Mountain View(s)

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!

Skirrid Fawr
Sugar Loaf in the middle with the Deri to the right

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.

Bryn Arw
Skirrid Fach

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…

Twin Flat Peaks of Pen y Fan and Corn Du on the horizon
Mountain View(s)

Ding Dong on Deri on High

No dear readers, my dyslexia isn’t getting worse, the post’s title shouldn’t be “Ding Dong Merrily on High“!  Let me explain…

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.

Deri’s dome-like appearance
Are our parents lost?  This isn’t Castle Meadows!

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.

Small footpath leading to Deri from road – Debbie looking wistfully back at Abergavenny

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.

Debbie and Hamish wishing they had a machete

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.

Molly free climbing up and down the track
Welsh flag half way up
Like stop halfway up
Abergavenny below

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.

Yours truly looking sweaty but calmer after the relief of finding Molly

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.

Small quarry just before Deri summit

Although the Deri is one of the smallest of the seven mountains surrounding Abergavenny the views from the top was spectacular.

Sugar Loaf from Deri
Blorenge from Deri
Sugar Loaf selfie
Blorenge selfie
Skirrid Fawr selfie

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!



Ding Dong on Deri on High

Skirrid Fawr (By Foot)

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.


Base camp 1 about 20% of way up – Hamish looking weary
Camp 2 40% up – Hamish looking happy
Panoramic view from camp 3 60% way up – Blorenge in middle and Sugar Loaf to the right looking like a volcano
Camp 4 80% up, Hamish meets Barley who’s a scouser!
Camp 5 90% of way up, Hamish busy taking oxygen (off camera)
View of the summit (100%) the stones in the foreground all that’s left of a chapel
Windswept selfie – I promise to diet more!
Hamish breathing heavily – while Debbie tries to strangle him – ring the RSPCA!

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.


I’ll update the post later, when she does!


Skirrid Fawr (By Foot)