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

Bryn Cader Faner



I thought I'd seen them all, all of the sites with that unmistakable 'wow' factor; Brodgar, Callanish, Machrie Moor, Pobhuill Finn, Swinside, we all know them, but then I came here and was blown away all over again, and not by the wind since I had the enviable good fortune to arrive on the warmest and sunniest day of the year so far. Those old weather Gods were smiling on me again; the forecast four days beforehand was so unpropitious (the symbol with a dark cloud and two drops of rain for the whole day) that I foresaw myself having to give it a miss but gradually it improved until I knew that I was going to be blessed with fine weather to make what I anticipated was going to be a bit of a hike. Previous fieldnotes seem to presume a knowledge of the site or an easy competence in map/landscape reading, skills with which I'm totally unfamiliar so although it's pretty obvious from the OS map where it is and how to get there I was still anxious about finding it without more precise guidance. How windy and narrow is the road? Is it easy to park at the end? Is there room to turn round? These are the sorts of questions I want answers to before I set off. Ok, so here's my take; you follow the B4573 through the centre of Harlech until just before it veers left to rejoin the A496; there's a right turn which should be signposted 'Eisingrug' but isn't. Follow that until you reach said hamlet where there's a sign pointing left to Maes-y-neuadd. Take that turning and then almost immediately turn right on to a very narrow single-track road marked as a dead-end. This winds slowly upwards with no real passing-places but eventually arrives at a grassy space just before an open gate with room to park half a dozen or so cars. It would be tempting to take the track just ahead of you but that simply leads to the farm; the correct one is to the right (ie behind you if you've parked on the right) and that eventually goes round in a rough semi-circle until you arrive at a gate with a footpath sign. Although the map shows a path going to the left as the one that leads to the circle, on the ground it's not that apparent with the terrain very churned-up so I followed what I assumed must be the path only to find myself arriving at the little lake Llyn Eiddew-bach. Possibly others have made the same mistake as I was able to make out a reasonably-trodden path that then veered to the left across the bogs and brought me on to the correct path leading directly to the circle. You see it from a fair way away so it's a genuinely thrilling approach. When I got there I was puzzled; in my 'Circles Of Stone' book from 1999 Burl describes it as having been vandalised by 'licentious soldiery' in WW2 with only 15 stones standing on one arc but I counted 26 or so making a virtually complete circle. Has it been restored in the intervening period? Maybe I'm just misunderstanding his description but, whatever, it's stupendously well-sited and unique.
The walk's about half an hour each way; as others have observed, it's tremendously squelchy but so well worth the effort. I went on to see Harlech Circle, Argoth and Diffryn Ardudwy, all wonderful in their own ways but it was the buzz of visiting this memorable monument that stayed with me all day.
ironstone Posted by ironstone
11th March 2017ce

Comments (1)

Good notes - despite finding these places for the best part of 30 years now my map reading skills haven't really developed beyond 'barely adequate' .... so you aren't alone. GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
12th March 2017ce
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