Sunday, 30 October 2011

Wanders in Wales - In the footsteps of the Druids

Day two and the sun is out - well at the moment!

A heated debate follows on where to go -  Penmaenmawr won. A wealth of circles, stones and other features beckoned but at the cost of a long steep climb. I am definitely fitter than I was but I don't think I will ever enjoy climbing long steep hills.

 Anyway I was not disappointed. The climb was indeed long and steep in places. Where it wasn't steep it was wet and boggy- not a good time to find that the waterproof boots are less than waterproof and that wet socks give me blisters.

This is the view into the valley from the car park- quite magnificent.

I was feeling pretty miserable when we reached the first circle- Red Farm Circle. all that effort for a fairly poorly preserved  "circle" of a few low stones. This is about the best picture I could get- you may need to look carefully!

Nearby was  Maen Crwn a magnificent standing stone overlooking the site (why do people feel they have to carve their names on things?).

By now I'm feeling somewhat underwhelmed but nothing daunted we push on - yes more "up" and find the a tiny but much better preserved circle with the picturesque title of Stone circle 275. A pretty little circle of just 5 stones which deserves a better name,

However a quick glance up and silhouetted against the sky are some magnificent stones. The Druids Circle beckons.

I'm not feeling quite so tired now and the next hill is quickly climbed.

The pictures here don't come close to capturing it. Like Brodgar this fair crackles with  energy. There are several legends attached to the circle. The deity stone carries the legend that anyone who swears by it will be struck dead- I didn't try it and the sacrifice stone is said to have held the bodies of sacrificed infants - maybe as some child cremations were found here.

After spending nowhere long enough at he Druids circle time was getting on and we still had two more circles to find.

I am reasonably sure that this is circle 278 - but not 100%. The whole area is covered with the remains of circles, cairns and burial mounds as well as a neolithic axe factory so it can sometimes be difficult to pick out the features on the ground.

One more circle to go - that of   Cors y Carneddau. This did involve some head scratching, intensive map reading and GPS. It now appears mostly as a jumble of stones but I'm confident we found it. Doesn't look much in the picture but you can't fault the location.

Starting to get cold now so time to head down in search of dry footwear. I'd forgotten about my wet feet and blisters whilst in the circles but the trip down wasn't pleasant.

You'd think that would be enough for one day? Nope. One more to visit. The circle at  Cerrig Pryfaid. This is right on the road so no more walking required..... however high stone walls and a single track lane mean it isn't actually visible so it was a case of park where possible and walk back.  Scaling the 6ft stone wall surrounding it was relatively easy and the circle of small stones dwarfed by huge electricity pylons was revealed. Not the best picture I'm afraid. I was tired by now!

All in all a very successful day - and one more to go.
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