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Everesting Ditchling Beacon: 'I just wanted to own the hill'

The highlight of anyone's London to Brighton ride, but who would choose to tackle the Beacon 65 times?

Katia Knight
27 Nov 2019

At 04:30 on Saturday 23rd November, brothers Matthew and Oliver Wood pedalled off into the darkness to set about accomplishing their goal: Everesting Ditchling Beacon.

The concept of Everesting is simple: 'pick any hill, anywhere in the world and ride repeats of it in a single activity until you climb 8,848m – the equivalent height of Mt Everest' states the website. An infographic claims that there have been 4306 (official) successful everestings.

Since Saturday, two more names will have joined that list. Matt and Oli, fuelled by ham and cheese rolls, malt loaf, hot cross buns and energy gels, rode up and down Ditchling Beacon, an iconic climb in the South Downs, from 04:30 until 22:00 to achieve their goal.

Measuring 1.45km long, with an altitude gain of 143m and an average gradient of 9% (max gradient 16%), Matt calculated that the pair would need to climb Ditchling Beacon 65 times in order to guarantee successful Everesting. When asked what motivated him he replied: 'I live in Ditchling and just wanted to own the hill!'

Conditions were less than ideal - 'it was a grim day' - and the brothers got very cold later in the afternoon and as they rode into the night. Stops were brief (under 5 minutes only 3-4 times) to maintain body heat. Each brother had a puncture.

However it wasn’t all bad: their fellow 'Ditchling Fat Dads' took to the hill to support the pair and Matt said that he felt that they’d 'made the most of a winter’s day'.

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