Guide 4hrs 15min, 10k, 460m ascent, 525m descent.
An interesting night last night. We were told that the manageress Patricia would be back at 7.30 to take us to a restaurant in the village. However 7.30 came and she didn’t so we set off to the local restaurant only to find it closed. We then waited with the 4 other guests and at 8 Patricia arrived carrying two large panniers of food. We ate her food on the veranda in front of the gite. Very good it was too.
Patricia had a very animated conversation with a French couple which we listened into understanding little. Afterwards we were told that the chestnut trees all over the island have, for the last 6 years, been blighted by a small beetle that eats the marron. Yields are way down and everyone is suffering. In addition there are nobody left in the villages to pollard the trees, apparently needed to maximize production.
This morning Patricia was again running late so our 7.30 breakfast happened at 8. It looked a nice morning though thunderstorms were forecast for the afternoon.
After breakfast we were off for another 1000ft climb. We were accompanied by a dog who stayed with us for the next 4 hours, almost to our destination . Nice views back over the valley as we left and from the chapelle.
Then a long traverse to the Pass of the Dead Monk! Part of this traverse was thru an old burn area. Not very attractive. other parts were through bracken and wild mint which smelt great.
By the time we reached the Dead Monks Pass the weather had turned distinctly threatening. It also looked as though the trail went more right than we thought and over some distinctly uninviting landscape. After triple checking the map and two gps plots we decided were on the right route and should continue. We soon found we were wrong to be worried as the path curved left instead of right, into the woods rather than across and up the mountain side. What we had seen as our track was probably only s geological feature.
Relieved we carried on and eventually came to a ridge advertised as having great views down to the sea and over to Elba. Nah. Solid grey cloud was blowing up the hill and cold damp and threatening rain. At the end of the ridge we turned inland and down into the trees just in time as the heavens opened on us. We had our lunch while we waited for it to stop, and then continued down the hill.
Half way down the hill the thunder started but the real rain did not come until we were almost at the bottom so we got to our gite not too damp at all, but very glad we had not started half an I hour later than we did. It rained more or less solidly for the next hour or two.
Usual shower etc then to the bar and a long chat with a couple from Oxford who we had met the previous night and were travelling in the same direction. As the sun came out I decided to explore the village only to be caught 50yds out from the gite by a recommencement of the rain.
The gite was also the local bar so it was quite lively. Dinner was satisfactory.