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Rhinog Fawr, Y Rhinogydd (Cairn(s)) — Links

Rhinog Fawr, Gwynedd - summit cairn(s) - Part 2

Summit cairns... and, well... see for yourself.

Rhinog Fawr via Bwlch Tyddiad, Gwynedd - Part 1

A masterclass in how to ascend Rhinog Fawr... and walk right past some rock art, oblivious...

Gyrn Ddu (Cairn(s)) — Miscellaneous

At 1,713ft Gyrn Ddu - together with its slightly lower neighbour Gyrn Goch - may well not feature upon the itineraries of those route-marching muppets who pigeonhole the Great Outdoors by the sole criterion of 'height' above Ordnance Datum... however, more fool them, I say. Particularly if one happens to possess a penchant for ancient upland cairns... a Citizen Cairn, you might say?

Now Gyrn Ddu has not one, but a trio of such enigmatic monuments perched upon its eastern (two) and western shoulders, all of which can be visited by way of a circular walk starting from the A499, below to the west. In addition, a number of ancient hut groupings can be seen along the way... hey, the former homes of the folks who erected the cairns back in the day, right? Makes sense to me.

Beware of the so-called 'experts' who may tell you this is an 'easy walk'. For sure, the logical anti-clockwise route from Rock Cottage, albeit a touch steep in places, may well be upon grass all the way to these two eastern cairns.... but any punter making the progression to the summit and subsequent descent to the fine western monument will encounter far rougher terrain more reminiscent of Y Rhinogydd. So watch those ankles...

The cairns upon this eastern shoulder are unfortunately bisected by parasitical drystone walls clearly sourced from the monuments, yet nevertheless remain pretty substantial: Coflein reckons both are c45ft in diameter, the southern somewhat higher nowadays (although whether there was originally such disparity is a moot point, given the damage). Interestingly, I noted another, smaller cairn immediately beyond the northern monument. Do we have a cemetery here?

Whatever, it is the utterly wondrous vistas towards the rest of Lleyn - Tre'r Ceiri and Mynydd Carnguwch taking centre stage - not to mention more-or-less the whole of Northern Snowdonia, which form la pièce de résistance of this place.

Gyrn Ddu (Cairn(s)) — Links

Gyrn Ddu, Lleyn Peninsular... eastern cairns

Gyrn Ddu cairn (Cairn(s)) — Links

Gyrn Ddu (summit and western cairn)

The rather unexpected highlight of Gyrn Ddu's monuments....

Coed Croes (Cairn(s)) — Miscellaneous

Located between the mighty northern escarpment of Cadair Idris and Dolgellau, this well-preserved Bronze Age funerary cairn still possesses its former capstone (albeit somewhat the worse for wear) perched upon the rim.

I approached from the hamlet of Pandy Gader to the east, a public footpath negotiating the wondrous Afon Arran and the fields/woodland beyond to arrive at the farm at Coed Croes. As you would expect, I, er, got a bit confused at this point, so ensure you pack your map or blunder around like a muppet.

The monument occupies a fine, elevated position looking north to the great hillfort of Foel Offrwn and Rhobell Fawr upon the skyline. OK, the approach may be a tad 'fiddly' for my navigational skill set, but the tranquil vibe and excellent archaeology are easily worth such route-finding trifles...

Coflein doesn't have anything to say. However, GAT reckons the monument is:

"A grassed-over simple rounded cairn with a large hollow, the robbing pit, in the centre, at 3m x 2.5m & 1m deep.... Two large slabs each c.1m long lie alongside the robbing pit and could be cist cover slabs". [Smith, 2001]

The former local name for the site - 'Twll y crochan aur' ('pit of the golden cauldron') - might be attributed to the treasure-seeking former owner of Coed Croes farm... a certain Victorian by the name of Mr. Humphreys. [Dancer, A. M. , 1968, Journal of the Merionethshire Historical and Record Society].

Castell Llanaber (Hillfort) — Links

Castell Llanaber, Y Rhinogydd

Yet another reason to go walkabout on The Rhinogs

Castell Llanaber (Hillfort) — Miscellaneous

Not a castle... but a much older Iron Age fortress overlooking Cardigan Bay, not far from the traditional seaside attractions of Barmouth upon Snowdonia's western coast.

