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Carn Nant-y-Llys (Cairn(s))

Cwm Ystwyth is pretty quiet these days... even during the height of a Ceredigion summer, with punters enjoying a brief respite from the all too necessary COVID-19 restrictions. Traffic making use of the single track road traversing the valley is 'sporadic', at worst, the scene primed for the shrill cry of a bird of prey - the magnificent red kite, perhaps? - to emphasise the silence by glorious exception. However, by all accounts, it was not always thus. Yeah, if a landscape can be said to be evoked by the universal language of music - and, to my mind, the gruff old 'punk' maestro made a pretty good case for this with the premiere of his 'Pastorale in F major' in 1808 - Cwm Ystwyth would surely require nothing less than a symphony to interpret its complex diversity. For me, the best place for a prospective composer to seek initial inspiration is upon the summit of Craig y Lluest at SN84997587, at the cwm's eastern extremity, a small Bronze Age cairn cemetery assisting no end with the all-important vibe. Here, the cwm stretches away to the west, arguably as sublime a representation of scenic splendour as Mid Wales has to offer.

https://www.themodernantiquarian.com/site/19436/craig_y_lluest_cwmdeuddwr.html

The Afon Ystwyth - sourced from a series of contributory watercourses, including the Afon Diliw - begins its journey westward with alacrity... our composer considering an allegro con brio, perhaps?... the pace abating to, say, moderato as the cwm widens and dissipates some of the initial constrictive foreboding of the chasm formed by Esgair Elan and the aforementioned Craig y Lluest. Beyond this, however, the sight of the shattered flanks of Bryn Copa invokes apocalyptic notions of a bonkers Wagnerian prelude... or, at the very least, portentous Yamaha CS-80 synth chords (I'd go with the former unless Vangelis happens to be a mate). Not that it helps the ecology, granted - what's gone is gone and it ain't never coming back - but this industrial devastation has form. A lot of form, in fact, with silver, lead and zinc having been mined here stretching way back to Roman times, the apparent average life expectancy of miners (32) indicative of the savage disregard for human life by your progressive entrepreneur back in the day. True, time is a great healer, but nevertheless, the heart is sometimes torn asunder at the injustice of it all, isn't it? There is more, however: evidence of copper mining by Bronze Age locals upon Bryn Copa itself and, perhaps best of all, the discovery of the fantastic golden Banc Ty'nddôl sun-disc in 2002 (cue those Vox Humana Polymoog strings, methinks).

https://www.themodernantiquarian.com/site/5072/copa_hill.html

It, therefore, comes as blessed relief to travel through the eponymous hamlet to enter the lushly wooded - including beech, so I understand - Hafod Uchtryd, ragged senses soothed by... an allegretto? Here, the B4574 to Devil's Bridge nowadays bypasses a curious, somewhat ragged arch erected in 1810 to celebrate George III's Golden Jubilee. Since the Hanoverian is now generally considered not to have been 'mad' - but rather a victim of bi-polar syndrome - it could be said, bearing in mind the extremes of the landscape itself, that the siting, a couple of years after the chaotic birth of Beethoven's masterpiece, is actually rather apt. 'What, what?' Anyway, the arch stands in a 'picnic spot which is, coincidentally, the starting point of several forestry walks... one of which happens to lead to the sentinel peak of the locale: Pen-y-Garn. Needless to say, contrary as ever, I decide, having made my way here from a wild camp upon the wondrous Pumlumon, to forgo the obvious in order to reprise a visit to the same made way back in 1999.

About a mile(ish) south-east of 'The Arch', just before the B4574 loops back towards Pont-rhyd-y-groes, a mountain road heads steeply to the left, arcing to the east, above Cwmystwyth village, to a prominent 'plantation' of trees on the right (south). Here there is plenty of space to park the car before, plastered with 'Factor 60' to combat the unfeasibly 'seasonal' Mid Walian weather, I continue on foot to where, at approx SN793754, a heavily overgrown 'sunken track' heads north beside a copse. Passing a ruined dwelling, ducking and diving under the impeding branches of trees as I do so, the green track continues through lush pasture to, eventually, meet converging tracks sweeping in from the right and left. The route, 'stony' underfoot, now begins the ascent proper, fording the cascades of the nascent Nant Perfedd, prior to cutting through a further copse and zig-zagging up Banc Myheryn. Increasingly expansive retrospective views alleviate some of the - it has to be said - relative monotony of the climb, the track making its serpentine way (one assumes those bloody Romans never ventured up here, then?) in a generally north-easterly direction to, in due course and not before time, arrive at the 2,005ft summit of the mountain.

That Pen-y-Garn (incidentally, you might also find it referred to as 'Bryn Garw' upon some older maps - assuming there are any pre-dating mine still extant in this digital age) is, despite being one of only three peaks exceeding 2,000ft within Cwmdeuddwr, in my estimation not exactly one of Wales' premier mountains... one can assume to be a 'given'. Nevertheless, there is a very good reason why I would recommend a visit to the dedicated Citizen Cairn'd, not to mention the incurably curious: it possess another small piece of the Bronze Age jigsaw of this land in the form of the shattered, but considerable remains of a funerary cairn. Not to mention a fine upland vibe... with sweeping views to the south across Cwm Ystwyth to the wilderness of 'The Green Desert', the watery heart of Mid Wales; west to Aberystwyth and the coast; east across brutal upland moor studded with small lakes, water sparkling in the sunshine... and, last but certainly not least, northward, the great crags of Craig Dolwen, towering above the deep, afforested defile Cwm Rhuddnant, leading the eye to Pumlumon. Herself. Hang on, that's more than one good reason, isn't it? Suggest you do the maths to save further confusion. As for the technical detail, Coflein notes the following:

"A ruinous Bronze Age round cairn, 15m in diameter & 0.4m high, is set on the summit of Pen y Garn. Only the base of the cairn has survived, the rest of it used to create a shelter which now occupies most of its interior. Towards its north edge, between shelter and cairn edge, is set a triangulation pilar." [D. Leighton & T. Driver, RCAHMW, 17 June 2013]

Hmm. If I may be permitted to raise a point of order, I would dispute the assertion that the shelter occupies 'most' of the cairn's interior, such is the extensive circumference of the circular footprint (making the arguable assumption that subsequent slippage across millennia has not inflated dimensions somewhat). That being said, the vertical profile of the monument is certainly minimal, at best, the considerable size of the parasitical shelter clearly indicative of heinous redistribution of material. The alternative name quoted for the monument - Carn Nant-y-Llys - suggests an association with a former 'law court' somewhere in the locale (unless my Welsh is even worse than my maths), although where the remains may be sited I couldn't say at this point. One assumes - indeed, would hope - that, what with such evidence of wanton destruction to a scheduled ancient monument extant, it is not current? Perish the thought.

