The drive into Wales was mostly sunny and I was thinking it would be a very nice day indeed, plus the chance to walk off the sciatic pain in my leg was a bonus. I parked down the road from where I parked last time when I was here for Glan Hafon cairn a few weeks ago, that trip inspired this one. I set off up hill in good spirits and very little pain.
The river had much more water in it than last time and on the way here sandbags were piled up outside houses and shops, flood warnings very much in effect. I carried on.
I finally reached the old shepherds hut at the bottom of the waterfalls immediately north of the bulk of Craig Rhiwarth, from here on in the up would be much steeper and much harder going, take that Sciatica. I followed the small but very pretty waterfalls up hill then broke out across rougher ground. It is times like these that I feel my age and wonder how long I can last on this lush rock we call Earth.
Eventually I reach the long front wall that stuck out so much last time I was up here. It is a long straight wall running west to east cutting off the higher ground on Craig Rhiwarth from the rest of the southern Berwyn mountains. About half way along the wall is a fairly well preserved entrance that opens onto a steep bit of hill but the track through the entry curves round to the left avoiding the steepness. A hundred feet west from the main entrance is a smaller less well preserved entrance, for foot traffic perhaps.
From the wall I staggered manfully up to the summit cairn just as the drizzle set in, but as I reached the top the drizzle turned into hail and the wind which was as ferocious as I've ever seen it whipped the hail hard against me, trying to stop the hundred mile an hour hail from hitting me in the face became an all consuming game.
The cairn is mostly flush with the ground, except for a modern walkers cairn on top of it. It isn't Wales' most interesting cairn, but just a few yards down hill are the best preserved round house hut circles, Coflein says there's a hundred and seventy but I couldn't see any more than a dozen. But then the wind and the hail were seriously curtailing my searching efforts. I took as many photos as I could, over a hundred in all, but over half were wet and blurry, it was not a good day for hill walking let alone photography.
I sought some out of the wind place to sit and ponder for a bit, I found some near a rectangular Hafod, a farmers summer hilly hideout. I took stock of myself and my stuff, it was wet, me coat aint waterproof anymore nor are my trousers. I tried to take another picture of where I was but the camera said replace the battery, crap, I thought, already dead? that was quick. So I started to make my squelchy way off the mountain. The 532 meter high hill, or is it a mountain, isn't a uniform flat topped hill its full of nooks and crannies pinnacles and troughs. In better weather I imagine someone in less pain than me would stay up here for longer.
After leaving the summit cairn area on the west of the hill top I didn't see any more hut circles, why are they all clustered around that area, even the obviously better sheltered areas were free of hut circles or are they buried. There was none on the east side of the hill either.
The way down I took was slightly different from on the way up, steeper harder and more dangerous, but quicker, I really needed to get off this mountain, so I carried on.
Then as I got to the bottom of the hill the wind dropped, the rain and hail subsided and the sun shone down upon me, I looked up to the sky and opined my lot in Wales, really ?
If anyone ever says the weather has no mind and isn't watching me continuously, well, they're just wrong.
Back in the car the camera had changed it's mind and now told me the battery was fully charged. Eh ?
And the day after, the sciatica that has so plagued me all week had now got worse and started on the other leg as well, now that really hurts.
Some folklore about a cave under Craig Rhiwarth, recorded in 'Celtic Folklore - Welsh and Manx, by Rhys (1901). Cwm Glanhafan is on the mountain's eastern side.
Take for instance a cave in the part of Rhiwarth rock nearest to Cwm Llanhafan, in the neighbourhood of Llangynog in Montgomeryshire. Into that, according to Cyndelw in the Brython for [date missing on STA], p. 57, some men penetrated as far as the pound of candles lasted, with which they had provided themselves; but it appears to be tenanted by a hag who is always busily washing clothes in a brass pan.
According to Cofleing, this hill-top enclosure has several entrances in its tumbled stone walls, "running through precipitous crags", and inside are about 170 circular structures which one imagines were round houses (and some rectangular ones which were last used as a hafod (summer shelter) in the 19th century).
Obviously people were using the hilltop before the Iron Age fort was built: this is a small Bronze age cairn on the westernmost cliff edge, on the slope outside the hillfort. According to Coflein it's only 2m across and 0.4m high, and is made of small angular stones overlying a quarried out 'scoop'.