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A lovely place is this.
The sun was shining, the birds were singing, the horses ignored us, and with not one stone hunting buddy but two, this was getting to be a good day out. We parked at Little Lodge farm and strolled over to the long cairn unhindered by livestock or their human captors.
More Hawthorn trees, with Mistletoe, never seen mistletoe before, except at parties, and that could have been plastic.
It was a bit of an anti climax, as we'd just been to the sleeping giant of Penyrwrlod, and the two corkers at Ffostyll, today was a day of Black Mountain long cairns, six in all, this one was number four. Even though Little Lodge is not as big or as cool as the last two it does have some charm, and enough interesting features to keep one occupied for at least a couple of hours.
The chamber at the south end is still complete, minus it's capstone. There is a large long stone under the Hawthorn tree, it could be a blocking stone. Just twenty yards further south and the ground falls steeply down to a wee brook that is fed by at least two nearby springs.
Across the road and up the hill is a fairly good round barrow called Coed-y-Polyn (nice one Alken) it has good views of the surrounding fields and of the high hills of the Black Mountains and with Little Lodge Long cairn in it's place among it all
How does something this size escape attention for so long, hidden in plain view, yet not "discovered " until 1972.
We unknowingly followed Elderfords directions, and parked right outside the Penywyrlod farmhouse, hoping to grab a bit of easy parking courtesy of the obliging farm owner, we were blessed indeed, the farm was empty, unoccupied, gone away, as we say at work.
With no one about we made our unhurried and unhindered way over to the long cairn.
It was our first site of the day, a list of Black mountain chambered long cairns fortuitously never far from a road, which was a world of comfort to Simon, our new field wandering friend, who had knee issues. It was so much bigger than we anticipated, much much bigger, and the terrible road building scar where they'd dragged off tonnes of cairn material and almost all the chamber stones, broken up like so much peanut brittle, sandstone isn't a very durable stone at the best of times.
Three large stones are to be seen at the rear ? one is poking out of the cairn, the other two are having a lie down, another large flat stone resides by the front north side. Elderford seems to know what all the stones are, but it's a bit of a confusion and so much is gone that I find it a struggle to believe anything can be said for certain.
But there are some certainties, it is a giant of a cairn, with a giant fatal wound, but in a beautiful place with cracking views, it is a nice place to lay down and die, for a cairn.
I dont know the right name for this fort it could as easily be Ewloe fort, but ive name it after the river that runs by and the parkland it is in.
High above the Wepra brook, in deep woodland on a sandstone promontory is this little fort. It is only about 30m x 10m. There isn't much in the way of surviving defences either, just a few meters of a ditch separating the promontory to the rest of the high ground, now a golf course. But I can well imagine the place with less trees high above the place where two water courses meet, being a good place to live.
Nowadays the place is Wepra park, with nicely stepped paths all the way along the brook to the much better known Ewloe castle. Today there were many people about, from picnicing families to groups of lads.
Not a decent fort , but a very nice place.
Ps , not really suited to boys with bikes.
Just north east of the little village of Rhosesmor is yet another Moel y Gaer, occupying a suitable hill top 303 meters above sea level. Parking is obtained on the west side of the hill, there is room for many cars. I headed up the hill with my camera and two straining at the lead dogs, whilst Eric and his mate Luke pushed their bikes up (bikes were part of the deal).Phil elected to stay in the car with the radio.
There were quite a lot of people up on the fort, some were walking the circuit of the fort like me, some were just lounging around on the reservoir, enjoying the sunshine and the views. The views are extensive, the best are west to the bigger hills and east to the Dee estuary. A reservoir on a hill top? with a big dome over it ? in a hill fort ? Absurd.
This is a good hill fort, the hill is just the perfect place to keep an eye on the surroundings, two well defined banks encircle the hill. The main entrance is on the east side facing the estuary, but smaller entrances are at the north and south.
Surely I must have known about this place before now, but then forgot about it, I thought I'd been to all of the good hill forts in North Wales and some crap ones, perhaps now I have. But probably not.
