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

   

Carnedd Moel Siabod

Round Cairn

<b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by GLADMANImage © Robert Gladstone
Also known as:
  • Moel Siabod

Nearest Town:Betws-Y-Coed (9km ENE)
OS Ref (GB):   SH70535469 / Sheet: 115
Latitude:53° 4' 24.05" N
Longitude:   3° 55' 57.99" W

Added by GLADMAN


Discussion Topics0 discussions
Start a topic



Show map   (inline Google Map)

Images (click to view fullsize)

Add an image Add an image
Photographs:<b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by postman <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by postman <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by postman <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by postman <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by postman <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by postman <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by postman <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by postman <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by Meic <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by postman <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by postman <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by postman <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by postman <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by postman <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by postman <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by GLADMAN Maps / Plans / Diagrams:<b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by GLADMAN Artistic / Interpretive:<b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Carnedd Moel Siabod</b>Posted by GLADMAN

Fieldnotes

Add fieldnotes Add fieldnotes
There are, I reckon it's fair to say, both positive and negative attributes to 'spontaneous action'. Ah, spontaneity: anathema to some - the methodical thinkers, planners, those with compartmentalised car boots ensuring everything is always in its right place (one assumes Thom Yorke is an advocate?)... yet a prerequisite to others - the instinctive, inquisitive, opportunistic, the reckless, even? As for myself, I guess I fall between camps... as I do for most things nowadays. Implacable opposition to religious and political extremists (particularly farcically ignorant, far left champagne socialist 'rappers') naturally proving the rule. Yeah, plan for the worst, but be prepared to improvise at short notice. Seize the opportunity. Speaking of which...

A passing shower, pounding upon what back in the day would've been canvas, wakes me with a jolt at Fferm y' Rynys, my tent, if not exactly in the shadow of the great long barrow of Capel Garmon - unfortunately sunshine is required for such a phenomenon - certainly not too distant. Upon gingerly emerging from my erstwhile cocoon I note a seemingly immutable mass of opaque, grey vapour looming where the elegant profile of Moel Siabod should be to the west. Should be, but as experience informs, all too often isn't. Nevertheless, as dawn gives way to early morning, these clouds progressively realize a warmer, more optimistic glow suggestive of change... sufficient, in fact, to prompt me to head toward Capel Curig to see what's what. One of the wettest places in the UK? What could possibly go wrong? However, sure enough, Moel Siabod's facade is present and very much correct, towering above the cascading Afon Llugwy at Pont Cynfyg. Now there are some that maintain rivers 'talk' - divulge their story, if you will - to the susceptible. If so, perhaps the Afon Llugwy should be accorded a PG rating? Whatever, the subconscious duly primed, the penny finally drops upon passing the shiny 4x4s aligned outside Plas-y-Brenin... why not reacquaint myself with the summit cairn? Ah, the moth to the flame....

Spontaneity triumphs in the ensuing deliberations and - before I have the opportunity to reflect and countermand - I set off, skirting the eastern extremity of the Llynnau Mymbyr to ascend into the trees, that familiar, intoxicating blend of nervous excitement/determination/what-the-hell-am-I-doing-you-muppet? to the fore. The path is initially heavy going underfoot: wet rock, slippery following the recent rain, the slitheryness factor exacerbated by fallen leaves... however, as height is gained and the woodland left behind it morphs into a straightforward grassy/muddy plod all the way to the top. Well, almost, that is. More-or-less. That 'the top' is a very long time coming - and takes everything I've got in my available energy reserves - probably signifies more about it being some thirteen years since my last ascent of this mountain than anything else. But there you are. With grandstand retrospective views to Y Glyderau and Y Carneddau, thankfully unimpeded by the cloud of morning, to animate the all too necessary frequent pauses... a traveller can't exactly complain, can he? Not that any spirits or other similar manifestations contravening the laws of physics that may - or may not - frequent this apparent behemoth beached humpback whale of a mountain, would give a monkey's if I did. Eventually, I reach the crest of the summit plateau, whereby the landscape suddenly explodes - hell, like John Hurt's chest in Alien - into a shattered disarray of mechanically weathered dolerite intrusion. Yeah, the 'shapely hill' bears its jagged teeth in no uncertain manner assuring further onward progress is no easy matter.