Silence - for the most part, anyway - reigns supreme upon Pen-y-Garn. A decent composer might be thinking 'andante'... or not. However, obviously, this was not always the case with, as noted earlier, mining taking place on and around Bryn Copa for more-or-less the monument's full tenure as stony sentinel of Cwm Ystwyth. To tell you the truth, it is a difficult concept to take in, such is the unfettered tranquillity. Yeah, only the eolian tones of the wind acting upon the radio antenna 'stuck' within the OS trig pillar (a notice states the benefit to the local community in these COVID-19 impacted times of said 'aerial' aerial) - combined with the rather more inhomogeneous 'notes' caused by my good self simply being in Nature's way - are audible prior to the sudden arrival of two very poorly attired 'student-types from the direction of 'The Arch'. What they make of me, sun-bathing in full kit upon the footprint, is not evident since they immediately disappear within the 'muppet shelter' like, well... muppets, to hastily consume whatever it is such people eat before buggering off to once again leave me in utter peace. I mean, who would've foreseen it being cold upon a mountain top when it's hot down below? I ask you?

As it happens the great cairn - or at least what's left of it - is not the only iconic construction for the visitor to contemplate up here since, some way to the north, stands an extensive wind farm stretching across Rhestr Cerrig and Cefn Groes, like something out of that dystopian sci-fi novel Windy Miller so wanted to write after being evicted from Camberwick Green in '66. The sheer scale of these structures is emphasised when I spy a figure arrive at the base of one unfortunately skewed out of alignment with the others. Hey, is that a retro-styled hat and cider flagon in hand.. no, surely not? Funny thing is I've actually grown rather used to these wind turbines now... as long as I'm not directly beneath them... or they are located upon 'classic peaks', why not? Perhaps it should be up to the locals to have the final say in such circumstances, methinks?

With the continuance of such excellent weather into the early evening, I'm even more loathe to depart than usual, but there you are... in the final reckoning there really is no choice. Back at the car, following a leisurely descent, I elect to camp up for the night below Craig y Lluest. It is a wondrous spot, the Afon Ystwyth fading from sight through the entrance 'jaws' of the cwm, Highland 'coos' adding the occasional distinctive 'vocal embellishment' to the proceedings, harsh bovine utterances rising above the persistent 'gurgle' of the fast-flowing water. Once again, it is hard to reconcile what used to occur a little to the west: all the trials, tribulations, triumphs, failures.... danger, exploitation and death. Nevertheless, it is a story well worth recounting for its intrinsic human interest. All the time overseen by that pile of stones upon Pen-y-Garn...
GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
28th February 2021ce

Hafen stone pair (Stone Row / Alignment)

There is an extended section within Dexy's 'difficult' third album - perhaps one of the '80's lost classics? - during which frontman Kevin Rowland attempts to convey the 'essence' of his girlfriend to guitarist Billy Adams. Now, to be fair, it may appear a straightforward enough question by the latter: "What's she like?" Nevertheless, one is subsequently awestruck by the sheer stoicism exhibited by the erstwhile associate as Rowland resorts to a series of 'whoahs', trademark 'strangled yelps' and assorted guttural utterances to (finally) make himself understood by his wingman. Yeah, even with the almost infinite nuances of the English language at his disposal, clearly, where the emotional content is too intense, sometimes words are not enough. Despite being the catalyst - along with the dextrous opposable thumb - for the arrogant supposed primacy of us homo sapiens over the other non-microbial species inhabiting this crazy, spinning globe, there would appear to exist a threshold, an unseen, yet all too real barrier, beyond which the vernacular is of little, if no further use? Where we must delve into the deepest recesses of the human brain searching for reference points... for precedents from our primordial past.... in an attempt to articulate how we feel. The 'howl' of anguish, the 'whoop' of joy. To discover, beneath the thin veneer of civilisation applied by successive agricultural, industrial and information revolutions, that we differ so little from our so-called 'primitive' forebears at base level - indeed, from other coexistent life forms; the absurd Victorian notion of humankind 'created in god's image' starkly laid bare as the sham it is... when our crowning achievement - compositional language - cannot cope with the range of our experience.

Sure, it could be alleged that we know a lot about the world these days. Why, anyone with internet access can now espouse fact after fact at the click of a mouse, or swipe of a smart screen. But what IS knowledge without context? Indeed, what use are facts without the means to utilise them for the common good? Perhaps T S Eliot summed up our dilemma as well as any in 1934:

"Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?.."

Eliot, of course, was writing convinced of the surety of his Anglo-catholic tenets, the implication being religion is the ultimate source of wisdom, offering pre-formed 'templates' for living. For what it's worth, I agree with the entreaty but disagree with the conjecture, rather suggesting personal knowledge lies in experience... collective knowledge - or 'wisdom' - in corroborated experience. Not in uncritical acceptance of the spew of 'information' Kraftwerk warned us was a'coming in 1981 - let alone ancient so-called 'holy' texts - but in the personal journey. That, in other words, Darwin was right: there is no higher authority to defer to for clarity, life simply making it up as we go along. We are all 'winging it', so to speak. To learn, we must therefore boldly go. Yeah, any 'meaning' inherent in existence is down to us alone. And if the words do not come, improvise.

To perhaps illustrate my (no doubt rather vague) point, consider the pair of small standing stones located a little to the south-west of the highest point of Cwmdeuddwr's Hafen, an archetypally truncated hill rising to the south of the bustling Mid Walian market town of Rhayader. Not referenced upon either the current 1:50k nor 1:25k OS maps, Coflein notes the following:

"Remains of a stone alignment on the SW-facing flanks of Drum Ddu.... aligned from NE to SW along the ridge of the summit. Both stones measure c. 0.9m in height, 0.7m in width and 0.3m in thickness; they are situated 17.5m apart.." [FF/RCAHMW 09.05.2007].

So, we have the technical detail, granted. But, crucially, there is no image. Nothing to 'speak to', to communicate with the human psyche on an emotional, or what we might refer to as 'artistic' level. The prospective visitor, therefore, finds himself reprising Kev's conundrum: 'What are they like?' I mean REALLY like? Why expend serious effort to visit a couple of stones stuck on, or rather in, a hilltop? More to the point, why did people put them up there, in that inhospitable location, in the first place? Yeah, I guess it is the subsequent response to such questions which drives the Modern Antiquarian (or not, as the case may be) to attempt to define that which, perhaps, can not be defined.

