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

Banc Llechwedd-mawr

Cairn(s)

Fieldnotes

At 1,837ft Banc Llechwedd-mawr could be described as a minor satellite of the main Pumlumon ridge, complementing the marginally taller Carn Hyddgen rising across the bwlch carrying the main north-south route across this magical landscape. To my mind, however, that would be unfair. For one thing it is a superb viewpoint and... perhaps more to the point, particularly with reference to modern antiquarians... what it lacks in lofty pre-eminence is more than compensated for by its collection of ancient monuments. As you would probably expect here, its summit is crowned by a pair of Bronze Age cairns; in addition its eastern flank boasts two stone settings, not to mention the wondrously enigmantic quartzite blocks of Cerrig Cyfammod Glyndwr, although whether the latter were 'placed' in position by humankind, or the greatest power of all, is open to debate. Whatever the truth, clearly our forebears viewed this shapely hill as 'special'.... perhaps because the shining white beacons were already in situ? So much to ponder, then.

There would appear to be two practical main routes to Banc Llechwedd-mawr, the creation of the Nant-y-Moch reservoir having reduced available options by, er, 'adjusting' the original topography somewhat: the first is a rather long trek from the north-western tip of the reservoir, starting below Carn Owen and, assuming you have the 'puff' (not I), taking in the pair of large cairns crowning Drosgol; the second, my choice, heads north from the Maes Nant activity centre, but involves fording the Afon Hyddgen at some point. 'Horses for courses', as they say. But hey, be careful out there.

The summit of the peak is a steep, straight forward climb from the legendary Cerrig Cyfammod Glyndwr. There is, of course, no path. The reward, the vista from the top, is equally legendary with Cadair Idris and the vanguard of southern Snowdonia forming a seemingly impenetrable demarcation between North and Mid Wales. Nearer to hand, the aforementioned Drosgol towers above the waters of Nant-y-Moch to the approx south, Pen Pumlumon-Fawr rising to the left. Immediately opposite, the Afon Hengwm leads the eye toward Pen Pumlumon Arwystli and its trio of massive cairns, the sources of the Hafren (Severn) and Wye located to left and right respectively. Not to mention the source of the Afon Rheidol beneath the sentinel peak of the ridge. Then there is the pair of monuments upon Carn Hyddgen. Cairns, cairns, wherever one looks...... speaking of which, the cairns I've come to see at close quarters are, at the very least, worth the not inconsiderable effort. The southern is by far the best preserved, seemingly unviolated and occupying a classic upland position. Ok, it's not that large (relatively speaking), but perfectly formed. Think of it as Pumlumon's 'Kylie', perhaps? Its partner to the north is much more ragged by comparison. However it incorporates additional dry stone features which are difficult to explain by reference to the usual destructive activities of muppet 'walkers' or husbandry of sheep. In fact Coflein - see miscellaneous entry - suggests these may be original? If so that is yet another reason for the serious Citizen Cairn'd to venture here.

As I sit and take in the vibe, overlooking the presumed site of Glyndwr's 'Battle of Hyddgen' in 1401... hey, that was only yesterday in the scheme of things... the Pumlumon weather decides to show what it can do. When it can be bothered, that is. All of a sudden gone is the dull, drizzly, overcast.... overwhelmingly grey... sky, replaced by a vital, sunlit canopy which utterly transforms the colour palette defining the underlying landscape. Sitting here I believe I can see what Turner was trying to capture with his great skyscapes. If you are attempting to relate what it feels like to contemplate the biggest questions of all, why not use the biggest canvas of all? Makes sense to me.

Carn Hyddgen suddenly looks far more appealing than before. Well, you know how it is? The itinery is scrapped, visits to the two additional stone settings shelved, and off we go. Note the presence of another quartzite block on the direct line of descent, which, for me, strengthens the case for the Cerrig Cyfammod Glyndwr being solely Nature's work. Or does it?
GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
19th November 2012ce
Edited 19th November 2012ce

Comments (10)

Great notes, makes me want to go there immediately (well, once the gale blowing outside stops anyway). thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
19th November 2012ce
Hey gladman it sounds like you've got a bit of the artist in you, have you tried? You talk the talk and can certainly see something in landscapes that others don't, now it's just a case of putting what you "see" down on canvas, you're photo's always show an artist's touch as well, you don't know if you don't try, great notes by the way. bladup Posted by bladup
19th November 2012ce
Thanks both. I have tried and it's not a pretty sight. Think I'll stick with the pixel for now, to be honest. Having said that, don't you have to be mad to be a painter? Some time in the future, then, perhaps?

Say what you see, through whatever medium you can. Doesn't really matter. The irony in this case - following the Dyffryn Mymbyr debate - is I reckoned the Cerrig Cyfammod Glyndwr were erratics! Say what you see.



GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
19th November 2012ce
Perhaps you should spend the night on Cadair, although that might just make you a mad poet. Anyway, I reckon your photos are art, as legitimately as any medium. You certainly have a talent for photography. thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
19th November 2012ce
Yeah your words are like paintings, i can't give you a bigger compliment, i don't always agree with what you say [as you me] but your way of describing a landscape is really superb, and like you said the writing and great photo's are all you need. bladup Posted by bladup
19th November 2012ce
If we agreed with everything everyone else said we might as well hand out the cucumber sandwiches and be done with it. More tea, vicar?

Not the Cope way. And his is as good as any I've come across to date.
GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
19th November 2012ce
Then Keep up the good work sir. bladup Posted by bladup
19th November 2012ce
Lovely 'artistic' image, Sir spencer Posted by spencer
6th January 2016ce
Thanks - I do eulogise a lot about Pumlumon.... maybe too much, but then the area is a little under represented at the moment. Hopefully that will change. GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
6th January 2016ce
You're doing the right thing..keep at it. I understand as I feel the same way about western Galloway, have done my map scouring for next time and the time after. Being 285 miles away is a frustration somewhat... spencer Posted by spencer
7th January 2016ce
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