Having seen the weather reports from Britain’s caving areas, your intrepid correspondent was quite happy to be safely ensconced in the Dordogne region, with little wind, no frost & not much rain. Or so I thought until a short trip out showed that all the local rivers were bursting their banks in quite spectacular fashion.
This the Doux de Coly in fairly normal conditions, taken during the 2010 diving expedition from the UK, led by Rick Stanton, with a Darkness Below editor enjoying a cold swim:
And this was taken this morning.
It doesn’t look much higher, though you can see the surface boiling above the cave entrance, but that’s because the water cascades out of the pool in several places. The concrete slab where the divers kitted up and entered the water has now turned into a strong stream with a waterfall (shown below).
By the time the Coly enters the Vézère at Condat, it’s in full spate.
Normally, it’s possible to walk under the arch in the centre and then stand a few metres above the level of the Vézère, but this morning both rivers were at the same level.
A few kilometres downstream, in Montignac, it’s clear that the river is now 5 – 6 metres higher than normal.
Last summer I had lunch under the white awning, the one nearest the camera.
Today you’d have needed diving gear just to reach your table.
Several roads in the area are blocked, the fire brigade were out, and a boat was being used to reach some of the houses and bars down by the river.
There’s been no particularly heavy rain in the immediate area, but both the Vézère and the Coly have a wide catchment area, and there has been considerable amounts of rain in the Massif Central.
Correspondent: Graham Mullan.