Yeah, set within the scenic splendour of the rugged southern Rhinogydd, this hillfort looks - and indeed is - the real deal, particularly if viewed perched upon its crag from the north. Unlike me, however, you'll want to approach from the green track below to the south.... unless trademark Rhinog ankle-twisting boulders, camouflaged within copious heather, is your thing? Nah, thought as much.

OK, the enclosure is unfortunately bisected by a high drystone wall, another idiosyncratic feature of this wondrous mountain landscape; nevertheless, a significant volume of drystone defences still remains in situ. So, if you like your hillforts wild and uncompromising, yet not too far from civilisation, this one is for you.

Don't forget to drop in on the nearby - and chronically neglected - Bronze Age ring cairn upon Mynydd Llanaber while you're here.

Coflein notes:

Castell Llanaber is a sub-rectangular hillfort approximately 48m x 34m... and is crossed by a modern wall. The wall possibly masks the entrance. A rectangular structure approximately 10m square and set within the south-west angle is thought to be a later sheepfold." [J.Wiles, RCAHMW - 11/2/2004]

Mynydd Llanaber (Ring Cairn) — Links

Mynydd Llanaber Ring Cairn

Q: Why shouldn't farmers be entrusted with our heritage? A: See Mynydd Llanaber

Mynydd Llanaber (Ring Cairn) — Miscellaneous

This massive Bronze Age 'Ring Cairn' - located in the southern foothills of Y Rhinogydd above Llanaber and blessed with a fine, sweeping view of Cardigan Bay - could have been a jewel in the prehistoric crown of this beautiful coastline. Could have.....

Sadly, it now serves as a dumping ground for field clearance detritus... a rusting bath, presumably placed here for animal husbandry purposes, highlighting a lack of respect for those pioneer farmers who worked this land millennia ago. But hey, it's not too late.

Thankfully, the well-preserved, wondrous hillfort Castell Llanaber is nearby to help restore the feelgood factor for those who do give a damn about Wales' heritage. As it is, the ring cairn's substantial circular footprint is nevertheless worth checking out in passing.

Coflein gives the monument's dimensions thus:

"A circular bank of turf-covered stones, 3.0m wide & 0.5m high, 20m overall diameter." [J.Wiles 04.11.04]

Rhinog Fawr, Y Rhinogydd (Cairn(s)) — Images (click to view fullsize)

<b>Rhinog Fawr, Y Rhinogydd</b>Posted by GLADMAN

Llyn Du, Y Rhinogydd (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Miscellaneous

Another example of hindsight being a wondrous thing...

To be fair, I was far too engaged with making it to the summit of Rhinog Fawr to have made a serious attempt to find this... even if I had have been aware. However, should anyone else choose to come this way, it would appear one must walk right past during the ascent.

GAT reckons:

"The feature.... was created on the upper face of a large angular natural block of stone, about 1.4m high and 2.4m long, part of an extensive boulder field of massive blocks deriving from the mountain side above... It consists of a cup and ring mark on a smooth, slightly sloping rock facing to the south... The mark is 150mm diameter overall. It has a gap at the top and possibly also at the bottom where, leading from its lower edge, is a natural weathered crack. This crack seems to have pre-dated the ring mark and was then deliberately incorporated in the design, providing a downslope 'tail’. This is a common, but unexplained feature of the design of cup and ring marks found elsewhere, for example in Argyll, sometimes as incorporated natural cracks, sometimes as carved grooves (Morris 1977, 12-13). There are other natural weathered fissures on the rock face and it may be that these should also be considered as incorporated in the design. (Smith, 2013)".

More supporting evidence (together with the clear alignment of the wondrous Ffridd Fron cist at SH63153238) of the prehistoric provenance of Rhinog Fawr's summit cairn(s), perched high above to the south-east.

Llyn Du, Y Rhinogydd (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Images

<b>Llyn Du, Y Rhinogydd</b>Posted by GLADMAN<b>Llyn Du, Y Rhinogydd</b>Posted by GLADMAN

Llyn Du, Y Rhinogydd (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Links

Llyn Du, Y Rhinogydd: Rock Art

Detail of rock art located just west of the wondrous upland lake Llyn Du is included within the GAT publication "SOME RECENT ROCK ART FROM NORTH-WEST WALES"

Coed Croes (Cairn(s)) — Links

Coed Croes, a well preserved Bronze Age cairn near Dolgellau

Under Idris's legendary gaze...

Dinas Allt Wen (Hillfort) — Links

Dinas Allt Wen, Conwy

The prodigal son returns...

