The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Carn Blorenge

Round Cairn


Although not only lower, but far less shapely than the Sugar Loaf (Mynydd Pen-y-fal), its elegant neighbour across the valley, the sprawling South Walian mountain known as Blorenge nevertheless possesses something of great value that its illustrious rival does not - a stonking great Bronze Age burial cairn at its summit!

Despite being sited at an altitude not that far short of 2000ft, it's also pretty easy to visit, the B4246 from Govilon crossing the western shoulder of the peak before descending towards Blaenavon, one of the cradles of Welsh industry, or so I'm told. A short diversion towards prominent radio aerials brings the traveller to The 'Foxhunter' carpark, so named since the eponymous racehorse is apparently buried nearby.

But is a burial site of a different type that the Mam Cymru and I have come to see today - that of what must surely have been a Bronze Age chieftain or other 'Big Man'. The conditions are appalling, the wind so powerful it takes all of my strength just to open the car door, the rain coming in correspondingly violent bursts. Nevertheless the path (to the approx NE) is clear and easy, if more resembling a flowing stream today. So, after helping a bloke with no shoes bump-start his van (kicked out by his wife, perhaps?) we follow said path-cum-stream to the summit.

Reaching the summit we are blown away.... not only by the massive monument and superb views, but also in a quite literal sense. Duh, it's windy! The cairn is a full 15m by 2m high according to Coflein, although it would appear its crafty builders utilised the shape of the mountain's summit to cut down on the volume of stones required to achieve the desired effect. There's also the remnants of a possible cist within, which is always good to see. Bonus! Having said that, a head first close-up view, courtesy of the wind, is probably best avoided, come to think of it.

As previously mentioned, Sugar Loaf sits across the valley, acting as appropriately 'rainbow-ed' foreground for the sweeping be-cairned summits and ridges of The Black Mountains, the little hillfort of Crug Hywell clearly visible above Crickhowell. Several Neolithic tombs grace the landscape, out of sight but not out of mind, as they say, not to mention Norman castles, reminders of a more war-like age. Hell, I like Wales.........
7th December 2009ce
Edited 7th December 2009ce

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