Tom's Britain - Exploring places of interest and things to do in England, Wales & Scotland

8 December 2015

Climb Skirrid

Legend has it variously that the hill known as Skirrid in Monmouthshire was blown apart by a bolt of lightning at the moment of Jesus Christ's Crucifixion, or that an angry Devil stamped it in two to spite St Michael. It is, of course, impossible to disprove either, and whilst the geology of the hill known in Welsh as Ysgyryd - or 'divided hill'- reflects the myths, it seems more likely that its two humps were separated during the Ice Age. Having said all that, the mysterious air which surrounds the hill means nothing should be discounted.


The hill was used as a hill fort during the Iron Age, with those inside feeling great security thanks to the panoramic views from the top, and there was also once a church dedicated to St Michael near the summit, of which evidence can still be seen today. The hill is also known locally as the Holy Mountain or Sacred Hill, and the short pull to the top is pleasant enough, even in as much wind as when your author visited recently.

For details of a decent ascent, see http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sugarloaf-and-usk-valley/trails/skirrid-fawr-walk-a-mountain-of-mud-and-myths

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