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

Caer Caradog



To be honest I wasn't expecting much from Caer Caradog, not having swotted up beforehand, or anything. So it comes as a pleasant surprise when, having taken the very obscure right hand turn from the B5105 east of Cerrigydrudion - yes, that one of Cope fame - I park at the entrance to Pen-y-Gaer farm to see somewhat impressive earthworks enclosing the hilltop to the north. Needless to say the mist and low cloud, which had earlier put paid to any thoughts of high level outings on the way back to Essex, serves to add a quite literal cloak of mystery to the site. Never a bad thing, I find. Unless you're climbing a mountain, in which case it is. Very much so.

Anyway... a public footpath heads north to pass the enclosure a little to the east... however seeing the gate unlocked, I decide upon a direct approach. In retrospect the footpath's probably the better bet as I end up having to step over some unseen barbed wire cunningly protecting a gap in the dry stone wall. Ha! That'll get the tourists.... not that any tourist is likely to come here in a million years, I'd have thought?

It is immediately apparent that my first impressions were correct (for once) - the ramparts, particularly towards the east, are quite substantial, albeit patrolled by sheep in lieu of ancient warriors. Sheep who abandon their posts and flee as soon as I approach. Not very good substitutes, then. It would also seem that they are destructive little blighters, too, judging by notable damage to the fabric of the banks... however this does provide the opportunity to see, in cross section, how the defences were actually constructed. Walking the enceinte, two gaunt trees add their haunting profiles to the site, already very evocative because of the swirling mist. However this gradually dissipates to reveal a fine vista in all directions, in particular across Cerrigydrudion to the Central Snowdonian mountains, the latter still swathed in opaque vapour. Yeah, Caer Caradog is well sited, no doubt about that and pretty difficult to assault in its day, I reckon. As long as it wasn't defended by sheep.

An appropriate way to end a fine week in North Wales. Although, like Postie, I do leave thinking "what the hell is that big boulder in the eastern ditch there for?" Any ideas? A slingshot 'slung' by one of those giants the Welsh are so fond of? Now I think we're getting into the realms of fantasy here, Jones......
5th December 2010ce
Edited 6th December 2010ce

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