I confess that I do not start quite from scratch, a dimly recalled memory of an image posted by TMA user Cerrig (noted for a predilection for fieldwork over and above the 'armchair' PC-based theorising advocated by others) surfacing from the depths of my subconscious, like a compromised submarine, as I attempt to match the prevailing weather conditions to the 'bad-but-not-that-bad' potential itinerary over the breakfast granola. Yeah, that'll do. The starting point is not exactly terra incognita, the terminus of the minor road heading approx south-west from the village of Llanwrthwl the springboard for a number of expeditions over the years. Nevertheless, I turn too early approaching from the A470 and follow the course of the River Wye for a while before realisation dawns: should've continued past the church (to its right) before swinging to the left. D'oh! The tarmac ends at the access track to Erwllyn, the route continuing as green trackway toward Cwm Chwefri, beneath the seriously be-cairned escarpment of Y Gamriw (the latter an essential visit for the dedicated Citizen Cairn'd in its own right). I manage to park - with consummate care since space is very limited for the considerate - before setting off along the aforementioned track.

In my opinion the walk is worth undertaking for no other reason than to experience the 'ambience' of the looming hills, regardless of any deviation to the extensive archaeology that surmounts them. For me, it is this unspoken, yet nevertheless subtly communicated aura of unforced existence, of things being the way they are simply by default, that represents the quintessence of the Cwmdeuddwr Hills. That's not to say it's a cosy, sugar-coated impression. Far from it. Copious evidence of recent rainfall combines with the heavy, leaden sky to portend a soaking for the unprepared; the uniform topography of the surrounding heights, devoid of what one might term traditional 'mountain' features, is somewhat bleakly disconcerting - threatening even, in a 'Dartmoor-esque' manner - alluding to navigational issues within hill fog which frequently blankets the locale. Yet, despite this - or perhaps because of this? - this visitor feels at home.

A half-mile (or so) along the track a path branches right to ascend the as-near-as-dammit 2,000ft Y Gamriw and so access its formidable array of cairns... and to the left for the somewhat lower Drum Ddu, crowned by the Bronze Age 'Carn-y-Geifr' ('Cairn of the Goats') at its north-eastern apex. I follow the latter, initially passing through the great cairn cemetery 'Carnau Cefn-y-Fordd', a primary visit if ever there was one owing to the very considerable footprint of several of the monuments, not to mention ethereal vibe. However, I've been here before.... and Cerrig's image is driving me onward. And, hopefully, upward. Yeah, just what lies upon that ridge? I mean, what is it really like? Having decided to stop off on the way back, I put my head down and make for the 'summit' of Hafen, this distinguished by a very marshy lake (or lakes, subject to the water table?). My navigational prowess, for once, proves adequate for the task in hand and I eventually spy two small orthostats beyond the crest.... ostensibly just as Coflein describes, complete with a small, associated cairn a little way to approx north-east. Needless to say, however, Coflein actually can not begin to convey what it is like to be here. What with the sun having seen fit to slip through a crack in the sullen cloud mantle and illuminate the hillside, the best I can manage is an involuntary series of exclamations more reminiscent of the anarchic pages of Viz than anything else... and certainly not appropriate for a community web-site. We'll leave Dexys Midnight Runners out of this, methinks. Such is the sublime perfection of the stone pair's placement within the landscape - sweeping vistas drawing the eye towards Gorwllyn, Drygarn Fawr and the Cwmdeuddwr heartland to the west, Builth Wells to south-west and Y Gamriw to north-west (etc) - that the visitor can be forgiven, I think, for failing in the poetry stakes.

And there's more: according to Cerrig, there is method in this aesthetically pleasing madness, the stones apparently being erected upon a summer solstice sunrise/winter solstice sunset alignment. So there you are, quite literally the implications are cosmic. 'Whoah!' Yeah, one can be told such things... but it means little, if anything, without personal context. To stand and gawp at Nature's doodling and subsequent attempt by local humankind to effect some emotional 'connection' with the planet... with existence... with notions extending beyond the mundane to consider what it means to be human. To gain some insight beyond the capacity of mere words regarding just 'who we are'. As Dave Gahan once observed, ultimately 'words are very, unnecessary'. OK, a clumsy Martin Gore-ism, granted. But true nonetheless. Once the inability to verbally articulate is noted - even to oneself, as humans are apt to do on occasion - other media must be employed, whatever they may be. Yeah, at such times one can only sit back and enjoy the silence. So I do, the waterproofs serving their purpose when the weather, inevitably, periodically changes the available palette of light. And time flies. Well, doesn't it just?

The map depicts a cairn - Pantmaenllwyd - some way to the south-west. However, I concede that the combined distance/height loss will be too much for me today. However, I'm aware there are (apparently, since again not shown upon the map) a couple of cairns gracing this wonderful landscape somewhat nearer to hand at SN95675937. Certainly worth a look.....

https://www.themodernantiquarian.com/site/19763/hafen_drum_ddu.html

Returning a couple of hours later - I think, could be wrong... since time appears to blur up here, the visitor consumed by a paradoxical perception of stark reality (wind, rain, cold) co-existing with, well, I don't know what... a sense of transcending the here and now, as if peeking beyond a door ajar to somewhere where time has no meaning - it is clear that I am truly in thrall to this place. Yeah, a couple of small, intentionally(?) 'wonky' stones stand upon an obscure Mid Walian height. Why bother? Well, until we can learn to truly articulate what our ancestors, perhaps, were attuned to from our hunter-gatherer days... the subliminal forces which other species with more 'calibrated' senses relate to in everyday life - e.g the Earth's magnetic field - I cannot answer that. As with sexual attraction, it's a personal thing. To travel to spots such as this and experience is, perhaps, everything. To be able to say, in the words of the great South Walian comedian Max Boyce, 'I know. Cos I was there!'

