Date walked: 19th February and 10th March 2016 (see below)

Distance: around 9 miles

Map used: OS Explorer OL13 – Brecon Beacons National Park (Eastern Area)

******************

OK, here’s the thing. We felt that we didn’t want to finish the last walk by walking across Abergavenny – which was just as well as it was dark and we were tired when we got to the bottom of Blorenge. And Neil didn’t want to start the next walk by traipsing across town. So we came up with a plan to just meet up, have lunch and a catch up somewhere in Abergavenny and get to a nice point to start the next day’s walk.

We met at the end of a lane (as points go it was nice enough) that leads to the base of Sugar Loaf, leaving Neil’s car there…..

Cambrian Way outside Abergavenny, photographed by Charles Hawes

Taken, of course at the end of the walk, which was really the middle. Kinda

…. and taking mine back to the car park at Llanfoist.

Llanfoist on the Cambrian Way, photographed by Charles Hawes

Just because we were only crossing town, doesn’t mean that Neil would neglect his map reading role

Togged up, the road back towards town gave us a misty view ahead to Sugar Loaf – our destination for the next walk.

View to Sugar Loaf from Llanfoist, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

It then went under the A465…

Underpass of the A465, at Llanfoist photographed from the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Always like tunnels

…… passing an old oak that had an old metal circular seat at its base…..

Oak tree with metal circular seat at Llanfoist, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

…. which the tree was slowly taking it into itself.

Oak tree with metal circular seat at Llanfoist, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

How long before it totally disappears?

Time for lunch.  (I know, what a pair of lightweights). The road joined the A 4143 and we made a detour right to the nearby Waitrose (that’s a first for any walk of mine), where Neil did a quick map check.

Waitrose, Abergavenny, photographed by Charles Hawes

You can’t be too careful crossing metropolises the size of Abergavenny

I think I had two cakes and Neil something more worthy. Should have taken a pic, really.

Fuelled and caught up, we headed back to the river Usk and its crossing.

Crossing the Usk on the Cambrian Way at Abergavenny, photographed by Charles Hawes

No, Neil hasn’t put on that much weight- he’s just got his hands in his pockets.

After that we had about 3/4 mile of suburban streets before reaching the rural lane on the north side of town at the top of which Neil’s car was parked.

The Cambrian Way outside Abergavenny, photographed by Charles Hawes

Like I said, you can’t be too careful

Being adventurous types we thought we would take the more scenic route via Sunny Vale…

Cambrian Way approaching Sugar Loaf, photographed by Charles Hawes

Which wasn’t very sunny today

…and cross the valley….

Charles Hawes on the Cambrian Way near Abergavenny

I am trying not to smile but almost failing

…. and the  bridge over the Afon Cibi….

Bridge over the Afon Cibi, photographed by Charles Hawes

Bet sheep don’t like this bridge

… followed by a squelchy tramp through a field back to the car. You can see why making this day a whole post would have been stretching your patience somewhat.

March 10th

I know Forest Coalpit for several reasons, to be revealed in the next post. We met at a lay-by there where we left my car and took Neil’s (I think) back to our last finishing point on the north side of Abergavenny. (You’ve got the hang of this two-car thing now, haven’t you?).

With a view to Sugar Loaf ahead, and a “Way to Hill” sign pointing our way, we had no difficulty finding out path.

Footpath sign near Sugar Loaf, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Mind you, it could be referring to another hill

We were in a little valley belonging to the National Trust called Parc Lodge.

National Trust sign for Parc Lodge, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

according to the website the place “nestles” below Sugar Loaf. Yuk.

The map calls this The Park and there is a Parc Lodge Farm further uphill. It was a medieval deer park.

Our track took us through an oak wood. Too early for the leaves to have broken bud, the sun was making the most of the trees’ moss-covered branches.

Parc Lodge, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

I love woods at this time of year, when you can see the structure of the trees

Too early, too, for the docile sheep to have had their lambs.

Sheep of Parc Lodge Farm, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Now a sheep park

Leaving the farm track, the path now became defined by the more trampled appearance of the closely grazed grass.

Lower slopes of Sugar Loaf, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

I do like that sky: it’s amazing what a graduated filter can do.

We were warm enough, but over to our left the higher parts of the Beacons were still hanging onto some snow.

Lower slopes of Sugar Loaf, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

No many walkers – or sheep – or any other wildlife

The climb up Sugar Loaf  is very gentle really, but we still stopped once or twice to catch our breath.

Approaching Sugar Loaf, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Neil galloping up the hill

It’s a popular destination , and all approaches to its modest 1995 feet summit are well-worn.

Near the summit of Sugar Loaf, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

I always feels a little guilty knowing that I am making this happen

Pole position at the trig point had been taken when we arrived but we were happy enough to sit with our backs to the sun for a bit and have something to eat.

Trig point on Sugar Loaf, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

It’s surprising how many people take their dogs up big hills for a walk

And although it is nearly 1000 feet less high than Pen – Y -Fan (that pleasure to come) the views were still pretty impressive.

Cambrian way day 5-15

Somewhat zoomed in

Popular summits always seem to attract those who want to make a mark on the world. Here we found several stones that had been carved.

Carved stone on Pen-y-Fan, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

I don’t suppose anyone would have the patience to do this now – and they would probably be committing an offence if they did.

