Photo of snowy Sussex woodland trail Photo of snowy Sussex woodland trail

Sweet Times on Sugar Loaf Mountain

For the love of God, spare us from any more blog titles like that, you are thinking. But persevere, there is a point to it. Somewhere.

I have just spent a fun 24 hours near Abergavenny, on Sugar Loaf Mountain (to give the big hill it’s superior title). I was joining some of the BBC Wales team.

The day reminded me just how easy it is to avoid the crowds. If work and other more important things allow, then the start and end of the day are the times to be on mountains, up to a certain altitude anyway. I can remember cuddling a friend in the lee of an igneous rock outcrop a few hundred feet below the summit of Mt Rinjani in Lombok, Indonesia. Not a twin bedroom, I hasten to add. We shivered violently in wet clothes praying that the dawn’s sun would get to our bones before hypothermia rattled them to pieces. In the UK this is not such a problem as you can often get to a summit close enough to sunrise to have it all to yourself, having had a cooked breakfast in a B&B the same day.

Between 10am and 6pm on Sugar Loaf, there were mothers with baby-carriers, curious men in more curious outdoor clothes and even some ordinary-looking hikers sharing the peak. But at 9am and 7pm the summit of Sugar Loaf mountain was wild and barren. And, yes, I do mean unable to produce babies.

If there was a point to this blog posting then that was it. The bit about times, not the bit about babies. It is now time for a no-holds-barred red-herring-ramble…

Both my cameras are on the blink. The Canon digital SLR drowned in Dartmoor last week and is in for repair. The Panasonic Lumix got two grains of sand in it on a windy West Wittering beach and died. (The second Lumix to die that way in under a year – nice lenses but if the shutter is allergic to beaches in anything stronger than a light breeze then, I have reluctantly concluded, the Lumix is not the camera for me.)

I was secretly glad that I had no camera on a mountain for a change, it made me feel naked. Except when helping to lug a 7kg one or its tripod. But it did mean that I had no pretty photos to tart up this unkempt blog post. I decided to try Google Images, to see if there was a publicly available one. Perhaps a nice tourist office one for ‘borrowing’. I did find one, the one above, and I checked which website it was on. Any scruples or fears that I may have harboured about infringing others’ copyright evaporated when I realised, with a neat measure of pleasant shock, that it was my own photo. I now remember taking the above picture of the Sugar Loaf mountain from its bigger sisters, The Black Mountains, one year ago almost to the day and publishing it on this website.

There is definitely a point, and possibly even a moral to all that, but I’ve had too much fresh air to find it and you’ve probably had too much blog post to care now anyway, so I’m going to follow my own advice and climb the small mountain that are the stairs up to my bedroom. Good night.