After Rhiannon's misc post , I just had to come back and check it out, it went straight to the top of the list. It is just like the reports indicated, 6 feet high, over six feet wide and only a foot 'n alf wide, leaning a bit to the west. It was suggested that it was part of a burial chamber, and I can see it being the only survivor of a dolmen of some sort. The coflein entry seems to suggest that the stone was moved off a tumulus, coarsely paved, but surely that is right where it is now. It is on a slight mound that could be described as coarsely paved, on the highest ground, in this field at least. No distant views can be had except a bit to the south east off into Denbighshire.
It is a gnarled old stone, scarred and pitted, and very reminding of some of Avebury's sarsens stones.
We approached from the south west, parking in Gerlan on the east side of Bethesda. As we gain some height, the wind which had been negligible down by the car began to get stronger, fortunately at this point it was pushing us up the hill, TSC reminded me of the wind on Carnedd Llewelyn last year and I make the unwarranted assertion that it's not that strong yet. The wind soon began to be the third member in our highland walkabout, we shall call him windy.
We make for the Drosgl summit as directly as possible, the walk was mostly nice and easy, it's not too boggy, other parts of Snowdonia are mostly boggy, but here it is obligingly firm and dry. To the east the mountain views are long and wide from on top of Gyrn Wigau, all the high Carneddau are strung out before us from Foel Fras to Pen yr Ole Wen, all speckled with snow hidden from the sun.
In the opposite direction is cairn topped Moel Faban, ditto for Moel Wnion, and beyond these shapely hills Angelsey floats amid a tropical looking sea.
Behind us is the not so pretty site of the Penrhyn quarries, a massive ugly scar forced upon the most lovely countryside in Wales, a constant reminder of Mans willingness to sell even the ground under his feet.
Half way between Gyrn Wigau and Drosgl are two rock stacks, the path, such as it is , weaves between them.
As we approach them they appear to us as rocky sentinels, guarding the higher "heavenly" lands, we pick one and sit out of the wind as best we can. Just below us three wild-ish ponies are grazing on the wide ridge, they seem utterly ignorant of old windy. The sight of the high mountains to our east growing dark in cloud shadows, then bright and colourful in the bright sunlight, are really very easy on the eye. We head on.
The footpath wont take us to the top of Drosgl, instead it passes by on the south side and carries on up to Carnedd Uchaf, now renamed as Carnedd Gwenllian (Why, how and by whom I dont know). We take the path as long as we can and then bolt off to our left just making for the highest point, it gets very rocky on the summit, thousands of tonnes of broken shattered rock, enough cairn material to create a whole cairn cemetery. There are three cairns here, the highest point is occupied at the moment by a small walkers cairn. It also has the best view of the mountains.
Away from the mountain view, on the north west edge of the summit plateau are the other two cairns, obviously the view this way was far more important to them, but is it the sea ? or is it Angelsey that holds such captivation ?
Windy is now in a far more playful mood, if you turn your back on him for a moment he'll try and push you over, if you turn and face him its like being continuously hit in the face by an eleven year old with a heavy pillow, just like it in fact.
We sit in the wind shadow cast by the big cairn admiring the view over Moel Wnion, immediately beyond our feet is the strangest cairn up here, sited as to be oblivious to the geographical grandeur behind us and the big cairn. It is apparent it's been reconstructed, the large kerb stones are perfect and obvious, no slippage here. But among all the superfluous cairn material it is hard to discern, it only reaches a height of perhaps two feet, regarding it from the north it is all but invisible. The big cairn overshadows it somewhat as well, being at least ten times the size, it is flat topped and hazardous to walk across, not vengeful spirits, nor some overwhelming respect for ancient monuments, just trying to protect your ankles.
It is roundabout now that I internally concede that it is now as windy or windier than it was last year up on Llewelyn, you have to brace yourself against it just in order to take a picture. Windy is fair screaming in my ears like a Harrier jump jet hovering before me, I cant hear a word Alken says and instead try to read his lips/facial expressions/ posture. We decide that this isn't the time for sitting around and watching, so we agree that a walk over to the twin rocky citadels of Bera Mawr or Bera Bach would be most beneficial. In the end just one wouldn't do, so we have a scramble all over them both telling ourselves it's training wheels for Tryfan in the summer. I hope so.
