At the beginning of February we had some prolonged heavy rains (about the same time everyone in the UK was battling with winter blizzards and the heaviest snow for 18 years) and in the early hours of Monday 2 February the rain was accompanied by thunder and lightening, then suddenly just as we were dozing off to sleep there was a flash of lightening followed immediately by a loud crack of thunder and we both said “f**k that was close I wonder what it hit”. Eventually we dozed off to sleep and it was only later on the next day that we discovered that the lightening had hit the hermitage above the village and totally destroyed the cross and the roof. The following day I, along with quite a few other villagers, decided to take a walk up and look at what was left. There was a sign at the bottom of the track advising people to stay away in case anymore of the building collapsed and there was a fence across the path, however this didn’t stop anyone as we all know where the back way up to the path is and soon there was a steady stream of villagers climbing up the hill (this climb isn’t for the faint hearted as it’s pretty steep and takes about 45 minutes but they’re a fit bunch around here). When we finally arrived at the top of the hill we could see first hand the damage the strike had caused – I didn’t fancy climbing right up to the remains of the building and stayed at the bottom of the steps but quite a few took their life in their hands and went right up into the wreakage. I took a few photos and thankfully only a few weeks before had climbed up there and taken some of the building in all it’s glory, so at least I have some before and after shots now. Apparently the hermitage had been hit by lightening once before and had caused a crack in the walls but other than that it stood firm, however this time it wasn’t so lucky. The local council have now opened an account at the village bank for anyone to deposit a donation towards the restoration of the hermitage but it sounds like it could be a year or so down the line before they have enough funds to carry out the work. Due to the hermitage’s location and having no road access all materials have to be hauled up on donkeys, or on the backs of the builders and thus makes the rebuild costs all that much higher due to the amount of labour required. Lets hope when they finally rebuild it they think to put a lightening conductor up there to avoid a repeat destruction!