Jolted out of 'the mist' - as I recall Cope once referred to this mind-set - by a glance at the watch, I realise I still have to make my way back to the car in order to camp up before dark. The ubiquitous upland ponies regard the lone figure forcing his way - occasionally stumbling, at other times sinking - through the tall summer fern and bog with an apparent fusion of fear/curiosity as I give up all pretence of remaining dry-shod. Great rock piles materialise around me as I pause to survey the scene: Carnau Cefn-y-Fordd. All is silent, save the wind acting upon my jacket and the familiar calls of (now similarly unseen) Equus caballus.. neigh, neigh and... well, not quite, Francis. As it happens I do not like to reprise previous visits to 'lowland' sites - not when there remains so much that is new to see - but the urge is inexorable. Standing in the 'bwlch' between Y Gamriw and Drum Ddu/Hafen, the landscape context of this great Bronze Age cemetery is now all too obvious, the vibe hanging in the air like overwhelming humidity before the storm. The thought occurs: why aren't places such as this and its surrounding hills venerated and cherished to even a fraction of the degree of, say, Stonehenge or Avebury? I would attempt an answer, but, as usual... I don't have the words.
GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
25th February 2021ce

The Doon (Twynholm) (Hillfort)

The Doon (Twynholm) is a ruined hillfort c 0.25 miles W of Twynholm. It lies within a circle of mature trees at the summit of Doon Hill. Canmore ID 64068 (go to Links) considers there to be an inner enclosure 24m across surrounded by an oval outer enclosure measuring up to a maximum of 65m on a N-S axis. The outer enclosure consists of a grassy rampart up to 2m high surrounded by a 9m ditch. No central features were observed.

Directions: Take the W road into Twynholm off the A75. Within 50 yards the 30 mph limit starts. Park at the gateway on the R within 30 yards. Walk along the edge of the field for c.100 yards to a gate into the adjacent field. Head W up the hill c. 200 yards to the obvious circle of large trees at the summit of Doon Hill.
Posted by markj99
24th February 2021ce

Glenquicken (Stone Circle)

Visited Glenquicken on a fine winter's day yesterday to check out my favourite local circle. For any potential visitors, be aware that a brand new large segment of forestry has recently been planted towards the lee of Cambret Hill. Won't be an issue for quite a while but, IMHO, it will spoil the site ambience for the future. Posted by tomatoman
23rd February 2021ce

Mullaghey (Standing Stone / Menhir)

A leaning 1.4 metre tall standing stone at the west end of a ridge above the hamlet of Mullaghey. The weathering on this stone reminded me of the stones at Callanish, though I've never been. A little gem and not far from the road. ryaner Posted by ryaner
22nd February 2021ce

Patrickstown (Standing Stone / Menhir)

11 and a half years since I last stopped by here. It's another of the slab-like stones peppered around the foothills of Loughcrew. About 1.5 metres tall and aligned NW-SE. ryaner Posted by ryaner
22nd February 2021ce

Ballinvally (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Another of the many Ballinvally standing stones, a slab aligned WNW-ESE. It's visible from the Kells to Oldcastle road and sits atop a small rise. There's another stone about 200 metres to the north-west in the neighbouring townland of Boolies. ryaner Posted by ryaner
22nd February 2021ce

Stroanfreggan (Round Cairn)

Directions

Stroanfreggan Cairn is in the middle of nowhere so I have prepared a detailed account of how to get there from Dumfries & Newton Stewart.

Directions for Stroanfreggan Cairn: From S of Dumfries. Follow A75 through 3 roundabouts from edge of Dumfries. Turn R for Kilmarnock A76 on Glasgow Road Roundabout. (There is a McDonalds on the L at the first roundabout on the A76).
After about 16 miles reach Thornhill. Travel through Thornhill to N edge. Turn L for A702 Penpont/Moniaive. Stay on A702 for 8 miles to Moniaive. Stay straight through Moniaive. The A702 becomes the B729 a single track road with passing places. Stay on B729 for c. 10 miles until Stroanpatrick, a small hamlet. After passing a black tin hut on L park up at the first L about 400 yards further on. Walk down the Southern Upland Way for about 300 yards. Stroanfreggan Cairn lies c. 80 yards on your L in rough pasture.

Directions for Stroanfreggan Cairn: From Newton Stewart. Take A712 New Galloway on E edge of Newton Stewart. Drive around 18 miles on A712 to reach New Galloway via Clatteringshaws Reservoir. Turn L at the junction in New Galloway for A712 Crocketford. Cross over the Ken Bridge. Turn L for A713 Dalry/Ayr. About 4 miles later reach St John’s Town of Dalry. Take the R turn for A702 Moniaive up Main Street. After c. 500 yards take the second L turn at a crossroads in St John’s Town of Dalry. This is the B7000. Stay on this road past Kendoon Power Station for c. 6.2 miles to reach a junction with the A729. Turn R for A729 Moniaive, a single track road with passing places. After c. 2 miles you will see Stroanfreggan Mound on your R. Park at the junction with the Southern Upland Way. Walk down the Southern Upland Way for about 300 yards. Stroanfreggan Cairn lies c. 80 yards on your L in rough pasture.
Posted by markj99
20th February 2021ce

Visited 14.04.12

Stroanfreggan Cairn is a greatly reduced round cairn in a rural location c. 5 miles E of Carsphairn. According to Canmore ID 64370 (go to Links) it originally measured c 75 feet on a N-S axis. The extensive stone robbing has exposed a cist in the E half of the cairn. Canmore states that the cist measured 3 ft 5 ins x 2 ft x 2 ft 3 ins internally, beneath a cover stone, 5 x 4 ft. The massive capstone is especially impressive. The centre of the cairn has been entirely reduced to ground level except for a c. 4x3 feet boulder. The perimeter has also been extensively reduced to a maximum height of 5 feet on the S arc. Canmore states there was a peristaltith of c. 2 feet high boulders now reduced to 3 remaining stones.
Posted by markj99
14th February 2021ce

Bonlee Hill (Cairn(s))

The remnants of a cairn remain on the north east flank of Bonlee Hill.

Perhaps a hut circle, but more likely to be a cairn going by it's footprint and lack of hut circle normalities. It sits at 6m wide and is 0.4m tall. Stones appear amongst the burnt heather.

I would think there is a great deal more to see on Bonlee Hill, but it might be difficult to find.

Superb views north towards Dalrossach and Culquoich.

Visited 23/12/2020.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
8th February 2021ce

Lump of Bonlee (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork)

From Craig Glas head west through a low lying marsh until a small sream which has to be jumped, once up onto drier or firmer land you have reached the Lump of Bonlee. Heather burning has revealed several hut circles and a cairn in the area, perhaps more sites will be revealed with further burning.

NJ4004207911 could well be a small hut circle or a wee cairn that has been houked. It is 5m wide.

NJ4009507733 possibly another houked out cairn.

NJ4005007769 One of the better preserved hut circles, it sits at almost 9m wide.

NJ4000407775 Another quite well preserved hut circle, this one is just over 6m wide.

