Easter Friday afternoon is mine to do with as I so wish. However it has to be conceded, with some justification, that a trip to the 'industrial highlands' of South Wales might well not be high upon most people's lists. Nevertheless my trip to nearby Carn-yr-Hyrddod back in February has made a visit here essential. Simple as that.
The inhabitants of Abergwynfi are most probably a friendly sort, given the chance. However I decide not to risk parking beside a group of youths 'mending' a motorbike in the road and instead leave the car a little way to the east near a cattle grid, incidentally opposite a gate warning visitors to keep out in no uncertain terms. That's nice..... anyway, the map shows a public footpath giving access to Mynydd y Gelli running beside the eastern extremity of the village. There's no sign, however, and the going is very, very steep indeed. Nonetheless I crest the escarpment without problems and set a bearing for Llyndwr Fawr to the approx south. Not sure why, to be honest, since the weather's fine. Habit, I guess, but never a bad one to develop upon the hills. Upon crossing the (dry) Cwm Ffos Griffiths, Bwlchgarw is not long coming, the landscape worthy of serious aesthetic consideration, in my opinion. In fact I feel suitably chastised for my patronising surprise. Here the map depicts not only a dyke (boundary or defensive?), but also a 'Tumulus'. Later, perhaps?
For now I veer south-westwards (right, in other words) and once again ascend very, very steeply up the escarpment edge towards the OS trig pillar at the summit of the mountain. Here, heavy haze limits distant panoramas - where not restricted by the treeline - until several passing showers duly cleanse the atmosphere and reveal the summit plateau to be a superb viewpoint. Particularly coastwards to The Gower and approx northwards towards the mountains of the National Park, occassional wisps of smoke highlighting moorland fires sparked by the unusually dry weather of late. And moronic muppets throwing cigarettes from car windows.... it's therefore a little disappointing at first that the NE/SW linear alignment of seven (count 'em) grassed-over cairns are not more prominent in the landscape. In fact only that bearing the OS trig pillar is immediately recognisable as such. The others are denuded to varying degrees.... nonetheless, taken as a whole, what we have here crowning this mountain top is pretty special indeed. Why, there is even a possible eighth monument a little to the immediate south-west.
So why here, then? Perhaps this was just the nearest/most prominent hilltop to the settlement site of these people? Or then again, perhaps the rising of the Nant Garw in several springs just below and to the approx east of Bwlchgarw might have been the deciding factor? To my mind the frequency of the cairn/river source association is fast becoming too high to be dismissed as mere coincidence. A point worthy of debate, perhaps? For now, however, a further trio of cairns await discovery a little south of the summit upon Mynydd Caerau..