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

postman’s TMA Blog

Post to the TMA Blog

Circles, monuments, crashes, and floods.

It's five in the morning and the day is just dawning and once more the A55 takes me to the place that an ancestor called home, a million miles from all my problems, it is where my heart lies, it is called Snowdonia.
I wasn't totally sure where to go, one thought was Tre'r Cieri, but low funds and a late night made my decision for me, it was to be an Equinox sunrise at the Druids circle above Penmaenmawr.

I decided to save time and take the car up the track as far as it would go, passing the twin pillars the track gets rutted and pitted, so much so that I decide this is the one and only time I shall take it up this far.
Coat on, camera over the shoulder and I'm off up the path, rounding a small hill the wind hits me like a mad Yeti, cripes that's cold, for a fleeting moment I think this is far too cold I'm going back, but that's not the postal way either so I quicken my pace, keep my head down and keep moving.
I pass Red Farm remnant stone circle and Maen Crwn with barely a glance, time for that on the return trip. Out of the damning cold wind I reach Brian, otherwise known as Circle 275, I say "alright Bri" and turn to check on the suns progress, bugger, it's already risen, so I run the rest of the way up to the circle of the Druids.

It's as perfect a day for a sunrise as ive yet seen, and ive been watching the sun on the solstices and equinox's for over a decade. The sun rises probably not fortuitously over the highest part of the hills Cefn Maen Amor on the near horizon, this is not perfectly east, but if the land was totally flat it would be too far north of the highest point, but because the sun has had time to move through the sky a bit, it does rise above the highest point of Cefn Maen Amor.
On the other side of the circle from the sun I am standing on a small mound, for a moment I wonder if it's man made, perhaps for people to stand upon whilst watching the equinox sunrise from, I look over to my left and note another mound, almost perfect for watching a winter solstice sunrise. There is no mound for the summer solstice. Was it perhaps not deemed as important as the other two ? Are they actually natural mounds, but the stone circle was placed there because of them. Between the two mounds an ancient track passes by. Ive always wondered why the circle is sited right on the edge of the land before it falls steeply down to Penmaenmawr. In between the big hills (Tal y Fan) and the steep down hill fall there is plenty of room to put a stone circle, granted most of it is pretty boggy , but why right the way over here on the edge. I feel I could be onto something, but it could be just a feeling. On the east side of the circle is another mound possibly in just the right place to see the sun set on the winter solstice, it should also be said that from the sun rise mounds the sun rises right across the middle of the circle. Oh for a central tall megalith..

This is easily the best stone circle in Wales.

From there I take the short walk to the conundrum that Ive called Thora, less enthusiastic folk call it Monument 280, where are the other 279. Just to the north is Kevin, a ring cairn called Circle 278. Both of them would have brought me here on there own, but there is so much more up here. I then walk up to the top of Moelfre, a small hill with big views and a much denuded cairn, but it seems less denuded than before somehow. I sit here for a while watching clouds drift over the snow topped mountains to my south, resisting the urge to run over and climb one. That'll happen soon enough.
I run down the hill, always a fun thing to do, but less fun than with Eric pulling me, urging me to go faster.

Cors y Carneddau is my next port of call, a large barrow with a scooped out interior, a very decent kerb cairn , a less decent ring cairn and a fairly knackered hard to discern stone circle, the kerb cairn and the barrow are in my opinion wonderful to behold , second only to the Druids Circle, and the views of the mountains, which are almost overpowering.

From Cefn Coch barrow I skirt around the base of becairned Moelfre following the path towards two cairns called Bryniau Bugeilydd. Passing the site of crashed WWII bomber " Bachelors baby " a B24 Liberator, they were probably looking for stone circles and never saw the hill coming.
Coflein still isn't co-operating, so I didn't know what to expect, if anything. But I was pleasantly surprised to find the remains of a substantial kerb cairn. Half the kerbing has gone but those that remain are quite large, the interior of the cairn has a slight rise in ground level .
About fifty yards up the hill back in the direction of the Druids circle, is what I presumed must be the other cairn. It is heather covered and is either situated upon a rocky knoll or the whole thing is the rocky knoll, there was nothing else in the vicinity so I clicked the camera and moved on.

From there it's a second visit to Cerrig Gwynion, a cairn with a cist. Coflein state that the cairn is four meters high, it isn't, its barely one meter high
My second visit, but as i'm approaching from a different direction it's as hard to find as the first time.
then quickly back to the Druids, then a longer look at Brian, circle 275.
It's now time to go and get out of this biting wind, but just before I do there's just one more new site to see.
A mere fifty yards from Brian is this massively overlooked barrow/cairn, somewhat unfortunately named Fridd Wanc, with so many megalithic wonders here about it's almost understandable. About a meter tall and maybe five across this heather and grass covered mound melts seamlessly into it's surroundings, look for the telegraph pole uncaringly stuck right on top of it, blighters.

Back at the car I'm glad to be out of the cold, which I'm glad to say didn't affect me too much. I leave the vicinity and head away.

I planned on looking for and hopefully finding Porth Llwyd portal dolmen. I knew from George Nash that it may not be findable as it is now descheduled by the Office of works and described as " Presumed destroyed by flood "
But I still hoped to at least locate the capstone, and one or two uprights could still be in place, but alas it was not to be, two hours of digging, scratching, going round in circles and wading through brambles all on what I supposed to be private property. I could find no trace of it, the Dolgarrog flood disaster (of which i include a photo of from the information board, not the actual flood, just a description of it) has taken it all away.

Only more hours spent searching round in circles can prove its destruction.
Any information about it's location would be greatly appreciated, it is not at the grid ref supplied by me here. (Taken from Nash)

postman Posted by postman
13th April 2013ce
Edited 14th April 2013ce

Comments (11)

That's a great read, obviously loads and loads of stuff to see up there. Including monuments 1-274. thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
14th April 2013ce
Thanks, do you think all those monuments are up here ? that would be fair cramming them in. postman Posted by postman
14th April 2013ce
Can't be, surely? But where are they then? Who's numbering is it anyway? thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
14th April 2013ce
No idea ! someone must know. postman Posted by postman
14th April 2013ce
I've stuck a link in the forum (it was messing your blog up). thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
14th April 2013ce
When you do find monuments 1 - 274, I nominate number 172 to be called 'Mick' and 234, 'Audrey'.

Evergreen Dazed Posted by Evergreen Dazed
16th May 2013ce
Any particular reason why ?
Have you been watching reruns of Howards way ?
I also nominate, Hamble and Jemima, but not Humpty, its a daft name.
postman Posted by postman
16th May 2013ce
No, none whatsoever, other than continuing your theme. Just thought 'Audrey', in particular, a much better name for an ancient monument than Monument 234.

Evergreen Dazed Posted by Evergreen Dazed
16th May 2013ce
It must have been very taxing, numbering all those monuments, OK, so that's monument 181, what shall we call this one ?
Ive only ever heard of two Audrey's, Hepburn and Hollander, do not search for the latter.
postman Posted by postman
16th May 2013ce
I searched. Evergreen Dazed Posted by Evergreen Dazed
16th May 2013ce
I'm still searching. Evergreen Dazed Posted by Evergreen Dazed
16th May 2013ce
You must be logged in to add a comment