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Trio on the way

Rise and shine it's 4am, luckily Eric had set his alarm clock as well, it was just as well too because restless leg syndrome kept me awake till at least 1am. After serial and bacon butties we were on our way, it's a long way to Goodwick so I decided to break up the long drive with a few hill forts north of Lampeter, there are plenty to choose from, but seeing as I'd added sites but not yet been there they would be the ones.
But on the way we had a minor disaster, I took a wrong turn and ended up near Dolgellau, that kind of thing can happen after only three hours sleep, I was well tired . I was well annoyed but the boy wonder took my hand and told me not to worry, we turned round and went back via Aberystwyth, it meant the plan would have to be changed, no time for Darren camp, it's straight to Sunnyhill wood camp. But then on our way down the A485 I recognised where we were , right next to Castell Flemish, thank god for Google streetview

Castell Flemish — Fieldnotes

I parked in the small layby off the A485 about fifty yards east from the hill fort, sadly it was persisting it down so we waterproofed ourselves and mozied on back up the road. Also after my directional cock up earlier I wasn't in the mood for niceties so I didn't ask for permission to get in, instead we gracefully leaped the barbed wire fence, well as graceful as wellied feet can any way, it's only a short stroll from the fence, in fact the forts most extreme northern defences seem to be cut into by the road side embankment....shocking.

I wondered, then doubted whether any Dutch speaking Belgians had ever lived here, surely they would have been native Welsh iron age folk like anywhere in the country.
We kicked a few lambs out of the way, they're only food after all, no, not really, I'm as soft as any vacant minded veggie. In fact it was the lambs that nearly made us turn back rather than any irate farmer, but we remained unchecked for the entire visit, it was early, raining and misty.

We started our circuit of the forts defences, noting at least two entrances east and southwest. As we passed by the southwestern gate I wondered if on a clear day we could see Sunnyhill camp the other side of Tregaron about three miles distant.
Eric leads the way round the perimeter, he knows we don't leave till we've seen the entire round, and he knows this is just the first of many sites to be got to in the two days we've given ourselves out in the comparative wilds of south Wales, in fact this one of three hill forts is just on the way to where we're going.
Just on the way, sadly, a longer visit with a football, kite or other child friendly activity would be better I know.

Time for some grub in Tregaron, a nice little town with friendly people, we picked our way carefully through the maze of lanes in the light rain heading for the most interesting of the trio of forts on my new and revised itinerary, the nicely named Sunnyhill Wood Camp

Castell Tregaron. Sunnyhill wood camp — Fieldnotes

We parked in a passing place, naughty I know but I crammed the car into one end still leaving space for passing, then walked back down to a house whose name we couldn't make out from the road. Next to the house is a gate which we quietly crossed and made our way through another sheep and lamb infested field, why do we have so many sheep ? I don't eat mutton or wear woolen clothes and only eat lamb rarely, who is eating all these sheep?

We made our way up to the fort, it's quite steep but it only takes ten minutes to get to the top. This is one great hill fort, the map shows it as a spiral earthwork. The banks hiding the central summit are well over fifteen feet high, they don't really leave much room for habitation inside, maybe a hundred, no more. There was a digger in between the two high ramparts and it had scraped back the top layer of earth, exposing much stone and some bones (probably sheep), I'm no law student but that seems illegal to me, digging inside a scheduled ancient monument. Eric wondered if Time Team had been here and we'd come during they're tea break, he then set about trying to hot wire the digger, so I left him to it as I'd seen the battery not hooked up and the whole machine looked pretty knackered, but at least he wasn't asking if we can go now.

We then walked a little to the north west and up hill a bit to get a view down over the fort, it was an epic view, the fort really is very impressive, and the hills gain in height to the south west where Bryn Y Gorlan stone circle is. then as we walked back down to the fort a Red Kite flew by, it's fantastic they've made such a come back, and they're so willing to fly right over you're head instead of scarpering like a cowardly Buzzard.

It now transpires that Eric's coat isn't nearly as waterproof as we'd hoped, so we stop off in Lampeter to get a kagoul or brolly then it's on to another Pen y gaer the other side of Llanybydder. It's further away from the other two which are quite close to each other.

Pen-y-gaer — Fieldnotes

The last of this mornings trio of hill forts on the way to somewhere else, and the only one that is actually on top of a hill.
We decided to stick to the footpath as much as possible, coming from the south west at a house/farm called Glan Tren, but alas we couldn't find hide nor hair of it, perhaps my powers were waining but me thinks it's been removed or hidden, not on.

So we went round the other side and parked by a playground, jumped an overly barbed wired fence and slipped and slided up the slippery slope in our well used wellies. This was another field full of sheep and lambs, I guess it's that time of year again, when a young mans fancy is easily diverted up a hill, is that right?
The best part of the fort is on the northern side, tall banks and silted up ditches, with sheep and lambs either running away bleeting or strangely following you round.
Other parts of the fort are fenced off, this is private property, and they really don't want you up here. I know it's lambing time but really I'm no threat I promise. Trees block the view down over Llanybydder, but south east is open and pretty.

Difficult to visit even for the most hardened traveller.

Then it's off we go, except for one more tomorrow that's it for hill forts, it's burial chambers and standing stones from now on.
postman Posted by postman
11th April 2012ce
Edited 11th April 2012ce

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