I opted for the "with son " option for this becairned not too high mountain, not too high, but I brought the bikes just to sweeten the deal.
I parked up at the Pondorosa cafe near the Horseshoe pass, from there the well made concrete path up to the top is only fifty feet down the road, without much of a do we started our bike ride/push up to the top. After several stops we got near the top from here we could see Cairn topped Moel y Gamelin and in the opposite direction Dinas Bran capably watches over the Vale of Llangolen.
Just one rediculously steep part of the path to go (Eric noted that he was not going to ride down that) and we were at the top, next to the television mast and Cryn y Brain II, the best of the bunch of cairns up here. Sheltering whimsies have rearranged the cairn material, but it does nothing to hide the cairns true size. Eric pointed out all the quartz stones used in the cairn, well spotted mate. Grand views to Moel y Gamelin and off to distant Snowdonia and futher north the Clwyd range , I think I could see the Jubilee tower on Moel Famau.
From Cryn y Brain II we follow the path which is no longer concrete, (as it's used for folk coming up to the masts) to Sir Watkins tower and the trig point cairns. Passing a low heather covered cairn on our left. I don't know who this Sir Watkins was but how dare he park his crappy tower on a bronze age cairn, just how dare he, then to compound the insult the ordnance survey stick a trig point on the other cairn right next to it.
How dare they all.
It's snowing now, snowing in May, how rude, perhaps its nature showing me it's still in control, another century and the trig point will be rubble and part of the cairn, Watkins tower is already a pile of rubble, so all things considered the transient nature of the place consoles me, nothing stays the same.
On the way back, near Cryn y Brain II, I spotted another likely looking heather covered cairn, but the snow was coming down thicker now and we were not dressed for that so we started the exciting ride down. It would have been exciting but for Eric's fall the other week in the Preseli's. It made him far to careful and he was far too reticent to just let go and trust in gravity, but it still got us down in a fraction of the time walking would have done.
Five separate cairns (one of which is largely destroyed) are listed on Coflein here:
SIR WATKIN'S TOWER, CAIRN I
One of a pair of cairns (see also Nprn 307031), now obliterated/obscured by the ruins of Sir Watkin's Tower.
SIR WATKIN'S TOWER, CAIRN II
One of a pair of cairns (see also Nprn 96523), 11m in diameter, ruinous and crowned by an OS triangulation pillar.
CRYN-Y-BRAIN, CAIRN I
A ruined cairn, 12m in diameter and 0.8m high.
CRYN-Y-BRAIN, CAIRN II (D)
A round cairn, 20m in diameter and 1.2m high, topped by a recent cairn.
OAN field survey, located by GPS to an accuracy of +/- 1m. A large cairn stands directly to the west of the television mast compound on top of the mountain. And is marked on the current OS mapping. The cairn survives as an 8m diameter stone built cairn standing up to 1.2m high. It is constructed of medium-large sub-angular stones and has a much damaged central depression and this probable cist is about 1.2m in diameter,. There are also significant amounts of quartz faced stones within the general build of the cairn. 2002/10/17/OAN/NW
WIRELESS STATION, CAIRN II
OAN field survey, located by GPS to an accuracy of +/- 1m. Stone built cairn located to the west of the first cairn (NMR 269152) near the television mast compound on the top of the hill.. This cairn is placed further along the plateau next to the valley scarp descending to the west and survives in a poorer state. It is approximately 7m in diameter and up to 1m high. The cairn is more earthfast than the other cairn and is covered in heather. It is built of small-medium sized tightly packed sub-rounded and sub-angular stones with a central depression. 2002/10/17/OAN/PJS