Archive for the ‘sugar’ Tag

I’ve been busy!   2 comments

I’ve been neglecting my blog for the past few weeks. What with being away in Pembrokeshire and Cornwall for holidays and, well, just being a lazy git I just haven’t given it the loving care and attention it needs and I can tell the general public are growing restless at the lack of surfnslide antics. Well some people, well a few, well one, my friend GM but I suspect he was being sarcastic.

Anyway while I get round to some major updates for my family holidays and a cracking trip to the Arans in mid-Wales, here is a quick report on another of my post work jaunts. It’s a little gem called Bryn Arw just north of the Sugar Loaf. It’s only 300m high but in the dozen or so times I’ve been up it I’ve never seen a soul up there. It’s only a short walk but it’s perfect for a half a day stroll or when the higher summits are in the cloud.

The first section is along the road. Having read the blogs over at Beating the Bounds and Rambling On, I’m trying to pay more attention to the wildflowers when I’m out walking. On this evening it really struck me not only how much variety there is in our hedgerows but how just looking a little closer can turn what I used to see as a road trudge into a walk of discovery. I found myself stopping every few yards to look at the various plants – and in this case – fruit by the roadside.

Wild Strawberry


It’s a short steep climb up on to the ridge with several options and a pleasant mile along a broad grassy ridge with views across the Ysgyryd Fawr, Sugar Loaf, Hatterall Hill and the rest of the Black Mountains

Ysgyryd Fawr

Summit ridge

Sugar Loaf

Hatterall Hill

The late evening light gives some great effects on the clouds and the weathered trees

Evening sky

Spooky tree

If you are planning this walk just remember that during July and August the bracken completely swamps the lower slopes and as the paths are little walked they can become hard to bash through.

The walk is a mere 3.5 miles and 850 feet of ascent but its quality not quantity.

Full set of Flickr photos here

Posted July 8, 2011 by surfnslide in Black Mountains, Walking

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Ysgyryd Fawr May 2011   2 comments

Short post with some photos of an after-work stroll. while J and the kids were away in Pembrokeshire (post to follow). Ysgyryd Fawr is a prominant sight right across the Black Mountains and in its isolated position provides a quality viewpoint across the Black Mountains, the Forest of Dean, and across Herefordshire to the Malverns and beyond. Its diminutive size makes it the perfect candidate for a short mountain walk. It’s only 2.5 miles round trip to the summit with 1,00 feet of ascent so as I drove home the lure was irresistable and as I now keep my boots and pack in the car I took the 2 mile detour to the car park pretty much on a whim.

The bottom section is through the trees and the last time I was here on Xmas eve it was like the Cresta Run.


Once on the top the snow was fortunately absent but it was still unseasonably cool and windy but the ridge is absolutely terrific and a pleasure to walk along.

View across White Castle and the Forest of Dean

Summit Ridge

It’s a popular hill and I saw several parties on the way down but by the time I reached the top I had it to myself. The views in the late evening sun were as good as any I’ve had up here and I took time out to lie in hollow out of the wind and soak it in.

Herefordshire and across to the Malverns

There were some great views across to Hatterall Hill and the Sugar Loaf where I’ve been in the last couple of weeks.

Hatterall Hill

Black Mountains

Sugar Loaf

I headed back down the ridge with a real spring in my step – no better way to work off the frustrations of a work day – marvellous!

Flickr photos here. The photos are taken with my Nokia E7 phone – not too bad although it’s not keen on the dark foreground for these late evening shots

Hatterall Hill   2 comments

This is one of my all-time favourite walks in the Black Mountains. I’ve done it perhaps half-a-dozen times since I moved to Herefordshire in 2002. Whenever I’m stuck for an idea or struggling for choice this one always seems to win. I have numerous walking guides but this walk or a derivative doesn’t appear in any of them. I find this strange as it’s such an obvious looking circuit when seen from Ysgyryd Fawr as in this photo taken a few years ago:

Hatterall Hill from Ysgyrd Fawr

It’s a relatively short walk and having got lucky with a chance to leave work early I took my chance, parking at Cwmyoy village hall. After crossing the river and fields you come to the sleepy heart of the village with its ancient church, leaning tower and bent roof to the fore.

Cwmyoy Church

Cwmyoy Church

The views across the fields to Ysgyrd Fawr are top notch.

Ysgyryd Fawr

The walk goes past a small table-top hill created by an old landslip.

I must take an alternative route and actually climb this one day. For reasons I’m not entirely sure of I always do this walk in the same direction. If I reversed it I’d see the path up this little knoll on the way down rather than on the way up when I’m already above it. Lesson learned. In no time the path is high up on one of the arms of the valley and it’s an easy stroll towards the main ridge, passing some excellent views up the Vale of Ewyas towards Capel-y- Ffin and the Gospel Pass.

Vale of Ewyas

The ridge was incredibly windy as it has been for several weeks so I had to drop down on the far side to get some shelter and admire the views over the Herefordshire countryside. In this photo you can make out Clodock Church which we passed by on our Longtown Lambs walk a couple of months back.

Looking north to Clodock

I headed down with cracking views across to Ysgyrd Fawr and the Sugar Loaf where I walked after work last week.

Sugar Loaf

Ysgyryd Fawr

One of the farm buildings high up on the slopes now sports a nice little poem on one of the Barn Walls

The lower fields were awash with buttercups although the hedgerows of the lane were surprisingly sparse in terms of wild flowers

Ysgyryd Fawr

First time I’ve actually clocked the walk so surprised to find it’s 6.2 miles and 2,000 feet of ascent. Feeling fitter by the day!

Full set of Flickr photos here

Post-work wind-down   1 comment

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.

Usk Valley and Blorenge from the Car Park

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.

Pen Cerrig-calch

Summit from the W ridge

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).

Summit Rocks, Ysgryd Fawr behind

Summit, distant Brecon Beacons behind

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.

Hot-air balloon 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.

Wild horses

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

Posted May 20, 2011 by surfnslide in Black Mountains, Walking

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