Sure enough, there they were, several incredibly long lines of large and very hairy caterpillars, moving very slowly, all joined nose to tail. How wierd.
Every so often, there would be a little pile of them.
On further investigation the trail seemed to be coming out of, or going into, the little wood behind the château. Then we looked upwards and saw something that looked like a nest in a pine tree.
We guessed that this must be the source of the trail as caterpillars seemed to be dripping out of it. In fact there were quite a few nests in the trees.
We mentioned this to Barrie who told us they were called "processional caterpillars" and they were poisonous so we mustn't touch them.
This probably explained why Lulu was quite off colour for the rest of the day. She was sick after her breakfast and yelped as if she was hurting somewhere, presumably caused by a reaction to having sniffed a caterpillar. Nick said he was sure she hadn't eaten one and there was no sign of an allergic reaction around her mouth or nose. But she was off her food all day and wouldn't even take her favourite treats.
Susan of Days on the Claise confirmed Barrie's warning and has recently mentioned them in her post here and included a link to more information here, if you would like to read more about it. Now that we know about the perils of processional caterpillars, we will be sure to keep away from them next year.
I am adding Ken's link here, and if you really like having nightmares read the section marked "dangers" !