven Sisters cliffs each year. 

And undeterred snappers stood perilously close to the fragile chalk cliff edge in the hope of capturing the best possible picture.

Frequent rockfalls, undercutting and the extending of fissures make it a perilous pursuit.

Councillor Claire Dowling, Wealden District Council Cabinet member with responsibility for Coastal Protection, previously said: ‘It is another stark reminder of the relentless erosion taking place and why it is so important not to go near the cliff edge. 

‘We never know when or where the next fall will take place.’

The National Trust website advises tourists ‘to act sensibly and stay away from the cliff edge, thinking about their safety and others’.

But it seems the modern-day desire to get the ideal photograph with their smartphones got the better of many visitors.

One daring man could even be seen sitting on the very edge of the cliff, seemingly oblivious to the dangers. 

 

The modern-day desire to get the ideal photograph with their smartphones got the better of many visitors, who wasted no time in rushing dangerously close to the cliff edge

The modern-day desire to get the ideal photograph with their smartphones got the better of many visitors, who wasted no time in rushing dangerously close to the cliff edge

More than 350,000 people visit the cliffs at Birling Gap and Seven Sisters cliffs each year and the National Trust website advises tourists to be vigilant

More than 350,000 people visit the cliffs at Birling Gap and Seven Sisters cliffs each year and the National Trust website advises tourists to be vigilant



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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