Hard to believe it's been eight months since I've been up a proper mountain - how times change, small children, yadda yadda yadda, you've heard it all before - but as my good friend Huw and I both found ourselves at a loose end today we decided to capitalise by getting ourselves out into the hills for the day. As much fun as the snowy Beacons trip was, I was quite pleased to see more normal conditions today - pretty warm for early December, no rain, and no snow up on the tops.
We decided to head up to Table Mountain just north of Crickhowell, maybe forty minutes drive north-ish from Newport. This, regular blog readers may remember, was the start point for my epic Black Mountains horseshoe walk back in April 2010. We didn't feel inclined to a walk of that length (nor would there have been enough daylight to do it), so once we'd knocked off the trig point on Pen Allt-mawr we dropped down into the valley to the east of the main ridge and followed the contours back round the hill to our starting point.
Actually, Table Mountain is a bit of a misnomer, since strictly that is the name given to the small hill (with an Iron Age hill-fort on top) between Crickhowell and the first "proper" peak of Pen Cerrig-calch. I have heard the larger hill referred to as "Table Mountain" as well, though, and while that's technically incorrect you can see why people do it, the long flat-topped summit with trig points at either end being particularly distinctive when viewed from east or west.
Anyway, that's all well and good, you'll be saying, but make with the mappage already. So here it is - 10.8 miles according to my GPS track log, so a pretty respectable day out. I did also take a few pictures, which can be found here. What I forgot to photograph was either the Bear in Crickhowell where we popped in briefly on the way back to the car or the excellent pint of Butty Bach I had there. You'll just have to drop in and see for yourself.
Just by way of contrast, here's me on top of the Table Mountain above Cape Town in January 2000.