|Sister peak to Pen-y-Fan - and only a little lower at 2,863ft - Corn Du was also graced by the presence of cairn builders in prehistory. A visit here will leave the tired traveller in no doubt as to why....
These peaks have always provoked a mixture of fascination and awe in human beings, alternately beguiling and life threatening, sometimes within a very short time frame indeed. Not for nothing are the Brecon Beacons the main training selection ground of the SAS.
Unfortunately there's not much to 'see' of the cairn these days, what there is being a modern reconstruction designed to protect the internal construction of the monument from erosion by the many visitors who climb the mountain. However, judging by the photos taken during the excavation of 1978 [see link], the originial cairn covered a pretty complex cist. Oh, to have seen it exposed! Nice.
Nevertheless in many respects the summit - the landscape itself - IS the monument, the views exceptional on a clear day. A natural temple..... why, even the col leading to Pen-y-Fan is known as 'Arthur's Chair'. And I'm guessing this wasn't a reference to Arthur from 'On the Buses'...A visit to Corn Du should naturally include a visit to its nearby neighbour, itself blessed by an excavated cairn.
Corn Du is most 'easily' (relatively speaking) approached via the A470 at Storey Arms. However the more adventurous traveller, in search of a more intimate approach, may wish to try an ascent from the north (via magical Cwm Llwch), or the south (starting near the Neuadd Reservoirs, an islet within the larger of which boasts a couple of probable prehistoric cairns).
Finally, note that if it's hard enough for the SAS, it's certainly hard enough for mortals such as you or I. So pity the trainer-clad muppets, equip yourself properly, take care and accord the mountain due respect.... for this is truly the realm of the ancestors.
Note: the cairn itself is actually at SO00752133 upon the summit plateau.
Posted by GLADMAN
17th June 2009ce
Edited 25th April 2010ce