Wednesday 2 September 2015. There must be something about visits to The Brecons which induce even more forgetfulness in me than usual. The last time that I was here I forgot to bring any pillows with me and had to dash out to the shops in Brecon, just before they closed, to buy a couple or run the risk of a cricked neck. I arrived at Cwmdu (pronounced Cwmdee) yesterday only to find that I’d left behind one of the two pillows that I use in the caravan. It was 4pm and I didn’t fancy driving into Brecon or Abergavenny so I drove 4 miles down to Crickhowell. It has plenty of tea rooms but strangely none of them sell pillows. To cut the pillow hunt short I called into the TIC to see if they knew of any shops that might sell pillows. It was my lucky day as one of the ladies in there told me that she had donated a couple of pillows to the Red Cross recently. A quick visit to the charity shop and I came away with a nearly-new pillow for the grand sum of £2. It was great value and I had a good night’s sleep.
The weather forecast for today wasn’t great with heavy showers predicted so I decided not to venture too far afield and to do a shorter walk. I drove along the A40 towards Abergavenny and then took a sharp turn uphill. This single track road went on for almost 2 miles and climbed nearly 900ft with gradients of 1in6 for most of the way. Thankfully, I only met one car on the way up and another on the way down at points where two cars were able to pass without too much difficulty.
Although it was something of a “white knuckle” drive, it saved me a considerable amount of climbing. Mine was the first car in the car park and I was soon joined by a guy walking his dogs. It had only been 12c on the drive there and at a starting altitude of 1,100ft there was a chill wind blowing. So much so that I started the walk wearing a hat and gloves. These were quickly shed as I started the near 1,000ft climb to the summit of Sugar Loaf. It was easy to navigate as I followed the path up the western side and then came down on a more easterly path. The dog walker that I had met at the start went up in the opposite direction to me but we both got to the top at the same time. We were joined by a young female fell runner who seemed oblivious to the cold.
When I got back to the car park I had been joined by half a dozen more cars and 4 more in a nearby car park so this must be a popular starting points for walks. I was glad that I didn’t meet all of these cars on the way down the narrow and winding road. The walk was only 3.4 miles but still had a total ascent of 860ft.