Archive for the ‘abergavenny’ Tag

Short Walk on the Sugar Loaf   14 comments


A short day needs a short walk and this one is a local classic. Start high and a nice horseshoe around the southern flanks of the distinctive Sugar Loaf overlooking Abergavenny.


Weather looked to have some promise when we set off but the clouds were quickly gathering with showers and drizzle cloaking the hills to the south


Not sure what they use the rolls of bracken for (animal feed, fuel to burn?)


Ever darkening skies



Gorse still in flower


Approaching the summit



TJS on the summit


We had some decent views and managed to find a sheltered spot on the top (it was exceptionally windy). The summit was remarkably windy for a cloudy and windy day. Many people seemed somewhat under-equipped, a poor decision as luck ran out and it started drizzling heavily as we left the summit and we got quite a soaking


It stopped on the way down and we dried out a bit before we had to sit in the car for the drive home


Decent stroll on a hill we know well, no need for navigational thoughts, just enjoy the panoramas and being outdoors in the hills and fresh air


Industrial Archeology   14 comments


Sometimes a walk is about expansive views and wild mountain scenery. Other times it’s about exploring the history of our upland areas and how we sought to make use of it.  The area to the south of the Usk Valley near Abergavenny, bordering on the South Wales valleys has a rich industrial heritage. Looking for an easy walk on a spare Saturday me and TBF went to explore.


Nice thing about this walk is there is almost no ascent, happy days! The car park at the Keepers Pond is just short of 500m so plenty of decent views as well. It’s a popular and very pleasant spot and we were lucky to grab a parking spot. We hadn’t expected much from the weather after a week of dreary grey skies but we were delivered a perfect spring day and many people were taking advantage


Our first stop off was the massive disused quarry of Pwll Du – the Black Hole. The whole area is now a World Heritage Site, The Blaenavon Industrial Landscape, where coal and iron mining were once king. We were following the Iron Mountain Trail, very vaguely, and its well worth seeking out if you like this sort of thing


The quarry is highly impressive and there are paths around its edges and in fact right across the exposed ledges at the top. It’s now marked as unsafe and whilst the younger me would no doubt have scrambled across, I decided, as I mentioned in my previous post, to let my sense of mortality prevail



The views were superb with hazy cloud filled valleys contrasting against a warm sun dazzling from a blue sky


TBF seemed to be enjoying being my photographic muse for the day



After passing the Lamb and Flag pub (and regretting that I had no cash to purchase a cheeky beer) we extended the route for a circuit of the eastern side of Gilwern Hill. It was a little walked, overgrown and seriously boggy path until we diverted to a better one



There were rather large holes in Gilwern Hill, like somebody had come down to scoop out a hole and forgot to fill it in. I quite like these abandoned quarries and the landscape they leave behind. The old spoil heaps eventually grass over creating a bizarre landscape. Makes me hopeful that more recent efforts to despoil our wild lands will eventually recover. Or am being naively optimistic




We wandered over the summit and past what seems to be the norm for these parts, a radio transmitter or whatever it actually is



This is a Balance Pond. The water once stored in the pond was used to operate a counter balance lift that raised and lowered trams through a vertical shaft cut into the face of Pwll-Du Quarry below. Interesting stuff



That took us back to the Keepers Pond but it was such a gorgeous day we carried on for a circuit of Blorenge, the oddly named eminence that overlooks Abergavenny. I like the cloud in the this shot, very reminiscent of Stingray from the puppet TV show of my youth


A stop for a cuppa and snacks to recharge the batteries and onwards.


More quarried areas and the fairly dramatic grassy overlook on the northern slopes


Its one of my favourite spots in this part of Wales


Photos don’t do justice to what an elevated and sheer drop there is. Something of a surprise that its not very well known and this edge in particular is always quiet




We finished off the walk by traversing the summit of Blorenge. It’s a seriously soggy and boggy tract of moorland


One final pose from TBF on the summit. The bloke in the background twice ignored my attempts to communicate a cheery hello. I always greet every walker I see when I’m out, and always return a greeting one when offered. Its rare not to get a response of some sort, even if just a nod. No idea what this joyless soul’s problem was.


Back along the path to the car park and more transmitters. It was a glorious afternoon and I was happy to be out in sunshine. So happy I forgot TBF and left her a way behind in my solo reverie



And then we were back at the Keepers Pond and the car.


I’d just thought we’d have a short stroll to pass a Saturday afternoon but it turned into quite a long walk, over 9 miles


Spring was here at last – well for one day anyway. It rained all day on Sunday!

