On my last birthday, I wanted to hike up the other mountain that we saw every time we walked about town in Abergavenny – Skirrid Fawr. According to legend, part of the mountain is said to have been broken off at the moment of the crucifixion of Jesus. So, early on my birthday, armed with a couple of water bottles, we parked our car at the bottom of the mountain and began our climb. There were just a handful of cars in the parking lot and throughout our hike, we just saw a few hikers ascending or descending the summit.
The hike is neither easy nor difficult. But there are definitely a lot of steep inclines and steps along the way. So, be prepared to take your time and rest up along the way if you need to. We simply followed the signs to the top. The information from National Trust on How to climb Skirrid Fawr provides a good how-to as well.
The answer is a resounding YES! Especially when you happen to be living in a town that has a Michelin starred restaurant in its backyard. And when you spot the restaurant’s exact location during an intense hike, your desire to indulge is escalated to astronomical proportions.
This is how I ended up at Shaun Hill’s much raved about restaurant, The Walnut Tree. A last-minute call for reservations, an open table, a short cab ride and we found ourselves seated for lunch in a packed dining room filled with professionals, couples and families. I spent the first few minutes telling my date (my teenaged daughter) how lucky she was to be eating in a Michelin starred restaurant. Her expressions appeared to be saying that I have a crazy mother and this mad dash to eat is another example of her love affair with food!
My fleeting thoughts on not getting enough value as a vegetarian evaporated as soon as we saw and tasted the offerings. Let me walk through this lovely meal with pictures and you can tell me if you can’t wait to try this place out for your own special celebration! Of course if you wanted to make it über special, you could stay at the inn adjacent to the hotel and make it a true romantic getaway! You can find out more about The Walnut Tree Inn at http://www.thewalnuttreeinn.com/Food
Last Saturday was a spectacularly beautiful day in South Wales – No rain! No – let’s make it better – clear skies and lots of sunshine. Since we have admired Sugarloaf Mountain for over a year from the windows of our home in Abergavenny, it was time to make the ascent. Off we trotted to the local tourist office – the woman took one look at our sneakers and warned us about wet ground and the shoes not being right. But we had hiked up a volcanic crater in Hawaii in flip-flops! We set off along the main street in Abergavenny, towards the War Memorial and on to an uphill ascent that had us jumping over multiple stiles, walking on wet grassland being grazed by sheep, trying to ascertain the right path by identifying shrubbery and finally attempting unsuccessfully to dry off our wet shoes and dripping socks at rest points along the way. The pictures below capture the beauty of this hike. From the center of Abergavenny, it is a 5.5 hour round trip. There are few souls along the way, so go when there is plenty of daylight and sunshine for company – oh and a bottle of water would be good as well! This is one of many maps available to guide you.
If you’ve done this straight through or parked at one of the car parks and done the ascent, we’d love to hear about your experience as well.
PS. I did want to end this with a tale of our shoes. We had a really smart idea to wash our well rinsed yet grimy shoes in the shoe cycle of our washing machine. What emerged the next morning were multiple shoe remnants that could not be put back together. So, egos aside, do wear the best walking boots you can when embarking on this hike on wet ground!