Our estate here in Llanfoist just across the bridge from Abergavenny is called Mountain View. What I’ve done is take some photographs from the top floor of our home where we have skylights in the roof to show you. There are seven hills in fact surrounding the town, so let’s see how many we can see!
Now for two hills that Debbie and I have yet to climb, Bryn Arw two and a half miles North of Abergavenny and Skirrid Fach (or Little Skirrid) one mile to the east.
Now not surrounding Abergavenny, but seen in the distance from above Llanfoist on the Blorenge on a good day is the Brecon Beacons most popular climb…
After our recent ascent of Sugar Loaf mountain together I thought the expedition season was now probably over until the New Year. So much to my surprise last night Debbie suggested that today we should climb the Deri.
This mountain is covered in oak trees and is within walking distance of Abergavenny town centre. It’s famous for the “Croeso” sign with a smily face 😀 as the “o” cut into the heather visible from across town.
So after dropping James off for work this morning Debbie, I and the two dogs parked up in the free car park opposite Castle Meadows and walked down Pen Y Pound road towards the dome shaped mountain.
Stopping to ask directions once we crossed over the road just past the Deri View primary school and walked up some rather steep wooden steps carved into the bank onto a lightly path leading to the base of the mountain.
Crossing two more stiles were the dogs had to squeeze through narrow openings we came to some white corsages and the sign for the public footpath which led up the hill. Unfortunately it wasn’t terribly well marked and at one point we were toiling up through gorse and bracken like something out of jungle warfare films.
Although Debbie kept Hamish on the lead I (foolishly) decided that Molly would find it better to be free to run up and down the track as she’d done on the route to Sugar Loaf the week before and to begin with all was fine.
We reached a convenient place to stop, water the dogs and have a breather before heading into the tree-line itself. This is where our “ding dong” happened when Molly suddenly disappeared from in front of us and we panicked. Shouting “Molly” I headed further up the track , pausing every so often to try and hear here moving through the undergrowth but nothing! Eventually I reached a puzzled looking and rather large sheep and realised that it was unlikely she’d come this far.
I could hear Debbie below hollering periodically for Molly and as I approached her much to my relief I could hear “good girl” – she’d finally come back. Phew – valuable lesson learnt! You can see how dense & dark being under the tree canopy was in the photo below.
After a few moments to hug each other we continued up and eventually came out of the tree-line as we got closer to the summit.
Although the Deri is one of the smallest of the seven mountains surrounding Abergavenny the views from the top was spectacular.
Then the “fun” of the descent happened. What comes up, must come down, however no-one tells you that it’s much trickier coming down, especially when you have Molly trying to unbalance me in the race to get home and Debbie trying to retain her balance on the steeper parts of the descent while holding onto Hamish.
Hamish having partaken of a sheep’s poo lunch on the way up, proceeded to throw up on the way down much to our shame! A last gulp of water for the dogs who were very thirsty at the bench heralded the final retracing of our steps through town and back to the car.
I write this blog after a relaxing bath with all limbs aching. We did pick up a small rock that we intend to trace the name “Deri” and today’s date onto the front & reverse to add to our collection. When it’s done I’ll update this page, but for now we all need some blissful rest!
Today has been absolutely beautiful in our Llanfoist “escape”. The sky bright blue with hazy clouds, the sun out but a fresh breeze to cool you down. The intention on getting up this morning was to go down to our favourite garden centre in Raglan and buy some more bags of purple crushed slate – 40mm. Exciting it wasn’t I know but I’d only covered about 30% of the sliver of garden that runs along our outside side wall and it needed to be finished.
As we headed off in the Freelander I sighed to Debbie and mouthed silently wouldn’t it be great to go up Skirrid instead, after all I’d passed it four times the previous day when ferrying our two resident grown up “children” to and from the riding school. Much to my surprise not only did Debbie lip read perfectly (either that or she has bionic hearing like Jaime Sommers) but she instructed me to return home to pick up Hamish.
As a result we headed off to the new National Trust car park which only charges £3 a day for non-members off the A465 towards Skenfrith. Parking up there was only 2 other cars in this huge car park (perhaps the letter in the local Abergavenny Chronicle paper complaining at the “extortionate” price had put people off) and we made our way to the path leading up through the wood to the summit.
It was a great walk with even greater views – highly recommended to all! We took a piece of sandstone near the top as a memento which Debbie will eventually paint letters/numbers like the one she did for Pen y Fan.