Finally, there it is. The cairn. Now as upland cairns go... structurally speaking, it is a poor example, having been hollowed-out by successive multitudes of unschooled walkers to provide shelter from the wind. Or rather, to judge by the very significant footprint, a pale evocation of its former self. Unfortunately, all this is to be expected in this day and age. Anyhow, noting that, owing to my early start, none of the aforementioned muppets is as yet on the scene, I take the opportunity for closer inspection. But not before applying every item of kit I have brought with me in an - although not totally successful - at least B+ attempt to keep out the punishingly brutal cold wind. No need to vandalise scheduled prehistoric monuments... if you understand your environment. Funnily enough, it does tend to be windy upon mountain summits. Although it has to be said that the application of thermal underwear over boots is not to be recommended. Not a good look. Although observing what passes for 'fashion' these days I'm pretty sure someone would buy it.

Anyway, the solo exploration reveals unexpected detail: a large slab and associated lesser fragments suggestive of a former cist, an assumption given further credence by what look very much like two small orthostats still remaining in situ within the 'shelter'. How these have survived the millennia upon such a popular mountain is beyond me, it really is. And yes, the circular footprint is indeed much more extensive than I recall. But it is where they put it that counts. Yeah, the archaeology, of course, is but of secondary importance to the sense of place. It is the landscape context that makes this the archetypal spot to set your Bronze Age VIP on the road to eternity. Or David Byrne's 'nowhere', depending upon your point of view.

Although this is my fifth visit over the years, the spellbinding vistas nevertheless continue to blow the mind. The key here is Moel Siabod's isolated location, standing aloof at the eastern extremity of Y Moelwynion and, to be honest, sharing little of the characteristics of its neighbours. Its elevation, measuring up at a very respectable 2,861ft, is also noteworthy thus ensuring the aesthetic dividends to be enjoyed here are among the finest in all Snowdonia. In my opinion. Today, all the old friends are present and correct: to the north, beyond the eastern heights of Y Glyderau and the obscurely wondrous long cairn at Bwlch Goleuni, are the massed summits of Y Carneddau bristling with upland cairns; to the northwest across Dyffryn Mymbyr and its cists, the chaotic, natural rockpiles of Glyder Fach and Glyder Fawr separated by the unearthly Castell-y-Gwynt... the latter in its element today overlooking the soggy stone circle beside lonely Llyn Cwmffynnon; directing the gaze further west, beyond Llanberis Pass, is the Snowdon Massif, sentinel peak Yr Wyddfa subsumed within its customary cloak of grey; then Nant Gwynant and Y Cnicht... the remainder of Y Moelwynion, some peaks standing in mute, ravaged homage to Wales' former industrial heritage; eastward toward Betws-y-Coed (reversing my dawn view), the moors of Denbighshire, Y Berwyn. In fact, it is only to the south that the iconic 360-degree panorama is interrupted... by the summit itself. Easily rectified. Ah, there you go. The Migneint and Southern Snowdonia. Tick.

Here the uninitiated punter will be in for a shock, the bulbous form of Moel Siabod's northern flank - so apparently benign when viewed from the shores of Llynnau Mymbyr - catastrophically transformed in an impressive display of naked rock plunging toward the gaunt, restored keep of Dolwyddelan Castle, set far below within Cwm Lledr. Here, too, is Daear Ddu, a superb natural route of ascent (one of the finest in Snowdonia) from the glacial corrie tarn Llyn-y-Foel, a shining glint of water visible sheltering far beneath the towering north-eastern ridge. It was here (at SH71005520) that, if Coflein is to be believed, a fabulous Bronze Age shield was discovered in 1784. Surely not? But then again, what an appropriate location! I make an extended stop here to delay returning to the increasingly more popular summit, my mind swimming as a rainbow arcs across the void. Was there really a priceless treasure to be found at its base a couple of centuries past? Whatever the truth, there is certainly priceless treasure of a more metaphysical nature to be experienced here today. Steady now. But don't just take my word for it... similarly impressed, by all accounts, are a couple of 'scally' climbers struggling past... we share a brief mutual epiphany. Top lads, eyes aglow with wonder.

With a little over an hour or so before I must begin my descent, I return to the now deserted summit... and find Moel Siabod has one more surprise for me today. With minimal warning - as if a boxer flooring his opponent with a zero backlift uppercut - the cloud base swirling above Cwm Lledr and the excellent Y Ro Wen suddenly envelopes all, sending me into a claustrophobic environment of looming apparitions and spiralling wraiths of moisture. An abstruse world seemingly for my eyes only. The sun, however, refuses to submit... and, upon executing a 180, I find myself face to face with... myself. A Brocken Spectre, a rainbow kaleidoscope of colour illuminating my shadow as if I've become the 'Ready-brek Kid' styled by JMW Turner himself. That's making the assumption it wasn't the former occupant of the nearby cairn going walkabout? Or a ghostly warrior muttering 'I'm sure I left it hereabouts?' No, definitely the wind. I think. Wow, what a finale.

