The Cliffs are Crumbling.
TRAVEL THROUGH FRANCE
We live in an area of steep limestone gorges and towering cliffs. Every day, when I look out at the Cirque du Bout du Monde I notice a large red gash in the rock, like a gout of blood. Before it appeared, a few years ago now, we heard the prelude when rock began to crumble away from the cliff side and crash and tumble below. Fortunately there were no houses, just a dense forest in its path. But that is not the only rock fall that we have witnessed in the past twenty years or so. And it would seem that with climate change, our cliffs are becoming even less stable.
A year or two after we arrived, a large boulder dislodged itself from the roadside cliffs a little higher up our valley. Unfortunately it landed on a passing car and literally squashed it flat. Miraculously the driver escaped serious injury, but the car remained there on the verge for many months as a silent witness to the instability of our cliffs . The road was closed shortly afterwards in order to stabilise the cliffside. The work took many months during which time the connection between the villages at the top of our valley and the main town of Lodève was cut. Fortunately we were not affected. Indeed we often reminisce about that blissful time when the road fell silent and the sound of motorbikes was never heard. Maybe that lovely silence will return when all vehicles become electric.
But we were not to escape that easily . Last year another boulder fell from the cliffs . This time it occurred between our village and Lodève. Fortunately there was no passing traffic at the time, and after some rocks were removed ,traffic was able to pass in single file.
From then on , every time we drove into town, I would look at these cliffs with trepidation, but at least we knew they were being monitored. Last week, work commenced to reinforce this area of cliffs with metal bolts and heavy metal netting. It will take a month, after which two way traffic will be restored.