It’s not very often that we get offered free accommodation for a night, but that’s just what Lizzie and Stephen did yesterday, as they’ve no new guests coming to The Hayshed for a few days, and they knew how much we were enjoying the barn and its surroundings. We’ve well and truly fallen for this place, not to mention the simple lifestyle – no health or career concerns, just a case of deciding what to eat, where to walk, and when to sleep.

With the day dawning bright and clear again, we decided that we had to head up Skirrid Fawr given that we’ve driven past it so many times on this and previous trips. Conveniently, this hill (known locally as ‘Y Skirrid’ or ‘The Skirrid’) has a National Trust car park just off the main road to Abergavenny. This convenience however, along with the fact that you don’t need a map to get to the top, means that it’s a mecca for tourists, so much so that the main path up – the Beacons Way, had become a mud slick.

There’s no denying that the ridge does provide fantastic views of the Black Mountains and back towards Monmouthshire, but if you want to enjoy it at its best, go up early in the morning, or at dusk, otherwise like Cat Bells in the Lake District, or the tourist path up Snowdon, you’ll never be alone, and will inevitably be asked for directions by less well equipped/experienced walkers.Take a map people!

Desperate to leave the crowded trig point behind, we followed the Beacons Way down the north eastern side of the hill, and then the fence line at the bottom back round to Caer Wood. As expected, we saw no-one else on this stretch, but still got to admire great views of Sugar Loaf and Blorenge in the distance. Neither of us are anti-social, but we do like peace and quiet when out in the wilds, and will always try to avoid the crowds. Serenity is good for the soul.

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