|The Journey Begins – 27th June
A week in Ireland, prefixed with a day in Wales, so I'll split this weblog into a few parts...
4am. Approximately 23 hours before our ferry sails from Fishguard. Are we mad? Probably, yes.
Anyway, an early start from London meant that we missed the Friday morning rush hour traffic. So much so that we found ourselves just outside Cardiff by 6:45 unable to get breakfast because the motorway services hadn’t yet opened. At all. The attendant arrived to open up the building as we were sitting perplexed in the car park. Obviously we weren’t about to get a decent meal here, so we carried on for a couple of junctions and the next service station, where we managed to down a hearty meal of cholesterol.
What is it about Wales that it hates the English so much? What had started as a glorious day with the sun rising behind us, turned to torrential rain as we crossed the Severn Bridge. The rain wasn’t to stop until we reached Carmarthen. Anyway, checking our progress on the map, I noticed that we were very near to St. Lythans
so we took a quick detour off the motorway. We initially missed the turn off for St Lythans and ended up driving around Cardiff for a short while, but with the help of the GPS soon got back on track. St Lythans is a wonderful site, and provided good shelter from the rain, which had eased off briefly. As Tinkinswood was just up the road, that was our next stop.
I was seriously impressed with the size of this thing. The area for the barrow is massive, much wider than I’d expect it needed to be. I spent a while here in the rain before returning to the car.
Llangynog burial chamber was next on my list of off-route possibles, but I couldn’t locate it. There’s an information board at the edge of the village that mentions it, but no way to get to where the map suggests it might be; behind a row of houses. There was no path anywhere to be seen, and I asked a local postman but he wasn’t aware of it.
We continued on, and a little way past Carmarthen, just north of Whitland I’d spotted a couple of sites close together on the OS map which merited further investigation: St Canna’s Chair (SN177187) and Henllan inscribed stone (SN177198). We found the St Canna’s Church, but the only sight of a stone was a low, small stone in an adjoining field. Could this be it? As for Henllan, high hedgerows and nowhere to stop meant we could investigate no further. There was an upside though. We spotted a sign to Pemberton’s Chocolate Farm, which sounded intruiging (chocolate trees?), and stopped off to fill up with essential supplies. We would have stayed for the demonstration, but a coachload of schoolkids arrived, so we beat a hasty retreat. Looks interesting for a future visit however, and well worth dropping in if you’re in the area and feel a deep need for some hand made chocolates!
As we approached Fishguard around lunchtime, we took a detour up to Ffynnion Druidion and saw both the ’JCB’ spotted by Kammer and the real Ffynion Druidion stone. Continuing slightly further north an parking near SM 921371, I also spotted a possible ‘JCB2’ – quite a smooth stone, which may just have been a scratching post. I didn’t enter the field to look closer.
We then moved on to our hotel for the night, the plan being to get to sleep as early as possible as we had to be up by 1:30 to catch the ferry. We lunched in our room, Mikki having prepared a picnic in anticipation of better weather. The hotel was the pits. Expensive for 2 stars, given that we would only be using the room for a few hours at most, so we felt no guilt in taking our own food in rather than use the restaurant.
Suitably refreshed, we popped out for a couple of hours stonechasing in the afternoon.
Sites visited briefly included Ty Meini behind the ‘school railings’, Parc Cerrig Hirion, although only seen from afar. At least I think that was what I saw. There’s a bridle path up past public loos next to a school, The path turns to the left at a signpost. 50 yds down this path, I spotted the stone through the hedge to the south. Except that the bridle path isn’t shown on the Landranger map…
Cerrig y Gof – having scaled the gate to get to the stones, they looked different from every angle! A truly incredible site. I’d parked about 100yds east and walked back to the stones.
Carreg Coetan Arthur – so pretty in the sunlight! I drove the car up to the gate so Mikki could see. Her excited comment was “Imagine living with that next door!”
I then finished off a long, busy day of driving and stones at Pentre Ifan. A fitting end, and I even had some time there alone, which I understand is uncommon as its usually so busy.
The hotel was truly dire. In bed by 6pm, and felt I slept fitfully with all the noise of the hotel bar, restaurant and take-away chippie(!) going on, but Mikki said I was dead to the world for the duration. Fully awake at 1am for the next day’s adventure.
I should have read the previous fieldnotes! I scrabbled around trying to see anything, until I stumbled upon the bridle path. I managed to spot the stone through the hedgerow, and grabbed this shot.
Went there. Loved it.
Mikki wants the house next door, just so we can say "look what we live next to!"
The views from here are wonderful.
The capstone sits, looking like some futuristic airship briefly docked on the uprights. My imagination was playing overtime just standing staring at it...
Posted by ocifant
6th July 2003ce
Edited 6th July 2003ce
ocifant's TMA Blog
1-10 of 35 Posts |