Easter Sunday, 5th April 2015- Abergavenny- Llanfihangel Crucorney
Me, Paddy Garcia and the DJ
An early start (for us), determined to get in a ‘proper’ walk, mid-Wales the target. We thus embarked for the Brecons in the DJ’s trusty van. After a stop in Abergavenny to purchase a map (during which we concluded that shops may not open on Easter Sunday but people still want to shop), we parked in Bryn-y-Gwenn, and headed uphill towards the Skirrid ridge. There’s something really good/ alarming about being able to see your route so far above you.
It was an extremely hard slog to the top of the ridge on the route we took, and we arrived breathless and aching to find many happy families and animals who’d ambled up the main path. Might have been easier.
The ridge walk was a relatively easy stroll by comparison, with a spectacular day of sunshine and fluffy clouds providing amazing, amazing 360 degree views. To the east the rolling Marches, to the west the high ground of the Brecons and Black Mountains, with Sugarloaf to the fore. We enjoyed a coffee break at the trig point on the site of St Michael’s Chapel*, before heading down the very steep north side.
Then we were back into familar rambling territory, on a downhill loop through fields and lanes to Llanfihangel Crucorney. Appealing landscape of steep scrubby fields with ancient woodlands and deep srpings and ravines. So many lambs testing their wobbly legs and enjoying a first taste of sunshine. Cute just doesn’t begin to describe it.
We admired the astonishing 16th-century Llanfihangel Court before heading into the village for a pint in the garden at the Skirrid Mountain Inn, reputedly Wales’ oldest pub.
Then the return journey along the valley to the west of Skirrid. Footpaths not terribly well marked in places, we took a few wrong turns (fortunately charming man let us through his garden). Stopped for a late lunch of sandwiches and quiche and admired the view of the Brecons up above. Then slogged on along country lanes and over fields, legs very tired by now. Interesting how, despite the crowds of Easter holidaymakers on the Skirrid, once back in rural rambling land, ne’er a soul did we see, except men with tools (one measuring with hodometer, one prodding molehills with rod). The beaten path it wasn’t.
Overall, probably only 8 miles but felt like a tough and satisfying walk owing to the steep gradients. Very much enjoyed the high levels of wildlife, particularly birds (wall-to-wall birdsong, must learn to identify). Glorious weather made the day, and we sailed back in the van feeling toasted by the sunshine and trembly in the legs.
* The Devil’s Window informs us that Skirrid has long been known as a Holy Mountain, with many myths attached, including the appropriately Easter-ly one that the large landslip on the west side happened on the day of the Crucifixion.