The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Carn Gafallt



Following a morning's (11/9/11) tough walkabout in the vicinity of the Afon Arban, south of Claerwen (no megaliths, but some things need to be done), the intriguing 'trio' of cairns depicted by our OS friends upon Carn Gafallt finally make it to the top of 'the list'. 'Lucky us', I can almost hear the resident spirits of the ancestors groan. Or is that just a combination of an overactive mind and the admittedly strong wind playing the usual tricks? Yeah, let's go with the latter.

So, no evidence for any 'insubstantial' friends, then, although the adjective could well be employed to describe the mind - for want of a better word - of a muppet farmer who stops his land rover, winds down the window and attempts to stare me down as I make a three point turn near Blaen-y-cwm. What is it with these people? Banjo duels at dawn...... Needless to say us TMA-ers are made of sterner stuff... and I won't back down, particularly since I haven't a clue what I've supposed to have done wrong. But there you are. For the record (Tom Petty comes to mind, by the way) a car can be parked, without causing any obstruction, near a corrugated iron-roofed barn at approx SN940641, a little west(ish) of Talwrn farm. Take the public footpath opposite (north), which veers left, then right to arc through the woodland of Coed Bwlch-glas. A little beyond, the cairns stand, unseen, surmounting the steep hillside above to the left. The official route exits the trees before doubling back along the crest of the ridge to the north-west... assuming an encounter with a moron farmer doesn't encourage the traveller to undertake any deviations, that is.

Whatever route you take to the substantial cairns, however, be sure to schedule an audience if you are in the area.... since the setting of the monuments is class, if not classic. No, I reckon it is the latter, come to think of it. Incidentally Coflein reckons there may actually be five, not three cairns upon this windswept ridge, possibly once connected by a drystone wall, of all things? Apparently some of the cairns are co-joined, although the ravaged interiors and deep heather made this unclear. Well, at least to me. However never let it be said that the ancient occupants of Wales were anything but original. Idiosyncratic, too, particularly the manner in which the summit of Carn Gafallt, rising some way to the north-west, is ignored in favour of linear escarpment edge placement. Yeah, although the highest point was clearly not of specific importance, it is very difficult to believe that the vistas to be had from the site were not. Look to almost every point of the compass (save the north, where the bulk of the hillside obscures, albeit with numerous natural 'mounds' in evidence) and hilltops bearing Bronze Age cairns stand as far as the eye can see..... Y Gamriw to the south (must revisit), Drum Ddu to south-east, Drygarn Fawr and Gorllwyn to south-east... even a stone row upon Rhos-y-Gelynnen to west.

Why, there's even an apparent stone circle upon Allt Goch across the valley. Guess I'll need to come back, then?
11th January 2012ce
Edited 11th January 2012ce

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