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Conwy crusade: Tal-Y-Fantastic

It was when treaclechops received a text message querying if the air ambulance had been dispatched yet to rescue me from a mountaintop that I realised there might be 'a bit of a walk' involved.

We drove as far as we could up the track out of Penmaenmawr climbing higher and higher up the mountainside and parked.

Treaclechops pointed up, beyond two mountains. "See those stones, right up there...?" Oh shit. There was nothing for it but to get my head down and start walking. God, I hate walking. What a boring waste of time. I hardly noticed the stunning mountain views, the stunning sea views, the stunning pastoral scenery. I was too busy looking at my feet on the path to avoid falling over. I hardly noticed the Red farm stones and the tiny circle 275 in my quest to finally f**king well get there. Collapsing down out of the cold breeze I finally had the chance to admire this magnificent monument and its beautiful

Y Meini Hirion — Fieldnotes

The Druid's circle is gorgeous and perfectly proportioned - not too big to overwhelm, not to small to underwhelm - and the stones are the 'right' height for its diameter. Many big tall ones still stand, including an anthropomorph of a be-robed monk. Nearby are a stone 'something' (perhaps a trashed stone circle, who can tell?) and a collapsed cairn ring of tiny stones. This is the remaining 'A-list' monument forming part of a vast sacred landscape behind Penmanmawr of which there is much to see round the back of the mountains at Tal-Y-Fan.

The ghastly hike would have been worthwhile if we'd had more time to spend up there. I didn't even a chance to paint. If you can walk and look at the same time I'm sure the hike might be quiet enjoyable.

Y Meini Hirion — Images

<b>Y Meini Hirion</b>Posted by Jane
After grumbling my way back down the mountain and reaching for the flask of tea I declared: 'I'm not doing any more walking today.' Fortunately I hardly had to for the monuments at Tal-Y-Fan require no more than an acceptable ramble and there is much to see and admire here! Knowing my passion for burial chambers above all else, treaclechops decided it was time to overcome my grumbling with a monument guaranteed to make me beam with joy. Maen-y-Bardd.

Maen-y-Bardd — Fieldnotes

Maen-y-Bardd is also known as the Poet's stone but should be called The Dinkiest Dolmen in the World Ever. I have not superlatives enough for this place.

Like a rat up a drainpipe, I crawled in and sat down, lit a Camel and grinned like a mad woman for 20 minutes as Moth and treaclechops tore round and photographed it from every angle.

Trust me, if this doesn't make you smile, nothing will. It is perfection!

Maen-y-Bardd — Images

<b>Maen-y-Bardd</b>Posted by Jane<b>Maen-y-Bardd</b>Posted by Jane<b>Maen-y-Bardd</b>Posted by Jane
Then, treaclechops told us that there was another burial chamber just 100 ms away! But we had to find it first amongst all the erratics on the hillside. Ironman's useful and very accurate directions had been left in the car. Megalithic noses and shoe-leather was required instead.

Rhiw Burial Chamber — Fieldnotes

Not as picturesque as it's neighbour Maen-y-Bardd Rhiw Burial Chamber, also known as the Greyhounds' Kennel, is dug into the hillside rather than standing above it. With big flat capstone and large flanking uprights lining the chamber, this has plenty of remnants of its larger shape lying about the place, some kerbstones and a distinct mound of barrow. Lots to unravel and think about. I loved it!

Rhiw Burial Chamber — Images

<b>Rhiw Burial Chamber</b>Posted by Jane
On our way back to the car we spotted the Ffon-y-Cawr menhir standing like a penis, poking above the field wall, and the great bulk of Cae Coch menhir up on the hillside to our right. By now the evening gloom had set in and we had just one more site, very close by to squeeze in to our day. Cerrig Pryffaid.

Cerrig Pryfaid — Fieldnotes

Under the crackle of a very nearby pylon, this tiny, fragile circle has somehow survived in this sacred Tal-Y-Fantastic landscape. The fourteen small stones are all very loose and wobbly, and close investigation revealed that many of them were not set into the earth at all, but placed into rubble sockets. One of the taller stones had fallen over. So treaclechops and I carefully stood it upright again into its rubble socket. No doubt the next time a sheep farts within five metres of it, it'll be over again.

Cerrig Pryfaid — Images

<b>Cerrig Pryfaid</b>Posted by Jane
And what of the people who built these monuments? We'd meet some of their contemporaries the following day in 'The Mysterious Bog People' exhibition in Manchester the next day...
Jane Posted by Jane
28th March 2005ce
Edited 28th March 2005ce

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