This mountaine is so high and farre mounted into the ayre, that when the countrey about is faire and cleere, the toppe thereof will be hidden in a cloude, which of the inhabitants is taken a sure signe of rain to follow shortly; whereof grewe this proverbe, "When Percelly weareth a hat, all Penbrokeshire shall weete of that."
Astonishing weather forecasting from 'A History of Pembrokeshire' by George Owen, 1603.
(Partly reprinted in the 'Cambrian Register' for the year 1796. p120 - this is where I read it at Google Books.)
Stumbled across the first excavation of this site by accident last year (2011), when out blackberry picking. A team from Sheffield university led by Mike Parker Pierce (if you've watched any Stonehenge documentary, Mike PP will be the "Stonehenge expert") were excavating around the rocky outcrop and had began to uncover a large stone.
They have been looking for the sources for some of the non spotted dollerite "blue stones" from Stonehenge (only about half of the so called blue stones are spotted dollerite, the rest are a mixture of stones). Geologists had taken rock samples from the outcrop and one of the samples had come back as a positive match for one of these other stones. They'd therefore come to excavate around the outcrop to see if they could find any evidence of neolithic quarrying. They found flint tools and some "hammer stones" and then as they dug away from the rock face they uncovered a large stone (approx. 14 foot by 4 foot by 30 inches), which appeared to have been abandoned, possibly because a crack had appeared on its top face.
They returned this september (2012) and continued their dig, hoping to find evidence of which way the stones would have been moved (up stream towards the Preselis or down towards the sea) and to pin point the original location of the Stonehenge stone. They didn't find any sign of which way the stone was moved but they did locate the exact location from where the Stonehenge stone came from. They have also found more tools and quite a bit of charcoal around where the Stonhenge stone came from. They are now speculating that the stones may have gone to Castell Mawr before being taken on to stonehenge, they will be back next september to continue their research, focusing on Castell mawr which they believe had two stone circles within the henge and to explore possible sources of the other stones
Beware ! I will be talking enthusiastically about this place, what we are sometimes privy to is more than just a visit to some stones by someone, sometimes it's a window onto a love affair, for it sometimes feels more like i'm documenting a love story between myself and these ancient wild high places, if I sometimes sound like a giddy child it's because I feel like one, it's just the best feeling in the world.
We parked in the obvious place south east of the small mountain, and rediculously I let Eric talk me into taking the bikes up with us, it wasn't that hard going, it's not too steep. On the way up he would look back down the path and tell me how cool it will be to ride back down, pointing out dips and jumps he would go over, we're not mad, we had no intention to ride down from the top that would be suicide, however his second mountain lesson would be coming soon.
As we neared the top I could see what looked to be the first line of defences for the hill fort, crawling north around the side of the hill and curling west to keep those pesky invaders out.
We pass it by and reach the level ground at the top, lean our bikes against the rocks at the south east, and turn to look at the three ginormous cairns, if a mountain is lucky, no if i'm lucky a mountain will have a cairn on it, if i'm verrry verrry lucky it will have two decent cairns on it, but to get three cairns of such distinction you have to come to the magical playground of the stonehenge builders, the Preseli mountains.
I read with disappointment that Carl wasn't impressed with the hill fort, saying little to be seen, ?? the defences can be followed all around the north of the hill and even the entrance is deep and obvious on the south side where there are no defences because of the precipitous rocks , Iv'e seen worse, much worse and whats worse is iv'e driven miles to see them, here though it is an absolute delight, a cherry on the top, for the main gatteau is the three huge cairns perched on top, keeping watch over the whole of the eastern mountain range.
The cairns have been recently restored by army preparation students, whoever they are? but they have done a grand job. We could tell by the colouration of the stones where had been restored. But they either left a bit out or someones been at it already as there is a a small scoop in the western end of the western cairn, it's a comfy place to sit out of the wind and watch the clouds scudding over distant Carnmenyn. Carnmenyn, from here it hides from view the Carnmenyn burial chamber and the stone river, had I been alone I would go over there and introduce myself to the genius loci there. But not this time, they will have to wait till our next rendezvous. From up on top, on top of the trig point, we can see it all , west past Carnmenyn to Foal Feddau and Craig y cwm, Preseli's highest point. North is the coast, I can see Dinas head, and closer to somewhere before me is Beddyraffanc, east is Frenni Fawr and cairns and south is Carn Ferched and further off is the megalithic complex at Glandy cross.
But the best thing is just sitting up on the central cairn watching the clouds shadows moving across the ground below, the occupants of these cairns must have been important indeed.
But the worse thing is on our way back down, on the bikes, Eric went from lower than me, but no sooner had we got fifty yards he went tumbling head first over the handle bars, and I was unable to do a thing but watch it all happen, thankfully he wasn't hurt too much, mostly his pride, and with it comes a valueable mountain lesson, even if your thinking I can do that, it always pays to be conservative, no not them...ptui.