Thursday, 20 January 2011

110. Anyone for logs..?

20th January 2011. Went out on the river in a coxless quad sculler this evening - it was very fresh. (weather forecaster-speak for cold..) Did 10km. (Running total: 382km)

Two years ago, over the night of 24th January, Tempete Klaus dealt a devastating blow to the forests of Les Landes in SW France, between Bordeaux and Bayonne. Winds gusting up to 175kph (110mph) stormed out of the Bay of Biscay and rampaged acoss the coastal forest, knocking down hundreds of thousands of trees and power lines, blocking roads and isolating whole communities.

There was a piece on the TF1 news this evening about the enormous stockpiles of logs that were created during the massive clean-up operation.
Each time I've driven by these stockpiles en route north to Bordeaux, they were being continuously sprayed with water to stop them drying out prematurely and splitting in the intense summer heat. In the past I've googled without success to try and find a link to them but tonight's story on TF1 gave the name of the stockpile as "L’aire de stockage de Solférino". Apparently Solférino holds 700,000 tons of wood. The one below is just one of what looks like about 5-6 similar huge piles.

There's been a permanent wall of logs stacked along the dockside in Bayonne ever since, clearly visible from across the Adour, and they're being continuously loaded onto ships for export but the stacks of logs seem never to diminish in size.

The news story featured a gentleman who owned some 300-odd hectares of forest and he said that the price of his wood had dropped from 30€/cubic metre to 4€..

21st January 2011. Tiens is a bright new venture that's just been started by Perry & Caroline - an Anglo-Dutch couple living in the Hautes-Pyrénées an hour or two to the east of here. Tiens is an online magazine - with sound and images - about life in all its forms in South West France. Give it a click - I defy you not to be charmed by it. 

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