A Sugar Loaf and a sea of bracken


its been day 1 of 4 rest days after my recent marathon work stint. The forecast said it was going to be horrendous. Not to be perturbed I decided last night that I was going out for a walk whatever the weather. I had earned my walk goddamit!!!

I peeked out out the window as the dark grey of the night lifted this morning to view a heavily clouded but non-raining sky. Not wishing to hex myself, I whistled innocuously as I slipped into the car and drove in an apparently random direction that just happened to take me to the edge of the Brecon Beacons. Getting out of the car, I discovered that I had brought, inadvertently, my walking gear including a rucksack and food. Quelle surprise! I looked up into the sky and said to no-one in particular that even though it was going to throw it down any minute (obviously), I would just try a little walk seeing as I had my gear with me……. But obviously it was going to rain and I was going to get wet…obviously……

Having completely hoodwinked the cosmos, I decided that a short 8 miler was in order as I had things to do and I didnt want to push my luck with the weather. I parked the car by Pyscodlyn campsite and started on my walk up towards Sugar Loaf mountain, making my way through the early slopes filled with sparse woodland. After a about half an hour, I broke from the thin skeletal tree cover and started to gain height and attain the lower grassland of the Sugar Loaf approach


The lower slopes of Sugar Loaf

The lower slopes of Sugar Loaf


Having walked this many many times before, there were no surprises in store for me only anticipation of seeing Sugar Loaf in all her isolated glory. As I crested one rise, Sugar loaf hove into view and made me smile. I must do this walk about a dozen times a year and still dont tire of it. It is not lofty being a few feet shy of 2000feet, its not in the middle of nowhere and yet it retains a mystique and attractiveness that brings me back time an time again.


Sugar Loaf

Sugar Loaf in a sea of bracken


One thing that was obvious as I made my way up Sugar Loaf was the bracken ground cover had completely died off and left a carpet of brown stretching everywhere. There seemed to be more than I normally remember and the contrast against the green of the path was stark.


The road goes ever on and on

The road goes ever on and on


I finally pulled myself up the last short sharp slope of Sugar Loaf and found myself on the summit of this brilliant little mountain. Its the kind of place that I find very relaxing and able to achieve a contemplative reverie. I have whiled away many an hour just sitting, looking and doing nothing in particular here.


The view past the trig point towards Pen Cerrig Calch

The view past the trig point towards Pen Cerrig Calch


I tarried a while to take it all in. The weather was behaving although the wind was gusting to 50mph, the visibility pretty good and so the view was a patchwork of sunlight, cloud and thin haze. Looking here and there, I could see several Black Mountain ridges and mountains stretching off into the distance. I recounted their names as a litany in my head and under my breath, Hatteral Hill and Hatteral Ridge, Bal Mawr, Crug Mawr, Pen y Gadair Fawr, Pen Cerrig Calch and Pen Allt Mawr. Oft visited friends everyone of them.


Sugar Loaf trig point

Sugar Loaf trig point


I wandered around the summit for a short time longer looking this way and that taking in every nuance of this truly inspiring spot before I reluctantly decided to make my way back down


The rump of Sugar Loaf summit with Skirrid Fawr in the distance

The rump of Sugar Loaf summit with Skirrid Fawr in the distance


I still had a few miles to go but they soon passed lost in thoughts of Sugar loaf, her magnificent views and a sea of bracken……


About Saddlebags and Backpacks - a brewer's outdoor adventures

I am a keen hiker, camper, cyclist and general all round gear addict..... I also manage to be a professional brewer in my non-spare time :->
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8 Responses to A Sugar Loaf and a sea of bracken

  1. Joe says:

    Fantastic photos! What a pretty place!

  2. Everyone should have a “thinking spot”, mine is the wee inset pic top right on my blog. It stay’s there so I can see it every time I open my page.

    • backpackbrewer says:

      The trouble is, time seems to fly by when I am in my thinking spot and the longer I stay the less inclined I am to go back!!! 🙂

  3. backpackingbongos says:

    The Sugar loaf is a grand spot although last time I was there it was so windy we almost had to crawl to the trig. Although I much prefer Crug Mawr just across the valley, probably my most climbed hill. But then I like Gaur just across the valley from that. I think I just like my hills…………………..

    • backpackbrewer says:

      Crug Mawr is also a fine spot and further “in” to the Black mountains proper. The reason i like Sugar loaf so much is that although small it looks like a proper mountain. It also stands in isolation and is guardian to the approaches to the brecon Beacons. I always look for it as i drive towards Abergavenny and it always makes me smile when i see it

  4. GeoffC says:

    A welcome relief after a long tour of duty, Sugar Loaf is a grand viewpoint. You did well for weather if only for one day, a definite glimpse of blue sky in there.

  5. backpackbrewer says:

    I certainly did Geoff. And yes Sugar Loaf is a splendid viewpoint, one of the best in the Brecon Beacons and easy to get to

    If I have the time, one of my favourite days is to catch the train to Abergavenny, alight and walk to Sugar loaf and then Skirrid Fawr on the return journey. Fab walk….in fact I may have to do that one again soon!

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