Visited 23/12/2020.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
8th February 2021ce

Craig Glas (Cairn(s))

To be honest there isn't much to see at the cairn at Craig Glas, however it is situated amongst some beautiful scenery.

I parked at Pronie Loch, walked south on the A97 until a gate with a track heading west. This track meets a smaller track which heads to the top of Craig Glas, stunning scenery as Morven towers to the west, to the north Dalrossach & Culquoich, the south has Deecastle and east has the prehistory laden Cromar area.

The site is on the west side of the hill and is difficult to spot as it is well hidden by the heather. However it's position is given away by the cairn's central point poking through the vegetation. Kerbs appear to be on the north side.

It's a beautiful day, better head over to Bonhill, via a marsh.

Visited 23/12/2020.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
8th February 2021ce

Linsidemore (Cairn(s))

Linsidemore looks to be a very good site, however notices on the gates didn't appear to be very friendly so settled for a road side photo, plus with the current situation it was better to settle for the view and then head back home.

The Canmore link will give details of the site.

On the north side of the A837, a couple miles west of the Shin Bridge, clearly visible from the road.

Visited 17/10/2020.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
8th February 2021ce

Creag Sron Chrubaidh (Cairn(s))

Creag Sron Chrubaidh was the last stop on a very good day and judging by the photographs it appears to be fairly light, it wasn't and darkness was approaching fast.

The spectacular cliffs of Blair Nam cliffs provided a magnificent backdrop.

This is perhaps a kerb cairn, as kerbs remain in place but being a meter high, at least, and with it's collapsed centre it is more likely to be a chamber cairn. Most of the stones are moss covered in the site which stands at 8m wide.

We parked at the car park Inchnadamph and walked south on the A837, before heading up the slopes of Blair Nam.

Great end to a great day.

Visited 16/10/2020.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
8th February 2021ce

Stalldown Stone Row Cairn S (Cairn(s))

Directions: Take the B213 Ivybridge turn off the A38. If you exit from the E, turn R, cross over the A38 and take the first L on the roundabout signposted for Cornwood. If you exit from the W, take the first L on the roundabout signposted for Cornwood. Follow the Cornwood Road for c. I mile until you reach a mini roundabout. Take the L turn onto a narrow lane for Cornwood. Stay on this road for c. 2.5 miles until you reach the Cornwood Inn at a crossroads in Cornwood. Take the R turn for Torr/Harford onto a lane. After 0.25 miles stay straight on the lane. After another c. 0.5 miles stay straight. After another 0.25 miles turn L up an un-signposted lane and bear R after a sharp corner. Follow this narrow leafy lane for c. 0.25 mile then take the L fork. The road will end c. 0.4 mile later just after Watercombe Farm. Park as close as possible and follow the track for c. 0.5 mile past the water treatment buildings reaching the open moorland of Stalldown Moor. When you are 100 yards clear of the buildings strike N uphill towards Stalldown Stone Row relying on GPS or Map Reading to reach the Southern Cairn 0.4 mile N at SX 63215 61854. Posted by markj99
3rd February 2021ce

Stalldown Stone Row Cairn NE (Cairn(s))

Directions: Take the B213 Ivybridge turn off the A38. If you exit from the E, turn R, cross over the A38 and take the first L on the roundabout signposted for Cornwood. If you exit from the W, take the first L on the roundabout signposted for Cornwood. Follow the Cornwood Road for c. I mile until you reach a mini roundabout. Take the L turn onto a narrow lane for Cornwood. Stay on this road for c. 2.5 miles until you reach the Cornwood Inn at a crossroads in Cornwood. Take the R turn for Torr/Harford onto a lane. After 0.25 miles stay straight on the lane. After another c. 0.5 miles stay straight. After another 0.25 miles turn L up an un-signposted lane and bear R after a sharp corner. Follow this narrow leafy lane for c. 0.25 mile then take the L fork. The road will end c. 0.4 mile later just after Watercombe Farm. Park as close as possible and follow the track for c. 0.5 mile past the water treatment buildings reaching the open moorland of Stalldown Moor. When you are 100 yards clear of the buildings strike N uphill towards Stalldown Stone Row relying on GPS or Map Reading to reach the Southern Terminal 0.5 mile N at SX 63218 62074. Posted by markj99
3rd February 2021ce

Stalldown Stone Row Cairn NW (Cairn(s))

Directions: Take the B213 Ivybridge turn off the A38. If you exit from the E, turn R, cross over the A38 and take the first L on the roundabout signposted for Cornwood. If you exit from the W, take the first L on the roundabout signposted for Cornwood. Follow the Cornwood Road for c. I mile until you reach a mini roundabout. Take the L turn onto a narrow lane for Cornwood. Stay on this road for c. 2.5 miles until you reach the Cornwood Inn at a crossroads in Cornwood. Take the R turn for Torr/Harford onto a lane. After 0.25 miles stay straight on the lane. After another c. 0.5 miles stay straight. After another 0.25 miles turn L up an un-signposted lane and bear R after a sharp corner. Follow this narrow leafy lane for c. 0.25 mile then take the L fork. The road will end c. 0.4 mile later just after Watercombe Farm. Park as close as possible and follow the track for c. 0.5 mile past the water treatment buildings reaching the open moorland of Stalldown Moor. When you are 100 yards clear of the buildings strike N uphill towards Stalldown Stone Row relying on GPS or Map Reading to reach the Southern Terminal 0.5 mile N at SX 63218 62074. Posted by markj99
3rd February 2021ce

There is a cluster of cairns in or near the Northern third of Stalldown Stone Row. Stalldown cairn circle (listed in TMA) is constructed a few yards to the E of the Stalldown Stone Row axis, a hiatus in the row of standing stones. Around 100 yards NNW in open moorland there is a small grass cairn measuring c. 30 feet across with a 4 feet earth bank. An intermittent perimeter of kerb stones c. 1.5 feet high define the edge of the cairn. There is a shallow hollow in the centre of the cairn suggestive of an excavation. It lies c. 30 yards E of Stalldown Stone Row.
A third cairn, Stalldown Stone Row Cairn NE lies c. 100 yards SE from here, on the E side of the stone row.
The concentration of several sites in a small radius suggests that it was the centre of ritual activities at Stalldown. The inclusion of Stalldown cairn circle into the stone row perhaps indicates that it was the focal point.
Historic England 1015806 (go to Links) has a full description of Stalldown Stone Row and its associated cairns.
Posted by markj99
2nd February 2021ce
Edited 3rd February 2021ce