Returning to the cairn I make a compass bearing for Plas y Brenin and, after confirming this with one taken earlier (as is my way) and throwing a respectful nod to times - and people - past, I set off back down the mountain. Overjoyed, but a little unnerved, too. Emerging from the gloom I find my bearing is true, but nevertheless I'm quite a way to the west of the path. Rain moves in during the final half-mile and I realise my window of opportunity was indeed but fleeting. Spontaneity, eh? I'm all for it. But best take a compass....
GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
28th December 2019ce
Edited 28th December 2019ce

After showing Alken ( Thesweatcheat) some of the wonders and delights of my hometown and county we sped our way to Snowdonia, which is somewhat more well endowed when it comes to wonders and delights.
Iv'e seen and felt the presence of Moel Siabod more than a few times, from afar and closer to, but today was the day we got up close and personal.
The weather reports had lied through their teeth at us forecasting mostly sunshine, it was cloudy. Not so much that you couldn't see the mountains, just enough to hide their peaks, and whilst it didn't rain it did hale at us once and on top of the top it was, it's fair to say a bit nippy.

We started at the outdoor pursuits center at Plas y Brenin, with it's rather nonsensical dry ski slope. Crossing a bridge over the edge of the eastern of llynnau Mymbyr, the water comes rushing out of the llyn as if anxious to get out, little knowing Swallow falls or anything.
Then it's through some old moss covered woods and out on to the north east slopes of Moel Siabod proper. After the dark under the trees the mind craves a view, and the first to offer itself is Pen Llithrig y Wrach, its behind us all the time growing slowly further away but getting bigger all the same.

Then the big mountains come into view, Yr Wyddfa and its near neighbours, the Glyders and the Carneddau, the pointy bits are just higher than the cloud line, but it doesn't really matter, like a good scary film it's what you don't see rather than what you do see that gets you.

Contrary to the majority of cairns round here is Dyffryn Mymbyr, nestling neatly next to a river the Nantgwryd at the bottom of the valley, but from half way up the mountain it more than strains the eyes to find it. The same can be said of the Cefn Glas cairns on the other side of the mountain to the west, an estimate box of two hundred yards is needed, its there somewhere, finger points downwards vaguely.
The Nant y Llys longcairn is similarly lost in distance and bad light to the west. So it would seem that the mountain should be seen from the cairns but the cairns melting into the background need not be seen from the mountain, mountain rules all.

Fifty meters north of the cobbled frozen trig point, is our destiny for the day, Moel Siabod's bronze age cairn. It's been reshaped by walkers unknown, surprised maybe by a cold wind ? But rather fortuitously and sadly there is a big flat stone inside the cairn resting, nay slumped uselessly against the cairn material, it's presumed to be the large cist cover that lay above our ancient mountain lover, it's broken, but only two small pieces have come off and it's still able to bring me out of myself, to, for an instant lose myself in the moment. But it is pretty damn cold and my fingers are hurting, bringing me back to reality, wonderful Snowdonian reality, the icy wilderness above it all.

Seeing it all spread out before you , these mountains can become infectious, from the top, we could i'm sure feel the connections being formed in our minds, the list getting longer, as we looked around it was i'm going up that one, that one then that one.
postman Posted by postman
11th December 2011ce
Edited 11th December 2011ce

Links

Add a link Add a link

Bronze Age Shield Find Spot


Although cited by The British Museum as "..Found 1784 in a bog near Meol Hebog while cutting peat" I'm pretty certain from other sources [e.g Grahame Clarke's 1940-published 'Prehistoric England (sic!)] that this magnificent shield was found upon Moel Siabod. Coflein quotes the findspot at SH71005520... putting it at the head of the excellent ridge Daear Ddu, overlooking the natural lake Llyn y Foel. Can there be a more appropriate location? It is tempting to think it belonged to whoever was laid to rest (in whatever form) within the nearby cairn.
GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
8th December 2016ce
Edited 8th December 2016ce

Summit Cairns in Snowdonia


Plan and description of the ruined summit cairn.
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
7th December 2011ce