|Very early o'clock Saturday the 22nd of September, sees me up and at 'em and once more en route to North Wales, the epicenter of me. It's the Autumnal equinox again, I've only failed once in twelve years of getting out and being somewhere good on a solstice or equinox, not in any real pagan way you understand, I really only use it as an excuse to definitely go out, come what may, my works annual leave is always March, June, and September, cant get Christmas off, that ones a sicky this year.
By passing Chester I take the coast road, dual carriageway all the way to Conway, it's my route 66, this drive got an even more spiritual bent to it this morning, behind me high and bright was the planet Venus, stars were everywhere, several shooting stars go by (space junk !)and as the road got higher mist started to come and go, the car seemed to be flying amongst the clouds, my boat of a million years.
As you come off the dual carriageway you enter the Conway river valley, the hills and mountains to the west are as jam packed with megalithic and natural wonders as anywhere you care to think of ( with maybe a few exceptions). Cross the river turn left onto the B5106, turn right after a black and white pub called Y Bedol. The mad twister of a hair-pinned road should be taken slowly and carefully. Stop and park at cattle grid.
It was most definitely getting light now, I donned my waterproof lower half, it was not going to rain but dew is a soaker and there's that river to cross as well, then I was off down the hill towards one of my most favorite of places Hafodygors wen. A northern four poster with a ring cairn around it. I've already removed one small Gorse bush, and almost all of another, it was time to finish the job and catch the place in its best light, sun rise.
The brown patch where I removed the first bush has now almost completely grassed over, but the fingers of the bigger bush have started to regrow, bloody Gorse. I unpack my secret weapon, a flick saw, like a flick knife but a saw, ten minutes in and the sun comes up.
I know from copious map staring and Google earthing that the hill known as Waen Bryn-Gwenith http://www.themodernantiquarian.com/site/12542/waen_bryngwenith_stone_ii.html is directly east of Hafodygors wen, the big stone right on it's summit is very visible from almost everywhere round here, and if that wasn't enough, fifty yards down hill from it is a probable collapsed dolmen http://www.themodernantiquarian.com/site/12543/waen_bryngwenith_stone_i.html , A good place for the sun to rise on such an auspicious morning, and the perfect place to see it from.
The sun shone full and bright as it came up over the hill, if it was a more flatter place it would have been a big orange ball, but from here the sun has more chance to accrue it's brilliance. And it was brilliant. The sun seemed to be coming up over the dolmen rather than the big stone, cant be a coincidence surely, two other hill tops near here have big stones on there summits dissuading me of a solar alignment. Behind me the sun light slowly moved down off the mountains and creeped down the hill side to my little stone circle, and bathed us in light. I tried to capture the moment on camera but it never sees the same as me. I renewed my attack on the Gorse remnants till it was all but gone, a small hard knot of root was clutching strongly to some cairn material so I cut it back some but ended up having to leave it as I don't want to damage the stones in any way, hopefully, I killed it, horrendous, I know and I feel badly for it, but each thing has it's place, and seeing as only two people have ever been here, Ive decided that I am the one who decides what goes where. This time next year it will all be grassed over and all will be well for this strange little beauty, if only it was a bit easier to get to, it might get more visitors.
But, that's not all folks. First I head over to the other very nearby cairn, it is just a bump now, but I decide to take a closer look any way. Nothing much to see at all really, but interestingly the big stack of rocks is half way between cairn 1 and 2. I return to the four poster and make ready to walk about. I remember Coflein saying something about a hut circle round here somewhere, I follow the river, with a vague memory that its near to it. I didn't find it first time I came here, but I did this time. A large ring of small stones, on a slightly higher than the ground platform, two small wind shelters/sheep pens ??? have been formed from the stones. Not a particularly inspiring ancient monument, but it's position is in a gorgeous setting, rushing river below, more recent ruined building across the river and every where trees, ferns and mosses, with mountains never far from view.
The megalithic portal brought to my attention that a standing stone is up the valley some more towards the mountains, never needing much of a reason to get nearer the mountains I set off, tired but in good spirits.
Following the Afon Dulyn to the dam, then a footpath takes us to the Afon Garreg-wen, It's only a small river but crossing it was found difficult as I'd come to the waterfall bit, moving about in dense wet undergrowth wasn't easy, my leg disappeared down some dark hole, banging my knee cap on my other leg, I pulled out my soaked leg half expecting a Lovecraftian monster to be clinging to it, but it was just dirt and wet. Ok.
Watching out for a big cluster of sheepfolds I knew I was in the right place. and there it is, vaguely helping a fence to stand up.
The stone is 1.75 meters tall, that's up to my chin. It is only by a fence and the farm dude has tied a wooden fence post to it with new shiny wire, I try half heartedly to undo it but to no avail. The stone clearly predates this fence, even the river is named after it, the fence runs for 1.5 miles from Pant y Mynach hill top to far across the valley to the footpath at Clogwyn-yr-Eryr. There are two stones right next to it, this one and another fifty yards higher up, but its smaller than this one. Brilliant views over to the Carneddau and Pant y Griafolen, and every where else the eye settles on.
One more place on the way to the car, I follow the fence line all the way across the valley crossing the Afon Dulyn in the process, I saw three other people on the way. High up on the other hillside I come to the track and start walking carwards, that is east. First I refind the single standing stone that is situated by a dip in the hill top perhaps pointing towards Pen Llithrig y Wrach, then from there the other stones can be seen, one good tall stone has holes in two sides one all the way through, the fallen stone is perhaps smaller, with another hole in it. The last stone is the smallest and the most northern. It has no holes in it. These three could be a stone row, but the other stone up hill is out of line. It's all very confusing, they were at one time part of a fence line, but the ancients breath has been down my neck all morning, its just as strong here as it was at sunrise. What a beautiful place, I must find a reason to come back, thought of one already, because I can.
One more place to go. Back to the boat of a million years. On the way taking note of the big stone on Waen Bryn-Gwenith, and I spot the tree guard of Cae Du on my right on the shoulder of Moel Eilio.
I drive the car back to Tal y Bont and then immediately back up into the mountains skirting by and below Pen y Gaer, hill fort extraordinaire. There is a small car park west of the fort, i've been up the fort before, so instead I now crawl up the nearby mountain? of Penygadiar. There is no cairn or stone here, just a view to end all views, some places have a good views but compared to this they're just looking over the wall at old ladies drawers. Expansive isn't the word, try all encompassing, it's closer, I wont name all the places seen from up here, but its well over twenty, the nearest is the hill fort, which is why I came up here, on zoom we can see it all. But now, that really is all folks, a leisurely float home and two hours later I'm crashed out on the sofa not watching tele .
Posted by postman
23rd September 2012ce
postman's TMA Blog
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