Our third and last day dawned bright and sunny and we had already decided to go and check out the marshland around the Chateau de Suscinio which was not far from where we were camping; indeed we had had a glimpse of it on our wet and bracing walk the day before.
Very handily in the car park for the chateau there were motorhome spaces, so we nabbed one of them and set off past the chateau to the marshes which surround it. Had to take a few photos along the way, of course.
We passed a few gardens and could see how far advanced spring was here - this was the first week of April yet bearded irises were already flowering. Mine are still only showing some buds all these weeks later!
This plant fascinated me and I don't have a clue what it is. Unless it is a stubby looking allium? It was beautiful, whatever it was.
We had been given a fairly decent map by the campsite owner which had the paths marked on it, so off we set on one of these around the back of the marshes. The track turned a bit damp and we only had our trainers on, having stupidly chosen not to wear our hiking boots, so we were glad to discover a boardwalk. That little butterfly is a Holly Blue; it's a very zoomed in pic but I wanted to get a record of it. The other pic is a bumble bee on willow catkins and you can see it properly if you click on it if you are on a computer with a reasonable sized screen. Otherwise you'll just have to take my word for it!
So much for that path! In one place the boardwalk had rotted and about five foot of planks were missing, but there was one loose plank so we managed to get over it with K helping me. When we got to the end there was a fork in the path with a signpost, one track leading to a hamlet and the other to the beach. We decided to head to the beach but it wasn't to be, a few minutes later and we discovered the path was under water! It is obviously a seasonal path to be used only when the water level is lower. So we had to retrace our steps via the dodgy boardwalk.
Back through the little hamlet we passed these cutesy cottages.
Then we took another path round the back of the marais (that's the French word for marsh), only to find it rather wet and boggy. This is when we really rued having not put on our hiking boots, although wellies would have been far more suitable footwear! It was the kind of path where in places you are standing on grass then look down and realise you are slowly sinking into water which is coming over your shoes..... by this time there was no point in returning and finally we made it to the beach area on the far side of the marsh.
Here it was completely different habitat. We hadn't seen any interesting birds along our walk but to be honest we were mostly looking at our feet! We did hear loads though, including the ubiquitous Cetti's Warbler, which we hear so often but very rarely see. Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs were singing away everywhere where there were trees or bushes.
This grassy area beside the beach was fascinating, already full of flowers, many of which were tiny. I can imagine it full of butterflies later on. There were lots of these orchids but I don't know anything about orchids so can't tell you which one.
Here though there were birds galore. We kept disturbing Skylarks which had been standing in this grassy area - not sure if they would have been nesting here as it was not part of any fenced off bit. One flew onto the fence post and sang its face off for us. This first photo is mine with my Lumix which has a 400mm zoom.
And this is Keith's with a Canon SX40, which zooms in a lot further. I got fed up with changing cameras as I had my SX50 in my backpack, but as there were so many lovely landscapes here I kept on using my Lumix.
A view of the beach here - we'd walked as far as that point the day before.
Looking the other way - later in the afternoon we visited the area in the distance with the church.
I did manage this distant shot of a female Stonechat. There were loads of Stonechats and Linnets flitting about on low bushes.
Well as you can see, the sky was somewhat changeable and it was to become true April showery weather later on. We walked back to the MoHo via the middle path, the sensible dry one which we'll know another time to take! We had lunch in the van looking out over another lake beside the castle. We had originally thought we might visit it but after one long walk, and knowing it would be full of staircases, we decided to give it a miss until a time when I am fitter. Even K didn't fancy it saying that he too was knackered as walking uses different muscles from cycling!
The last photo sums up the afternoon weather! This little chapel, Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-la-Côte, is on a fairly flat promontory called la Pointe de Penvins. We'd been told by one of the guys working at the reserve at Sene that it was good for sea bird watching. It was sunny when we set out to walk here, and indeed we did see flocks of a wader that we haven't managed to ID, and Turnstones. However before we could get many photos the weather changed, it started to bucket down and we rushed back to the van! Wet jackets yet again to go with the already trashed trainers (and hair do).
We had a cup of tea and waited until the sun came out again. This time we decided to put our hiking boots on; however by the time I had done so K pointed to the sky behind us. Beautiful sunshine and blue sky looking out to sea, but looking like in the photo and worse, looking inland. Sighing, we took our boots off again and sheltered back inside the van. We watched with amusement a party of school kids with their teachers setting off with enthusiasm towards the chapel.... wondering if any of them would look back. Yes, somebody must have as suddenly the whole lot of them started dashing back to the sanctuary of their coach and then the heavens opened yet again.
At this point, we decided to call it a day and head home!
So that was our first MoHo adventure and very successful it was too. We loved the whole experience, despite being drenched twice! We learned lots about our van; it certainly is a squeeze at times with two people and we wonder how whole families cope in vans not much bigger than ours, especially when it comes to preparing meals. But when warmer weather comes we will have outside space to utilise so that will make it seem roomier. And by the way - what depression? It suddenly disappears when Mary MoHo is around! Brilliant therapy. :-)