We awoke after a rather dramatic night in the car park. Late that evening we walked down the road to see the city lit up in the valley below. While it doesn’t look much in the photo you can perhaps get a sense of its size.
There was also a lot of lightning going at several different points. According to the weather forecast this latest storm was supposed to hit us at around 3am.
In fact, it was a bit earlier and we woke up to some very impressive thunder, lightning and wind. Then the rain started, and the wind proceeded to blow our possessions around the car park. Namely the camping chairs. It go so windy that we had to put the pop top down as I was worried it was going to damage it, it’s not like sleep was happening anyway. So Lee camped in the front cab while I lay on the rock and roll, after sometime the storm passed and we popped the roof back up and went to bed.
In the morning it we drove around an hour to a wooded river walk in the village of Chantelle. There walks we’re getting a bit scarce as we headed north, so we weren’t too sure how interesting this one would be. The walk starts down by the Abbey, complete with nuns, and drops down to the river bed.
From here we cross the river and then left. After a short way we take completely the wrong path after walking up a fair hill, have to turn around and come back down. Having got the correct path, we followed it close by the river.
It was very humid in the gorge, with everything covered in great swathes of moss. The forest itself was alive, fish swum in the river, and you could here several woodpeckers in the trees. The highlight was seeing a a flash of bright blue over the water, a kingfisher. The wildlife selection also extended to these huge slugs, about 6 inches long and frequently on the path, you had to be careful not squish them.
Continuing on, we came to a ruined watermill that it looks like they are in the process of restoring. The walk then climbs up, away from the river and emerges on a grassy farm track. Following this to the road, you then walk down the road for a mile or so before turning back down into the forest. While the day had started cold, the weather had broken up and we walked in bright sunshine.
Back into the woods after a short and steep descent you come to another bridge.
These seem a little excessive at the moment as the river is very low, however it’s evident from the stray twigs at the edge and moss line on the rocks that it rises much higher.
Currently however it is dry in places, this does make it easy to cross and so we take a detour to stay walking by the river rather than the road. Returning to our original starting point in two hours.
We eat some incredibly stale bread for lunch and then the inevitable can no longer be delayed. We are around 7hrs from Dieppe and leaving tomorrow, a big drive is in order. Lee drives most of the way towards Paris, stopping only to get some food for later and to swap drivers because I’m very bored. We drive for around 5 hours and end up on the outskirts of Versailles by a nice little lake.
Turns out we are parked next to another English person. We go to be nosy about their van, he has also built his wooden interior himself and we invite him round for drinks once we’ve eaten. Cooking some questionable, but nevertheless tasty, ‘Greek’ food. Sam joins us shortly after and we discuss vans and many other things over several bottles of wine until 3am. A nice evening.