As I walked from the Rhiw youth hostel, where I’d left the car, I kept my eyes peeled for this one on the approach toward Maen y Bardd, but the smaller of the two ‘Greyhound’s Kennels’ is not easy to spot, hunkered into the hillside as it is. Only after reaching the dolmen of Maen y Bardd itself, and spending some time at that lovely place, did I dig out the OS map, and compass in hand headed off to the ENE.
The jumble of stones across the hillside kept drawing my eye, each one seeming to possibly signify the location of the chamber, but putting all my trust in the compass I soon spotted the ‘blasted tree’ a huge hawthorn canted over at an angle which pointed out the chamber.
And what a place it is! A lovely earthfast chamber, seemingly opening into the hillside. I scooted inside, the chamber surprisingly spacious, although low roofed it must stretch back a good 6’. It’s nice and sheltered in here but still light and airy, mossy growths on the inner stones make it seem like the entrance to a subterranean underworld and I spend some time soaking up the atmosphere, and feeling as if I’m embraced by the earth.
Back outside the chamber I try to get an idea of the layout of the site. A few small stones stand outside the chamber, and a vague outline of a mound once covering the chamber can just be discerned, the whole shape of the burial chamber looks to me almost as if it might have been a wedge-shaped tomb. This enigmatic little chamber is certainly a cracker.
A great little site away from the more popular Maen-y-Bardd, with superb views over the Conwy Valley and the great mass of The Carneddau looming to the right.
Much better than I thought it would be, to be honest and I couldn't believe I'd missed this little gem on my first visit to its much more famous neighbour (in 2001, if I remember correctly)
Not the most spacious of chambers, but I guess that makes it all the more appealing.... and a great spot to drift off for a few hours or so, avoiding the almost obligatory wind and rain of a Welsh hillside inside in the dry. So long as you don't mind sharing with the odd creepy-crawlie creature with the same idea, that is. They live here, after all, while we're just a 'passing through.
After the arresting Kate and I had visited Maen-y-Bardd last year, I was a tad frustrated to discover there had been much more to see in this spectacular setting. Most importantly, I was keen to discover the 'Greyhound Kennel' (many North Walian tombs are given this title), or Rhiw Burial Chamber on this visit. The night before, a careful note of the OS grid reference had been made in order we could find it speedily. Great idea, but somehow on the day I left it in the car in my excitement to see all these wonderful sites.
After nearly bursting several blood vessels going the wrong way up the hill, I thought to get the Gwynedd guide out. Frances Lynch's comprehensive notes gave us guidance, and shortly after, Moth expertly spotted it next to a blasted hawthorn.
This was lovely also – much of the mound is intact, and there is a beautifully preserved row of ceremonial stones leading up to the chamber. This is reminiscent of Arthur's Stone in the south Walian Borders. The chamber itself appears to be set into the hillside, rather than part of a man-made mound, but as Kate pointed out later, it might well be the case that the hillside has evolved round it – it is 5,500yrs or so old, after all. Erosion may have engulfed it somewhat. It is a cracking chamber, not obvious from the road, but a fun one to discover.
Not as picturesque as it's neighbour Maen-y-Bardd Rhiw Burial Chamber, also known as the Greyhounds' Kennel, is dug into the hillside rather than standing above it. With big flat capstone and large flanking uprights lining the chamber, this has plenty of remnants of its larger shape lying about the place, some kerbstones and a distinct mound of barrow. Lots to unravel and think about. I loved it!
A bit of a surprise to me this one. While on our way back from walking in the Snowdon area we decided to visit Maen-y-Bardd, and to take advantage of the good weather to get a few black and white shots. While there I remembered Frances Lynch mentioning this other chamber nearby, and decided to hunt it down. This didn't take long as the two are intervisible. The site itself is definitely worth seeking out when doing the Tal-y-Fan sites, and was much more impressive than I had been led to believe.
Directions: From Maen-y-Bardd head roughly ENE for 100 metres, crossing one of the many ancient drystone walls - a distinctive fallen tree and huge boulder can be used for orientation.