We Climbed to Top of the Holy Mountain

I guess it was 1981 when we went to visit friends who lived on the lower slopes of Skirrid Fawr also known as the ‘Holy Mountain’. It stands alone on the edge of the Black Mountains in Monmouthshire; it is a place rich in myths and legends.

From where they lived we went for a ‘stroll’ up the mountain, My daughter chasing with our friends’ dog and the rest of us ‘keeping up’!

The weather was good and we came to appreciate the benefit of living in such a beautiful place.Emma-40

Em took joy in anything and everything – even a handfull of sheep’s wool that I recall looked like a dead rat – aren’t children lovely?

Isolated from the main mountain range by the Gavenny Valley, Skirrid Fawr rises dramatically out of the landscape, despite being smaller than its neighbours at 486m high.

Emma-39The name ‘Skirrid’ comes from the Welsh ‘Ysgyryd’, meaning to shake or tremble.

It’s easy to see where this name came from, with the massive landslide on the hill’s northern tip.

The Skirrid is still prone to small mud flows and landslides today.

The word ‘fawr’ translates as big or large.

Skirrid Fawr is also known locally as ‘the Holy Mountain

One thought is the now-ruined chapel of St Michael’s right on the summit, which was used by Roman Catholics after the Reformation

Emma-38The second is the legend which tells how the dramatic landslide on the north of the mountain was caused by an earthquake or lightening strike at the moment Christ was crucified.

Well, one of the wonderfull things about a lively daughter is how they love you to share everything and, as she said, you’ll love it at the top, come on!!

So up we went and it certainly was well worth the, not too strenuous, climb.StMichaelschurchSkirridFawrSmall








Proof that we went to the top – look, not out of breath!