Sugar Loaf

New places and new walks, that’s the motto for this year. I’ve been extending my walks around the South West Coastal path, new places on Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor, and now a new area altogether in the Beacon Beacons. The choses of walks here are pretty wide and varied. However having driven up from Plymouth I wanted a reasonable leg stretch rather than a long difficult walk. I looked at the hills around Abergavenny and with a little help from Andy at Surfnslide I had a few hills to choose from. As it was, as I crossed the Severn and made my way north, I hit thickish clouds which became a claggy haze. Both Blorenge and Ysgyryd Fawr seemed to be on the edge of it, with clearer weather north and west, so I headed to Sugar Loaf. It turned out to be a good decision as the weather got better as the day went on, it was very warm and humid and the start of the walk through trees and valleys was much needed. So my first Brecon Beacons hill was in the bag and tomorrow would be the big one, Pen y Fan.

Start – NT Sugar Loaf car park (SO269166)

Route – Llanwenarth Breast – Pen y Graig farm – Cwm Gwenffrwd – Mynydd Pen y Fal – Sugar Loaf – Mynydd Llanwenarth

Distance – 5.2 miles    Start time – 12.30pm   Time taken – 3hrs  Highest Point – Sugar Loaf 596 metres

Weather – Very humid, sunny, hazy distance views

© Crown copyright 2021 Ordnance Survey FL 2021 SF
Arriving at lunchtime I figured it might be busy, but then again this was Thursday so maybe plenty of folk would be at work. I got one of the last 2 spots in the car park (although there are others scattered across this hill), booted up and set out along the tarmac towards the farm which are down there in this picture. The valley above the farm carries the River Usk and looks very hazy at the moment.
Blorenge on the left was looking worse, it was a proper claggy start, the town down there is Gilwern
The map for those who want to make a straight up and back (red route) or a more interesting walk (the blue one)
On the lane past the farms
Plenty of these today, foxgloves
Same direction of view as the first photo as I head down towards Cwm Gwenffrwd
Climbing out of the cwm and picking up a sign and path which will take me out onto the open hillside through fields of sheep and up to the Pen y Fal ridge
Looking back out as I climb
There’s the Sugar Loaf, I’d caught glimpses of it through the trees, but only as you climb to Pen y Fal do you get a proper look at it coming up this way. Cwm Gwenffrwd running up to Sugar Loaf
I reached a point above Pen-twyn where I turned to head up to the Sugar Loaf along Pen y Fal and had a sit down to enjoy the views and try and work out which hill was which. Something I love to do in new places. The Usk valley is in the centre here with the hills around Waun Rydd in the far distance and the dominant hill on the right of centre is Pen Cerrig-Calch
Zooming along the Usk valley a bit, Waun Rydd is at the back, with Tor y Foel, Buckland Hill and Myarth are the wooded hills in the valley coming towards the camera
Not the best photo, but whilst looking at all the hills and Red kite swooped overhead, the obvious forked tail gave it away
As I climbed up Pen y Fal more hills came into view including Pen y Fan my target for tomorrows walk peeking up above Waun Rydd. Tor y Foel is the pointy hill on the left
Despite the views to Pen y Fan it was the views into the valley to the north that took my eye. Pen Cerrig-Calch is left, the valley holding the Grwyne Fechan river is centre, Crug Mawr is the green hill to the front right. The ridge on the left and right eventually lead up to Waun Fach
On Pen y Fal, heading up to Sugar Loaf
There were hundreds of these around today, a Small Heath. When one landed the next one took off, like a butterfly relay
My ascent route along the right, Cwm Gwenffrwd in the centre
The summit rocks of Sugar Loaf, with Ysgyryd Fawr just visible back left with blue skies above
and the other way to the north west , the views are improving over Pen Cerrig-Calch, Pen Allt-mawr and back right in Waun Fach
Zoomed in over the summit rocks
Summit etiquette does not involve sitting around a trig point, having countless photos taken, hugging it, sitting on it, eating you lunch around it. Others have walked up here and wouldn’t mind 30 seconds without your face being in shot. You also don’t feed the sheep. Eventually after 20 or so minutes they moved on.
Still looking a bit claggy beyond Blorenge. I sat over there and had a drink waiting for the group to leave the trig point
Ysgyryd Fawr starting to clear a bit as the sun starts to burn through the cloud
Further round to the east looking towards the Malverns
Eventually they left and a fine view could be had
Sugar Loaf trig
My way down the Mynydd Llanwenarth
Bracken is king down here as I look back up at the Sugar Loaf top
Blorenge has nearly cleared for the clag and the town of Govilon sits below it
The Heads of the Valley road twists its way past Gilwern towards Merthyr Tydfil, I’m headed that way to my place for the night in Ebbw Vale. This is a lovely hill, sitting away from the main clusters of hills giving lovely views to the Black Mountains and Brecons all around. Well worth a visit. I think any other visits, could include Blorenge or Ysgyryd Fawr as a starter now I’ve done this gem of a hill. Or even this one again, maybe the blue route on the map higher up in this post. A cracker.

5 thoughts on “Sugar Loaf

  1. Always great to read someone else’s view of a hill I know so well. Glad you enjoyed it, and like you say, a grand viewpoint as it’s relatively isolated. Hopefully it will encourage some repeat visits and we can meet up next time. Looking forward to the Pen y Fan write up

    Totally agree that there is an etiquette around hillwalking and hogging the summit is a definite no. I always try and fine somewhere secluded for my stops

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I used to drive past Avergaveny quite a lot in the past taking the more scenic route down to Cwmbran on business or to visit my parents when they lived in Caerfili for a while. Sugar loaf always dominated the view with its distinctive shape. So interesting to read of your ascent.

    Liked by 2 people

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