Around Fontainebleau forest, many signs bear the legend 'beware of processionary caterpillars'. Their hairs are extremely irritating and can cause death in susceptible humans and dogs. They can fire them like harpoons, and also use them to follow each other head to tail like these; an entomologist once attached them in a circle, and found that they continued marching round for a week. We were very excited to find a genuine procession making it's way to le Cul de Chien.
On the first day of Font the forest gave to us...more stupid rain. We went for a walk and ran our hands over wet rock, marvelling at how much harder all the problems looked with a glossy veneer of rain and algae. Along a path we discovered a massing of thousands of ants, bustling between gargantuan pine needles. They were fascinating to watch, and to listen to - there were so many that you could hear their rustling - until memories of Indiana Jones (Amber) and Marabunta (Sam...we watched a bit, it's awful) panicked us into an undignified retreat.
The weather reports have been generally conspiring against us; we have spent an inordinate amount of time flicking between three or four sources which contradict each other significantly. Eventually we just went climbing when it wasn't raining or wet, which seemed to work okay. The above photos are from our second day's climbing, an eerie grey afternoon at Franchard Isatis. Nezzo is an elegant prow that Sam had done a few years back and I wanted to give a quick send. In the end it took me over twenty tries, and Sam about four to lay it to rest. On the positive side we had the beta nailed and it's an interesting route to spend an hour or two working every possible variant.
And for no apparent reason other than forgetting to start the post with this, below is the rather romantic view we had from the ferry in Newhaven harbour; gulls sweeping over a scrap metal mountain juxtaposed against an epic ocean skyline.