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

Coetan Arthur

Chambered Tomb


Another site I've been meaning to get to for, oh, ages... but continually baulked at the long drive. Let's face it, it's quite a pilgrimage for most of us. But then I guess that's the whole point... wouldn't be a kosher pilgrimage if the journey was easy, would it?. So no more excuses man! It won't get any easier with time, that's for sure.

Entering St David's upon the A487 is a somewhat odd experience. So this is a city, then? Hang on, Brecon's also got a cathedral... yet remains a town? Good for Brecon, I say. I don't get to see St David's famous building, instead veering up the B4583 to park beside the thundering breakers of Whitesands Bay. Judging by the size of the car park, this is a popular spot in season. And rightly so, numerous 'Johnny Utah' surfer dudes ridin' the crests in lieu of the bucket 'n spade brigade... when they are not 'wiping out', that is. Awesome! Anyway, The Pembrokeshire Coast Path heads north from here, hugging the coastline - as you would probably expect of a coastal path - and consequently providing some excellent views down into rocky coves. Hey, this is worth the parking fee in itself. Except, out of season, there is no parking fee. Nice.

Coetan Arthur - certainly got around a bit, that Arthur, didn't he? - is visible from a long way off, the chamber sited (arguably) somewhat unusually between crags upon St David's Head itself. Incidentally, the map cites a 'fort' to the west. Upon arrival, I'm surprised at the size of the monument... for some reason I expected it to be diminutive. Perhaps because of the 'sub-megalithic' construction of the chamber, that is with one end of the capstone resting upon the ground, the other supported on an orthostat. However any aspersions of insubstantiality are strictly illusory, the chamber able to accommodate me with ease. This is just as well, since a vicious rain front suddenly sweeps in across Carn Llidi to give the landscape a pasting. But not me this time. Cheers Arthur. As I sit - or perhaps more accurately 'slump' - the sight of Carn Llidi looming beyond intrigues. Was there an association here?

The squall passes, the sun vanquishes the cloud and illuminates St David's Head. I check out the capstone, a fine slab of stone with a pronounced 'spine' or ridge which... hang on... appears to point straight towards the site of the tombs upon the aforementioned Carn Llidi. Now, being somewhat the realist - I hesitate to say 'cynical', but perhaps - I'm wary of making the evidence fit a desired outcome. But, hell, it does appear to be a possibility [see image post]. Perhaps. Whatever, I find it difficult to leave this spot. The coastal views are sublime, Ramsey Island probably taking the plaudits in this respect, the chamber seemingly, well, just made for this very corner of Wales. Which, come to think of it, it was! I am glad I came.

Then, all too soon, time has expired. Can I make Carn Llidi before dark? We'll see.
14th March 2011ce
Edited 14th March 2011ce

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