But now it is time to move on some more, sadly all on the way back to the car, we head for Moel Wnion but change our minds as windy has brought his mate with him, Drizzle.
Minds changed we head straight for Moel Faban, via a mellow gorge named Bwlch ym Mhwll-le, the weather likes our decision and shows it's sunny side. But from here, it is somewhere else's field notes.
Unless your on a long mountain walk like we were, when you can approach it from any where and any angle, then your best coming at these two cairns from the south west, parking can be had at the end of Cilfodan terrace, right next to Pen-y-gaer, well, two fields away.
You can skirt round the eastern edge of Moel Faban, going past a settlement or two, or you could go up to the top of Moel Faban passing three substantial bronze age cairns, I know which way i'd go. At the other side of Moel Faban the ground again begins to rise, up to the 443 m hill top Llefn, but between the two hills is the strange and out of place gorge, the softest and most mellowed gorge there is, there seems no reason for this arrow straight natural feature, it has a man made feel to it its so out of place.
So it must have made an impression upon our ancient brethren also, because it is here that two more cairns have been constructed, the cairns of Bwlch ym Mhwll-le, the place of passing ? or the Pool room. Not much in it is there?
The two cairns are quite different, the larger northern cairn, the one we didn't get up close to, is a large spread of loose stones, very close to a large squarish boulder. We never saw it untill we were on the other side of the Bwlch and didnt have the energy to go back up hill again.
The southern cairn, is, to me, more interesting, it has half of a large cist at it's center, the cairn has kept maybe half it's kerb stones, and many more stones protrude through the grass. But the best thing about it, is it wasn't on the map and we just stumbled across it on our way elsewhere, 1:25000 map just has a circle in the vicinity, but the 1:50000 map has the customary little star that denotes Barrow/cairn, even so, both these cairns should be on any map.
It is a nice little cairn, if it were a little more accessible, i'm sure it would have grabbed our attention years ago, but as nice as the cairn is, it is the surroundings that grab and hold our attention, explicitly, the view south. Looking south with the cairn at our feet , the top of Cardnedd Dafydd is on the left, further away, above the Ogwen valley are the high tops of the Glyders, moving right, Y Garn, then Carnedd y Filiast, and far far left is the mountain we've just conquered and been conquered by, Drosgl. It is a rich and beautiful eyeful, to be stared at, oggled and drooled upon.
Just one word of warning, it gets a touch windy up the hills at times, if its windy down by the road it will be much stronger up here.
It's now time to go and get out of this biting wind, but just before I do there's just one more new site to see.
A mere fifty yards from Brian (Circle 275) is this massively overlooked barrow/cairn, with so many megalithic wonders here about it's almost understandable. About a meter tall and maybe five across this heather and grass covered mound melts seamlessly into it's surroundings, look for the telegraph pole uncaringly stuck right on top of it, blighters.
When Anglicising this site name have a giggle, a smirk, maybe even a titter, Fridd Wanc, giggle smirk titter.
From Cefn Coch barrow I skirt around the base of becairned Moelfre following the path towards these two cairns. Passing the site of crashed WWII bomber " Bachelors baby " a B24 Liberator, they were probably looking for stone circles and never saw the hill coming.
Coflein still isn't co-operating, so I didn't know what to expect, if anything. But I was pleasantly surprised to find the remains of a substantial kerb cairn. Half the kerbing has gone but those that remain are quite large, the interior of the cairn has a slight rise in ground level .
About fifty yards up the hill back in the direction of the Druids circle, is what I presumed must be the other cairn. It is heather covered and is either situated upon a rocky knoll or the whole thing is the rocky knoll, there was nothing else in the vicinity so I clicked the camera and moved on.
The view of the snowy mountains is very overpowering to me and the urge to climb one right now is almost too much to bear, I have to turn my back upon them and carry on walking.
I came here from the wonder that is Wet Withens, from that stone circle head west and slightly south, keeping to the edge of the land, when your among the hill tops make for the large boulders, one of which has a large basin upon it, and a possible cup mark.
From these large rocks head down hill, north, the cairn will come into view to the right of the footpath.
