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

Carnedd Lwyd, Tyrrau Mawr (Cadair Idris)



Woah! Can there be a more beautiful setting for Bronze Age burial cairns than perched high upon Tyrrau Mawr, western sentinel of the central summits of Cadair Idris?

Tyrrau Mawr (also known as Craig Las to confuse non-locals) possesses a north-western arete that must have launched a thousand post cards when viewed across the exquisite Llynnau Cregennen, deep scree gullies allowing the sun infinite possibilities for highlight and lowlight when conditions are favourable.

What is not apparent from down below, however, is the aforementioned series of Bronze Age cairns upon Carnedd Lwyd, the mountain's eastern shoulder.... which vie for attention with - and I have to admit (sorry!) lose hands down to - the stunning vista towards the Mawddach Estuary, the close proximity of the coastline emphasising the feeling of height here. It is arguably a common tendency for us to patronise past cultures from our modern viewpoint and all too difficult to 'walk in their shoes'. However I can't imagine anyone from any culture standing here and not thinking "wow - this place is the one"..... aside from the guys in 'Trainspotting', I suppose. Sadly Coflein provides no information save confirming the Bronze Age origin and funerary aspect of the cairns. It may be a surprise to relate that, aside from an example upon Craig-y-Llyn further to the west, Tyrrau Mawr's cairns are the only such Bronze Age monuments upon Cadair Idris's high ridge that I'm aware of. Nethertheless it is enough. More than enough.

Folklore fans will already be aware that the name 'Cadair Idris' refers to the central cwm of the massif to the east as being the eponymous 'chair' of the giant Idris. Fizzy drink aficionados of a certain age will perhaps conjure up other images, since the factory was nearby. Perhaps it still is.....

Tyrrau Mawr is perhaps best visited via the 'Pony Path' to Pen-y-Gadair - Cadair Idris's summit peak - only turning right at Rhiw Gwredydd instead of left. The cairns are sited upon the large craggy outcrop (Carnedd Lwyd) which stands below the main summit. A longer walk is possible by continuing to Craig-y-Llyn and returning via the ancient route Fford Ddu, itself flanked by several standing stones and with The Arthog stones also nearby.
31st October 2010ce
Edited 8th November 2010ce

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