|It would appear - according to our friends at Coflein, anyway - that the grassy, round cairn which surmounts the modest 1,581ft summit of Y Foel is (somewhat confusingly) known as Carreg Bica... that is 'Bica's stone', perhaps a reference to the erstwhile giant of Welsh folklore said to have done the rounds locally. Probably a bit grumpy, too. Not to mention jealous, seeing as Idris, similarly endowed with gianthood, had the dramatically eponymous Cadair Idris to call his own. Legend can be so unfair.
However relative merit is, funnily enough, relative, Y Foel proving a rather fine rocky 'perch' towering above an abrupt volte-face by the Afon Elan to the south, a movement albeit somewhat protracted by the creation of the reservoirs. I'd recommend an ascent from the west, via the Beddau Folau chambered cairn, although it may well prove difficult to vacate the lower monument, once encountered. If successful.... carry on along the path and, ignoring the obvious left hand fork (likewise a number of lesser sheep tracks), keep heading east before veering right to ascend the shallow northern 'ridge' - for want of a better word - of Y Foel to the cairn.
Carreg Bica is a deceptively substantial monument. Upon arrival, no doubt seduced by the excellent Beddau Folau earlier, I initially think 'not bad'. But it is better than that, as time and a succession of differing viewing angles make clear. Perhaps there are even remnants of a now trashed cist in situ? Perhaps. Anyway, according to Coflein the round cairn is a:
"Cairn of stones and slabs. Mostly grass covered. Approx. 9.8m x 10.7m x 1.5m high. Summit occupied by modern cairn and boundary post. Cairn appears to act as viewing site giving clear vistas toward other cairn sites across valley N/S/E/W (RSJ 2000)"
The reference to the monument appearing to function as a 'viewing site' is perhaps assumptive; however I can confirm that the spot chosen is indeed an excellent viewpoint, particularly when scanning the southern arc... and identifying numerous other prehistoric sites, including the Crugian Bach complex and the highest summits of Y Elenydd. Such a focus upon the surrounding uplands, as opposed to the lowlands, does seem to be a recurring feature of these high Bronze Age cairns in my experience.
Following a wander south-west along the mightily vegetated Craig Y Foel... excellent views.... I return to the summit to endure a bit of a kicking from the weather, to be honest. Nevertheless the compass reassures as cloud engulfs all and subsequently leads me back down to Beddau Folau. Yeah, despite the dodgy weather it is a great place to end a fine day.
Posted by GLADMAN
20th November 2013ce
Edited 20th November 2013ce