A trip up here after visiting Maen Llia and Fan Nedd (4.4.2010), following in Gladman's footsteps. We arrived during another brief hailstorm, and the few yards from the trig point over to the edge of the steep escarpment to view the summit cairn were particularly windy and unwelcoming. But that aside, what a spot. Terrific views open on all sides, east to Fan Nedd and the central beacons, west to Y Mynydd Du, to the north the land drops away down to Cray Reservoir, while to the SW on a better day Swansea Bay is visible.
The cairn itself is a low mound, with the usual walker's construct built on top of it. It sits right on the edge of the summit plateau, rather than at the highest point and is out of sight until you are practically on top of it. This makes for another one of those situations where it has a great view itself, but is not easily viewed.
Set high upon the 2,379ft South Walian summit plateau of Fan Gyhirych sits the remains of a large diameter round cairn.
As with other examples in the area, it is not conspicuous due to relative lack of height. Nevertheless it remains, a fact we should be grateful for in this day and age, to continue to provide a precious, if tenuous link with the people who once lived and worshipped here millennia ago....... and what a location, too.
The Fforest Fawr - literally 'big forest', as representing the medieval term for wild hunting country which didn't necessarily include trees - has been one of my favourite walking areas for many years, being just one side of a C90 tape's length drive - usually featuring a certain Mr Cope, it has to be said - from the Mam Cymru's house. Ah, audio tapes... remember them? Ha! Still got 'em. But I digress... Needless to say I've only recently - through our friends at Coflein - identified the cairn for what it really is. Yeah, not exactly quick off the mark, but you live and learn. And it's a discovery which is very welcome indeed.
Coflein:- "A partly grassed-over round cairn located on the north end of a flat summit measures 11m (N-S) by 9m and 0.9m high. Composed of small stones there is no sign of a kerb or cist. A heap of stones 4m across and 0.4m high has been dumped on top of the cairn."
Fan Gyhirych is perhaps best approached starting near the fabulous monolith Maen Llia - why not combine visits if you decide to come? From here you have the option of climbing Fan Nedd (and visiting another Coflein-certified cairn) or taking a good path across the mountain's northern shoulder. Fan Gyhirych is the decapitated summit on the skyline straight ahead to the west.
Alternatively a well maintained track can be cycled from the minor road west of Penwaindwr (on the minor road which leaves the A4067 above Cray Reservoir). It's not as bad as it sounds, honest! Either way make sure you're prepared, that's all.