To the North and West of Abergavenny are the Black Mountains, of which Sugarloaf is a part and a short distance up the main road to Hereford, set back from the road at Llanvihangel Crucorney, is the Skirrid Inn, which claims to be the oldest inn in Wales, formerly used as a courthouse, complete with the beam from which miscreants were hanged – and haunted!
When I first lived in Hereford, about 25 miles from Abergavenny, my daughter and her family came to visit and I asked a neighbour's advice on places to visit during their stay. He recommended that we should cross the border, have lunch at the Skirrid Inn, and then drive down one of the many steep-sided valleys that run through the Black Mountains to a curve in the river where people picnic and even camp, and children can safely paddle in the fast-flowing stream.
So, after a memorable Sunday roast at the Skirrid Inn, we set off to find the picnic spot. The drive seemed endless because the road was very narrow and winding and the forested valley walls often made the road dark, almost like a tunnel . But eventually we found the tiny carpark, where paths led off into the forest and the painting above was the result.
My daughter wasn't keen to get her feet wet but I couldn’t resist and took off my shoes and took my little grandson for paddle, which he thoroughly enjoyed!