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

Dyffryn Mymbyr



Driving westwards through Dyffryn Mymbyr the gaze of the traveller will inexorably focus upon Yr Wyddfa and its companions .... the Snowdon Massif, no less. Some things are just meant to be, I guess, particularly when looking across the Llynnau Mymbyr. In fact - if I didn't know better - I'd swear the Glyderau and Moel Siabod, forming the northern and southern flanks of the valley respectively, intentionally present their least inspiring sides so as to not detract from the majesty of the vista. Hence two short, yet substantial sections of dry stone walling, set within rough pasture a little west of the entrance driveway to Cwm-clorad-isaf farm, will barely register.... under normal circumstances. And what about an apparent Bronze Age cairn circle? Ha! But of course there is no such thing as 'normal circumstances' when you happen to enjoy seeking out ancient monuments in landscapes such as this.

Following an earlier severe 'working over' by Mother Nature at nearby Cefn Glas, conditions have, if anything, deteriorated even further, the temptation to thus stay in the warm and dry of the car fleeting, but nevertheless real. Access to the site isn't the easiest today, what with barbed wire fences and expensive waterproofs being mutually exclusive and all that. I settle for a rickety gate fastened with the ubiquitous 'farmer's string' beside a large roadside stone enclosure. As Postie mentions, the cairn lays before the far section of dry stone wall and overlooks a bend in the Nant Gwryd - perhaps significantly so. Sheep look at me with that trademark combination of fear and incomprehension whilst sheltering in the lee of the drystone walls. Well, what else did you think they were for? The bulk of Moel Siabod towers above to the south-east, unseen, morphing with the descending cloud... ditto the Gylderau across the valley. And as for Snowdon.... forget it! So, I'm not here for the views, then. What about the cairn? Why haven't I been here before? Why are these places so bleedin' marvellous? Why all these questions? Yeah, just enjoy the moment.

The cairn-circle is still in pretty good nick, it has to be said, incorporating a fine, open cist with two long side panels, one covered with moss.... and several kerb stones. Very organic. Not to mention a little confusing, too, since additional arcs of apparent kerbing would suggest Coflein are on the right track by citing an earlier platform cairn beneath the monument. Unfortunately the surrounding reeds make it difficult to be precise. So I sit and contemplate things we possibly don't have the capacity to contemplate - I speak for myself, of course - as conditions deteriorate even further... but, hey, how good is this? I stay until darkness compels me to leave. Paradoxically I feel unnerved by the severity of the weather only when safely back in the car. Hmm. Then again if a pitch black Llanberis Pass doesn't have the capacity to overawe, what does?
27th November 2010ce
Edited 27th November 2010ce

Comments (3)

Pity about the weather, but glad you found it despite Wales doing what it does best. I'll race you to the other nearby cist.
postman Posted by postman
28th November 2010ce
If I was a betting man - which I'm not - I would take you up on that.......

The trouble is there are so many 'cairns' marked on the map that it would take me several lifetimes to check them all out the way I do, what with a week's holiday up here a year. Relying on you to find the best ones, then.
28th November 2010ce
I dont usually react well to reliance, but I'll do what I can, despite just the one life time that I suspect is more than half way through, snow looks good on the mountains but really hampers travel and cairn detecting.
Still on the must see list is the Carneddau.
postman Posted by postman
29th November 2010ce
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