|A New Beginning
Having just moved to sunny Wrexham, I was intrigued to discover what megalithic delights might be available. Accordingly, I looked at the TMA Techno Map browser – and was astonished to discover that Wrexham county had no megalithic sites listed. Surely there must be something there, I thought. A quick trip to Waterstones armed me with the requisite 1:25,000 OS map, and I was immensely relieved to discover that there were several tumuli in the immediate area, and, joy of joys, a standing stone on our nearby mountain. Naturally, the hankering to discover it began to grow.
Good Friday dawned blue-skied and sunny, and the arresting Kate suggested we go for a megalith immediately whilst the weather was good. We drove into the utterly gorgeous Vale of Llangollen, and parked up high on the cliff face near the edge of Trevor Rocks. At 250 metres above sea level, on a narrow road, it felt very much that we were experiencing a buzzard's eye view of the stunning panorama. Immediately below lay Llangollen, with the River Dee coursing through its centre, and during the morning we were able to hear and see the Llangollen steam railway in action – the hoots of the steam whistle echoed round the mountains, and every so often pale plumes of steam rose up from between the gentle hills in the valley, as the train pishticoofed along the tracks.
Slogging up onto the footpath above Trevor Rocks, we were surprised to see four pairs of buzzards circling together in the skies above. They hunted along the Rocks, and headed off over Eglwyseg Mountain, their kewwing calls carrying easily in the clear, silent air.
A long tramp led us up onto the moorland of Eglwyseg Mountain, where a host of skylarks flitted around and sang beautifully; and the arresting Kate decided they sounded like a dial-up connection for the internet – does this mean they will become known as the modem bird? 'The Modem Ascending'. Maybe not.
Smooth And Curvy, With Wonderful Views
After much consultation of the map, and with the aid of two other walkers we met along the way, we finally managed to locate the approximate position of the Eglwyseg Standing Stone. Leaving Kate with the dogs, I hopped over into the field and after walking 100 yards, came across what had to be the standing stone hiding 25 feet behind a huge chunk of North Walian limestone.
As I expected, this was a megarak's stone, and not a Rudstone Monolith. A short lump of greyish limestone pointed up from the ground at a jaunty angle, probably no more that 2.5-3ft high. It was very stumpy and solid, but the thing that really made it stand out was its smoothness and roundness. It was smoothest, roundest piece of rock for miles around; everything else was stepped and fissured limestone. It did appear that a few pieces had either split off, or been broken away from it over time, and so it might have stood considerably taller originally. It had the characteristic hollow in the ground on one side where the sheep used it as a leaning/scratching post; and as ever, the views it commanded were stupendous.
To the east was the rather nondescript broad, flat expanse of brown-heathered Ruabon Mountain; but to the west, the view was dominated by the brooding, sugar-loafy magnificence of Maesyrychen and Llantysilio Mountains, which shape the course of the Dee and the vale of Llangollen. Truly inspiring, and significantly, a chain of four tumuli were strung out all along the top of the crags of Eglwyseg Mountain, 150 metres above Offa's Dyke path.
We didn't find the tumuli on this trip, due to tired legs, tired doggies, a craving for beer and grey skies that weren't intending to lift. Still, it's jolly good to know there is a standing stone in my immediate backyard – on the neighbourhood mountain – and of course, there are all the other delights of the North Welsh megalithic array! Bendigedig!
This is a short lump of greyish limestone that points up from the ground at a jaunty angle, probably no more that 2.5-3ft high. Stumpy and solid, it is the smoothest, roundest piece of rock for miles around; everything else is stepped and fissured limestone. It does appear that a few pieces have split or broken away over time, and so it might have stood considerably taller originally. It has the characteristic hollow in the ground on one side where the sheep use it as a leaning/scratching post; and as ever, the views it commands are stupendous.
Posted by treaclechops
9th April 2004ce
Edited 27th April 2004ce
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