As I work in Bristol and live in Hereford, my drive home takes me either through the Wye Valley or past the Black Mountains providing ample opportunities to get a short walk in on the way home. I did this a couple of times a few years back so I thought it was time to revive the practice. I picked the Sugar Loaf, a prominent hill overlooking Abergavenny as not only is it a nice mountain, you can start from a car park at 1,000 feet! When I got there at 6pm the weather wasn’t quite as sunny as when I left Bristol but it was still pleasant. The views from the car park across the Usk valley and the Heads of the Valleys is great, and for anyone with smaller kids the area is great for a short walk with wide easy paths and expansive views.
You can just go pretty much straight up and down but there is a much nicer route that heads across to the SW and W ridge. It involves some extra descent/ascent but it’s well worth it. The ridge is a pleasant stroll and the views across to the SW reaches of the Black Mountains and the Brecon Beacons are great.
The summit has a nice, rocky, airy feel and at 7:30pm you have the advantage of having it to yourself (it’s a popular summit).
I sat for a while on the top picking out other post-work walks like Ysgyrd Fawr, Bryn Arw and Hatterall Hill and watching a hot-air ballon rise up over Bryn Arw.
Downside of being on a hill on a cloudy, windy evening at 7:30pm is that it’s cold and I was hungry so I headed down and past the usual groups of wild horses back to the car.
4.4 miles and 1,000 feet of ascent, not bad for an evening workout.
Full set of Flickr Photos here
A vist later in 2011 is posted here