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

Drosgl Cairns



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.
postman Posted by postman
27th April 2013ce
Edited 30th April 2013ce

Comments (5)

Hi Postie.

Enjoying reading your Fieldnotes as ever.
Saw the query about Carnedd Gwenllian and thought I may be able to help?
Gwenllian was the daughter (and lost of the royal line) of Llewellyn the Last who was killed fighting the English. The Gwenllian society campaigned for a number of years to have th emountain re-named as the nearby mountains are already named after Llewellyn (Carnedd Llewellyn) and his brother Dafydd (Carnedd Dafydd).
Edward 1 had Gwenllian (who was a baby at the time of her father's death) taken to Gilbertine Priory at Sempringham when she lived the rest of her life until she died aged 55. She was never allowed to leave the Priory and never knew who she really was. There is now a modern memorial to Gwenllian errected at the ruins of the Priory. A place I must visit one day.

Hope this helps?

Posted by CARL
30th April 2013ce
Wonder if the person / persons who were (probably) actually buried upon Garnedd Uchaf millennia ago would take kindly to the supposed renaming of their mountain? Guess the society didn't consider that.... GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
30th April 2013ce
Lovely notes, lots of smiles on my face reading that mate. By the way, the two rocky bits on the way are actually the summit of Gyrn Wigau, not much drop the other side but there you go. Training wheels for Tryfan? Oh, go on then, but leave Windy at home, I'm not partial to being hurled to my death from 3,000 ft up.

As for Garnedd Uchaf (which frankly I'm sticking too, at least it's descriptive), that's got to be worth a punt as well, via Llwytmor from Aber Falls, just to see if there's anything resembling a cairn (I don't think it will matter).

thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
30th April 2013ce
Be aware that the ascent of Llwytmor from Llyn Anafon is very steep.... that from Aber Falls (apparently) positively masochistic. Great summit, though..... a Heinkel III ventral gunner literally lost his head here during the war. Didn't see his ghost, needless to say. GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
30th April 2013ce
Thanks for the warning, a closer look at possible routes would be a good idea. thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
30th April 2013ce
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