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Sugar Loaf is a hill just North of Abergavenny, South Wales. Isolated and showing different faces to each corner of the map it was the first time we had stopped here to give it a good look. One of the joys of its solitude is the views to all points, Brecon, the Black Mountains and the valleys surrounding. As a bonus we caught the Welsh weather by surprise, sliding in a gap between the cold and the rain, so the day turned into a walk on a real spring day, light winds, shining sun and blue skies.

A brisk morning car park, with great views to Blorenge.

A brisk morning car park, with great views to Blorenge.

The plan was to do a half circuit of the hill with a trip over the top. As we arrived at the foot of the hill we could see the last vestiges of the snows that have been causing havoc over the winter. Enough for some fun, not enough to make it a real snow day. Any snow though does add something to the photos. As a side note, my camera has picked up some dust again so sorry about the dots and bits. Another trip to the cleaner, or maybe just a wash in the machine, very frustrating as it has kept clean about 12 months since last time. I’m not sure if a seal has broken down meaning I need to take more care.

Snow, and a hill to climb.  Happy as Larry.

Snow, and a hill to climb. Happy as Larry.

Yes, snow and we jumped in it. Snowballs, kicking it around, fun stuff.

Yes, snow and we jumped in it. Snowballs, kicking it around, fun stuff.

 

 

As a first trip out for three months it was a good place to start, with easy slopes good paths and plenty to see as we wound around the base to the point where we struck uphill. Picking up other walkers as the day went on, because of the easy parking and proximity of major roads it is where many day walkers head.

Looking up to the summit.

Looking up to the summit.

On any trip, someone has planned the route, knows where we are going, and leads the way. That person is then chided, ignored or abandoned by everyone wandering, chatting and basically enjoying the scenery. Today, it was Pete, who’s valiant attempts to keep us on schedule worked out pretty well despite the best efforts of the rest. We got round, saw everything on schedule, and found the car at the end, can’t ask for more than that.

A man with a map, being ignored by the team, shortcutting!

A man with a map, being ignored by the team, shortcutting!

On the way up.

On the way up.

White stuff, perhaps the last of the season.

White stuff, perhaps the last of the season.

Looking up the ridge to the summit.

Looking up the ridge to the summit.

The final slope, crusty frozen snow to practice step kicking in.

The final slope, crusty frozen snow to practice step kicking in.

 

The summit of Sugar Loaf can be a surprise to new visitors, being narrower than would seem after looking from below, but it is wide enough to allow plenty of visitors, and the views all around are stunning. With the cold day the air remained relatively clear and you can appreciate Sugar Loaf for its unique position.

At the start of the summit.

At the start of the summit.

Just some bloke on top.

Just some bloke on top.

Wonky team pic, with the Brecons in the background.

Wonky team pic, with the Brecons in the background.

Summit Trig point.

Summit Trig point.

 

Dropping down to the South side of the hill changes your perspective, spring is creeping out of the woodland and we walked through a changing mixture of heathland, woodland and farmland. Walking through some of the valleys and climbing back towards the car changes the views of the hill again and again. All the while the sheep, the lambs and birds are enjoying the afternoon sun. What else can raise the spirits so well after a cold winter.

Southern Views.

Southern Views.

Yes, more snow.  No I'm not sorry.  Yes we jumped in it again.

Yes, more snow. No I’m not sorry. Yes we jumped in it again.

Trees

Trees

Trees in the sun.

Trees in the sun.

Mint Sauce?

Mint Sauce?


 
Although the day was bright, warm and full of the onset of spring. With good company, a picnic lunch and plenty of hot coffee provided by Pete and Kath. Plenty to see and a good stretch after months only walking on the seafront or in our local woods. The shoulder held up well, although putting a rucksack on and of was interesting at times. Yes, a good day out to add to the list of good days on the hills.

Possibly the best picture ever.

Possibly the best picture ever.

The only remaining point to add is the re-emergence of the Curly Balls, modeled by Pete, and tucked into the trees, they have survived the winter and are looking forward to more trips out.

Curly Balls enjoying the shady picnic spot.

Curly Balls enjoying the shady picnic spot.

Curly Balls

Curly Balls

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