After a week or so in the Juras, the weather changed; instead of baking in the 30s every afternoon, it actually rained solid for a couple of days. This didn’t deter us mind! The dogs are waterproof anyway and we had our trusty Paramo with us.
The really strange thing however, is when I looked at the next set of photos it doesn’t appear to be raining at all! It did though, honest…
By this time, we’d wandered down to the southern part of the Juras and the terrain was subtly different. Still a big cross-country ski area, but slightly more hilly as well.
Once again, we found ourselves following routes that in the winter are snowshoeing trails.
The whole of the Jura border area seems to be populated by lots of ‘bornes’ or boundary stones. Some of them are on old area boundaries, some on the old Swiss/France border and some on the modern Swiss/France border.
On one of our wanders we went to the Borne au Lion, which is a marker from the year 1613, when Henri IV of France was in charge.
What we had no idea about until we got to this site, was that this part of the mountains had also been a stronghold for the French Resistance in WW2, and that there were also monuments around to those people who’d fought and given up their lives to this end.
You could just imagine this corner of the mountains lending itself to secret goings on, with people doing all sorts of brave things.
The couple of rainy days we’d had, then seemed to trigger a general change in the weather. It did dry up, and the sun did return, but never with quite the same intensity as before. Temperatures were more in the mid 20s and a sense of autumn beginning seemed to be around.
Once again, we moved a few miles to another small Jura town – Bois d’Amont.
Before we’d left England back in July, Yuri (from Twitter), had come round and lent us a couple of maps and a book about the area. This book was all about the boundary stones that follow the actual Swiss/France border, and how various walks could help you find them. We realised that Bois d’Amont was actually where one of these walks started from, and so decided we would spend a day Bornes hunting. One of Yuri’s maps also covered this area, so it was all systems go.
We started by climbing up through a forest, on possibly the steepest track known to man, to gain a high pasture. This pasture followed a rather wide ridge, with the border running down the centre of it. We were quite surprised once we’d got up there, to find several small buildings/houses, which had obviously been places where people used to stay for the summer to tend their animals on the summer grazing, but were possibly now used as holiday type dwellings. We didn’t see any that looked particularly inhabited though.
There were, however, lots of cows about, separated into different fields by lots of electric fences. Now Dixie and I had already both been electrocuted a couple of days before, and had become rather wary of these nasty wires, so I wasn’t well pleased on finding we had to cross a fair number in order to seek these boundary stones out. Of course the stones were not on convenient footpaths, so we had to trample over the place (no idea what the access laws are in either France or Switzerland), to find their locations.
After successfully tracking down a couple, Dixie and I somehow managed to get separated from Tilly and his Lordship. This seemed to be a signal for a small herd of cows to make a bee-line for us. I just about managed to keep them at bay, but Dixie was extremely intimidated by them and we ended up crossing another fence into a somewhat dilapidated looking garden, with all the cows staring at us across the barrier.
And so, there we stayed for about 30 minutes until Geoff and Tilly wandered back from their exciting boundary stone adventure and helped rescue us. They had really got in to the spirit of searching these things out.
I think Tilly was especially interested in them.
Once rescued though, Dixie and I were persuaded to ‘just go and see one more’, in the process of which I got electrocuted again.
That was the last straw. I’d had enough, and ‘…I’m going back to the village now, even if you’re not!’ Needless to say, Geoff was very sympathetic (not), and we all went back together.
It was now time to move on again. We’d spent a couple of weeks exploring the Jura and had a hankering after seeing what the Vosges was like – another mountainous area further north, up near the German and Luxembourg borders. Would it tick all our boxes like these mountains had? The Juras were a hard act to follow.