Stalldown Stone Row Cairn NE (Cairn(s))

There is a cluster of cairns in or near the Northern third of Stalldown Stone Row. Stalldown cairn circle (listed in TMA) is constructed a few yards to the E of the Stalldown Stone Row axis, a hiatus in the row of standing stones. Around 100 yards NE in open moorland there is a small grass cairn measuring c. 45 feet across with a 3 feet earth bank. There is a pronounced hollow in the centre of the cairn suggestive of a removed cist. It lies c. 50 yards E of Stalldown Stone Row.
A third cairn, Stalldown Stone Row Cairn NW lies c. 100 yards NW from here, on the W side of the stone row.
The concentration of several sites in a small radius suggests that it was the centre of ritual activities at Stalldown. The inclusion of Stalldown cairn circle into the stone row perhaps indicates that it was the focal point.
Historic England 1015806 (go to Links) has a full description of Stalldown Stone Row and its associated cairns.
Posted by markj99
2nd February 2021ce
Edited 3rd February 2021ce

Stalldown Stone Row Cairn S (Cairn(s))

The ruined cairn lies c. 250 yards S of the Southern terminus in Stalldown Stone Row. It has been reduced to a circle of rough uneven grassy lumps, measuring c. 10 yards across by 1 yard high. The dark green of the cairn contrasts with the light brown of the moorland.

Historic England 1012748 states that the centre of the cairn has a central hollow probably related to a past disturbance in search of a cist. It also speculates that the cairn may have been the original terminus of the stone row. The Stalldown area has been used for peat cutting in the past so some of the stones may have been removed or buried. In any case, the close proximity of the cairn to Stalldown Stone Row extends the area of the Stalldown Complex.
Posted by markj99
2nd February 2021ce

South Cairnwell (Standing Stone / Menhir)

South Cairnweil Standing Stone is a triangular granite pillar reaching a rounded top at c. 7 feet. The basal cross-section of 3'3''x2'4''x8'' is maintained until the last foot of the stone. According to Canmore ID 60446 (go to Links) the stone was removed sometime between 1911 and 1970. It was re-erected in its original position by the farmer in 1973.

Directions: Take the A77 Portpatrick out of Stranraer heading S. After 1.33 miles ignore the Portpatrick R turn staying straight on the A716 Drummore. After another c. 6.5 miles go past Sandhead, take the next R for Kirkmadrine Stones. After 0.4 mile turn R onto a minor road for Kirkmadrine Stones. After c. 0.45 miles you will see a small lay-by at NX 08654 48386 with a gate where South Cairnweil Standing Stone Path starts. The stone is about 180 yards S from this point beside the path.
Posted by markj99
28th January 2021ce

Slewcairn NE (Cairn(s))

Slewcairn NE is one of a pair of cairns situated c. 0.25 miles E of Slewcairn Long Cairn. It is a grassy cairn completely robbed of stones and hidden in the trees. It lies in a clearing c. 50 yards from the forest track. According to Canmore ID 65494 (go to Links) it measures c. 10 yards across by up to 1 yard high. There is a small mound on the apex, c. 2 feet high, covered in vegetation.
Slewcairn SW, its near neighbour, lies about 130 yards SW across the forest road in open ground.
I visited the Slewcairn complex on 12.05.12.

Slewcairn can be approached from the North, my choice of access. This involves 5 miles of forestry track which can be tackled by foot, bike or car.
By foot a 10 mile return plus up to 1 mile of deviation between 3 sites makes for a 11 mile walk.
By mountain bike the effort to travel 10 miles on a forest track is greatly reduced, my choice for my visit.
By car, preferably 4x4, 10 miles on a forestry track is reduced to 30 minutes travel at 20mph.
When you reach NX 92824 61374 (GPS navigation is essential) you are equidistant between Slewcairn SW & NE. Neither are easily spotted. Slewcairn NE is hidden in trees at NX 9284 6143. Slewcairn SW is on a rocky rig at NX 9276 6133. Slewcairn Long Cairn is 0.25 miles W along a forest ride starting at NX 92619 61592. Walk W on this narrow clearing for c. 300 yards to the end of the trees. Slewcairn Long Cairn is c. 130 yards S of this point lying in rough terrain at NX 9239 6142 The grid references for each cairn are as recorded in Canmore.
Take the A711 for Dalbeattie at Cargenbridge on the edge of Dumfries. Bear L onto a narrow lane in Beeswing 100 yards before the church. After about 3.75 miles on this road take the R turn for Solway Fishery. After c. 300 yards there is room to park on your R at NX 9370 6632. You can walk or cycle from here on continue on by car bearing SE at first for c. 5 miles along a forest track.
Posted by markj99
27th January 2021ce

Slewcairn SW (Cairn(s))

Slewcairn SW is one of a pair of cairns situated c. 0.25 miles E of Slewcairn Long Cairn. It is almost completely robbed of stones on a rig c. 60 yards SW of the forest track at NX 92824 61374. According to Canmore ID 65492 (go to Links) it measures 10 yards across and up to 1 yard high. It is heather covered with a small scattering of stones on top. A modern cairn c. 2 feet high has been built on top of the cairn.
Slewcairn NE, its near neighbour, lies about 130 yards NE hidden in the trees.
I visited the Slewcairn complex on 12.05.12.
Slewcairn can be approached from the North, my choice of access. This involves 5 miles of forestry track which can be tackled by foot, bike or car.
By foot a 10 mile return plus up to 1 mile of deviation between 3 sites makes for a 11 mile walk.
By mountain bike the effort to travel 10 miles on a forest track is greatly reduced, my choice for my visit.
By car, preferably 4x4, 10 miles on a forestry track is reduced to 30 minutes travel at 20mph.
When you reach NX 92824 61374 (GPS navigation is essential) you are equidistant between Slewcairn SW & NE. Neither are easily spotted. Slewcairn NE is hidden in trees at NX 9284 6143. Slewcairn SW is on a rocky rig at NX 9276 6133. Slewcairn Long Cairn is 0.25 miles W along a forest ride starting at NX 92619 61592. Walk W on this narrow clearing for c. 300 yards to the end of the trees. Slewcairn Long Cairn is c. 130 yards S of this point lying in rough terrain at NX 9239 6142 The grid references for each cairn are as recorded in Canmore.
Take the A711 for Dalbeattie at Cargenbridge on the edge of Dumfries. Bear L onto a narrow lane in Beeswing 100 yards before the church. After about 3.75 miles on this road take the R turn for Solway Fishery. After c. 300 yards there is room to park on your R at NX 9370 6632. You can walk or cycle from here on continue on by car bearing SE at first for c. 5 miles along a forest track.
Posted by markj99
27th January 2021ce

Cwm Berwyn, Carneddau (Builth Wells) (Promontory Fort)

I approach from Carneddau Hill's great cairn at SO06625407:

https://www.themodernantiquarian.com/site/19831/carneddau_hill_builth_wells.html

Hastily revised notions/aspirations (whatever) of circling around the 'rim' of the Carneddau to the northwest - in order to take in the other cairns depicted upon the map - are, just as quickly, discarded when it becomes obvious time is running away with me. Furthermore, the equally obvious realisation of the sheer size of the fort's inner cross-bank ensures I must focus upon one thing or another. Yeah, there can only be one, Highlander. So... the promontory fort it is, then, although it should be noted that the intervening topography is not conducive to being fast-moving, light upon one's feet. Having said that, I cannot recall being suchlike since 1994, now I come to think about it.

