Archive for the ‘sugar loaf’ Tag
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
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)
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
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
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.
Read the rest of this entry »
Ditto from the previous post! 🙂
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.
Interestingly we did the same walk almost exactly a year ago in exactly the same weather. Funny old world.
The postman hasn’t been yet so I’m assuming that all the cards and pressies are on their way. Thanks again everyone, you’re too kind 🙂
4 years since I started writing so I thought I’d check my stats for some headlines. Yeah, like I never check my stats right!
42,827 Page Views
Best Day, April 24th 2014, 173 Page Views
Best Month, January 2014, 1,603 Page Views
Most Popular Post – https://surfnslide.wordpress.com/2011/05/22/waterfalls/ with 985 views (actually I lied it was my review of a Berghaus Jacket but reviews don’t count)
Not too shabby really. Never thought my blog would become my obsession but it pretty much dominates my spare time. I often find myself reading old posts and looking at the photos. I find it rather comforting to have a detailed diary of my outdoor life and family trips although it always starts the thought process as what on earth I’d do if WordPress ever ceases or worse they suffer a catastrophic failure. I’ve never looked at whether you can back up a blog. Perhaps I should.
Anyway, enough introspection and back to the real world. My memories of Xmas from last year was of rain, lots of rain with short walks snatched between periods of foul weather. This year we had a winter. After a couple of days of festering indoors it was time to go outside. TJS loves his hiking but TJF doesn’t. We needed a short walk but an interesting one and this is one of the best I know.
The normal route takes you down over the fields and into Llangattock before climbing back up. It looked like the sun was never going to climb over the edge so we set off to reverse the route. Even then it looked like we might never see the sunshine even though there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. On a whim I headed up to the edge to find the sun, hoping there would be a path. Inspired idea.
It’s not easy to find a way through the cliffs of Craig Y Cilau. The are pretty continuous and unclimbable with almost no break and we had to walk a good half a mile before we found a way up onto the edge
Once we did it was magnificent. Gloroius sunshine with the low sun lighting up the browns of the bracken into gold to contrast with green fields of the Usk valley, the brooding Black Mountains and the blue sky
We found a reasonably sheltered spot in the sunshine for lunch. I love eating my lunch in the sunshine in winter
There was indeed a path all the way along the edge, a bit squelchy in places but a magnificent route. Perched high above the cliffs the views are magnificent and the winter colours amazing. There were sink holes everywhere to remind you this is limestone country and home to some of the longest cave systems in Britain
Sadly we had to drop down to return and immediately lost the sun for the day. The walk starts through a weirdly contorted landscape of old quarry workings. A mini mountain range of twisting micro-ridges and valleys. Fascinating but bitingly cold. It doesn’t get any sun at this time of year.
From there it follows and old level quarry road under the cliffs. A dark and chilly walk on a cold December afternoon but it must be a sunny pleasure in summer. There are cave entrances everywhere, well worth an explore but it was far too cold for such fun at this time of year
The light show on the Black Mountains turned them a dusky golden colour as the sun dipped below the horizon.
As we passed through the really quite lovely meadow of Waun Ddu there was a mist starting to form above the stream. It was enchanting but hard to capture a decent image.
A fabulous walk before winter arrived in earnest