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North Wales, a few walks into prehistory

My wife and daughter were busy helping out a friend which gave me an opportunity to squeeze in a couple of days in North Wales. I wanted to walk some of the tracks I had read about on this site
First stop was the small village of Rowen, easy access road and a big layby at the start of the village for the van. My aim was to walk the old road above Rowen to the Cerrig Pryfaid stone circle.
A very steep climb out of Rowen sees you gain height very quickly with magnificent views over Conway Valley and the sight of two Buzzards (huge birds, I think that's what they were) circling above it was a great start to the walk.
Just about out of breath when I came upon the Carhun stone which marks the start of a series of megaliths close to the track. A bit of looking around (surprisingly well hidden) led to the Caerhun chambered cairn and then on down to the small but perfectly formed Maen y Bardd (thought I was in Cornwall), where the sheep scurried away giving me disapproving glances at being disturbed. The track led on to the Ffon y Cawr standing stone and then to the Cae Coch stone and eventually the stone circle of Cerrig Pryfaid. Very small stones almost hidden by the grass, however, the two outlying stones and potential alignments, the location high above the valley and the true peace of the site makes it a very worthwhile visit.
Retraced my steps to Rowen looking out for ancient hut circles a burnt mound which I am not sure I found and back down the steep hill into Rowen. About 3 1/2 hours in all and guessing could be done in less if in a hurry.
Next up was a much easier walk, however, very rewarding. I parked up in Conway Falls cafe car park and walked up the steep track opposite, through the campsite and over the hill to Capel Garmon. What a shock, the site is in much better condition, larger and had more to explore than I was expecting and indeed as the sign said was very reminiscent of a Cotswold Burial Chamber. All in all 1 1/2 hours including lingering too long at the site.
Next day, it was pouring down and boy can it rain in North Wales, with no sign of let up I pulled into Penmaenmawr and parked the van up, no choice but to get on with it if I was going too see the Druids circle. The ascent was a bit of a shock, easy walk out of PMmawr up through the houses and access through the side of the farm, thereafter it was a steep accent through dark mist and pouring rain to the trackway on the top of the mountain. I could not see anything through the mist and navigation was impossible. I staggered around trying to keep to the well defined paths hoping I could easily retrace my steps if necessary. Eventually no choice but to pull the gps out and hope it was waterproof. As it turned out I was almost at the Craig Lwyd cairns so I started there, took some pretty damp photos and followed the gps up the circle 278 and then on to a very atmospheric druids circle where the mist suddenly lifted and all was revealed, wet feet, well wet everywhere, it was all now worthwhile. On to circle 275 and the weather closed in again as I dropped down to the Maen Cryn stone and the remnants of the Red Farm stone circle. It was hopeless by now I couldn't even see the path in front of me, so I navigated to the mountain road and followed it down into PMmawr, found the van dried off and changed my clothes with an uncontrollable smile as the weather turned to bright sunshine and I thought 'You B@stard'!
Next, as a little treat before heading home I visited the Bronze Age copper mine on the Great Orme which I really enjoyed, a final look at the stone row descending down the mountain to the sea (why there?) and time to work my way home. All in all a great way to spend a couple of days, just take a change of clothes.

Posted by costaexpress
9th July 2016ce

Comments (4)

Some varied choices... not going to go wrong with those, whatever the weather. Just need a little passion in what you're doing, as you obviously have. So bored with the virtual stuff. Theory adds a little but is no substitute whatsoever for actually being there :-)

Incidentally the campsite near Capel Garmon - Fferm y'Rynys - is in my opinion the best in the area... stayed there more or less every year since 1982. Carol and Gareth know what they are doing.
9th July 2016ce
Great choices of sites. Sounds like you didn't spend enough in your supplication to the voodoo priestess though for Penmaenmawr. Maen-y-bardd and the sites around Tal-y-Fan are some of my favourites.

Agree with Gladman that there's no substitute for going and seeing the landscape, how it fits together visually is one of the most important things for me, especially where the views are as good as they are up there. Really should get back to Capel Garmon myself as it was a grey rainy day when I went and the mountain backdrop was missing in action! Keep on with these trips, great notes.
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
9th July 2016ce
I stopped at the campsite for a 'nose' around on the way back down, definitely where I will go next time I am in the area. Loved the Shepherd's hut, could get cosy in there for a short break.

Not only was my sacrificial offering too little I think it must have actually caused offence.
Posted by costaexpress
10th July 2016ce
Only one Caerhun stone? did you see the other one in the wall next to it?
All very good choices, high on my long list of favorite places, much more to see still.

She's a forgiving lady, you'll get sunburnt next time.
postman Posted by postman
18th July 2016ce
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