|After last weeks aborted attempt to climb Moel y Gamelin and visit the big barrow up there and the nearby hillfort Moel y Gaer, I decided today would be a good day to try again, but it wasnt, I didnt even try to get onto the horseshoe pass the road may have been passable but the hilltops were lost in fog, so I switched to plan B which was try to get to a trio of big barrows north west of llyn Brenig.
Rhiwiau barrow is three metres tall and looked to be the easiest to get to, but no sooner had I turned off the main snowcleared road the small road became undrivable after a few hundred metres. I dumped/parked the car where it would least cause offence donned my all weather clothing and set off up the road.
I didnt get far, the sky was clear and visibility was good but a road sign hinted at a walk of at least three miles there and back, nope, back to the car.
The trouble with my plan C was there was no plan C, the best I could come up with was go to Anglesey buy a map and try to get to a few of the easier to visit sites. As I was drving past Conwy I noticed the sky had a bit of colour to it over the mountains a road sign said Penmaenmawr and suddenly a plan was born, the druids circle was my new destination.
Mostly the roads were ok lower down but as I drove higher the roads got worse and I left the car at a convenient parking place near a footpath
It probably took about forty minutes from car to circle 275, with every yard gained the snow got deeper and the path got slippier.
Above me to my right was Graig llwyd axe factory/quarry and even without a map I knew that circle 275 was near the power lines that cross the hills nearby, unfortunatly I strayed from the path and knee deep snow sapped my stregnth, at this time the fog came, I could tell which way the path went and which way was north so I stuggled on. Out of the whiteness came some dark shapes and I made my way over,
mostly beacause it was the only feature I could see, I sank with both feet in a really deep snowdrift just as the wind whipped a snow cloud into my face and I shouted into the wind, Its usually about now that a feather light monk rescues you and takes you to a hidden monastary where you develop some super powers, but I got cold waiting and pulled my self out staggered over to the dark shapes which then pleasingly turned into a stone circle, huffing and puffing more than a bit I smiled at the prospect of knowing once more where I was,
Aubrey Burl says of this lovely little five stone cirlce that it is considered an outlier of the southwest Irish five stoners with one of the stones (the recumbent) much flatter than the others, they were probably up here getting copper and stone axes?
From here it wasnt far to the druids circle, and it never dissapoints, my grandfather whom I never met brought my teenage mother up here in 1953, so the stones hold a special quality for me.
Standing out of the wind behind the tallest stone, the deity stone or the alter stone, dont know which, it appeared to me that me and the stones were the only things that existed, we were in the middle of a complete whiteout the only thing I could see was the stones, there was no mountains no path no anything, here I would stay forever, lost.
Then it cleared enough for me to come back into the world and I could see from the hillock that overlooks the druids circle the weird muddle of stones known only as monument 280. (worse name ever) I waded over to them and took a couple of pics of the confusing mess.
The ring cairn that is called circle 278 wasnt obvious to see so I went in the other direction towards Cors y Carneddau stone circle, I found the kink in the wall where this ruined stone ring lurks only three stones seem to be left. Over the wall is a ring cairn and a kerb cairn both in good condition from the ring cairn I spotted the barrow and had to get back over the wall and through two three foot high snowdrifts, twice.
The barrow is about two metres tall and has a scoop out of its top, on a clear day good views across the valley to Drosgl and llwytmor can be seen.
Not bad for stone hunting in the fog and snow without a map, by now my fingers and toes were going a tad numb so I started back down, as I skidded and slid down the hillside it occured to me that as the snow was so deep my feet hadnt touched the ground for quite a while so I was actually walking in the air and looking a bit snowmanish too...... Shut up Aled !!!
Posted by postman
11th January 2010ce
Edited 11th January 2010ce
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