A cairn with a difference.
I came across this site whist drifting through Coflein, it can be very addictive, those little blue spots could be anything, you never know what you might come across next. This is what they say about Glan Hafon cairn......Stone built circular kerbed cairn with large, probably natural, boulder in the center.......not overly descriptive is it, but tantalising all the same, even better though are the three photos Coflein thoughtfully supplied, ooh that's different I thought, you don't get many of those to the pound. Just two weeks later and i'm there laying hands on to that very cairn. Splendid.
It's probably quicker and maybe easier to come at it from the north, off the small road that leads to Pistyll Rhaeadr, Wales longest waterfall. But I opted to come at it from the south, passing by on the eastern side the massive bulk of Craig Rhiwarth, it has a fort on top, and if time allowed I'd have a closer look at that too .(I didn't)
There are, the map says, several footpaths leading up the way I want to go, but I could only find one and so after leaving the car in a wide farm entrance with plenty of room for tractors and whatnot I started my upward stroll in lovely last of Autumn Welsh countryside.
After the initial heavy up hill walk the ground levels out and you follow the Nant Sebon up into the steep sided Cwm Glan-Hafon.
After hopping over a stile next to an old farm building the path branches, taking the right fork then leaping the thin Nant Sebon the path then more or less goes straight up the hill following the even thinner Nant Ddial. After much huffing and puffing I'm at the top, there are several boulders scattered across the wide ridge between Glan Hafon and Y Clogydd. I turned left towards Y Clogydd, the cairn I was looking for wasn't there but I did come across what ive now found to be Garned Wen clearance cairns and a funerary cairn. Duly photographed I move back to where the proper more interesting cairn must be.
Without much messing about I locate it fairly quickly, with that big boulder in the middle you'd have to be willfully negligent not to.
This site set me tingling, it is a real blinder.
The cairn is maybe ten meters across and almost a meter high, though really it mostly resembles a small ring cairn, because it dips down in the middle to accommodate the central boulder. I noticed that Coflein says it's probably natural, but then there is the chance, all be it a small one, that the boulder was placed there intentionally. The cairn is mostly smack bang in the middle of the saddle between the two nearby hills, on the edge of the steep hill, looking across the valley to Craig Rhiwarth, which has a more than passing resemblance to the boulder itself. So if the boulder was there first and the cairn thrown up around it, then the boulder was very fortuitously placed.
Then one wonders where the burial was placed, is it in the cairn or under the boulder ? a small recess leads under the capstone, if that is what it is, heck for all we know the bottom of the boulder could be covered in cup marks. I could locate only one or three definite kerb stones. The boulder has a large broken off lump at it's western end.
Also seen from here is Bedd Crynddyn, a large tumulus that I had decided to leave to someone else, until I found another reason to come up here, so that is my next destination.
The view is just gorgeous, blue skies and fluffy white clouds and lots more hills, but mostly it is all about Craig Rhiwarth, from here it presents its eastern end, massive, rocky and daunting, there is no way up that way. Behind the hill fort the Tanat Valley lies in shadows today, far along it east towards Oswestry is the Viper stone, a tall and very good looking standing stone that guards the locals from a marauding dragon.
A very good site, with a view to die for.
Posted by postman
11th December 2013ce
Edited 11th December 2013ce