The first time I came here I got in some right bother with the farmer, we parked in the wrong place, didnt use the footpath, climbed over a gate and to cap it all I'm just another crap townie from England, this time I vowed would be different, it was too.
Firstly I didn't take any wrong turns, I pinpointed the exact place I parked last time then reversed back till we saw the green rusty gate that leads onto the footpath. I parked as contientously as possible well off the road. The footpath is almost hidden from the farm, three minutes from car to stones.
The dolmen looks completely different now the wall has been peeled away, you can actually tell what type it is, it's a portal dolmen, and in extremely good nick too. To be honest it's been so long since my first visit I couldnt really remember what it looked like as all my photos of back then are none digital, but I was hoping that more of the walling was gone, and was a bit dissapointed to see it still joined at the behind.
But the longer I stayed the more I appreciated the place, like the big stone still trapped in the wall, like the small stone with a big smooth bowl like cupmark on it, and the fact that the capstone is resting not just on the chambers uprights but also on the stones of the wall, if they were removed it might slip straight off, the capstone is as precariously angled as Trethevy quoit in Cornwall though not as big. The three front stones are identical to those at Cist Cerrig a couple of weeks ago, and Howth near Dublin a couple of months ago, but thats a portal dolmen for you.
We made it back to the car unhindered and chalked up a win for the stupid townie, How would you like it if I turned up on your property and wandered about at will, why I'd be gald of the company of course, but theres nowt much of interest in my pokey little back yard.
Visited on Friday 27th October. I was surprised when I looked at the photos on the website because they didn't look like the one I'd taken! I quickly realised that a lot of the stones and wall in which the Cromlech was embedded have now been removed. It now looks more impressive.
Visited 7th December 2003: This was the last site of the day, and it certainly had the biggest impact on us. Driving up towards the chamber we over-shot the obvious parking spot and ended up plonking the car down near the farm with the huge concrete silage silos (not recommended). The sun was setting, and I was panicking a bit, thinking it might be dark by the time we reached the chamber. After walking in circles for a bit we remembered the GPS, and got back on track.
The chamber is really enchanting (and I don't use words like that very often). Tucked behind a ruined farmstead, and embedded in a tall dry stone wall, the chamber hides itself. At first it's unassuming, but then the size of the thing hits you. Camouflaged by the wall, and in the fading light, this process took a few seconds. The sky was rose red and orange by the time we arrived, just missing the chance to photograph the sun set. Behind us the moon rose, and it got decidedly chilly. Magical though.
On the way back to the car I realised we should have parked further to the south, where there's a footpath sign next to the road (green metal arrows pointing in two directions, but with the little image of the walking man peeled off). The entrance to the field where Gwern Einion and the farmstead stand is marked by a small rusty iron pedestrian gate. Once you get through this just head for the farmstead (on the horizon with the skeleton roof) and you'll find the tomb behind it. GPS totally unnecessary, so long as you don't get into a flap like I did.
There aren't any details about this stone on its Coflein record. Maybe this unpleasant / unlikely story is about it. (Maybe it's about the Gwern Einion stone but that, at 1m, would hardly seem to be towering anywhere.) Or maybe you know the stone it refers to. You'd hope it'd be safe if it was in a wall.
In the parish of Llanfair, on a small farm called Gwern Einion, is [a] cromlech, of larger proportions than those already mentioned [...]
Not far from this spot is a remarkably fine maenhir, built in the middle of a high wall; over which it towers, and presents a conspicuous mark against the setting sun. This stone, local authorities say, was originally dedicated to the sun; and when it was judged expedient to burn a human victim in honour of that luminary, the unfortunate sufferer was secured by iron chains to the stone. The lower part of the stone is now embedded in the wall, so it is not easy to make out the traces of the fire; which otherwise would, no doubt, be discovered, and believed by the peasants of the district. There is little doubt that many other monuments of the same character have once existed in this district, as here and there fragments of them may be found in the stone walls which divide the enclosures.
From 'Cromlechs in North Wales' by E L Barnwell, in Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 15 (1869).
Coflein's visit in 2008 found the stone about 220m east of the burial chamber. They're prepared to call it a Possible as it's quite unusual compared to other stones round about. It's just over a metre high and tapers from 1m at the base to 60cm at the top.