Thursday, October 16, 2014

Interesting Discovery

 Rather a different sort of hike today. Very interesting. The Breton was told about a wooden bridge over the torrent Subiasco by a local. (if you’re reading this local man, the Breton is coming for you). Talk about taking the piss. It seems there is no bridge. However we did not know that this morning so, despite the Breton’s broken ribs, we thought we’d look for it and found a likely looking path following a contour and aiming for the gorge through which the river runs. As it turned out it wasn’t a path at all but an ancient bealera, an artificial  water course. We followed it for an hour or so,  casually at first signing French walking songs about flowers and toads and laughing with carefree abandon **,  then with a little more concentration helping our feet with our hands, then on our hands and knees crawling (this was the part, had I been concentrating on le Breton instead of concentrating on not falling 20m off a crumbling ledge into the river, I would have doubtless  have learned some new French swear words). Some parts were suspended over emptiness and held up, seemingly, but prayer and hope alone. Others built up from underneath with tall dry stone walls and at one place a perfect dry stone column. The channel itself was an interesting mix of ancient and not so modern with huge carved stone channels,  and dry stone containment walls with flat stones, ‘lose’, put in vertically to  prevent the water running out and in some parts old mortar of the type you get in castles, and bits of modernish stuff with 1700s  type rebars and extremely hard concrete. But the whole lot looked as if it hadn’t been used for anything in a couple of centuries. Of course, almost to the end, we reached a point that was impassible with broken ribs and a healthy fear of death so we had to turn round and go back, descending with the invalid Breton down to the river for lunch on a rock in a patch of sun and where the poor guy found a beach to play on. Bretons likes beaches. After following the channel back to what would have been the arrival of the water, ended curiously in a torrent which sort of defeats the purpose of a couple of kilometers of water channel methinks. Bit of a mystery.

So that was the end of the morning. The beginning started with a hike up to Besse above Bobbio Pellice and the discovery of an interesting stone carved with cup marks and a basin connected with channels in the style of some I found above Bonnet. Like the other carvings we’ve found along the Subiasco river, they face west which considering I’ve never come across any west facing carving before, was very curious.

 **that bit’s not true but serves to give an idea of the nonchalance with which we were walking

Le Breton expressing joy at being on  a beach and having found a pebble
Lovely water
Cup marks, basins and channels

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