I first climbed Blorenge during a holiday in 2009 – or rather, I strolled up it, as there are two car parks near the top. Now that we live less than an hour's drive from Abergavenny, the eastern end of the Brecon Beacons has become a popular destination, so last Monday S-- and I braved the bank holiday traffic and returned for a leisurely 6-mile walk around the hill, ending with a nice stiff climb up the western side.
The walk had a serious purpose. One of my trusty old walking boots recently fell apart, so I had to buy a new pair. Very nice they are, too – and a bargain at £40 from Scott's in Lydney – but far too pristine for a seasoned long-distance hiker like your humble blogger. I ask you, how's this girl going to get any 'cred' on the mountain and forest tracks, wearing shoes that look as if the hardest trek I've tackled is walking up the high street? Unfortunately for me, Blorenge isn't a great place for mud. It would have to be sought with diligence!
Keeper's pond looked a likely hunting ground, so I eschewed the nice smooth path on the right and took to the rough ground on the left, but without any great success. The pond once supplied water to a forge in the valley. You may just be able to make out the car park, in the middle distance, where we started the walk.
Our path skirted the hillside, with lovely views of the Usk Valley and Sugar Loaf on the other side, then descended to join the track of an old mineral tramway.
Soon into view came a sight to gladden Angie's heart – a tunnel! I'm not sure why I find old railway and tramway tunnels so fascinating, since deep caves and potholes hold no appeal. Perhaps it's the knowledge that there will always be daylight at the other end. They also evoke happy memories of our children running through them, making loud "puff puff" noises.
Yes, it was quite muddy down there!
A little further round the hillside is the tranquil Punchbowl Lake. From here it was up... up... up to the summit where, unfortunately, the mist came down, down, down and rather spoiled the view. Never mind; it was a great walk and I will return.