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

Pen y Garn-goch

Barrow / Cairn Cemetery


Subsumed within bloody forestry a couple of miles south-east of Abergwesyn, the mass of stonework surmounting Pen y Garn-goch was once thought (by W. F. Grimes) to have been a Severn-Cotswolds variant chambered cairn... but now generally accepted as three co-joined summit cairns. This is splitting hairs, perhaps, since whatever the original configuration may have been, the impression nowadays is of a pretty impressive long cairn set within a 'lost world' clearing that might have even freaked out Conan Doyle.

Now I had planned to approach from the north, via the public track from Bwlchmawr - however, the occupant of said farm advised me to instead follow the road towards Pistyllgwyn and ascend via the obvious forestry track. In retrospect, I wish I'd stuck to Plan A, so to speak, the seemingly interminable plod not what the doctor ordered in the baking heat of June. Nevertheless, the 'three-into-one' stone pile is well worth whatever effort must be expended to reach it, the exquisite vibe reminiscent of a Scottish site and helping to dissipate the 'what ifs' that inevitably arise when sight lines are curtailed by trees.

Of the three cairns, the central would appear the best preserved, both its neighbours having been defaced by the usual muppet shelter, the whole clad by that weird gray(ish) moss one sometimes finds covering stone within woodland clearings.

So yes... great vibe (check), great archaeology (check), no midges (check), no rain (check). And almost the place to myself. Having said that, my only visitors during four or so hours hanging out in the pitiless, concentrated glare of the sun (yeah I know... in Mid Wales?) were two local trail bikers who - quite unexpectedly - were actually friendly, decent blokes for once and, furthermore, more than happy to learn the prehistoric foundation of their local hill. Imagine Vin Diesel swopping his Dodge (or whatever) for bike and discussing Bronze Age burial rituals? Surreal, but everyone's a winner.
3rd July 2022ce
Edited 4th July 2022ce

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