Of course things didn't go as smoothly for me, The Peak district turns me around, confuses me, and sends me the wrong way, I was in one place but thought I was somewhere else I ended up at the trig point near the radio mast before realising my gaff. Turning around I followed an ageing couple I'd seen earlier enjoying a brew down off the rocky edge and hey presto a ring cairn with much cuppy goodness.
It would be much easier approaching straight from the road, where a footpath follows along a wall, or more direct follow the line of knackered grouse butts, and heaps of ruination they should be, game birds indeed, I don't think they enjoy the "game" much.
The cairn is fairly self evident, a rare flat topped round cairn apparently. From some angles it melts seamlessly into the surroundings, but from others it stands up and proud, like the Withens and it's cairn the heather is trying it's best to hide and obscure it's treasures. It should be treated like the weed it is, Dictionary says a weed is simply a plant that is growing where you don't want it. An exact definition of intrusive heather if ever ive heard one.
But of course it's the profusely cup marked stone that brings me here, the stone is generally squarish, cups cover the top and two sides. Big cups they are too, how the stone stayed in one piece whilst someone continuously bashed at it I cannot say, grit stone isn't that strong is it ?
I have a quick look for the other nearby cup marked stone but time has run out, the curse that is the mobile phone has come upon me, now ive got an hour and a half to get back in time for the school run. The other cupped stone and the other Withens circles will bring me back at least once more.
A great way to end a great day in the Peak.
The first time I came here I gave up after losing my map, the second time I had one or both kids with me and the visit didn't really stay with me and I can barely remember it at all, this time I was all tooled up for a proper visit, much prior planning, and most importantly, it's just me.
I took the long route as per usual (wont next time though) and spotted the cairn first, after a perusal of this impressive stone gathering I sit atop a rather suspicious mound and survey the Wet Withens.
What is a Withen I wonder, and why are they wet ? as strange site names go this is a good one.
What impressed me most was the bank around the stones, its dead visible on Google earth and from the mound that I sit upon. I walk slowly over to the ring and enter it somewhat reverentially. A really good feeling came over me, it was like I was seeing it for the first time. Like an Indian man meeting his chosen intended for the first time, and, Wow shes a looker.
It was also much bigger than I remember it, god, how long has it been, this was one of the first non Big Orange Book sites I went to. And more stones too, plus Ive no recollection of there being carved initials in many of the stones, but there are. Its like ive never been here before, is it just the passage of time or did I not see it all properly or did I travel to an alternate reality, probably the former.
In the middle of the circle is a weird depression, first time ive seen that too.
But no matter how wonderful and ridiculous my time spent here, the higher rocks over to the east are pulling me away, to that other Eyam target of mine Stanage ring cairn and it's fantastical carved stone.
Arses. This is not easy to find !!!
Coming from the south, where the two paths diverge, I take the right hand path. All the way to a mostly fallen wall with two large gate post stones. Turn left from these stones and head exactly west, this should take you straight to the cairn. Unless like me you keep getting side tracked by the many small cairn like things.
Eventually I arrive at the cairn, it is situated on flat ground right next to where the heather covered earth falls quickly away to Hathersage just over a mile away. The heather is all consuming, stray from the path and your in a world of hurt.
Barrow or cairn ? i'll go for cairn, for only a cairn can have cairn material, of which there is much. But its a seriously mangled cairn, difficult to determine it's exact shape because of the dreaded heather (there is no such thing as lucky heather) and all the pits and hollows in the middle of the cairn. Hiding among its interior is a cup marked stone, couldn't find it though.
Superb vistas north to many hills with various names of which I am mostly ignorant. But it is difficult to remain at the cairn for too long as the Wet Withens stone circle is just a few yards away. And just over the hill away is Stanage ring cairn with its terrifically cup marked stone, but getting there can be a bit of an arse.
Start and finish with an arse, yeaaah !
I first came up here a couple of years ago in mid summer, but was with full family and dogs, needless to say we didn't get all the way up to the top.
Today it was round two, the weather was, shall we say, the decent side of crap and I'm well out of shape, but without any, errrrm hindrances ? I fancied my chances, in fact it was a total knockout.
