The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Cefn Coch



Standing proud at the bwlch between Moelfre and Graig Lwyd, this fine upland cairn was the primary reason for my return to this section of Gwynedd's northern coastline today. To be fair the excursion - assuming one is lucky enough to be in a position to make it, of course - is a real 'no-brainer' for a stonehead, considering the numerous other cairns, stone circles... hey, 'axe factory'... located here above Penmaenmawr. Albeit a sublimely ironic 'no-brainer', since the old - or not so old - grey matter needs to be at the top of its game to cope with the sensory overload inherent in such a landscape. Guess I'll just have to do my best, then.

The cairn stands immediately overlooking The North Wales Path, to the latter's north, at the point where the Wales Coast Path branches off toward Clip yr Orsedd. Maybe this was always the arrangement, the monument defining an important part of the landscape, a gigantic 'marker cairn'? Whatever, it is perhaps best seen when descending Moelfre (c1,427ft / 435m) rising to the south, itself blessed by a Bronze Age cairn. Nowhere as good as this one, though. From Moelfre's slopes it is difficult to dismiss the insidious perception that everything in the neighbourhood was sited relative to everything else. With the utmost care, too. Thoughts come a'tumbling down.... unlike, thankfully, the viewer. Was the monument placed here to interact with travellers upon the track(s), whether engaged in journeying to an actual earthbound destination, or some metaphysical abode? Or was it erected in homage of the striking Moelfre itself. Or Graig Lwyd, source of the precious stone implements? Or even placed in the 'cleavage' between the two peaks in accordance with some ritual mamillar fixation? Er.. they have been known. Apparently. Rhetorical questions, of course.

Leaving such speculation to one side, what is certain - at least in my case - is that time spent hanging out upon the cairn, gazing south-westward toward the glorious profile of the northern Carneddau sweeping down to the sea, is paregoric in the extreme, the everyday cares and worries of life 'down there' seemingly of little consequence for a while. A brief hiatus, admittedly. Why, even the brightly-clad ramblers marching up and down the tracks, such an irritant at Y Meini Hirion, don't contemplate interrupting their walks for a mere cairn, even one as upstanding in profile, as impressively defined as this. All 8ft or so of it (c2.6m). Incidentally, there is also a small(ish) recumbent stone to be found close-by to the approx west. Whether this represents a displaced cap stone, fallen prehistoric standing stone, or similarly fallen later marker stone.... or nothing at all I'm afraid I have no idea. Sorry about that.

As mentioned by Postie the interior of the cairn has been hollowed out somewhat; however it does not detract from the experience in my view. As for the agency responsible for such vandalism, I'm in the corner of the much maligned giants here. Yeah, I reckon the damage was the inevitable result of a troll looking for a mis-placed laptop so as to continue his evil on-line trolling mischief. Something needs to be done.
25th January 2014ce
Edited 26th January 2014ce

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