Short Post for a Short Walk   12 comments


As the name suggests this was a short walk a couple of weeks ago with TJS. After a catered breakfast in Waitrose in Abergavenny (what sort of knob I have turned into) we headed up the Sugar Loaf. Been up here many times so just a few photos


Weather let us down a bit. Forecast was for clear skies but while we scoffed bacon and egg sarnies a belt of low cloud descended and lingered over the hills all day while patches of sunlight were visible everywhere but where we were


Still it made for some atmospheric cloudy shots and we did get a brief burst of sunshine on the summit





Could have been worse and it was good just to get out. I did at least achieve the objective of working how far I can walk before my knee becomes unbearably painful. About 3-4 miles and a few hundred feet of ascent/descent if you’re interested. Just as well there are some good TV series around at the moment to binge watch. Also means I have less to write about. Just one more post to catch up on before I’m up to date and head off for some winter sun (preceded by some Yorkshire rain)

Posted December 12, 2016 by surfnslide in Black Mountains, Wales, Walking

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Short Blast up the Sugar Loaf   4 comments

The Sugar Loaf is a splendid local hill which I’ve climbed and blogged about many times. It’s ideal for a walk when time is short. In this case it was half term and TJF was in an acting workshop and we had a few hours to spare between wintry showers.



A bitingly cold wind and dark clouds made for a real wintry feel with a cap of fresh snow above 500m



We took a slightly longer route around the back of the mountain to extend the walk before pushing up to the snow-line




Patches of snow, caught in the grass and heather, very quickly gave way to full cover




The summit was extremely busy (we’d had trouble parking for the first time). I assume there were people heading out to go sledging but there wasn’t anything like enough snow





More than enough for some impressive views and the nice feeling of fresh snow underfoot for the climb to the summit and the final last rocky part of the ridge




It was startlingly cold on the top and not really a day to be hanging around. We again took a more circuitous route down to enjoy the conditions. We’d been very lucky that our 3 hour walk coincided with an spell of abundant sunshine and no showers




The northern slopes were sheltered and there had been a decent accumulation of snow. Gave this diminutive mountain a very Scottish feel for a few hundred feet



Despite the chill the snow was melting, visibly quickly. As we traversed back across towards the car most of the snow we’d seen in the morning had already gone. The sledgers looked very disappointed


A fine way to blow away the cobwebs on a cold February day

Posted April 1, 2016 by surfnslide in Black Mountains, Wales, Walking

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Hello 2015 – Blorenge   8 comments

Ditto from the previous post! 🙂

abergavenny, Black Mountain, blaenavon, blorenge, brecon beacons, Pen-Ffordd-Goch, sugar loaf, ysgyryd fawr

abergavenny, Black Mountain, blaenavon, blorenge, brecon beacons, Pen-Ffordd-Goch, sugar loaf, ysgyryd fawr

abergavenny, Black Mountain, blaenavon, blorenge, brecon beacons, Pen-Ffordd-Goch, sugar loaf, ysgyryd fawr

abergavenny, Black Mountain, blaenavon, blorenge, brecon beacons, Pen-Ffordd-Goch, sugar loaf, ysgyryd fawr

abergavenny, Black Mountain, blaenavon, blorenge, brecon beacons, Pen-Ffordd-Goch, sugar loaf, ysgyryd fawr

Another classic short walk, high start, no climbing, great views, interesting industrial archeology, name that rhymes with orange. What more do you need from a days walk.

abergavenny, Black Mountain, blaenavon, blorenge, brecon beacons, Pen-Ffordd-Goch, sugar loaf, ysgyryd fawr

abergavenny, Black Mountain, blaenavon, blorenge, brecon beacons, Pen-Ffordd-Goch, sugar loaf, ysgyryd fawr

abergavenny, Black Mountain, blaenavon, blorenge, brecon beacons, Pen-Ffordd-Goch, sugar loaf, ysgyryd fawr

abergavenny, Black Mountain, blaenavon, blorenge, brecon beacons, Pen-Ffordd-Goch, sugar loaf, ysgyryd fawr

abergavenny, Black Mountain, blaenavon, blorenge, brecon beacons, Pen-Ffordd-Goch, sugar loaf, ysgyryd fawr

abergavenny, Black Mountain, blaenavon, blorenge, brecon beacons, Pen-Ffordd-Goch, sugar loaf, ysgyryd fawr

Interestingly we did the same walk almost exactly a year ago in exactly the same weather. Funny old world.

High on a Hilltop near Abergavenny – Blorenge   6 comments

The problem with being several months behind with your blog posts is that you forget stuff. I claimed in my previous post that the it was the only totally dry day over the Xmas holiday. Well it wasn’t. They day after now I’ve checked my photos was also rather nice, albeit a little cold As we had TJF with us a walk starting high without much climbing was needed. Blorenge fits that bill as you can park at 500m pretty much on the summit. Me and TJS walked up here a couple of years ago so I wanted to introduce the other family members to its charms. Poor TJS was feeling under the weather with a cold and only came out ‘cos he thought I’d make him! I’m not that much of an ogre – am I?

