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

Foel y Geifr



I awake to one of those typical North Walian mornings, cloud obscuring Moel Siabod as I poke my head outside - or rather stumble from - the battered old tent. What's the weather gonna do? Dunno. But something I can't explain is pulling me towards Cadair Idris.... only to find the mountain also deep under cloud upon approaching Dolgellau. So, improvised Plan B it is, then.... an obscure chambered cairn said to sit above the Afon y Dolau Gwynion near Llyn Efyrnwy (Lake Vyrnwy).... Except as I proceed up Cwm Hirnant, beyond Rhos-y-gwaliau, the sheer beauty of the landscape gets the better of me and I've gotta walk. Here. Right now. Plan C, then, in the form of an ascent of Foel y Geifr, an unassuming 2,053ft moorland peak - if 'peak' is actually the right word - rising to the immediate west of the summit of Hirnant Pass. Hooray. A decision at last.

To be honest it's not much of a plan since the ascent is short... and not so much sweet as an annoying slog through deep heather and bog. Nevertheless the summit, crowned by an attractive OS trig pillar adorned with equally attractive lichen, is quickly attained. However it's what lies beneath the trig pillar which is of greater interest, a relatively significant stoney mound - albeit grassed over - with several small blocks of quartzite apparently placed upon it with purpose. And it seems our friends at Coflein have already thought of what I was thinking, so to speak. Here we have another Bronze Age funerary cairn, no less.

I go for an excellent walk northwards to overlook Cwm Hirnant itself from Foel Goch. Sadly no more prehistoric cairns to report near to hand, although take your pick from the horizon for many other distant locations (Garnedd Wen, Arenigs, Foel-Cwm-Sian-Lwyd, Arans, Berwyns etc). Needless to say, a violent front moves down the valley giving me a bit of a pasting, but the atmosphere, upon returning to Foel y Geifr, is all one could wish for. Yeah, this high moorland sandwiched between Y Berwyn and The Arans won't be to everyone's taste, I guess. Paths are at an absolute premium, the going underfoot difficult, to say the least. 'Intimate' may well be an appropriate adjective... nevertheless the vibe is sufficient to delay my return to the car until the onset of dark. The Afon y Dolau Gwynion cairn will have to wait for another day now. I'm sure it can cope with the disappointment....
28th November 2010ce
Edited 28th November 2010ce

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