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Sugar Loaf, Ysgyryd Fawr

Sugar Loaf, Ysgyryd Fawr

Postby poppiesrara » Sun Apr 08, 2012 5:36 pm

Date walked: 06/04/2012

Time taken: 3

Distance: 12.75 km

Ascent: 745m

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Two short walks up the distinctive peaks that rise enticingly above the eastern gateway to the Brecon Beacons, firstly among the Bank Holiday crowds on the Sugar Loaf.

sugar loaf.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

The number of clear paths across the southern flanks attest to the popularity of this hill, rather friendlier than its 596m height, although taking a more circuitous route – dropping down into Cwm Gwenffrwd and then gently up the western ridge – makes for a quiet and pleasant route. Good views from this side of the snow-streaked Black Mountains and (unlike any of those, tempting as they looked this day…) lovely underfoot conditions, on firm grass throughout, up to the quite defined and rocky summit ridge.
Cwm Gwenffrwd

Sugar Loaf at head of Cwm Gwenffrwd

Table Mountain

Pen y Gadair Fawr & Black Mountains

Sugar Loaf west ridge

Black Mountains over Crug Mawr

Offa's Dyke Ridge

The Skirrid from Sugar Loaf

Table Mountain from Sugar Loaf summit ridge

Sugar Loaf from the south

Rather fewer people on Ysgyryd Fawr (‘the Skirrid’) and another short circuit avoiding the more popular up-and-down route – this time winding nicely through the bluebell woods to the west and then up through the rocky valley to the foot of the north face.

skirrid.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

The direct ascent from this side – unless I missed the ‘tourist path’ that I half-expected to see… – is a fierce and challenging one, starting with a steep hands-down scramble (this is much harder when the hand-holds are tufts of damp grass rather than rock shelves!) before a narrow tread west cut across to what looked a more natural rocky ascent route, although still vertiginously steep and with little to arrest a slip down. Quite a relief to crest the top of the climb and stumble almost straight upon the trig-point – either I’ve lost a lot of courage with a couple of years of age, or there really are a lot of ‘harder than Crib Goch’ climbs out there on little (this one is only 486m) hills! More nice views from this isolated summit though and a decent gentle descent along the very well-trodden south ridge which (it slightly shames me to admit) might just be the best way up too…
Path skirting west of the Skirrid

Skirrid western crags

Skirrid north face - direct ascent not recommended!

NW to Black Mountains from the Skirrid

Looking dizzily down the ascent line...

Skirrid summit and south ridge

Rural views east from the Skirrid

West from the Skirrid to Sugar Loaf
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Re: Sugar Loaf, Ysgyryd Fawr

Postby garyhortop » Mon Apr 09, 2012 10:07 am

Enjoyed the report and Picture PR - I used to work in Abergavenny so walked this area a few times - am amazed there is still snow up there as things have been pretty mild! The view down the Skirrid ascent line I really liked!! :D
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Re: Sugar Loaf, Ysgyryd Fawr

Postby malky_c » Mon Apr 09, 2012 8:23 pm

Good to see Sugar Loaf again :)

Ysgwryd Fawr looks good fun - already had my eye on it, but your photos make it look interesting. I don't have any more specific trips planned down there, but I'm hoping I might manage a quick stop-off on the way back from Cardiff in May.
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Re: Sugar Loaf, Ysgyryd Fawr

Postby ChrisW » Tue Apr 10, 2012 12:44 am

Great stuff as always P, that north face of Skirrid looks an absolute beast :shock: little snow left now too, you lucky bleeders :lol:
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