Driving westwards through Dyffryn Mymbyr the gaze of the traveller will inexorably focus upon Yr Wyddfa and its companions .... the Snowdon Massif, no less. Some things are just meant to be, I guess, particularly when looking across the Llynnau Mymbyr. In fact - if I didn't know better - I'd swear the Glyderau and Moel Siabod, forming the northern and southern flanks of the valley respectively, intentionally present their least inspiring sides so as to not detract from the majesty of the vista. Hence two short, yet substantial sections of dry stone walling, set within rough pasture a little west of the entrance driveway to Cwm-clorad-isaf farm, will barely register.... under normal circumstances. And what about an apparent Bronze Age cairn circle? Ha! But of course there is no such thing as 'normal circumstances' when you happen to enjoy seeking out ancient monuments in landscapes such as this.
Following an earlier severe 'working over' by Mother Nature at nearby Cefn Glas, conditions have, if anything, deteriorated even further, the temptation to thus stay in the warm and dry of the car fleeting, but nevertheless real. Access to the site isn't the easiest today, what with barbed wire fences and expensive waterproofs being mutually exclusive and all that. I settle for a rickety gate fastened with the ubiquitous 'farmer's string' beside a large roadside stone enclosure. As Postie mentions, the cairn lays before the far section of dry stone wall and overlooks a bend in the Nant Gwryd - perhaps significantly so. Sheep look at me with that trademark combination of fear and incomprehension whilst sheltering in the lee of the drystone walls. Well, what else did you think they were for? The bulk of Moel Siabod towers above to the south-east, unseen, morphing with the descending cloud... ditto the Gylderau across the valley. And as for Snowdon.... forget it! So, I'm not here for the views, then. What about the cairn? Why haven't I been here before? Why are these places so bleedin' marvellous? Why all these questions? Yeah, just enjoy the moment.
The cairn-circle is still in pretty good nick, it has to be said, incorporating a fine, open cist with two long side panels, one covered with moss.... and several kerb stones. Very organic. Not to mention a little confusing, too, since additional arcs of apparent kerbing would suggest Coflein are on the right track by citing an earlier platform cairn beneath the monument. Unfortunately the surrounding reeds make it difficult to be precise. So I sit and contemplate things we possibly don't have the capacity to contemplate - I speak for myself, of course - as conditions deteriorate even further... but, hey, how good is this? I stay until darkness compels me to leave. Paradoxically I feel unnerved by the severity of the weather only when safely back in the car. Hmm. Then again if a pitch black Llanberis Pass doesn't have the capacity to overawe, what does?
I came here just a few days ago under greyer skies and totally failed to find it, mainly due to being on the wrong side of the road. I boned up a bit more on Coflein and realised my schoolboy error, today was a better day all round.
It's a long road and the cairn is about half way between Capel Curig and the turn off for Llamberis. from CC go past the two lakes llynau Mymbyr pass Cwm Clorad Isaf farm, and park on the left, the cairn is between you and the river next to a 10m length of wall, not the V shaped wall the smaller one, if you do go looking for this cist it will all make sense.
It was such a beautiful morning to finally find this
place, the cist has kept well over the centuries, and parts of the cairn rim are still obvious, the standing stone is even there still, I think, standing only two to three feet tall, hidden in a small length of wall.
If minor (and I mean minor) meglithic sites aren't your thing then come for the views because they are most definately MAJOR.
Could I eckers like find the other cist over the road though, more boning up me-thinks.
Although not specific to prehistory, anyone with an interest in the area may be interested to know that the book 'I Bought a Mountain' by Thomas Firbank relates to the life of a farmer in Dyffryn Mymbyr....
Remains of a cairn circle within enclosed moorland on the north side of the Nant Gwryd, in the bottom of the Dyffryn Mymbyr. Circular on plan, measuring about 5m in diameter and up to 0.4m in height, within a kerb of at least five outwardly leaning thin orthostats. There is a central stone cist, measuring 1.45m from NNW to SSE by 0.6m transversely and 0.4m in depth. The cairn circle would appear to surmount the west half of an earlier platform cairn, which is ill-defined and robbed throughout - except on the west side, where a kerb of at least six stones is visible.
Another less well defined cist on the other side of the road.
Coflein describes it thus:
A large upright slab 1.5 m wide and protruding from the ground by 1.2 m has two smaller slabs placed at right angles to it to create a stone box. To one side is a short stretch of slab wall, 1.6 m long, 0.5 m tall and 0.6 m high. The internal dimensions of the cist would have been approximately 0.8 m by 1.5 m