Heading north, my attempt to 'cut the corner' and save a little time only serves, inevitably, to bring me to the crest of the sheer face of the escarpment edge - not that this inexorable outcome wouldn't have been obvious from a proper perusal of the map, but there you are - rocky crags falling more or less vertically to the floor of the cwm below. Hmmm. I may be many things, but clearly, I ain't no mountain goat and, furthermore, have some features I quite like and wouldn't mind keeping for a while longer (to paraphrase the gorgeous Sarah Cracknell). I therefore quickly improvise yet another plan, this iteration requiring clambering/slithering down steep grass some way to the left, prior to forcing another passage through bracken to, thankfully, access a path ascending to the promontory rising above. As earlier in the day, it is worth the expended effort, the defences of the fort proving very substantial, to say the least. Far more impressive than I had supposed from the car, with a towering inner rampart supported by a lower outer rampart, together isolating the interior from the ridge to the north. A wander around the interior allows the spellbound visitor to confirm - in short order and with little likelihood of credible contradiction - that no additional artificial defences would've been necessary back in the day. Yeah, not even a 'berserker-type' warrior-loon would (surely?) have been able to get up those near perpendicular flanks in any fit state to fight. With apologies, certainly not Gary Numan in that iconic 1984 blue/white 'Iceman' get up.

All in all, the sum of the parts represents a classic inland promontory fort, if ever I did see one. It would appear that Coflein, which categorises the site as a 'defended enclosure', concurs with my perception of overwhelming majesty of scale, citing the following dimensions:

"...The inner rampart is 1.8m high on the inner side, 8m high with ditch on the outer, northern, side. The outer northern rampart is 5m wide and 1m high on the uphill, southern, side and 2m high with the ditch on the north side..." [R Hayman, H&H, 24/2/2010].

Noteworthy statistics, indeed, for such an apparently obscure 'defended enclosure'. Suffice to say, whoever built this place would appear - unlike certain visitors - to have had no tendency to 'cut corners'. Point taken, until the next time. As I've postulated at other sites, I can't help thinking that, being set within an (assumed) non-secular upland landscape, there was more to the physical attributes of the site than simply defence? Interestingly, perhaps, Coflein has only - and tentatively at that - identified one hut circle within the enclosure at SO0727754830:

"Possible hut platform, a near level terrace 4m diameter, with a 'hood' 1m high on the upper (S) end...." [R Hayman, H&H, 24/02/2010].

C'mon, surely there were more, if only to account for, to justify all the effort of construction.... unless there were other, intangible, metaphysical factors in play here? As I walk the twin cross banks in turn, the fiery orb of our local star - not so much 'rock' as 'cosmic' - yeah, Bowie... or 'Krautrock', perhaps? - breaking through the cloud base to flood all with light of almost inconceivable intensity, the splendour of this glorious place hits home like the proverbial sledgehammer, the moment the very paragon of the 'otherworldly' experience... right here in Powys, no less. I sit and gawp across the cwm to the north-east, the clearly also magnificent Castle Banks hillfort demanding I visit before the week is out.

Diverting the gaze (with difficulty), a series of medieval 'cultivation ridges' to my north emphasise the continuity of human occupation in the locale, the sense of linear time stretching way back into the past... and an uncertain future, perhaps? A subconscious affirmation that 'history' is not merely something written in 'boring books' to enable geeks 'n dorks (ahem) to pass the time.... but is somehow 'suspended', not quite fully absorbed, within air seemingly pregnant with energy transmuted from the corporeal long ago. Into just what I cannot say; however, to quote a certain Mr Churchill: "The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” Indeed, illustrious sir. You know, seems to me that to understand the plot of any epic story - and it has to be said that that of 'Humanity' is pretty well up there in the Homeric stakes (tell me about it, D'oh!), demanding a Charton Heston-esque lead - best start at the beginning, right?

I pick out my poor, overworked vehicle in the distance, a familiar reference point to - if you pardon the pun - usher me back down to earth for the night from my extraordinary perch. Reluctantly I leave the cairns to the north for another day and descend steeply (and then some) to the east to pick up a path heading south to the stream, and, once across, reverse my former ascent route to Cwm-berwyn farm. A (relatively) senior woman inquires after my day and appears to 'get' my replies. It is refreshing, to be honest with you. Yeah, best keep out of that summer bracken, if you've any sense. Yes, well.... Anyhow, the gentle incline of the farm access track is, it seems to me, not proportional to the effort it takes me to negotiate the final few hundred yards, but there you are. I did say maths are not my thing.

Back at the car, there's time for one final improvised plan - where to camp tonight - before I must leave and make it so before the onset of darkness. I head for the hills above Rhayader. Cwmdeuddwr....
GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
23rd January 2021ce
Edited 26th January 2021ce

Carneddau Hill (Builth Wells) (Round Cairn)

I must confess to never having been the most enthusiastic of travellers. Yeah, Virginia Woolf might have reckoned 'the journey is everything', but I tend to regard motion between two points as, well, a means to an end, to tell you the truth. The price one has to pay... what must be endured... to experience, first hand, the more interesting locations these Isles have to offer. And since there are no mountains gracing south-east Essex, this Citizen Cairn'd is required to venture (considerably) forth to enjoy that special 'upland vibe'. Needless to say, the opportunity for such forays has been strictly - and, to my mind, rightly - limited during the past year. Indeed, some might say that faced with such calamitous global misfortune, the pursuit of personal solace ought not to be high upon the collective agenda following temporary relaxation of restrictions. However, I would argue that it is this very focus upon the individualistic act - upon independent thought/action symbiotic with the common good - that forms the crucial bulwark holding back the implacably noxious totalitarian siblings of the far left and far right. At least for now. The finger in the dyke.