Blorenge, Brecon Beacons

The whole area is marked with the remains of industry long gone. The old pit town of Blaenanvon is a mile away and the hills are criss-crossed with disused tramways. It was one of those we followed today We parked up at Pen-Ffordd Goch Pond which looked stunning under a clear sky.

Pen-Ffordd-Goch Pond, Sugar Loaf

Pen-Ffordd-Goch Pond

It was perishingly cold though with a harsh frost just thawing. Rather than take the main path we skirted along the east edge. Not a great idea as it was astonishingly wet. We managed to get back onto the tramway without too much wet foot idiocy and carried on.

Blorenge, Pen-Ffordd-Goch

The tramway is a fine stroll, perfectly level with wide views across the Usk valley to the Brecon Beacons and the Black Mountains, Sugar Loaf in particular catching the eye as it always does.

Blorenge, Sugar Loaf



Sugar Loaf

As the tramway fades out the grassy edge becomes precipitous and the view over the town of Abergavenny towards Ysgyryd Fawr is especially fine. I have a love for views over towns for some reason. Being able to pick out the lattice-work of streets and the signs of the real lived-in world seem to contrast with the wild beauty of the mountains – in my head at least.


ysgyryd fawr, abergavenny

As always we had a lunch stop planned but there was a biting cold wind and it turned into a pretty grim lunch. TBF had several fleeces, two down duvets and a cagoule on and I was chilled to the bone. TJS was feeling very sorry for himself. I should really invest in a family sized bothy bag for such occasions.

Blorenge, Sugar Loaf, black mountains


Surprisingly TJF really seemed to be enjoying the walk, probably as there is less than 100 foot of ascent on the entire route

blorenge, abergavenny, ysgyryd fawr

Blorenge, Sugar Loaf, black mountains

blorenge, abergavenny, ysgyryd fawr

As we turned to head back over the main summit the weather started to turn with dark brooding clouds threatening the rain that was to continue for most of the rest of the winter. It gave some atmospheric shots before we dropped back down to the lake and car. I’ve never seen TJS look so relived to get into the car. 🙂



And then the rains came…….

Blorenge – rhymes with orange   10 comments

There you go – kick off the post with a little fact-ette. One of the few words that does.

Me a D had set off for a little jaunt up Ysgyryd Fawr but the car park was full so I thought we’d go somewhere different and Blorenge fitted the bill

It’s a fairly massive looking – well – mass that overlooks Abergavenney from the south. We’d been for a walk up here several years ago but never been back so time to correct that. It has the advantage that you can drive pretty much to the summit and as we’d set off late that suited us just fine. We parked next to the large transmitter on the summit and while it is kind of an eyesore it did make an interesting foreground to the low winter light.


Technology meets nature

It looks like they have created a number of trails around the area and there were several really interesting looking longer routes. You are on the northern end of the Welsh valleys so the area is rich in industrial heritage and old workings so a wander around these parts armed with a decent guide would make a grand day out. Today however we were just out for a stroll to top across to the edge overlooking the Usk valley and back to the car.


Towards the Forest of Dean

The path to the summit is pretty boggy but the views are pretty impressive in the winter light.


D & Blorenge Summit


Summit rocks

It was mild but very windy so we didn’t hang about much and soon felt the need to wander to the edge and take in the view. And what a view it is.


Abergavenny and Ysgyryd Fawr


Sugar Loaf and Black Mountains

Suddenly the ground drops away and you are perched above the valley seemingly able to jump into Abergavenney with Ysgyryd Fawr standing proud behind. I took some video and a few photos before we slipped and slithered along the edge path to the small hut on the edge that was unsurprisingly full of beer cans (why anyone would want to sit in the shack is beyond me – it’s seriously manky).


D looks out and beyond

The edge is sculpted into a series of small hummocks – no idea what they are, natural or old industrial remnants, quite fetching and would make a nice picnic site on a warm summers day.


D poses on the hummocks


The bumps and the grotty hut

We headed back across to the road and the car and it was clear D was a little out of shape having not done much walking lately. He’s also been laid up with a gastric virus in the week which he kindly shared with me, taking me out of action the following weekend. Bit of slog back up the road but the views were still enchanting.


Sunset Transmission

A fine afternoon for father and son on a fascinating little summit


Well that’s all folks for a week or so. I’m off skiing to Verbier in the Swiss Alps tomorrow for a week. Watch out for some skiing footage when I get back – TTFN

Posted January 19, 2012 by surfnslide in Black Mountains, Wales, Walking

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