Parking was had at the pay and display close to the entrance to Mam tor, I didn't so I didn't, I took a picture of the nice painting of Mam tor on the information board and started my way up. En route to the place of a ascension I noted a pair of iron age replicas carved on to earth fast rocks, a Torc, and a dagger, the dagger is under a celticly carved seat.
The way up is actually quite easy, it only gets steep a couple of times, but it gets really very muddy, luckily it was all frozen so progress went on apace. Plus the views open out immediately and are hugely enjoyed, the view of Mam tor is sufficient to get me up here on it's own.
The top of the hill is flat and quite large , the barrow is sited as close to Mam tor as possible without coming down off the top. The barrow is about seven feet high and is getting eroded quite badly the footpath and bridleway is very close and too many feet have taken their toll on top, perhaps that's the price you pay for being in the most visited National park in the world.
I was mightily disappointed to found out that the Lord in question was Mr Peveril of nearby castle building renown, surely a place like this up here with such a view should be named after Thee Lord, not many views like this one. Having said that the thin fog hid most of the distant hill sides, I was aware of it all out there, somewhere but could I see it ? Like fudge chocolate brownie I could.
The plan was ephemeral at best, it was to watch the sunrise over Mam Tor from Lords seat barrow to the west. It would have worked too if it wasn't for those pesky clouds, so the plan changed slightly and Green low became my first site of the day.
Parking was had at the large lay by at the junction of the Pennine bridleway and the long road from Chapel en le Frith to Mam tor, it is a good road.
It took about fifteen minutes to get from car to stones, at a brisk walk to keep the cold biting wind to a minimum, after the first copse of trees on the left the earthwork became visible in front and to the right, but it isn't immediately definitely a cairn circle. But the bridleway takes us straight to it more or less just turn right off the path at a left turn, then up a bit.
Even when your stood right before it , it's still not obviously a ring cairn, as has been said, it is rather hengiform, and a whiff of sea breeze from Dorset isn't out of the question, robbed embanked stone circle is also a real possibility. Whatever it's status, it is there, it's easily spotted on Google earth, as is it's lesser sibling to the east and also another ring above the two and in between them.
It sits on an east facing hill slope, some stones can be seen poking through the grass on the ring, and on the inner ring. The inner ring isn't exactly ring shaped, it's not in the center of the outer ring. It is a strange one, "after four thousand years look so good you will not", Yoda would probably say, I cant disagree. All of the different variant forms of cairn, henge and stone circle could all look like each other or nothing like each other, pah , it's impossible to tell from just looking at it, Time Teeeeam. Then again no, just Stewart Ainsworth, John Gater, don't want no diggers here.
After wrapping my scarf round my face, god it's cold, there's still snow in places, I go for the now almost obligatory wander round the site from a distance, first I head west, half heartedly looking for the other lesser ring cairn , ive not much to go on I cant even remember where it is i'm supposed to be looking. From the fields edge the ring cairn is almost invisible, just a slight rise in the land, I head over into the trees north west of the site, peeking through the trees , although i'm now twenty feet higher than before its completely gone. More height is gained and the trees left behind, now I can see it, it's far away though, but a bit of camera zoom brings it close. Now back down hill over the all but dry stream Bolehill Clough??? and I begin to get east of the circle and it gets more prominent. Not knowing it at the time, I'm now passing by another ringy feature visible on Google earth but not on the ground, is it another ring cairn or part of an as yet undiscovered settlement. I can see an ever so slight rise in the land over to me left so I sidle over and, it turns out to be other ring cairn. It is much smaller than the other greater ring cairn, and much more ground level. It is lesser in every way than its near nieghbour.
I try mostly in vain to photograph the little ring, it's green on green and very much the shy one. I say a goodbye and go back towards the big ring, it's here on this low hill across the beck??? that one gets the best view of it, a really big stone has been dropped into the sea of grass and ripples ensue outwards.
The fog is now, not so thick, the clouds not so overwhelming so I decide it's time for a climb up to the Lords seat. I'm leaving now.
Yaaaay! somewhere else I haven't been before.
The list gets smaller still.
