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




There are a number of 'Moelfre's to be found in Wales... which, considering this descriptive name translates to the English as 'bald / barren hill', I guess is not that surprising. This example, rising at the northern extremity of Y Carneddau is - at c1,427ft - not the highest 'baldy' this baldy could climb... however, when located amongst a wonderland of prehistoric delights it would be rude not to check out the summit following ejection from Y Meini Hirion by the unsolicited attentions of noisy numbskulls. What's more, the summit possesses the grassy remains of a Bronze Age cairn. Not to mention peace and quiet. Ah, that's better.

OK, as upland Welsh cairns go (as they tend to do unfortunately rather literally, or so it seems) it is not overly substantial, although to be fair the grassy mantle does camouflage form somewhat. According to Coflein:

"The cairn at Moelfre is an oval mound, 26' x 2' and 1' high with its longer axis E-W. In the centre of the cairn is a slight hollow. 2003.11.26/OAN/PJS"

Nevertheless it does the job, not least by inspiring local legend. It would seem that some time in the not too distant past Moelfre was crowned by a triumvirate (the number perhaps symbolic?) of red, white and blue stones traditionally representing three girls petrified - hey, exterminated - by a vengeful Christian god for the unspeakably heinous crime of winnowing corn on the Sabbath. Roland Friesler would've no doubt approved, in lieu of the guillotine. Sadly I could find no trace of the stones today, although several of the 'un-painted' variety lie around.... as you might expect upon a cairn, come to think of it. However isn't it great to muse upon the possibily that the girls' - presumably (hopefully!) apocryphal - sacrifice helped keep the tinder of resistance to religious repression dry. Not to mention every other sort.

The great prehistoric 'axe factory' of Graig Lwyd obscures the sea view to the north somewhat - there are worse things to behold - the bulk of Moelfre itself that to the east. However the vista of Y Carneddau to the south and, in particular south-west, is pretty special. Ditto that looking westward along the coast. Less dramatic, but poignant nonetheless is the crash site of a Consolidated B-24 J Liberator “Bachelors’ Baby” which came to a violent end below the mountain in 1942. I did not visit, but understand there is a memorial to the five brave crewmen tragically lost that day. And their dog.

Altogether the summit of Moelfre would be a great place to hang out for, oh, ages... if there wasn't a great cairn sitting there in the bwlch below to the north. Such is life. As it is, a relatively short time must suffice.
23rd January 2014ce
Edited 26th January 2014ce

Comments (1)

I imagine it was quite chilly up there?!

The story is here
I should move it over / get it moved over.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
24th January 2014ce
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