The ground climbs immediately, a mass of broken down walls and scrubby grass. A steep slope, liberally scattered with moss-covered blocks of scree, bars the approach to the fort from this side. This is a very organic feeling place. The whole site is surrounded by a ring of scree, which encircles the top of the hill on its southern side, but lies at the foot of the slopes on the steeper northern side. How much is natural and how much is the product of human endeavour is unclear, the distinction perhaps so blurred as to be unimportant.
We head on up to the top of the fort. Within the well defined rubble bank is a small grassy plateau, perfectly defensible but less attractive as a habitation. What it does boast, however, is a superb mountain panorama. The northern face of the Cadair Idris range is presented at is most intimidating to the south. To the west the darkly jagged ridge of another hillfort, Pared-y-Cefn-hir draws the eye. North the ground drops abruptly, giving way to the wilderness of outcrops and bogs that would be our next destination.
We wander about the interior, watching as the first signs of mist and rain appear on the summit of Cadair, the breath of the Brenin Llwyd coming down to keep his mysteries, well, mysterious. At the south-east corner there is an apparent entrance, now choked with rubble leaving the encircling ring unbroken. We head out through here, down towards the small stream that runs below the northern slopes of the fort’s outcrop. From this aspect the fort is at its most impressive, a near-vertical jumble of shattered stone jutting upwards from the little valley.
We parked in the Cader Idris pay and display, two quid for four hours, reasonable.
From the car park head north west up the track, the hill fort occupies the hill right in front of you. Keep going till you reach a farm with a public right of way through it, the farmer can't say a word, but his dogs will have plenty to say, like woof, bark and many growls with longing looks at the ankles and the irrisistable urge to herd us all over their faces. We stood our ground, spoke with a commanding voice and made it through unmolested.
Once past the farm you'll have to detour off the path and head east straight up the hill, i'm not sure if we were trespassing or not but a couple of fences had to be stepped over. Then we're at the foot of the fort, all around the northern part are what look like collapsed walls, tumbled down from on top or not we can't tell, alas we'd forgotten to bring a professional so our amateurish musings will have to suffice. Scrambling through the rubble/scree we approach the highest part of the fort and set our faces to stunned, my but that is a great view.
The fort sits aloft on its giant outcrop, with stunning vistas to the peak of Cader Idris, to the mini mountains of Pared y Cefn Hir, and down towards Barmouth and the sea.
The tumbled wall stretches from west through south to east, the northern aspect is taken care of by a sheer breakneck drop. At the south east is what looks like the entrance with the walls unfortunately falling into the entrance.
This isn't the best hill fort in North Wales, but it is probably in the best location in North Wales. And for some reason I like a fort with stone walls instead of just banks and ditches, stones being preferable to earth, strange but true.
We take in the fort from a distance from multiple angles and decide we are done here and move on to "The cairns on a woodland saddle", I like it.