Blimey. This is a turn up for the books, or what? I awake to a dry morning near Blaen y Cwm, the point where the Afon Ystwyth begins its turbulent descent to Cwm Ystwyth to the west. A favourite location, it must be said. The shapely ridge of Esgair Elan, forming the southern flank of the pass, momentarily entices, but I must resist those elegant curves! Instead I decide upon a quick climb upon Craig y Lluest to the north for a monumental view into the valley, promptly being lifted bodily by the severe gale force winds as I leave the lee of the hill... Hmm. Upon the return I suddenly notice what appear to be several massive cairns near the forestry upon Cistfaen, to the north of Glan Fedwen. Haven't noticed those before.. I check the map. Oh well, Cistfaen it is, then.
I clamber up the south western flank of the aforementioned Glan Fedwen, quite a substantial hill as it happens, with superb retrospective views, and suddenly come to a dead stop, gobsmacked. For here, unmarked on any map I've seen of the area, stands one hell of a large kerbed cairn, its stones glistening in the sunshine. Well I never did. It's true, I never did. How can something like this have escaped everyone's attention - not least mine for all these years - particularly being only a little out of sight above the road? I mentally search for reasons.... field clearance? Pull the other one! Walker's cairn? Ha! Give me a break. No, this is the real deal all right. No question of that [see Coflein post for confirmation].
And what a landscape position, too, looking towards the 'jaws' between which flows the Afon Ystwyth. Classic. What's more, there are several smaller cairns in the near vicinity. I do believe here we have ourselves an unmarked prehistoic cairnfield. Right on!
To the north I can see - or more correctly, THINK I can see - the burial cairns upon the hill of Cistfaen, this time actually depicted upon my 1:50k map. I shall continue and visit these, too, as planned. But what a way to start.
An unmarked site - on both the 1:50K and 1:25K OS maps - and therefore a very pleasant surprise indeed for the traveller on the way to Cistfaen's summit cairns....
According to Coflein:
'Remains of a cairn cemetery on the south-west facing flanks of Glan Fedwen. Comprises of at least four cairns, one of which is a massive and very well-preserved kerb cairn, measuring 18.5m in diameter and up to 1.3m in height. The remaining cairns are small satellites of the kerb cairn and range in size from 3m to 5m in diameter and stand up to 0.3m in height.
Source: Cadw scheduling description. F.Foster/RCAHMW 17.08.2006'.