Probably one of the lesser known of Cornwall's quoits. The Lands end quoits are a bit holidayish, but even though its only four and nine miles from Padstow and Newquay respectively, Pawton quoit takes a bit of finding, there's not very good access either, and in the summer the ferns get high. All in all making it a bit lesser known than others.
I parked in the space before a little used gate at the north east corner of the chamber's field, left the kids in the car and walked back up the road to where a scramble place has been carved over the field wall, deftly jumping over it I entered the field of choice and jogged over. Time was short and the sun was going down upon a long day that still had a nearly three hundred mile drive to finish with.
Since I first put this site on my list more pictures have been added on here, but none of them show how big the mound is on which the quoit sits. Even without the stone chamber I would still have made a special visit just to see the barrow if it were closer to home, it's really quite large.
But then I didn't get many of it either, just a couple with the sun going down behind it, and then just time enough to walk all the way round it hand draped affectionately across the stones. A gander underneath the whopper capstone, then came the car beeps.
Time for a couple of minutes inspecting the quartz veins running through it, a theme for the day, and looking round the vista the capstone points to, then another beep.
Damn! it's time to go.
Yaaaay! somewhere I haven't been before.
The list gets smaller.
I spied around the place using Google earth, the 21st centuries scrying equipment, and used the parking place on the A39, and the stile by the gate.
What Google couldn't tell me was how boggy and muddy is the entry into the field, but Carl and Mr Hamhead sorted us with that information. But even so, I still went over in my trainers, they were soaked by the time I got to the stones, and brown in general colour.
The distressing colour of my feet was however off set against the more than pretty colour of the Maidens. Whilst grey in the main, some maidens have a pink quartzy shine to them, and they all have white quartz veins running through them, it's impact upon me may have been lessened though ive just come here straight from Duloe stone circle ( Via Newquay zoo, they have a Fishing cat Dontcha know).
They are very pretty, maidens draped in long pearl necklaces.
But some Maidens have fallen, one seems to be calling out unheeded for help from her friends, but it gets worse, the end Maiden has fallen and broken her self in two. Sad.
They still retain some composure though, I have a liking for stones having a lie down.
The trickle of water that runs by the stones could be construed as pleasant, I certainly found it conducive to a happy disposition.
Still, it was wet and muddy so all things in balance.
I haven't been here for a long time, it was before the kids were born i'm sure. There was only one concrete plan for the day, and that was Newquay zoo (They have a Fossa, dontcha know) so I could pick anywhere in the vicinity so long as it's not far from the road.
I could have chosen anywhere, but my last trip here was in the pre-digital days so I just had to come back, first it was The Hurlers then Trethevy quoit now this brilliant little circle.
There are several reasons for its brilliance, it's really close to the road for a start, I parked by the front of the church, left the kids, two minutes later it was "wheres my shades man".
The circle described by the stones is small, I like small stone circles over the great big ones like Stannon and Fernacre, much more cozy and homely.
Though the circle is small the stones are large, mainly, the highest is eight and a half feet tall, five others coming down to about head height.
But the most brilliant thing is the shiny glowing whiteness of the quartz stones, ever since my first trip here thirteen years ago all the quartz stones ive seen have been compared to these stones here at Duloe, and ive got to tell you, nothing compares to them. If anything my long absence has whitened them , they seem more white than my memory allows.
The smaller butterfly inspired stone can stay as far as i'm concerned, it could do with being a bit bigger but it seems to fit well, probably the whiteness.
We could see the Cheesewring from over by the Hurlers, but the last time was the same too, I could see it, I start to walk towards it, looked up and its gone, there one moment gone the next. I turned back and scurried off back to the car.
But not this time, we could see it, so we started to walk towards it, looked up and it was gone, again. long drawn out siiiiigh.
But we kept on going, pushing aside any thoughts of wandering the moor forever more, (Ahem), my daughter was waiting in the car for us, she doesn't see many stones anymore, shes thirteen now and very settled in her role as moody teenager, hopefully we'd be back soon.
I did not know the Cheesewring is right next to a dirty great quarry, no idea at all. Nor did I know the rock stack was so big, a giants construction if ever there was one. And whats with the corner supports ? apparently helping to prop up the higher layers, surely not ?
