The approach from Coetan Arthur was a lot more tiring and time consuming than I thought... thick gorse and soggy mud the culprits. However the concrete access path just seemed too, well... perhaps some will understand.
The tombs stand near the concrete bases of what I take to be World War II gun emplacements - historic monuments of immense significance, let it be remembered. However the summit of Carn Llidi, rising to the appox east, calls the stronger, as I guess such places always have to me. It is perhaps significant that the chambers are sited in a subservient location below and not at the summit itself. Then again this could have simply been a matter of practicality, I guess, since there's not much room on top. What there is, however, is the most exquisite 360 degree view! Ramsey Island sits off the coast to the south-west, beyond the white breakers of Whitesands Bay, like some enormous beached whale. Hey, or sea monster! Yeah, this is a place for superlatives, the overblown... for legend... for burying your dead, in fact. Funny you should say that? Well, other people had the same idea, did they not?
Although only rising to 181m (whatever that is in proper height) the proximity of the sea ensures the head swims, the mind reels at the enormity of being here in the approaching dusk. Suddenly I realise I must make my way down - like, er, now - to avoid being be-nighted upon this rocky crag. But what of the tombs? I will have to return some day for a proper look, I guess.
Oh what joy. (sorry just wanted to balance Dominics fieldnotes)
I came from Coetan Arthur and it was a wide and easy to follow path so theres no reason to see one without the other. On the way I saw what could have been a three stone row, probably not though. But hey why not ?
The only good thing about the gun platforms and the road to it is it makes the chambers impossible to miss.
Poor Dominic must have been on a real downer when he was here, the place was a real buzz for me, the mist had cleared somewhat revealing the fantastic views, the idea that these were childrens tombs looking over to their fathers sounds rediculous to me. More probable is the older tomb of Coetan Arthur took its focus as Carn Llidi so subsequent generations went one better and got as close to the rock as they could whilst keepking their focus on the illustrious ancestor.
Follow the track back down to the road and your just a couple hundred yards from the carpark, a brilliant and beautiful coastal ring walk.
Sadness. Perhaps my earlier visit to Coetan Arthur has played upon my mind, but these two tiny chamber tombs speak to me of children. Situated at ‘Highwinds’ on the map, these tiny forgotten graves lie just behind the rotting foundations of what were once anti aircraft and sea defence guns in the second world war. I for one cannot imagine daring to ‘step outside for a smoke’ on a winter’s night in such a place, for even on a summers day history and its ghosts surround you here in swathes.
One tomb retains its capstone, four foot square perhaps, and cosily resting on four decent sized slabs, with one slightly sunk. The one behind, no more than five feet away, has the capstone pushed off. At first glance it almost looked like a Holy Well, similar to those found in Cornwall, but closer inspection revealed this too was a small tomb. It tucks into a low bank and almost seems part of the hill, projecting out onto the headland. From the tombs you can see Coetan Arthur. Perhaps they could see their father? A weird and unsettling place, with sadness and loneliness soaked into the stones. I offered a blessing to those gone before, and wished them at peace.
Access is along a well marked coastal path, but it does swing perilously close to some very severe cliffs, so children need to be watched at all times. To visit the tombs you have to leave the path and traverse some quite steep hillside for approximately half a mile. The path is clear at all times, but take a good OS map to lessen any confusion.
Visited 13th April 2003: By the time we reached the Carn Llidi Tomb(s) the weather was really poor. The rain let up for a bit, and I rattled off some photos. By now William knew the drill, so he just hid behind the concrete bunker to shelter from the wind and rain.
The tombs are slightly overgrown and have a neglected feel to them. I don't suppose many people visit them, as they're not on the direct path to St David's Head. The views were pretty good despite the weather, so this is another site I want to go back to when it's sunny.
These two tombs are a bit of a climb from the main footpath from the direction of Coetan Arthur. We later realised there's a very good alternative path leading up to the tombs from the farm to the south (it's marked on the Landranger as a track). If you wanted to go straight to the Carn Llidi Tombs from the Whitesands car park (the only place you can park around here) then approaching from this direction would be quickest way in.
On our way back to the car we got chatting to the farmer, and he was extremely affable. If I lived in such a touristy area, I reckon I'd be a bit more crabby than that (come to think of it, I already am).
Dramatic views from these cromlechs crouched beneath the large rock face. In the Nash book he says that this was probably the burial chambers of the Neolithic people of Clegyr Boia. Be that as it may, one thing does strike, is the cavelike or rock shelter that must surely have hearkened back to ancestral memories of their forefathers who fished and found shellfish on the shores round here. The bones of the dead would have brought up here, not perhaps as a final resting place, it would also have been a place of ceremonial visiting, a chance to communicate with whatever spirits they chose..
Daniels gave rise to the term "earthfast" to explain the imbedded nature of the back of the capstone of some of these cromlechs, but if they are imitations of caves, it would have been natural for the capstone to form a cavelike shelter...