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Bwlch y Rhediad, Moelwyns


<b>Bwlch y Rhediad, Moelwyns</b>Posted by GLADMANImage © Robert Gladstone
Nearest Town:Blaenau Ffestiniog (7km SE)
OS Ref (GB):   SH66515237 / Sheet: 115
Latitude:53° 3' 5.45" N
Longitude:   3° 59' 30.43" W

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Photographs:<b>Bwlch y Rhediad, Moelwyns</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Bwlch y Rhediad, Moelwyns</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Bwlch y Rhediad, Moelwyns</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Bwlch y Rhediad, Moelwyns</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Bwlch y Rhediad, Moelwyns</b>Posted by GLADMAN Artistic / Interpretive:<b>Bwlch y Rhediad, Moelwyns</b>Posted by GLADMAN


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This one's for aficionados everywhere of those Bronze Age sites with not an awful lot tangible remaining, yet nonetheless worth the (not inconsiderable) effort reaching, if only to enjoy some sublime incidental views en-route, to attempt to understand the landscape context that I believe is at least as important as the archaeology itself.

Anyway, a convenient lay-by upon a prominent corner of the A498 overlooking the farm of Hafod Rhisgl - some way south of the official tourist viewpoint/car park - provides a good starting point for a rather steep, wooded ascent upon a (signposted) public footpath, tantalising vistas up and down the valley materialising through autumnal foliage exploding in a last intemperate display of colour before winter's icy grip takes hold, a seemingly infinite smorgasbord of red, yellow, brown... orange. Eventually the angle eases and, beyond a substantial, gated, dry stone wall, the nature of the landscape abruptly changes to that of the brutal uplands, almost monochroic in comparison. The cairn is not easily spotted, laying some way before a stile accessing the main north-south path traversing these hills from Moel Siabod to Y Cnicht. Incidentally, after checking out the monument, I head south toward the wondrous rock walls of Moel Meirch and Llyn Edno, the relatively untrodden heartland of the Moelwyns...

Upon arrival it is clear that, sadly, the cairn is badly denuded, the track through the bwlch bisecting the monument with an imperious 'Romanic' contempt that would beggar belief.... if it wasn't all too common place. Nevertheless a substantial stone still remains in situ upon the southern arc, the 'side on' positioning strongly suggestive of the surviving flank of a former cist, and thus Bronze Age origin. Coflein agrees, citing 'Caernarvonshire Parish Files' from 1953. Furthermore, the cairn is sited so as to cunningly - or pedantically, perhaps - just negate one of the aforementioned glorious views, this sweeping down to Llyn Gwynant, lying resplendent within Nant Gwynant to the approx south-west. Visitors to more than a few Welsh upland cairns may well agree that such precise placement is not an unusual occurrence, possibly indicative of the type?

As it is... the outlook from the cairn is dominated by the overwhelming profile of the Snowdon Massif rising to the approx west across the valley, the mountainside rising past Clogwyn Pwll Budr toward Y Cribiau (and hence the 'mother hill' Moel Siabod) to the north and Cerrig Cochion to the south. Needless to say Yr Wyddfa and its acolytes take centre stage. Which was perhaps the whole point? Travellers undertaking the crossing from Gwynant to Lledr via this natural breech in the mountains perhaps pausing here to do/say whatever was required to placate, with the intermediatory assistance of those interned within the stone pile, the upland gods. Well, it's a thought...
2nd December 2014ce
Edited 4th December 2014ce