Dinas Allt Wen (Hillfort) — Images

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Pyllau'r Glwfeiriaid (Cist) — Links

Pyllau'r Glwfeiriaid and Foel Dugoed summit cairn, Gwynedd

A tale of two cists.....

Foel Dugoed (Cairn(s)) — Links

Foel Dugoed (Eastern Cairn), Southern Arans, Gwynedd

Going walkabout in the obscure southern foothills of The Arans

Rhinog Fawr, Y Rhinogydd (Cairn(s)) — Images

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Rhinog Fawr, Y Rhinogydd (Cairn(s)) — Miscellaneous

The 2,362ft top of Rhinog Fawr is crowned by a series of cairns, the western of which (bearing the OS trig station) appears - to these eyes - to represent a classic summit funerary monument constructed over irregular natural outcropping... in the manner of, say, Y Carneddau's Foel Grach. Sadly, the cairn has been much vandalised by the gouging out of 'idiot shelters' by, well, idiots. Nevertheless, the prehistoric ancestry would appear pretty obvious, given the circumstances. The providence of the cairn standing to the east is less clear; however, on balance, the footprint is not consistent with what I would expect of a modern marker cairn. The small cairn at the eastern end of the plateau would appear a modern marker.

The Gwynedd Archaeological Trust (GAT PRN 5506) has this to say:

"A cairn about 10m diameter with an arc of radially set stones on the NE, stands on the W end of the summit plateau of Rhinog Fawr. The modern trig point is set on the centre of the cairn.

Enhanced natural outcrop on summit of Rhinog Fawr - utilises exposed N-S oriented strata, infilling gaps and fissures, which appear as radial, edge-set slabs at locations NE and SW. Possible kerb/original structure of cairn survives best however on west and east sides where mixed constructional techniques are evident. The original form of the cairn is presumed to have been round but with a bias to oval on a N - S axis. The centre of the cairn is made up of exposed outcrop and is surmounted by a modern OS trig pillar. There are 3 modern walker's shelters incorporated into the circumference. There are numerous smaller cairns scattered across the summit plateau on the north-east side. All appear to be modern in their present form (Smith 2001)."

Rhinog Fawr, Y Rhinogydd (Cairn(s)) — Images

<b>Rhinog Fawr, Y Rhinogydd</b>Posted by GLADMAN

Mynydd Llanaber (Ring Cairn) — Images

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Castell Llanaber (Hillfort) — Images

<b>Castell Llanaber</b>Posted by GLADMAN<b>Castell Llanaber</b>Posted by GLADMAN<b>Castell Llanaber</b>Posted by GLADMAN
Showing 1-50 of 13,169 posts. Most recent first | Next 50
Hi, I'm Robert ... with a passion for attempting to understand the lives of the pioneering prehistoric inhabitants of these British Isles, seeking out the remains they left behind in order to ask myself "why here ... why did it matter so... why such commitment?".. Needless to say, I'm still pondering such intangibles. Just as an empty house appears to retain echoes of past humanity... so does the stone circle, the chambered cairn, the long barrow and the mountain top funerary cairn. Visiting them, I think, helps engender a certain 'connection' with this land of ours, with ourselves - our past, our present and our future; a reference point for those of us perhaps struggling to make sense of this so-called 'computer world' Kraftwerk warned us was a'coming in 1981.... danke, mein herren.

In the unlikely event my posts provide inspiration for others to venture into the Great Outdoors, please bear in mind the hills and mountains of these Isles are unpredictable, potentially dangerous places. You are a fool if you do not suss out what you are letting yourself in for and ensure you have map/compass/waterproofs... and learn how to use them. Weather conditions can change bewilderingly quickly - even in high summer - so don't get caught out. Please engage with landowners wherever possible... being a cartoon 'class warrior' like Monbiot might be jolly good fun for the frustrated upper class 'rebel'... but not for those who follow in their footsteps. I find requests for access are rarely declined.

George Orwell - 'The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection.'

Martin Gore - 'Like a pawn
On the eternal board
Who’s never quite sure
What he’s moved towards
I walk blindly on'...

Truman Capote - 'Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavour.'

Oscar Wilde - 'The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.'

John Lydon - 'It is a reward to be chastised by the ignorant.'

Winston Churchill - '“The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.”

Ultravox - 'Taking shelter by the standing stones
Miles from all that moves....'

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