A brilliant place to sit and watch the mists rolling across the moor, probably best seen on a nice summers day, but any weather will do if you've come more than 200 miles.
A bit of spare quididge and we were off to the zoo, "which one are we going that necessitates a 2.30 am get up call " the kids asked, or words to that effect.
" Nooooooookey ?"
"Its in Cornwall" I replied overlooking the obvious grammar mistake.
Almost five hours later, and Eric, Mia the young Jack Russell and Myself were striking out across the moor, into yet more mist and drizzle, every time I come here the weather is right crap. Upon seeing the whole site emerge out of the nether world Eric muttered something to himself then said to me there's alot of them isn't there ?
That's one of the good things about the Hurlers, ( another is it's proximity to the road) there's so many stones left you can easily see the outline of all three stone circles. The fallen stones are long, some are trying to snuggle there way under the turf, even the broken stumps are not completely devoid of interest, they define some of the more worn out arcs of the circles.
The central circle of the three has a central stone standing in it, there is a long fallen stone between the central and the northern circle, and another possible fallen stone half way between the northern circle and the Cheeswring.
Also not to be forgotten are the Pipers off to the side by the southern circle, and the Minions mound should also be seen by the houses back yard.
But I didn't know about it until I got back, darn now i'll have to go back, darn indeed.
I've been to Bryn Cader Faner three times and I always approach from the south west. But this time we tried to come at it via the Y Gyrn cairns, from the west. At this time of year this turned out to be somewhat problematical, snowy and icy roads curtailed progress and I had to park right over by the main road, the A496, adding a couple of miles of tedious road walking.
We tried to avoid the road walking on the way there by taking a footpath over a hill and then back down again, then a bridge over a river. All very pretty, but, it's still not what we came to see. Then the footpaths become a tad indistinct, small streams have to be jumped, even the boggy pooy holes didn't have the decency to freeze, and the snow drifts were really something else, in places at least four feet deep.
Later rather than sooner we get to a place where the way ahead is more obvious, not any easier but more obvious. The big rocky summit of Y Gyrn towers above us, we decide not to venture over to Maes Y Caerau but carry on under the steep cliffs, fortunately some intrepid explorer had been out here before us so we just followed in his footsteps. At one time my legs sunk in a drift up to the hilt but still never touched the floor. It was hard going to say the least.
At last we reach the spot where we've deduced the trio of cairns reside, but only one is obvious there is a maybe but we'll have a look at that one after we've been to BCF. The third eludes us completely.
The obvious one is a little beauty, large boulders define the cairns edge and just off center a ruined cist is to be seen, the two large edges of the cist have fallen in to meet at the middle.
The positioning of the cairns is interesting, nestled under the cliffs of Y Gyrn with only a narrow view of Tremadog bay, but a wide open view of the 623 meter high Moel Ysgyfarnogd.
After an easier more leisurely walk up to the enigma that is Bryn Cader Faner, we walk back down to these cairns, we still cant see the third but the maybe does indeed turn out to be the one were looking for. It is the ring cairn, the one that i've seen pictured elsewhere, but what with all the snow drifting up on it and the gorse bushes growing on it it's not as easy to make out as the nearby kerb cairn, one for a return visit in better weather and armed with my trusty shears. The daylight is quitting our adventure now so we beat a hasty retreat, passing within sorrowful distance of Maes Caerau.
The way back was easier as we elected to stay on the roads, it was a long and tiring walk and it was pitch black by the time we reached the car.
A good pair of cairns but so very far to walk to.
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After visiting over a thousand ancient places and driving between fifteen to twenty thousand miles every year I can only conclude that I'm obsessed with these places, and finding this website seven years ago only compounded that obsession, at least I'm not alone anymore.
My favourite places are:
Ring of Brodgar
Balnauran of Clava
Nine stones close
Bryn Celli Ddu
The Druids circle (penmaenmawr)
Gwal y Filiast
La Roche au Fees
Talati De Dalt
and these are only the ones that immediatly spring to mind, so many stones and not enough lifetimes.