|This is an absolutely staggering place. It's not just the fact that the rain's abated and we're in the first glorious sunshine of our tour, there is something a lot more, a solid, strident magnificence to this place and its view.
Our theory that the burial chambers with names on the OS map (Gwal-y-Filiast, Pentre Ifan, etc) are generally in better nick than the ones merely marked 'Burial Chamber' is once again confirmed here.
Our other theory of the Pen Caer cromlechs being Calanais-style orientated on rock outcrops is rammed home hard – this cromlech is literally sticking out of the outcrop!
Looking up the hill from the south there's a weird flat slab of capstone jutting out. Get up here and it's resting on a single upright, 12ft long bluestone at a 45 degree angle, facing out at a rugged horizon around Garn Fawr. There was some encroachemnt from ivy and bracken., which we removed.
It's an 'earth-fast' cromlech, one side of the capstone resting on the ground. It can clearly never have had a covering mound as it's so hard against the outcrop. Children & Nash (1997) say these cromlechs came later than the others.
In The Modern Antiquarian, Cope refutes the idea given by some (such as Chris Barber) that those others were never covered, and suggests a later cult of uncovering the mounded tombs. Could the earth-fast builders, with their belief in cromlechs of stone open to the sky, be that later cult?
Climb the extra few feet to the top of the outcrop for the most amazing panorama. To the west the outcrops of Garn Fawr, Garn Fechan, Garn Gilfach and Garn Folch form a serrated skyline; scoop clockwise past the Pen Caer lighthouse; Carreg Wastad Point where the French invaded in 1797; the sea coming in to the village of Llanwnda (whose churchyard apparently has an ancient holy well); round to look east with the foreground showing the outcrop by the Penrhiw cromlech, the background being the view from those cromlechs of Bae Abergwaun/ Fishguard Bay and the mountains of Mynydd Dinas and Mynydd Preseli. Turn further to see Carn Gelli outcrop, which presides over the Ffynnon Druidion burial chamber, then the sacred mounds along Penmaen Dewi/ St David's Head and two islands in the open sea.
It's an utterly amazing view, a total must-visit of a place irrespective of the great megalithic value. The sun is out now, the sea a rich grey-blue and I wouldn't be anywhere else.
A few people have had problems finding it, so here's directions: Just before you descend into Llanwnda you see the outcrop above you on the left. Then there's a turning marked Garn Gron and Garn Fach on the left, and a wooden public footpath sign. Take this and keep going till you run out of road at the last house, Garn Fach. The footpath runs in front of you to the left of the house. Look up to your left and there's an obvious flat slab just below the summit. This is it!
Take the footpath 30 metres or so, then there's one that goes straight up to the cromlech. If you're coming by car, go beyond the Garn Gron turning to the village, park by the church and walk back up.
Incidentally, the footpath loops right round the outcrop, and in a field off the south side is Parc Hen standing stone.
visited 20 Aug 04
Posted by Merrick
7th September 2004ce
Edited 10th September 2004ce