So, with the opportunity to escape the coronavirus-denying loons, lockdown-ignoring half-wits and asinine conspiracy loons temporarily raising its head, I reckon there's no time like the present. Well, as Noel Coward sardonically noted, there's no guarantee that the next life (should one believe in that sort of thing) will be 'any less exasperating than this'. As usual, I'm woefully lacking in the homework stakes. Consequently, a brief 'cramming session' is required to decide upon a characteristically vague notion of 'lower Mid Wales', starting at the attractive market town of Builth Wells (Llanfair-ym-Muallt). And take it from there... on the premise of necessity being the Mother of Invention etc (with apologies to Frank, if not Plato). Hence, following a pretty 'exasperating' early morning drive - what with closures upon the M4 and a farcically busy Storey Arms overwhelmed with tourists unintentionally complicit in the erosion of another few inches from the summits of Pen-y-Fan and Corn Du - I finally arrive below the Carneddau, a compact range of low hills to the north-east of the spa-town, the latter at the confluence of the rivers Wye (Gwy) and Irfon. Builth, incidentally, is somewhat notorious/controversial in Welsh lore, the garrison of the castle (impressive surviving earthworks will interest the medieval-heads out there) having refused sanctuary to Llywelyn ap Gruffudd prior to his death at Cilmeri, a little to the west, in December 1282... the act highlighting the lack of solidarity between Gwynedd and the 'rest of Wales' that persists to this day. Yeah, the 'Hwntws' versus the 'Gogs'. As an interested outsider - I have family in the south... and friends in the north - let's just say there are two sides to every story, each deserving to be heard, methinks. Just saying.

The approach road to Cwm Berwyn passes beneath 'Gaer' - at SO08545482, the experts, the name of the landscape feature notwithstanding, apparently none too sure of archaeological providence - before terminating at Cwmbychan farm. As I manoeuvre, with the optimum inherent lack of grace, I'm approached by a young woman who, basically, wants to know what I'm doing in these parts. I request advice as to where to leave the car since I'm heading for the Carneddau... to be informed there are no rights of way in the direction of my sweeping arm. Producing my map, I beg to differ, whereas the mood suddenly changes; it seems she's actually all in favour of archaeologist-types (even those who can't agree when a hillfort is or isn't a hillfort) and says it's fine to park at the entrance to the trackway servicing Cwm-berwyn farm. That'll do.

The landscape is classic Mid Wales, the stony access route drawing me deeper into the beckoning hinterland looming beyond - a fine study of perspective. My intended objective, the great promontory fort overlooking Cwm Berwyn, can be seen rising above the farmhouse to the west. However, my close-quarters map reading being what it is (i.e not very good) I elect to take the public footpath to the south-west, this following the southern bank of a tumbling stream, deep within its heavily eroded, wooded couloir, towards distant Carneddau Hill, before heading north. Or at least that was the plan. For a short time. Needless to say, as I break-out upon the open hillside, I duly change my mind: the cairn upon Carneddau Hill it is, then. Now a direct ascent, initially across deep bog, then through chest-high summer bracken may well have seemed a good idea at the time, but, having been dragged to my knees on a number of occasions by the all-powerful, industrial-strength vegetation, the final slog to the summit is verging upon sheer purgatory itself. The subsequent realisation that all that sweaty struggle, all that effort, could've been avoided by simply cutting up the ridge to the left... and following a clear path... was not helpful. Or at least wasn't appreciated at the time, shall we say? Then again, I guess there's the possibility, like the wondrous Mrs Doyle herself, of possessing a subconscious predilection for the hardest option? For authenticity's sake, you understand. Hmmm, 'maybe I like the misery, Father?'

Suffice to say that, if I had found the great cairn crowning the c1,417ft summit to have been rubbish, I wouldn't have been happy. However, fair play, the cairn is worth the effort. With metaphorical bells on. And, come to think of it, the locals clearly rated it enough to reference the monument - and presumably the others to the north - when naming their environs? Whatever, the people at Coflein have this to say:

"The Carneddau Hill Cairn is 19m in diameter, much robbed of stone and now only up to 0.8m high, but with depressions. The site was probably chosen for its commanding position with panoramic views. On top of the cairn are a stone shelter and a modern marker cairn, using material from the cairn." [R Hayman, H&H, 22/2/2010].

Yeah, robbed it may well be, but there is an awful lot of stone still in situ to emphasise what an important site this must have once been... hell, still is! And then there are those 'panoramic views'. Tell me about them. Although, to be fair - as the old adage goes - a picture is worth a thousand words. Not that the likes of Wordsworth would've necessarily concurred, mind. But there you are. The vistas are not only richly endowed with scenic splendour of the highest order, but also liberally 'sprinkled' with a copious array of additional prehistoric archaeology: looking south-west towards Builth there are two small hillforts; to the north, as noted above, a brace of upland cairns; to the north-east, the great promontory fort I came here to see with, visible to its right, to my mind one of Mid Wales' finest hillforts per se, Castle Bank. The penny drops (possibly 50p now, taking account of inflation) that there's no way one afternoon is going to be anywhere near enough time to explore the extended area... so probably best to simply enjoy the moment. Hey, what's not to like? The intermittent drizzle of the ascent having, rather fortuitously, been superseded by sunshine (albeit also somewhat sporadic), the cairn now sparkling - or as John Foxx might say - 'glistening' in the intensity of the light. A glittering prize, indeed.

As I gaze out across the surrounding hills, the 'place in the landscape' occupied by Builth Wells becomes clearer. Too far from the Mam C's place on the South Walian coast to feature within my usual itineraries; too far south to draw me away from Cwmdeuddwr and the wilds of Pumlumon before now... otherwise, I'm generally just a' passing through en route to somewhere else. However, I'm glad I stopped off this time around, took the time to discover what is secreted away from the general gaze. As the light plays across said landscape, illuminating the great stone pile once more as it has for millennia past, I try again to resolve the conundrum of fitting all the remaining Carneddau 'pieces' into my puzzle. However, they won't go. Not today, anyhow. Not allowing sufficient time to do them all justice. OK, maths was never my strong point, but quality over quantity is a pretty sound guiding principle, right?

So, the great promontory fort beckoning to the north-east will be my second, and final visit of this afternoon. Assuming I don't make a hash of that, too. Yeah, right...
GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
23rd January 2021ce
Edited 24th January 2021ce
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