Neil loves the high bits of our walks the best, and required a snap of him being exuberant.

Near the summit of Sugar Loaf, photographed from the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

An excellent portrayal of exuberance, I think

Not that I am saying that Neil spoils a good view, but here’s that shot without him.

Near the summit of Sugar Loaf, photographed from the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

I seem to have made the sky more “moody” for this one

According to the map, the way down would require a bit of a back track. We could see a more direct route, where a farm track cut a swathe through the bracken and then disappeared.

Lower slopes of Sugar Loaf, photographed from the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Clearly more than a sheep path

This was fine, at first, easing us down the hillside, passing a flock of surprised sheep.

Lower slopes of Sugar Loaf, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Take from me, they all have surprised expressions

Below us was the very obviously posh property of Craig y bwla.

Cambrian way day 5-23

Around here the track seemed to disappear and we were left scrambling down the hillside through the bracken. It was quite steep to the little stream of Cwm Nant-du where I hope we would find a footpath to another at the base of the hill.

Cwm Nant du photographed by Charles Hawes

There was a path of sorts, but the gate in the fence was locked and as the alternative was to climb back up the hill we climbed over. We followed the steam down the hill, enjoying the sun shining sideways through the bare trees, until we did meet the path we were expecting.

Near Forest Coalpit, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

It looked so much more “lit up” than this

A stile was a reassuring sign that we were back on a Right of Way …

Near Forest Coalpit, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

…..but rather than take this path down to the road, we followed the contour of the hillside in the road’s direction to Deri Cottage whose owners had erected a rather nice hut in one of their fields.

Deri Cottage, near Forest Coalpit, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Now that’s a fancy hut

Our path went round the back of this property and then became a track passing  the mossy stone wall of Pwll y Hwyaid.

Cambrian way day 5-32

This track joined the road the road just above Forest Coalpit, from where it was a few hundred yards back to the car. A very nice walk. More soon.

 

 

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Cambrian Way Day 4: Pontypool Park Folly to Llanfoist

April 17, 2016
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Date walked: 19th January 2016 Distance: 10 miles Map used: OS Explorer 152: Newport and Pontypool and OS Explorer OL 13 Brecon Beacons National Park When I posted this on April 17th I reported that Dave (seen with me above) had been very ill and was unlikely to be able to walk with me again. I’m very sad […]

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The Cambrian Way Day 3: Risca to Pontypool Park Folly

April 3, 2016
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Date  walked: 28th August 2015 Distance: about 9 miles Map used:OS Explorer 151- Newport and Pontypool ***************** Just Neil and I for this leg of the walk. We met at a little car park at the top of Folly Lane, near, surprise, surprise, the folly and deposited one of our cars there, driving back to […]

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Cambrian Way Day 2: Castell Coch to Risca

March 20, 2016
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Date walked: 10th July 2015 Distance: about 8 miles Map used: OS Explorer 151 (Cardiff and Bridgend) and 152 (Newport and Pontypool) (you might have to scroll out a bit to see the whole route) ********* Today Neil and I were joined by Dave, who you have met before on several occasions. We met up […]

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Cambrian Way Day 1: Cardiff to Castell Coch

March 8, 2016
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  Date walked: 17th June 2015 Distance: 8.75 miles Map used: OS Explorer 151 – Cardiff and Bridgend *********** My apologies for the length of time since the last post. I have been a bit poorly. Normal service will be resumed ASAP. So, day 1 of a project that could take a couple of years to complete, […]

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Walking in Tuscany: Pienza Ring Walk

February 14, 2016
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Date walked: October 4th 2015 Distance: about 6 miles Guide book used: “Walking and eating in Tuscany and Umbria” by James Lasdun and Pia Davis.  Edition published 2004. See website www.walkingandeating.com for comments and corrections. ************* Since my last walk I had been in Siena for a few days, photographing several gardens in the area. Last […]

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Circular walks in Chianti: Lamole Ring Walk

January 31, 2016
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Date walked: 30th September 2015 Distance: about 9 miles (but should have been less if I had not got lost) Guide book used: “Walking and eating in Tuscany and Umbria” by James Lasdun and Pia Davis.  Edition published 2004. See website www.walkingandeating.com for comments and corrections. ********* This was the second of my walks when I was […]

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Circular walks in Chianti: Badia a Passignano

January 17, 2016
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  Date walked: 29th September 2015 Distance: about 6 miles Guide book used: “Walking and eating in Tuscany and Umbria” by James Lasdun and Pia Davis.  Edition published 2004. See website www.walkingandeating.com for comments and corrections. *********** Tuscany (taking in the cities of Florence, Pisa and Siena and the countryside in between) has some of Italy’s finest […]

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A tribute to Nigel Buxton

January 3, 2016
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  My uncle, Nigel Buxton, died on November 30th last year aged 91. Nigel was a journalist and  travel writer, working for the  Sunday Telegraph newspaper between 1961 and 1989 – for much of that time as the editor of its travel section. Here is a link to his obituary.  When I was a young child […]

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Layers

December 20, 2015

Layers are probably not something that you will have thought much about when you go for a walk. You probably just look out of the window and wonder how cold it is and whether its going to rain (in which case if you are me and have the choice, you probably go back to bed). […]

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Copyright Charles Hawes (2012)