Wales, Black Mountains

21-23 Jan – Wales

Present: Claire (organiser), Alan, Sarah, Bruce, Steve, Joanne, Tim, Ginny, Keyna, Georgie, Trudi, Maggie, Paula, Sue, Tom, Ian, Martin L.

Location: The Glebe Barn, Llanbedr, near Crickhowell, Black Mountains

The first NMC trip of the year is traditionally known as the “comfy Sofa” trip – not only did we have several comfy sofas, but a sauna, en-suite rooms, and satellite TV (though to my knowledge this was not switched on)! This accommodation will be difficult to follow.

As Llanbedr is just a short 2 hour drive from Newbury, everybody arrived for a group meal on the Friday night (also to celebrate Claire’s birthday) and we tucked in to curry’s prepared by Keyna and Georgie, followed by birthday cakes – where the sheer volume of candles managed to melt the icing, and luckily did not set off the smoke alarm.

A reasonable departure time on Saturday (not too many hangovers), and we set off on a crisp not quite snowing cold day from Llanbedr on a direct route straight up Sugar Loaf Mountain – path not on the map or under foot, so a harsh warm up for most, being the first bit of exercise since Christmas. From Sugar Loaf it was across fields and country lanes to Crug Mawr on the Beacons Way. Back down to the road, where some opted for an early finish, and to have the first sauna session. The rest continued on across more fields and lanes to complete the 13 mile circuit of the “Llanbedr 3 peaks” with the summit of Table Mountain, bagged in the setting sun with fabulous views.

Another superb meal awaited us, this time courtesy of Joanne, NMC’s chef of the year 2010. With homemade soup, chicken with various veg and potatoes (including cauliflower cheese), and a choice of lemon and chocolate homemade desserts it was a grand feast!

Most of the group came out for the Sunday walk, a 12 mile circuit from above Llangatock, taking in a stretch of the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal glistening in the morning sun, and then across the top of the impressive Llangatock limestone escarpment – Craig y Cilau – to the sound of groans from Maggie who thinks a Sunday walk should be a short bimble not involving any ascent – and getting back to the cars by 5pm.

A great start to the year!

Author: Claire White

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