Archive for the ‘sugar loaf’ Tag

Back to Winter   12 comments


Well, that’s enough of city breaks for 2017. Time to get back to main feature of the blog namely out and about in the mountains. The weekend after our Barcelona trip and a decent Sunday forecast had us out in the Black Mountains. I’m always looking for a different take or a new route having explored the area extensively since I’ve lived in Herefordshire. I’d done both of today’s summits many times before but never on the same walk.


A late start, possibly because I saw that the forecast was improving, more likely I just stayed in bed too long


It was a cold and windy day with showers scudding over some of the tops. As ever though, sunshine and showers delivers crystal clear clarity to the air and the views



The Sugar Loaf is a fine mountain I’ve been up many times but this is only the second time I’ve been up from the east side



The views from the way up and the top were superb



Not a day for dallying on the summit in an icy wind that I’m sure would have dropped as snow if we’d been caught in a shower



We pushed on down with several mountain bikers on their way up. Too steep for me and a bike I have to say. We had a few drops of rain but nothing much and the skies cleared magnificently afterwards



The last few leaves were still clinging to the trees as Autumn faded away



The steep roads onto the open hillside of Crug Mawr warmed us up sufficiently to take in a short stop for a cuppa and a bite to eat. A grand view along the Grwyne Fechan valley to enjoy



We didn’t linger long as it was pretty cold and we still had long way to walk and the sun was going down




As we approached the summit of Crug Mawr the sun was turning the mountains a deep golden brown


It’s the best time to be on the mountains, late in the day as the sun sets. No-one around but clear skies and gorgeous contrasts picked out by the low angled sun



We briefly enjoyed the summit panoramas before heading off into the approaching darkness


The price to pay for these views was a long walk back along the lanes to the car. TJS was not best pleased by this turn of events and castigated me for my poor planning in having to walk in the dark. I tried to inform him that hiking is not an exact science, that we were well off the hills before it got dark and our reward were some stunning views. He wasn’t placated by this and stomped off to the car. If he’s going to carry on hiking with his old man he better get used to this as I often linger on hills in winter to make the most of  day and end up coming down in darkness

Sugar Loaf & Crug Mawr

A long walk in the end of almost 12 miles but a good one for the future. Most of the road walking could be avoided on valley paths but not a great idea trying to find stiles and gates in the dark. Winter was back, sunny cities a thing of the past. I love my city trips but my heart will always belong to the mountains



Posted December 5, 2017 by surfnslide in Black Mountains, Wales, Walking

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Post Work Wander   10 comments


I’m quite taken with the idea of heading our for a walk late Friday after tea. Me and TJS had a go last week but the weather let us down and we copped the only cloudy and damp spell of the weekend. Tonight was much better with a beautiful warm summers evening up on Ysgyryd Fawr. I’ve blogged this walk many times so just I’ll just let the photos do the talking this time















Marvellous. We even had a cheeky beer on the top 🙂

Posted July 14, 2017 by surfnslide in Black Mountains, Wales, Walking

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A Breakfast Walk   12 comments

On a cold clear winters day the best time to be out is early morning. Having convinced TJS into an early start we settled on a route around Cwn Banw in the Black Mountains, one of my favorites. We were walking at just after 8am and it was a glorious albeit chilly morning at -5C



The silhouettes of the trees are always something that fascinates me and this morning at the early hour was a great time to capture them


The low morning sun also lights up the bracken and heather to very dramatic effect. It seems to glow with a warm deep brown contrasting to the frosty cold air




The plan was to breakfast on Table Mountain (this allows the early start and is also a rather fine thing to do). Even though the air was cold even in winter the sun has a little warmth. What we hadn’t banked on was the surprisingly strong wind that turned the chilly air into an a more arctic feel



Luckily Table Mountain has a terrace below its sloping flat top and we found a great spot in the sun but sheltered by the wind and overlooking the Usk Valley and the Brecon Beacons


Is there a finer way to spend a winters morning than a freshly cooked bacon sandwich and cup of tea overlooking the mountains under a deep blue sky? Answers on a postcard please


The pimple of the Sugar Loaf prominent in these parts as always


We ambled back over the grassland of Table Mountain and then onwards towards the higher summits




It really was most extraordinarily cold in the very strong wind. I would love one of those portable Kestrel weather stations but I estimated that with an air temperature a few degrees below freezing and the strong wind, the windchill must have been around -15C. We certainly didn’t stop!


We summited Pen Cerrig Calch from where the views were equally magnificent


Our goal of Pen Allt Mawr visible in the distance


A long and bracing walk along the edges above Cwm Banw brought us to the summit where we found a little shelter to admire the views once more



The views over Mynydd Troed and Mynydd Llangorse were especially fine from here


A pretty decent sunburst shot with some vapor trails to add interest


From here its always tempting to make a long round and include the main summits of the Black Mountains themselves. My knees aren’t really up for that at the moment and forecast was for increasing cloud through the day. No sense spoiling a great day so we plodded down the very fine and very frozen ridge of Tal Trwynau, pausing at the end for a final stop and snack in the sunshine


These two photos show what its like to go hiking with a 21st Century teenager. Head always looking down at their phone, lest they miss a vital social media message.


Over the fields and back to the car to finish a superb day out


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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Post Walk Amble – Bryn Arw   6 comments

Talking a walk after work is a perfect way to unwind and my drive home from Bristol where I work has plenty of options. Over the past couple of years I don’t seem to have managed it as much as I should. A couple of weeks back I got an opportunity and grabbed it.



Bryn Arw is one of my favourites and I’ve walked and blogged this route many times. Its perfect for an after work jaunt. Relatively short but with a small mountain feel and superb views.



It does have a short road section but at this time of year the hedgerows are alive with wild flowers so its hardly a chore. Best of all and for reasons I can’t explain its deserted. I can’t recall seeing more than a couple of other people in the many times I’ve been up here and on an evening as grand as this one I still found it surprising that I saw no-one else.

Ysgyryd Fawr always catches the eye



It was bright and sunny but cooler than it looked but I managed to find a sheltered spot for the obligatory mountain top cuppa



The Sugar Loaf also looks good from the summit ridge


And as this seems to be the age of the selfie……



Looking back at these photos I’m amazed again at the marvel of modern technology. All these photos were taken with my smartphone. Amazing clarity and image quality from such a small multi-purpose device





Makes the long days at work feel a little less of a drag when you can take in a walk as good as this on the way home

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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A romantic stroll on Garway Hill   18 comments

Black Mountains, Forest of Dean, garway hill, sugar loaf

Garway is a local hill for local people. Looking at these photos again I don’t remember why we hadn’t gone out for the day. Possibly this was just an interlude between two spells of poor weather on the day – in true fickle style it was raining within an hour of us getting home after this walk. Maybe it was because TJS was feeling poorly.

Black Mountains, Forest of Dean, garway hill, sugar loaf

Black Mountains, Forest of Dean, garway hill, sugar loaf

Black Mountains, Forest of Dean, garway hill, sugar loaf

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Posted February 22, 2015 by surfnslide in Local Walks, Walking

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